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Outfit Formula: The Sweatsuit

We’re in the middle of our January Wardrobe Challenge, and we’re talking A LOT about taking the styles we love, the ones we aspire to and translating them into real life outfits.

THIS WILL BE HELPFUL EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT DOING THE CHALLENGE THIS MONTH.

In the first week of the Challenge, I have our participants “pin” inspiration images onto their Pinterest Board, with the direction to pin whatever they love without considering body type, budget, or lifestyle.

The goal is to get a high-level view of their authentic personal style.

And, inevitably, the one question that comes up is, how do we take the inspiration we see from all this chic fashion in equally chic lifestyles and make them work in real, everyday life?

So I’m using today’s Outfit Formula to show you how you can take what might feel like an unrealistic style perspective and make it work for a life that includes regular trips to Target and Costco.

Below is one of my personal inspiration pictures on my Pinterest Style Board:

Beautiful? Yes.

Realistic? Not for me.

I’m a neutrals girl, so I adore the tonal color palette. And I love how the texture of the sweater, jacket, pants, and bag combine to create depth.

Of course, a Pinterest image wouldn’t be complete without a sky-high pair of unmanageable heels.

In another dimension, this is me.

But in this timeline, I am a work-from-home mom with three kids, straddling between life with two teenagers and one four years old.

I live in gym clothes and work 12 hours a day on my computer.

I’m not going anywhere or doing anything glamorous enough for this look.

And this isn’t by body type, but that’s a whole other conversation.

So how do we take this and make it work for the suburban, casual mom life with someone who still wipes their nose on your leg?

Think of it like this; we’re deconstructing the romanticized version of our style to make it practical.

Here’s how I would do it:

Outfit Formula: The Sweatsuit

We’re taking a silly, inexpensive sweatsuit and we’re making it feel chic and glam.

Above, we’re featuring a crewneck sweatshirt and coordinating joggers from Old Navy.

I’m using the color “Wish Bone” but do you and wear whatever color you like.

The Old Navy Set comes in eight colors, in all sizes, including tall and petites up to a size 4X. Sold separately, the sweatshirt is $34.99 and the joggers are $44.99, both with 35% off at checkout.

Whatever you buy, I don’t want you spending here. There are SO many great sweatsuit/loungewear options at Old Navy, Target or Amazon.

Let me know if a round-up would be helpful.

Notice, though, that the sweatsuit is not oversized. It’s comfy, but not baggy.

And the joggers are tapered, with a seam down the front, giving a tailored look.

Keep it to one color so we can create a monochrome look.

For shoes, we’re swapping stilettos for sneakers.

This is about taking the colors, elements and feeling you get from an inspiration picture, and making it your own, not recreating it exactly.

I love Veja sneakers for this kind of outfit. I have these in several colors, but this white and tan option gets the most wear.

I happily pay retail for these as they sell out quickly. Currently, The Style Room by Zappos has them for $165 in the best size range.

But, again, work in your budget. If you picked up this pair of trainers from J.Crew on sale (featured a few weeks ago), they work well here too.

And then we elevate the outfit.

So instead of a big puffy jacket we’re swapping it with a tailored top coat. I like this one from Amazon’s The Drop line.

I’ve been nothing but impressed with their quality since I started buying their pieces.

You could also use our Reader Favorite $60 coat also from Amazon. (Feature here earlier this month).

I’m giving you two option because our Reader Favorite has a narrow size range, and The Drop coat is in sizes XXS – 5X – please note this runs large, if you order read the reviews for some more guidance.

Now, this is when I get emails yelling at me, reminding me that some people live in areas where it snows and they need to wear heavy winter coats. To which I say, I also live in a region that gets snow and a parka would seem like the obvious choice.

I added a tan baseball cap from All Birds incase you’d like to not have to deal with your hair. A wool cap is a bit more dressed than an athletic one. I wear both.

You can start to see how we’re playing with fabric and texture, creating that same interest with layered pieces, just in a different way.

The trick to making your everyday, basics, like a sweatsuit feel elevated is in your accessories and a little grooming.

Throw on a five minute clean make-up face. Grooming is half the battle in looking pulled together.

And add some updated jewelry.

Above, I’m using some familiar pieces. All of these are available in gold or silver/white-tone.

Starting with  the Mejuri chain necklace that is under $200. Or pick one up at Target, these are everywhere.

I also recently discovered these oversized studs on Amazon. They are substantial and not inexpensive (at least for Amazon jewelry) but they are a lovely stand-in until one day, after I pay three rounds of college tuition, I can maybe afford the real thing.

And then, we’re updating your Apple watch band with this option from Kendra Scott, available in gold, silver or rose-tone

Finally, grab your bag. Above is the Lo&Sons Pearl Crossbody 

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MEET THE AUTHOR

Megan Kristel

Megan Kristel is an entrepreneur, working mom, and former personal stylist. Tired of the one-dimensional portrayal of women online, she founded The Well Dressed Life as a resource for other professional women.

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Andrea Johnston

Saturday 21st of January 2023

Megan- yes, a round up is always helpful !

Hope you are enjoying your girls weekend by the way!

Donna

Saturday 21st of January 2023

Excellent post! This outfit would work to go to chair yoga and then immediently go food shopping. No changing needed. I would enjoy more like this please. For those who do not go to the office unless it is to bleach the tub or work in the garden.

Elizabeth

Friday 20th of January 2023

Love tHis post and would love to see a roundup of sweatsuit/loungewear!

Colleen

Friday 20th of January 2023

After figuring out what drew me to each of my pins I came to the conclusion that what I like is not practical for my daily life. I like polished, dressy outfits. However, I'm currently a stay at home mom and when I return to the workforce I will be a preschool teacher. I feel a big disconnect between what I like and what is practical.

Laura

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Meg, you are the best. I bought the swimsuit: it is beyond perfect, and I probably buy 1/3 of what you recommend as well. Question: seaters etc seem to go down fast. I have a sweater shaver, and use it, but things get tired. How long do you expect whatever from H&M, or wherever (I’m wondering if higher/end brand stuff lasts longer) to last?

Love you, you’re the best, I seriously look forward to your mailings…

Tia

Thursday 19th of January 2023

thank you for putting this look together. This is exactly what my pins look like and it's great that you broke down how you add texture and layers.

Karen Metzger

Thursday 19th of January 2023

This is such a great post—such helpful hints to both 1) make our Pinterest ideas work for us; and 2) elevate pieces to look more stylish. I’m discovering in order to be really happy with an outfit, it has to be elevated. These are great tips, as always!! ❤️

Penny

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Could an oversized blazer work instead of long coat?

Megan Kristel

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Absolutely! Would look great!

Kim

Thursday 19th of January 2023

I notice that you don't usually address socks or hosiery in your outfits. Are you proposing a bare ankle? I know that if you put socks with this it completely changes/"frumps" things up but how are you managing for the cold? Sweaty feet? etc? Thanks!

Megan Kristel

Thursday 19th of January 2023

I wear no-show socks with sneakers.

Donna

Thursday 19th of January 2023

This is what I have been doing for years with Pinterest . I swap out more affordable options . I like the sneakers and the overcoat ! I can do this look with what I have and it fits my very casual lifestyle . It makes it look “ cool” for this almost 60 year old ! Thank you !

Megan Kristel

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Yes!!!!

Tammy Stokan

Thursday 19th of January 2023

This is a great post and really strikes a chord with my almost daily struggle these days. I work from home at least 3 days a week (sometimes all week) and run two teens that are not yet driving to early morning practice or school then have to be zoom ready (and Target or Costco ready) for my “lunch hour” some days with an after school pickup thrown in on days that their extra-curricular activities don’t allow them to (gasp) ride the bus home (SO embarrassing for them)!

More of this please and yes a round up elevated sweat suits would be welcomed by me! Thanks for always solving my style dilemmas!

Megan Kristel

Thursday 19th of January 2023

You got it, and I'm right there with you, counting down the days until my oldest can drive! And then I'll be terrified but I'll worry about that then. :)

Karen Allen

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Any way you can do a warmer version of each outfit? I’m in Florida and just don’t ever wear long sleeves, sweaters or coats. When warm weather clothes are featured it seems to be resort wear. I want a lighter weight version of what’s featured but for warmer temperatures. Is this realistic?

Megan Kristel

Thursday 19th of January 2023

I'm not able to with how much work is on my plate.

Madison

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Love this! Yes please on the round up of stylish sweatsuits/loungewear! I am doing the January challenge and that would be so helpful to help round out my wardrobe.

JANA

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Great Post! Would any other type of shoe work here, something other than a sneaker?

Megan Kristel

Thursday 19th of January 2023

You could do a slip on sneaker, or something without laces like a pair of Toms.

Jean

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Yes, please do a round up of stylish sweatsuits/loungewear!

Rebecca

Thursday 19th of January 2023

Thank you for this post! I would love a roundup of stylish sweats/loungewear!