August 2, 2011

Today's Everyday Fashion: The Improvised Suit

Does this look like a white suit? It's not! The skirt and jacket are from two different stores, two different years and two different materials. They are both white, but the skirt is kind of a rough cotton and the jacket is very smooth. I love mixing up pieces of suits, or creating a new one using pieces you already have. One thing I'm still on the fence about - if my blazer was about 6 inches longer I might be mistaken for a doctor in a lab coat! ;-) I still love the crisp and preppy combination though and I wanted to try it the minute I saw it in Lucky magazine. 

My tips for mixing suits:
- The easiest colors to do this with are going to be navy, white and black. Proceed with caution though  as many blacks are actually different colors. They don't need to be perfect, but close enough that they blend well in most lighting.
- Don't worry about texture. As I've shown with today's look, it's more about the colors going well together, rather than the texture.
- Try wearing two different colors completely - for example a taupe jacket and white skirt, a navy jacket and a white skirt, a taupe jacket and a black skirt. It's a great way to add some interest while still looking professional! Do you wear mixed suits? What are your tips for mixing and matching pieces?

Inspiration photo: Lucky magazine
Blazer: Victoria's Secret c/o MJR Sales, $35
Shirt: Express, really old
Belt: Gap, $12
Skirt: Banana Republic, $35
Shoes: Restricted via, $40
Necklace: Stella & Dot
Watch: Michael Kors, family gift
Bracelets: Forever 21, $8

1. Jessica Simpson pump via Lord & Taylor, $27.49
2. Aldo pump via ASOS, $78
3. Chinese Laundry pump, $69.99 (use code CLFREE323 for free shipping through 8/31)


  1. Thanks for showing this! I have a white skirt and white blazer and had been contemplating a look like this, but never did it.  This was the push I needed!  I wanted to try it with red and leopard accessories.

    I really like how you paired the blue with the neutral brown accessories.  It really ties the whole look together and looks very summer professional!


  2. I lolove this look! You have inspired me to want to wear more pencil skirts... Where do you think are the best places to buy them?

  3. Very cute! You bring up a good point about white coats, though, and I need your style-opinion: I have a white trenchcoat from Banana that I think is tre chic but sometimes I have your fear-- of looking like a doctor in a lab coat!!! I have though about switching out the belt...but not sure with what material/color, etc. Thoughts? ;)

  4. Carlee Hobbs TothAugust 2, 2011 at 9:49 AM

    just found your blog and love it (especially the wear to work styles!).  Question - how do you get your belts to stay put on skirts/pants that don't have belt loops?  I want to get into wearing belts, but any time I put them over something, they never stay where they should!

  5. I don't think I have ANYTHING matching!  This looks great, I think as long as the colours are either EXACTLY the same or are completely different it will work.  If it's just "close" then it will look off!

  6. Thank you! My favorite places for pencil skirts are Limited (unique colors), Banana (high-quality basics), LOFT (fun prints) and Express.

  7. Meg, I love switching out the belt on a coat, I it really elevates the whole look. Check out this post I did on changing a wool trench from BR. I like a brown leather belt, maybe in a lighter color since your coat isn't wool?

  8. Thank you Carlee, and welcome to the blog! Check out this how-to video I did on belting cardigans. I talk about creating "leverage" which is how I get them to stay in place, and the way I do it you also never need to punch new holes in your belt!

  9. I love that inspiration picture and the little special it came 4 different ways to wear a silk dress, right?  Anyway, love your "suit" never would've known it didn't come together!  Have you tried a makeshift shorts suit yet?  I think it would look really great on you and would love to see your interpretation of it!

  10. Thanks Amanda! I have no idea what the article was actually, I just scanned this photo. Here is a shorts suit I did last summer a la Kate Moss! I have another one coming up soon!

  11. Wearing my white blazer today too! I actually saved the same inspiration photo, but didn't think to pair my blazer with a white skirt I already have. I'll have to try that!


  12. I love pairing blue trousers with a beige blazer. one of my favorite things to mix 'n' match! I love all three shoes you posted. So cute!

  13. Hi J!  I recently found your site through Tara's "Mix and Match Fashion" link list!

    I remember that picture from Lucky!  Pretty sure I ripped it out to be filed in my inspiration collection!

    These whites are great!  I love your belt and shoe choice!

  14. i'm obsessed with those chinese laundry pumps - but i tried the coupon code and it didn't work.  any ideas??

  15. jseverydayfashionAugust 2, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    Sorry about that Melissa - it said "select sale shoes" so I wasn't sure if it would apply to these pumps. These are the only two codes I have left, and I know the first won't work b/c these shoes are on sale. Free shipping at least?

    Save 15% Off on Regular Priced Shoes at with code CL15REG323, through 8/31/11

    Free Shipping on Any Order at with code CLFREE323, through 8/31/11

  16. thank you! super helpful

  17. One of my favorite "suit" combinations was my teal pencil skirt, a white shirt, and my black blazer.  While what you're doing is super cute (and I may do the same thing with my black items), I like mixing patterns and colors that go together when I do skirt suits.

  18. I have that same page from Lucky in my inspiration binder! I've mixed suits before, but never with the same color. You look great in white.

  19. Great post! I also lov the Aldo pumps you pictured below. Aldo and Modern Vintage are two of my favorites for shoes.

  20. I wear mixed suits A LOT. I think they can be a bit more casual, which is good in my field. My favorites would have to be a brown blazer and a vintage Channel-like tweed blazer. The brown blazer I mix and match with dresses, skirts and slacks. I picked up an animal print top recently and it looks great with the brown. The twee blazer has a matching pencil skirt, but I generally don't wear them together.

    Oh and I would never have thought that this look resembles doctor's lab coat until you mentioned it!

    Samantha --Mus(eum)ings!/museumings 

  21. Would you mind sending the whole outfit to my address? I'd love to wear it every day from now on. Srsly, I think it's perfect.

    Relatable Style

  22. Haha yes it's on its way! :-)

  23. The brown and tweed sound really pretty! I love fabrics like that!

  24. Thank you so much Michelle and welcome to the blog! :-)

  25. Very cute! :)

    When I was in High School I was my school's Business Professionals of America Chapter President two years running (Junior and Senior year; almost had it my Sophomore year) and this is right up my ally for things I would wear to the State Leadership Conference! Very very professional!


  26. My business wardrobe is all suit pieces.  I don't have a matching top and bottom.  Yet, I manage to look just as good as my coworkers in full suits.  I think most of them would be surprised to learn that nothing I own matches. 

    My secret is to stick with neutrals, like your white suit.  I have a cream version with a top and skirt purchased in completely different places.   Other pairings I like are chocolate brown with a lighter brown like oatmeal, or gray and black.  I'm also partial to olive green which works well with cream, brown, oatmeal, black, and even navy.