How to Make Casual Pieces (Distressed Jeans, Backpack, Beanie) Look Smart

Relaxed winter style: Distressed jeans, tartan scarf, long black coat
It was only after I saw these photos that I realised just how casual (slouchy?) half the pieces were in this outfit: distressed jeans, backpack, beanie… hardly what you’d put on for a day out exploring a town when you’re an any-excuse-to-dress-up kind of girl. If I’d added dirty old sneakers and a parka then it would definitely have been the sort of outfit my mother would tut at (love ya, mum) – and the sort of outfit I’d walk my (non-existent) dog in.

But by adding a smart, longline black coat, heeled ankle boots and leather gloves, it takes those slouchy pieces and makes them a lot smarter. The obligatory Winter 2015 accessory that is the tartan scarf (god help me) adds some extra colour and pattern… job done. Oh, and the town in question? Reading. For those of you expecting news on the blogger meet, I’ve finally been and hopefully found a venue to replace the one that fell through at the end of last year. Now if I can just get this one to confirm a date(!) we’re good to go.

Do you ever find yourself wearing a lot of items that are deemed slouchy or over casual… and then finding ways to smarten them up? What are your favourite slouchy pieces? Do share in the comments!

Relaxed winter style: Distressed jeans, tartan scarf, long black coat
Plaid scarf detail
Relaxed winter style: Distressed jeans, tartan scarf, long black coat
Relaxed winter style: Distressed jeans, tartan scarf, long black coat
Coat: c/o La Redoute, Scarf: Asos (it seems to go in and out of stock – if it’s out of stock, this oversized one or this standard size one are the nearest I can find to it), Beanie: Asos, Sweater: La Redoute, Jeans: Asos (similar), Boots: c/o La Redoute, Backpack: Asos, Gloves: Next, Earrings: Topshop

Catherine x
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  1. 28 January 2015 / 1:21 am

    I LOVE this outfit. That slouchy beanie looks so chic.

    • 29 January 2015 / 2:02 pm

      I have to admit I am rather enjoying my winter wardrobe this year, Jessica – and I'm a summer girl through and through x

  2. 21 January 2015 / 8:36 pm

    Totally agree with your comments. The tailored coat pulls it all together. Lovely scarf.

    • 23 January 2015 / 11:38 am

      Thank you so much, Daphne my lovely!! x

  3. 21 January 2015 / 6:33 pm

    Usually I wear smart stuf. If I have slouchy pieces I always upgrade them, like you have done. Unless, it is really cold and I have to get to work with my big laptop, extra shoes, bread and whatnot. Then I want my trusted thick parka and ai don't care.

    • 23 January 2015 / 11:38 am

      There are many times that it's so cold that I put my thick parka on over the top of everything, Greetje – and I too don't care, as long as I'm warm enough!! I end up looking like a walking pile of thick clothes…!

    • 24 January 2015 / 9:26 pm

      And it is not easy taking pictures outdoors without wearing that thick coat…. freezing! Brass monkey's weather here.

    • 25 January 2015 / 9:09 pm

      hehe I LOVE the fact that you use the expression "brass monkeys" Greetje…!!!!!!!!

  4. 20 January 2015 / 11:57 pm

    Fabulous shoes, dearest Catherine!! They are my secret weapon for turning even my slouchy boyfriend jeans into a look that's stylish…not sloppy!! Very happy to see you getting your money's worth out of that plaid scarf (I'm teasing, but only a little!) and your knit beanie is just sooo cute!! XO

    • 23 January 2015 / 11:36 am

      Ohhh you tease away, lovely Monika – I deserve it!! Thanks so much xx

  5. 19 January 2015 / 9:33 pm

    I wish I could buy and wear slouchy but I just look strange. It is not me at all but I wish I had at least boyfriend jeans with holes but so far none looks good on me.

    • 23 January 2015 / 11:36 am

      I guess it's just a case of trying and trying, Monika… I took over 10 years to find a black biker jacket that I liked!!

  6. 19 January 2015 / 5:24 pm

    Love this outfit! It's casual yes, but hardly "slouchy". Hope you have a great week!


    • 19 January 2015 / 8:16 pm

      Hehe it so easily could have been with just a couple of changes, Jenny…!! Thank you hun, you too x

  7. 17 January 2015 / 10:10 pm

    It's ok to go slouchy every now and then chick, great look fab scarf

    • 18 January 2015 / 11:04 pm

      I think I may go slouchy a bit more often than just now and then, Lauren…!!! Thanks hun xx

  8. 15 January 2015 / 9:16 am

    Love love love this smart/casual look. I am all about that kinda slouchy yet smart look at the moment! you look truly wonderful and of course totally nailed it! I kinda wanna steal each item from you.. apart from your beloved scarf of course.. i would never do that to you 😉 I too have a tartan scarf obsession, and also houndstooth.. kinda crushing on both this winter!
    Happy thursday my friend.. here's to the fast approaching weekend, woohoo!XXXX

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:11 pm

      You only don't want to steal my scarf because you have one that's almost the same, Rachel!! Hehe thanks my lovely, and yes I've noticed we both need to visit TSAA (Tartan Scarf Addict Anonymous)…

  9. 15 January 2015 / 7:45 am

    I really appreciate the mix of both plaids here Catherine! Looks cool. Hong Kong is now cold enough that I can get out my big wooly plaid scarf. Emmm, yumm!


    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:09 pm

      Hehe I didn't even notice the two patterns, Ann!! And yay for the plaid scarf-wearing days for you :))

  10. 15 January 2015 / 3:24 am

    boots and coat always snaz up a slouchy outfit. I am with you add a few great pieces and instant glam ( OK not to casual)

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:09 pm

      The coat makes a big difference I think, Linda – it had to be a tailored style to make the whole outfit look smarter. Thanks sweetie! x

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:08 pm

      So would I!!! Oh, I already did ;))
      Thanks hun x

  11. 14 January 2015 / 7:39 pm

    I love this casual look, I think you've achieved that balance of causal chic! I live in my rip jeans on the weekend and try to glam it up with accessories.


    Hope to see you Thursday for TBT Fashion link up. Tomorrow's link was inspired by one of your recent outfits.

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:07 pm

      I have to admit I wear them probably a bit too much as well, Alice – must try to vary my wardrobe a bit!! Thank you sweet, and even more so for taking my outfit as inspo!!! So flattered x

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:06 pm

      Jeanne thank you – glad you liked the outfit x

  12. 14 January 2015 / 5:50 pm

    Dressing ups distressed jeans is one of my favorites! Unfortunately jeans with holes in them are frowned upon at my job! Good job, it looks comfy, warm and stylish!

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:06 pm

      My fave too, Wendy! I don't think I would wear distressed jeans to any smart job (correction: I wouldn't wear them to any smart job) – but at weekends they're perfect. As you can probably see I wore tights underneath, I wasn't a fan of the extra ventilation on that cold day!!
      Thank you my lovely x

  13. 14 January 2015 / 5:31 pm

    I love this look! The hat is perfect!

  14. 14 January 2015 / 5:22 pm

    I love this look Catherine. I really need to add to my casual look wardrobe, I've been saying for ages that I need a comfy and stylish look for the weekend as I feel I need to dress up all week but still want to look good on the weekends and be comfortable!

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:04 pm

      Thank you Amy – that's quite unusual that your wardrobe is more smart than casual, most people are the other way around!! x

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:03 pm

      I'm the same with anything from Asos, Rubi!! I would go into Primark more if only it were empty of people… the only times I ever go are a few minutes after they open – otherwise I avoid it like the plague ;))

  15. 14 January 2015 / 3:46 pm

    Ahh I commented before but I am not sure if it went through! Anyways, I love your blog and your photography is gorgeous!

    Thanks for sharing <3

    • 17 January 2015 / 12:02 pm

      This is the only one I can see, Robyn (Blogger is rubbish for comments!!) – thank you so much, that's a lovely compliment! x

  16. 14 January 2015 / 3:43 pm

    I can see what you mean about the coat and boots here, they really do make a difference! Footwear is really the make or break for me in terms of making an outfit smart or casual – I think that's why, even though I wear a lot of lovely dresses, because I wear cosy casual boots with them a lot of the time, then I still look a bit casual, compared to someone like Forever Amber who always wears high-heeled court shoes, and makes everything look more formal.

    Fingers crossed for the blogger meet-up thingy, I think you said you were moving it to May weren't you? Please don't let it be on the 2nd or 9th!! Birthday plans.


    • 17 January 2015 / 12:01 pm

      Amber always amazing but I couldn't cope with wearing heels all the time like she does, Sarah!! I think you've got a great compromise there 🙂

      And thank you hun… yes the venue is booked – expect an email in a few days!! x

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