Reader Request: Easy Throw-on Outfits

So! We’ve covered guidelines to crafting a top-notch weekend casual look, but how about some concrete outfit suggestions? Cal requested some easy ensembles that she can throw on when she’s headed to the grocery store, because when she’s TOO dressed down, she inevitably runs into an eligible hottie, or even worse, an ex … and ladies, we’ve all been there, haven’t we?

So here are some of my personal faves, many of which can be customized both to your personal taste/resources AND to your current season.

Easy throw-on outfit #1
Key pieces:
Fitted, solid-colored sweater
Printed scarf

Take away the scarf and heels, and you’ve got a totally boring, lifeless getup. But adding a vibrant print around your face creates interest, and dressing up your jeans with pumps or heeled boots makes this outfit both ladylike and fun.

Seasonal tweaks: For summer, replace the sweater with a fitted, solid-colored tee or tank. Swap pumps or boots for heeled sandals.

Easy throw-on outfit #2
Key pieces:
Solid-colored blazer or hoodie
Fitted graphic tee
Denim miniskirt
Knee-high boots

A denim mini is a fantastically versatile casual piece to have in your wardrobe, and I wear mine as often as the feisty MN weather allows. Pairing a decidedly girly, sexy piece with an übercasual graphic tee creates great balance.And while the blazer adds polish to this outfit, a black hoodie works equally well if you want to keep it more casual.

Seasonal tweaks: Add tights for fall and winter. For summer, replace the blazer/hoodie with a light cardi, and replace boots with heeled sandals.

Easy throw-on outfit #3
Key pieces:
Colored cardi
Contrasting colored tee or tank
Long necklace
Contrasting colored shoes

Obviously, color is the thing here. So long as you’re working with solids, and you’ve got those nice, neutral jeans breaking things up, you can throw three punchy colors into the mix. The long necklace creates a flatteringly long line and adds some texture to those bright washes of color.

Seasonal tweaks: Replace the cardi with a brightly colored corduroy or velvet blazer for winter.

Easy throw-on outfit #4
Key pieces:
Fitted graphic tee
Solid colored pencil or short A-line skirt
Pumps or heeled Mary Janes

This is one of my summer favorites. Why bother with shorts when a pencil skirt is just as breezy and considerably more sleek? Adding a heeled shoe gives it even more girly-ness, which I just love. Easy-peasy, but such a cute combo.

Seasonal tweaks: Throw a hoodie or blazer over the graphic tee and add tights for fall and winter. You can also swap the heels for boots, but then you’ve basically got easy throw-on outfit #2 all over again!

Easy throw-on outfit #5
Key pieces:
Solid colored short-sleeved cardi or sweater
Long-sleeved fitted crew-neck tee
Funky necklace
Contrasting colored shoes

Warm and cozy without being bulky, this is a great way to layer on some color. Make sure your crew neck is nice and high, and that your necklace falls below the collar.

Seasonal tweaks: Replace the jeans with a pencil skirt or miniskirt for fall or spring.

Easy throw-on outfit #6
Key pieces:
Fitted solid-colored tee
Cropped cargoes
Tall heeled boots
Pile of necklaces

I love a necklace pile, as it adds instant glamor to any outfit. I’ve got four separate pieces on here, covering three distinct lengths. All are black or black-and-silver – I find that this look works best if you stick to a single color. I’ve got my granny boots on here, but any tall heeled boot will work. And I definitely prefer this outfit with actual cargoes as opposed to clean crops – it helps maintain a laid-back, casual feel.

Seasonal tweaks: Try a long-sleeved tee or fitted solid-colored sweater for fall and winter.

WHEW. That was a lot of outfits and outfit explanations. Hope you made it this far, kittens. If you did, did you happen to notice these recurring themes as you read?

Accessorization: Simple, comfy outfits are made instantly more stylish by funky or dressy jewelry, belts, scarves, and other accoutrement. If you dress sparingly, feel free to accessorize lavishly.

Shoes: Try to steer clear of sneakers and clunky casual shoes altogether … unless you’ve taken care to balance them out with other more feminine pieces elsewhere in your outfit. Mary Janes or low-heeled pumps paired with your jeans-and-tee elevate the entire outfit, whereas beat-up flats or Uggs just drag it down.

Color: As always, color is the quickest route to Chicsville. Black and heather gray may be easy and classic, but tossing a bright or rich shade into the mix adds interest, personality, and LIFE. Fear not the color, ladies. Fear not.

Throwing on one of these outfits takes the same amount of time as throwing on a sweatsuit. And if you pull up at the gas station and spy your catty next-door-neighbor or current crush, wouldn’t you rather be decked out in some chic, easy, casual finery?

(Big ups to Husband Mike for setting up the seamless, taking endless photos of me, letting me approve them all mid-shoot, and cropping them carefully on his considerably faster Mac. Bless.)

  • Kira Fashion

    hi girl!

    love your looks, very casual and very beautiful :)

    a kiss for you,

  • Couture Allure Vintage Fashion

    I love look #3. So colorful, so not boring, so perfect. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • tis serendipity

    those are great looks! =) you look so pretty in these photos. I especially like the idea of using a scarf to jazz up outfits in the first photo along with the necklace pile idea…

  • WendyB

    I’m impressed by this shoot! Good work.

  • Little Audrey.

    If I haven’t mentioned this enough to the point that it’s now become obnoxious, I’m in university. All my outfits are throw-on outfits, and this has definitely given me some inspiration and some tips. Thanks!

  • Sharon

    Oh thank god. I think you just saved my (fashion) life.


  • kittyscreations

    I love all the outfits! Thanks for giving some concrete examples of how to be stylish when casual.
    This post definitely re-affirms my need for more shoes.

  • La Belette Rouge

    Love this post. I have lots of easy throw on outfits. They don’t usually involve the two key ingredients of your great looks: colour and accessories. I need to work on this as I am growing weary of all black easy throw on outfits.

  • dapper kid

    Woah awesome post! Love 1 and 3, I adore colourful outfits :)

  • …love Maegan

    great boots.

  • BarkingDogShoes

    And I can’t seem to get out of my flannel pants today!! Thanks for the inspiration–great outfits. Love the Tsubos.

  • Winnie

    I really like the colours in #3 and I would totally wear #4 myself!

  • lisa

    Great job! Another key element of all these looks is the clothes fit you properly. It seems like such a minor point, but it makes a huge difference in a person’s outfit and appearance.

  • lopi

    Great advice! It’s also interesting to see what the celebrities’ easy throw-on outfits are:
    For Angelina Jolie it’s a black dress, black ballerina flats and black sunglasses. But it’s Angelina, so no-one will accuse her of being boring in all-black. Not fair.
    And maybe not everyone’s favorite, but Lindsay Lohan practically lives in her uniform of black leggings, loose long shirt and a leather jacket, accessorized with necklaces and other accessories. Leggings are not my cup of tea, but you get the idea.
    Just don’t do a Paris Hilton with pink velour and Uggs. Yuk!

  • K.Line

    Great easy-to-go looks!

  • Karen T

    #3 is my favorite.

    Question: I recall you saying in the informational video you did for the students that you don’t wear any make up. How come?

  • Sal

    Karen T: You know, I honestly just never learned. I have really sensitive, acne-prone skin and I know they make all sorts of makeup that’s s’posed to work around those issues … but the few times I’ve been done up professionally, I’ve looked just about the same to myself. So I just don’t bother.

    I do eyebrow pencil and lipgloss daily, though. Not a a total naked-face!


    Hi Sal! Adore your blood red heeled Mary Janes…

  • Imogen Lamport

    Accessories really make the difference between boring and interesting and add some personality.

    Thanks for the link too!

  • Skye

    Definitely a primer in how to jazz up a simple outfit with some clever accessorizing!

  • please sir

    I’m ALL about a good throw on outfit – these are great!

  • ohthatgirl

    Love the looks! Defintely taking note to incorporate later. ;O)

  • enc

    If I keep reading your blog long enough, eventually I’ll try some of these things, and eventually, I’ll look a little zippier.

    Sometimes, I never get out of my gym clothes!


  • Pretty Little Pictures

    You look stunning in that blue in the first photo and i love the little scarf addition :)

  • Miss Karen

    You are the queen of mixing separate pieces into one incredible outfit. The first one is my absolute fave if only for the scarf and that gorgeous blue colour!

  • ~Tessa~Scoffs

    GR8 post! As I scrolled down I “recognized” a lot of my own outfits. Now I know I was doing something right (for a change!). Thanks for cheering me up.

  • Sharon Rose

    Hi there-what a fun, inspirational post and I love your casual chic outfits! thanks for the well wishes!

  • Christina Lee

    umm…where are all the sweats???? :):):)

    wow you did alot of work for this-nice job! I did want to say however that wearing ballet flats or more feminine sneakers would work just fine too, along with uggs(my almost daily shoe choice in snow) as long as you look all “put together”.

  • Nadine

    Great posting again – thank you for the help!

  • Miss Victory

    I love the look with the graphic tee and red Mary Janes. Very inspirational and helpful pos.