Privilege Blog

What Would It Take To Wear This Out Of The House?

You may remember I proposed a hypothetical 4th of July outfit, here.

Somewhere around 7 o’clock the night of the actual 4th I grabbed my youngest sister, and said, “Oh, hey, would you mind taking a picture for me?”

So she did. We were down at my mother’s, in Santa Barbara. All the siblings, the grandchildren, some step-siblings. Crowded, awesome.

Long-Untrammeled-Gray-Hair Fourth

I love this UNIQLO tee with its Stephen Sprouse print. Not remotely figure-flattering but hey, Art! The boyfriend khakis are 100% cotton from J. Crew, and extremely comfortable, while the JORD watch has been one of my most successful accessories ever.

Havaianas, my Havaianas.

But I wouldn’t leave the house so attired. I’d change it up, slightly.

Add a jacket? No, we’d cross into Too Much Cloth.

Chandelier earrings? No, the print is as much vivid as I like in one outfit. I’m wearing pearl studs.

Heels? Decidedly no. Fie on Jenna Lyons.

Here we go.

Street Certifying Extreme Casual

  1. Take a flat or a curling iron to my air-dried hair, for either sleekness or a few intentional waves. Optional, but preferred.
  2. Put on red lipgloss. Probably “Medieval,” from Lipstick Queen. Still the best “red” I’ve found.
  3. Cuff a little higher.
  4. Finally, and here’s the key, add a non-neon chunky shoe.

The tee is dark and long, with a vivid stripe of print. The pants, voluminous. Shoes have to balance the visual impact. The Havaianas are too strappy, that orange too neon against the umber in the tee.

Birkenstocks-Arizonas On Patio


Gray suede Birkenstock Arizonas are my choice, at the moment. Which I had been wearing that night, until I started cooking. Suede is a poor material for the kitchen.

Extreme casual style requires impunity. You have to believe in your clothes, in your right to wear baggy pants and show your arms.  And you’ve got to hew to an aesthetic far more disciplined than your get up.

(For anyone who follows me on Twitter, I know I just said something about feet and the Internet but I didn’t mean I wasn’t guilty myself;). Feet. We all have them.)

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38 Responses

  1. If I had it, that shirt wouldn’t leave the house until it had been altered so that the armholes didn’t display my bra.

    Not a big deal to many people, but a pet peeve of mine.

    1. @Rebecca, Yes, I’ve had many years to get used to visible undergarments, and as long as they are chosen deliberately – i.e. not too “underwearish,” it doesn’t bother me. In fact, sometimes I think it adds modernity to a look.

      But I understand that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

  2. You look so relaxed and content that I’d hate for you to have to do your hair just to go out in public!

    1. @Leslie K, Aw:). Push comes to shove I’ll put it in a ponytail, right? I did want to show readers who were curious what the gray looks like wholly untouched by human hands.

  3. I’d have to layer it with another tank underneath. maybe skinny jeans in white, with a neutral ballet flat for me. But I like to play it safe. Unless we are talking about earrings. Then all bets are off.

  4. I like the Birkenstocks better than the Havaianas. And I’ve been exercising (not literally) my “right to bare arms” daily in this heat!

  5. “Extreme casual style requires impunity. You have to believe in your clothes, in your right to wear baggy pants and show your arms. And you’ve got to hew to an aesthetic far more disciplined than your get up.”

    So. Freakin’. True.

  6. Such a great top, love it! I would probably pair it with white jeans or slim crops to wear out.

    The Arts by Karena

  7. Love that you paired your outfit with pearl studs. Whenever I feel I’ve gone a little over the top, the pearls are my security blanket, sartorially speaking. Wedding ring, pearl studs, maybe a watch and done.

    1. @Mary anne, ;). Yes. I think of the whole outfit as kind of ironic/homage to preppy, in a way. Flag, khakis, summer sandals, pearls. Pearls studs are my security blanket too.

  8. Not a fan of this look, as the star print panel called to mind a tool belt (it shows up as tan on my computer). Is it a true red, that might make all the difference? I have to think dockers for the shoes- no socks of course. And gold love knots for the earrings. I love seeing what different people do, to accessorize the same basics.

    1. Got it. A true red and Topsiders would completely change the outfit – fascinating. It’d become instantly more heritagey, if that were a word. The actual top is a dark burnt orange on navy blue.

  9. I think the khakis are fighting the top…I’d like it better with loose white or faded denim jeans. I do love the top and definitely have pieces I love even though they’re not figure flattering in my own wardrobe – especially for summer!

    1. @Karen, I can see how it looks to be the case. IRL, I think the shirt orange and the khakis are closer in hue than it seems. That said, we’re getting a lot of hands raised in favor of white jeans.

  10. I love this! I also wonder if some of the apparent detractions to the outfit (i.e. what some commenters might change) would be viewed differently with movement. With movement, for example, the figure flattering happens when leg muscle is subtly discernible, glutes as well ;-) — and that tool-belt effect will probably disappear in the animation of a gesture. your arms moving up and away from your side, the seams more obvious, etc., etc.
    Plus, of course, your figure doesn’t need much flattery — it’s pretty convincing even through bulkier lines.

  11. I don’t want to interfere with 4th July fashion and tradition,you look great to me,pre- or post-hairdo!
    I can only more than agree that suede is not for kitchen :-),especially tan suede!

  12. What a fabulous outfit! And one I would wear happily. I think that we all need to worry less about the figure-flattery ideals of any given moment and just be ourselves. I don’t see that outfit as unflattering anyway, perfect and perfectly appropriate for person/time/occasion etc. I like the higher cuffs and chunky shoes, and completely understand about more polished hair and lipstick — the difference between being intentional and unintentional for going out in public. But then, you already said exactly that, and far more eloquently.

  13. That watch! Love the heft of a big watch. It always reduces my impulse to add bracelets. On flip-flops: yes, as you wear them here for your described purpose. Birks, as you say, are the right choice proportionally and health-wise. I have come to view flip-flops as 21st century slippers. I mainly wear them around the house. I have quite a collection considering I live as far from a beach as is humanly possible. But I can’t last long actually walking any distance at all…I mean even around a grocery store. Sad commentary on my aging feet and yet a reminder of my parents patent refusal to let us wear them anywhere except at a pool: “They’ll ruin your feet!” My rejoinder today would be: Uh, perhaps no more or less than your DNA will. ;)

    1. @M, Ha! What we know now that we did not know then…and I love the heft of a big watch too. Might be the most style punch for the smallest amount of self surface.

  14. I looked at the photo before I read even the headline, and instantly thought “Lisa looks great” – I’m sure your changes to the look looked wonderful too, but you were very good as you were. Effortless.

  15. Like the outfit but would have loved to see your hair twisted up with a couple sticks. Just a thought….

    1. @Holly Rose, I agree. I’d do something or other to my hair before going out in such a baggy outfit. I’d wear my hair like that, but with closer-fitting clothes.

    1. I’d never heard or seen them – went right to their website and ordered one. Perfect for so many things. Thanks Sandra!

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