With the pop of Spring blossoms bursting forth and the sonorous chirping of tiny fluffy birds, I have three words:
SPRING IS HERE.
Let it be known, I’m in Alabama and we’ve already hit a couple 80+ degree days. You may be somewhere that still has snow. But I KNOW you’re ready for Spring. It brings hope after what always feels like endless Winter.
And it brings excitement that always first stirs for me in my desire to find blooming flowers/work in the garden and to update my wardrobe (whether it requires shopping for new, shopping for used or just looking at my own staples with a fresh eye).
Seasons for me feel like stories, whether it’s the weather or the books I’m reading or what I’m moving around in my home— and ESPECIALLY in the way I see my wardrobe. I’m surprisingly not a huge shopper, but I am always keeping my eyes open for a special treasure. (It’s this storytelling/treasure hunting aspect that is at the heart of our shop Club Duquette, too).
Anyway, Spring always takes on the tone of the ingenue, the girl who spends her days in the studio or in a park or a museum. It’s a little French. A little subtle luxury. A little rock and roll. And very, very comfortable. If I don’t feel good in it, I don’t wear it.
So I’ve put together a few looks that all have this basic checklist of items that work together for that Spring casual park day in Paris kind of vibe.
Let’s walk through it.
FOUNDATIONS: JEANS AND TSHIRT. I feel like this is so simple that it feels complicated for some people. Spend the time finding great jeans.
What makes a great jean?
- Does the style compliment your body? Don’t force yourself to wear a trend that just doesn’t work for you. It will do you no favors.
- Take notice of the fabric. I am a HUGE fan of 99-100% cotton jeans. Because those are the jeans that have substance. They have character. They feel like they really support you in life. Is this emotional? Yes. Yes, it is. High cotton jeans are the ones that get that great patina over time. Don’t lose their shape. And they last a million years.
- Get the right length. Whether you’re tall or short, there’s an inseam out there for you. Most women’s denim these days has a standard inseam of 28-29” which is totally to accommodate the average height of 5’4-5’6. If you’re taller, you’re probably in the 32”-36” inseam. Ask your denim retailer if they can special order for you. We def do that at Club Duquette. If you’re shorter, ask your retailer if they can pin the hem for you and then take it or send it out to tailor and get the original hem put back on. Again, if you’ve found GREAT jeans, it’s worth the hassle.
- On how tight to buy them: Yes, you want to get your jeans tight, because they will give a little bit in the waist and butt with wear, but don’t cause yourself discomfort. If you’re feeling pinching in your hip or back it’s a NO. If you’re getting cameltoe, it’s a NO. (Yes, I just said that.) If it flattens your ass completely, it’s a no. I also just want to mention that I’ve heard urban legends about designer raw denim companies putting people in jeans so tight that they got blood clots on air planes. CAN YOU EVEN. NO no no.
Last note on denim because people ask me all the time— my personal denim favorites are Wranglers (which we now stock at Club Duquette!) and Mother denim. I used to be an exclusive Levi’s girl, but their manufacturing changed in 2020 and I kind of broke up with them.
Now, TSHIRTS. What makes a good tshirt?? Fabric, shirt pattern/how it fits you, then design. Whether it’s something you’ve thrifted, beat to hell over time, inherited from your parents circa 1983 or a relic from an old relationship, there are great tshirts EVERYWHERE. I love a cotton tee that’s already broken in. I like the occasional 50/50 blend. I LOVE a hemp/cotton blend. And I like a linen tee, but only for Spring. In Summer time it feels like weary sweat soup and stretches out too much.
On fit: I hate seeing people in enormous tees. I also don’t love a baby tee or a crop. But this is personal preference. You’ll figure it out.
On design: if you’re feeling like you don’t know where to start here’s some “genres” of tees that I particularly love: old band tees, old athletic/collegiate tees, old tourism tees, and a really good graphic, might even be a luxury brand. Oh, and don’t discredit the power of a great striped tee or basic old ass Hanes white tee, too.
I have been LIVING in this Filth Mart Peyote tee lately.
Also, I’m totally going to put right here that we design and manufacture our own line of shirts that we do a custom enzyme wash to, so they feel already broken in. They’re 100% cotton and feel like your favorite shirt from the 90s. AND next week there’s a super special drop coming!
Here’s one of my favorites, that we designed in collaboration with Daryl Norsen who does all of Dead and Co’s stuff.
So back to our Spring outfit recipe…
After you’ve established the foundation of jeans and tee—
- Shoes. Comfort is QUEEN. There’s nothing more miserable than painful feet and that’s the antithesis of this lovely Spring moooood. There are a couple styles that I’m loving:
- Classic white sneaker. I personally love the plain Golden Goose Superstars. I can walk ten miles in them without my old lady/former dancer bunion hurting. So I don’t mind the bougie look or $$$ price tag. Celine and Saint Laurent do a great classic white sneaker, too if designer is your thing. But like, white canvas Keds or a sneaker brand like Adidas or Diadora are gorgeous too.
- Ballet inspired Mary Janes. I am OBSESSED with this style this season. And I’ll probably devote an entire blog post to it alone. Ugh it’s so cute and chic— just picture a little flash of ankle with a slightly cropped wide leg jean. Ugh. LOVE IT.
- A mule. God, I hate that name for a shoe I love so much. It’s the slipper style with the open back. I still think that the Gucci Princeton is utterly timeless. You can get a similar style with a great look from Sam Edelman, Steven Madden, Free People.
- A loafer. You think I am going to say Gucci, but I’m actually going to say Belgian Shoe Company. Or Sabahs.
- Bag. I am so picky about bags, so it takes me a while to find one. And when I do, I carry it forever. My bag life is a little bit like Mary Poppins: I carry a book, a sketchbook, a small art kit, a bag of snacks, a bottle of water, a few edibles, a few lipsticks, sunglasses, maybe a scarf. It’s a thing. For a few years I’ve alternated between my YSL Museum tote, an orange Celine Cabas tote and an old beat to hell Birkin I got at an estate sale. I am actively on the hunt now for a new bag, but I haven’t identified exactly what it is. However, I KNOW it’s going to be a woven tote that has a basket feel to it. And if you know me in real life, I have been known to sometimes just carry an actually basket. If you love the Loewe or Celine or Chloe straw bags but need a more accessible $, check out Mango.
- Jewels. A little sparkly something always brings an outfit together. So whether you’ve got a diamond Rivière or some sick gold chains and charms, whether it’s fine jewelry or a little more accessible (or a mix of it all!), layer it on. Let it be your magical amulets. I ALWAYS feel good when I have my jewels and lipstick. And sunglasses. Hot tip: invest in solid gold chains. They’ll last a lifetime. And then you can layer charms and pendants on and off through the years, building a collection you love.
- Lipstick. Lipstick is the fastest way to turn a look and a bad mood around. See all my favorite brands and shades here.
- Sunglasses. I am an unapologetic sunglass SNOB. I only wear designer. And I NEVER pay full retail for them. This is one of my favorite things to acquire and it takes a good eye, consistent hunting and plenty of saying NO. I have a giant head, so I’ve got to try them on in person. Again, it’s like the jeans— get what works for your body. Not some trend. How do I get $500+ sunglasses for under $150 brand new? I always pop in a TJ Maxx, Nordstrom Rack or the one and only Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro Alabama if I can. My favorite sunglass brands are Celine, Gucci, Ray Ban. Though lately I’ve been drawn to Lanvin and Ferragamo, too.
- Hat. This is optional, but like, remember we are getting too much sun/want to slow visible aging/ not get cancer. So get a hat. I’m crushing hard on Lorna Murray. I want to look like I’m wearing the bell of a daffodil. Alternatively, I am loving a beret.
- Light jacket. Whether a chore coat, a light cashmere open sweater, a beat up old heavy weight sweatshirt or a classic trench, I always have one in the back of my car. Because when you live in weather that can swing 40 degrees in one day, better to play it safe than sorry.
So here it is— the anatomy of the casual Spring outfit. If you wear it, sunshine, picnics and leisurely strolls are sure to follow. And here’s a cheat sheet/checklist just in case you need it.