Sunday Staples

sunday staples 3

Burberry trench sz 2 (similar), JBrand legging jeans (similar), H&M; scarf
Given goods tote c/o (very similar reversible one), LOFT top, CK leopard pumps (similar)

Every now and then, I get some requests to update my “how to look older in casual attire” post from years back. And while I don’t have enough material for a sequel, this basic outfit employs many of those tips using my wardrobe staples. Per the points in that post, a striped blouse + fitted dark jeans are just as comfy as a graphic tee + lighter flared jeans, but look a little more grown up. Rather than a poofy windbreaker, a tailored trench instantly makes outfits look more pulled-together while still keeping you dry (and warm, through a thick cashmere cardigan I have hidden as an extra layer). I finished with functional accessories that also add texture and dimension to the outfit – a warm camel scarf and oversized leather tote.
sunday staples4
This tote is from Given Goods, which I recently learned about through a reader. I chose this Lori tote because it’s a useful everyday piece, which would also make it a great gift. It’s handmade by leather artisans in Peru and each product sold through GG has its own story.
sunday staples5
This bag measures 13″ across the bottom, 18″ across the top, 6.5″ wide base and approx 9″ handle drop. The leather is a heavier weight with “weathered” markings, and is pliable but stands upright when sitting on its own. The inside is unlined with one small pocket and a seam across the base.

given goods tote

I also wanted to share a tip for working with unlined leather. Genuine leather is malleable and can be shaped over time by the contents or how you treat it (which is why I now use base shapers for all my large bags, including this one). Since this tote had a wider top, I folded in the upper side panels and secured them with large binder clips. I removed the clips after a few days and the sides now stay folded naturally, visually reducing the top width from 18″ to 13″ across.
given goods tote compare

^Comparison of before vs. after “shaping in” the sides against a 5 feet tall frame, wearing flat shoes.

sunday staples


31 thoughts on “Sunday Staples

  • Reply styleontarget December 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

    Gorgeous classics. How on earth did you tie/style that gorgeous scarf? Perfection!

  • Reply Anonymous December 15, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Yes, please share how you tied that scarf!

  • Reply zozo December 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    That's an awesome idea with the binder clips! Love the color/shape of that bag.
    Do you think the exterior is easily scratched? I'm horrible with delicate care items.
    Thank you!
    x atelier zozo

  • Reply Jackie December 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    I'm thirding the other comments here. I'd love to see a tutorial on how you tied your scarf. I'm always looking for cool new ways to wear mine!

    xoxo Jackie
    Something About That

  • Reply Le monde des petites December 15, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    Lovely outfit!!! Really like how you paired everything!!!
    Completely in love with your leo shoes!!!


    Jul du monde des petites

  • Reply Window On My Wardrobe December 16, 2013 at 3:27 am

    Love this outfit! So elegant and chique. That scarf has such a great shade of camel, it really compliments with your hair and the combination with the beige trench, very pretty.
    A Burberry trench has been a wishlist item for years, I hope I will be able to buy one in the upcoming years.

    X Sara

  • Reply Lisa - respect the shoes December 16, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Where do I begin? You even make cas dressing look chic and put-together! And that tote is gorge! And those pumps – suddenly I am in need of yet another pair of leopard print pumps …

  • Reply Mei Fleming December 16, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Very chic and classy! You looks are always so wearable!
    LOVE it.

    NEW POST:: Home for the Holidays


  • Reply Maggie Adofo December 16, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I absolutely love how you tied the scarf 🙂

    Maggie A

  • Reply Jessy T December 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    I love this outfit, Jean. ♥ That scarf looks so cozy! So jealous at how you can still wear heels! It's already snowing here in Toronto, so I've busted out my winter boots. Can't wait to see more of your winter fashion.

  • Reply Carol Li December 16, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I love this look on you. Very stylish!

  • Reply Anonymous December 16, 2013 at 7:14 pm

    like the outfit, but wearing a silk legacy blouse from ann taylor underneath, what do you think?

  • Reply V December 16, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Hi Jean, you must have taken these pics weeks ago haha. Boston is covered by snow now! Cant't wait to see your outfit in the real winter here!

  • Reply lin December 18, 2013 at 12:08 am

    Great outfit. I love everything about it from the trench to the pumps. So casual and chic.

  • Reply Sandy a la Mode December 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

    that bag is just gorgeous!!

    Sandy a la Mode

  • Reply Gigi Katz December 18, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    really cool bag and love the shoes, awesome outfit as usual! xx. gigi.

  • Reply Ellen December 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm

    Longtime reader, first time commenter.

    Just wanted to say how much I love your blog (I'm not petite – I actually have the opposite problem, and constantly need to look for tall sizes/alter things to fit a taller person) – but your tips are so helpful! Plus your style is just perfect!

  • Reply Miss Cheska December 21, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    Hi Jean,

    Love your blog, I get the feed daily on my iPad's feedly. I've come across many other petite fashion bloggers, but I do have to say that your classic style is my favorite! Can you please do a post on winter boots? Or at least give me some helpful advice? I live in the Northeast and while I love ankle booties and leather boots, they're pretty much useless once the winter snowstorms come in. I hate the winters because I'm pretty much restricted to big puffy jackets and clunky snow shoes. How can I be practical in the slush AND still be fashionable? Help!


  • Reply Jean December 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

    ^hi ladies! I will take some photos as soon as possible – it's super easy : )

  • Reply Jean December 22, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Hi Jackie – I'll get on it!

  • Reply Jean December 22, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Sounds perfect – a silk button up blouse is a classic in its own!

  • Reply Jean December 22, 2013 at 9:36 am

    Took these a day before the snowstorm- now it's Aquatalia weatherproof boots for commuting every day : ) Stay warm!

  • Reply Jean December 22, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Hi Ellen – thanks so much for taking the time to say hello, and for your kind words! I'm so glad you've been able to apply some of the content here to your own shopping.

    PS – I noticed your profile is linked to TCP – do you write for them?

  • Reply Jean December 22, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Hi Cheska! Thank you for your sweet comment. I saw in your profile you're a teacher in the Albany area, which is actually where I used to live! On to winter boots … I used to think leather boots could not withstand harsh winter conditions, but I most recently got a pair of Aquatalia boots from Nordstrom (previously reviewed) which are supposed to be fully weatherproof. I've been wearing them in the rain/snow/slush and they've held up amazingly. They were a splurge though even at 50% off. Another option are these leather boots that look fairly classic but are from Sorel, a trusted brand in 'weatherproof boots' – They are a little pricey as well, but I've heard their shoes last forever. For non-leather, I like the idea of snowboots like these;=25122&LinkType;=#fn=BOOT_HEIGHT%3DTall%26BOOTS_TYPE%3DWinter%26sp%3D1%26spc%3D15 – it's puffy and nylon-esque but they are still basic tall black boots and not un-stylish. They have great reviews at Macy's and also avail at Zappos. Good luck in your search!

  • Reply Anonymous December 22, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    thanks jean, your so right… I look amazing.

  • Reply Miss Cheska December 25, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    What a small world. Yes, we just had snow several days ago and now it's all slush due to the recent rain. I love your other shoe posts–so in love with the Manolo bows! I'd love to wear pumps again, but yes as a teacher, anything but flats get to be painful! 🙁 Thanks for the recommendations, Jean! Just got a nice gift card to Zappos for Christmas– yay! Off to check out some nice winter shoes 🙂

  • Reply Anonymous January 5, 2014 at 11:39 am

    love the look and the bag! what size base shaper did you use with this?

  • Reply Kateřina Šilerová January 30, 2014 at 5:08 am

    I am loving this look and the bag is just great!

  • Reply Melanie Crd March 14, 2014 at 9:46 am

    Classy and stylish 🙂

  • Reply {Fresh~Linen} October 6, 2014 at 10:18 am

    You lucky girl! You managed to snatch a beautiful bag! I rushed to the site after reading this post, and sadly the company is closing! Love your blog by the way, classic and timeless!

  • Reply Anonymous June 15, 2015 at 12:30 am

    the website is still up and running:

    But I cannot find the cognac color in this post.

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