Casual Outfit Formula: Long Cardigan + Tee + Jeans + Boots

Hello, friends. Happy hump day! Cyndi and I are back again with another casual outfit formula for moms. But first, a story. Grab a coffee. It’s kind of long. (I don’t tell short stories, but you know that by now, right!?!)

I don’t know what it looks like on the other side of the computer screen, but I thought I’d give you a little glimpse at life behind the scenes of this here blog of mine. It’s certainly not all glitz and glamor, I promise!

Last Saturday I needed to shoot two outfits — one for the Lucky Brand post I published yesterday, and the other one for today’s style collab with Cyndi. As many of you know, my husband is my photographer, and we have three kids, so in addition to finding decent light and cooperative weather, we have to fit our photo shoots in around our kids’ schedules and his work schedule. We depend on Saturdays for getting at least 2 outfits photographed each week — bonus if we can fit in three.

I try to stay ahead, but the weather last week was pretty disagreeable so I left both of these photo shoots to do on the weekend. When I work with brands, there is often a deadline or a window of time in which I agree to post, and my time was up. I HAD to get pictures on Saturday.

The first photo shoot went fine. It was snowing a bit, but that almost added a nice effect to the pictures. But then we got to the second location for the next outfit, the one in today’s post, and it was like we had stepped into a wind tunnel. I was sure we would have nothing worth posting, and I was pretty cranky, but we powered through and got some shots. You’ll notice it looks pretty breezy in these pictures, though.

But that’s not the end of the story.

When I got home and went to upload my pictures, I noticed something looked off. The lighting was decent, but I looked sick. I was positively grey. I went and looked in the mirror, and that’s when I realized that I’d done two photo shoots without any blush. I’d completely forgotten to put it on when I did my makeup that morning.

That may not sound like a big deal, but it’s wintertime, and especially after I slather on a ton of foundation for the camera, I have no color left in my cheeks. Thank goodness for PicMonkey! It actually has a Blush Boost feature that I used in every single one of the pictures for today’s post and Monday’s. That is a LOT of pictures to re-edit, but I just couldn’t stand to put them up without it — especially considering that the first set was for a brand sponsored post. (I say re-edit because I did all my normal editing in Lightroom, then I exported them and opened each one in PicMonkey to add the blush boost.) It took hours, but I’m pretty pleased with how they turned out, all things considered!

I’ll show you a before and after. I tried to keep them as natural looking as possible, so the difference isn’t huge, but I think you’ll agree it was worth the time to go through the pictures and add blush.

I share this because we work really hard on our photography to make our pictures as pretty as possible, but I also never want to put on a facade of perfection and pretend like it is effortless. Nobody’s life is perfect, least of all mine. Things don’t always go as planned, and that’s just the way it is. All we can do is make the best of it and keep on plugging along, amiright!?!

At this point, I can laugh about it, but at the moment when I discovered my oversight, I was pretty aggravated.

So, on to this outfit formula! This one is pretty basic, but I guess they all are. That’s the point, right???

For this formula, we are styling a long cardigan with a t-shirt and jeans and booties.

And speaking of things not going as planned… you’re going to hate me when I tell you my cardigan is sold out in the pink. I kept waiting for them to restock it, but they never did. Every once in a while, I see it pop up in one size and it sells within hours. It does, however, come in black, and this one by Free People is similar. It has the same slouchy silhouette, and it comes in a pretty blush color. Unfortunately it costs twice as much, but if it’s in your budget, it looks like a great piece.

How cute is this t-shirt, though? It is fully stocked at White House Black Market in all sizes, and I love it. (It would look cute under the black version of this sweater… just sayin’!) The chenille is super soft, and I love the slouchy silhouette. I’ve been wearing this sweater and t-shirt combination at least once a week. For size reference, I’m wearing the small in both.

Sale Alert >> Sale styles are BOGO 50% off at White House Black Market and it’s not all super wintry stuff… a lot of cute spring styles and wear now-and-later pieces are included. How cute are these black moto leggings? And I’m totally crushing on this red military jacket, and these chambray heels. Okay, one more… this split sleeve floral dress is adorable. Anyway, look around! You might find something you can’t live without… or two somethings. Remember, it’s BOGO!

So I completed today’s look with skinny jeans and booties. You can totally wear bootcut jeans with this look, if you prefer, but I like skinnies best with a slouchy sweater. These are AG so they’re spendy, but I’ll link to a few different options at other price points in the widget below. You could also wear tall boots rather than booties, or ballet flats or even sneakers.

Here I am wearing the same tee and cardi with black distressed jeans and Superstars.

And another time I wore the cardigan over a plain white tee with blue jeans and grey ballet flats.

These leather booties are less than $100, and I love this taupe color. I goes with almost everything, but I particularly like how it pairs with pastels and a more muted color palette such as this one.

I didn’t bother with a bracelet or a necklace, but I wore bold silver earrings to bring attention up to my face.

Shop the Post


chenille cardigan (similar) // café tee // AG legging jeans (similar for less) // taupe booties // similar crossbody (I also like this)

Be sure to visit Cyndi and see how she’s interpreting this outfit formula today, and see all of our casual outfit formulas for moms!

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30 Responses

  1. Very cute outfit! I am bummed that the pink sweater is sold out! Thank you for showing different ways to wear the sweater – I love to see that kind of outfit inspiration! And WOW to all the trouble to add some color to your cheeks! Thanks for keeping it real but we are often our own worst critics! I don’t think anyone would have given it a second look — we all have days where we have beauty mishaps! 🙂 I don’t think your readers want or expect you to look perfect… none of us are!!!

  2. I’ve decided that the wind is more of a fashion blogger’s enemy than the cold and snow. It’s so hard to look good when your outfit and hair is going every which way!!
    I totally know how you feel about the blush, Jo-Lynne!! But I have to admit the difference in the photos wasn’t that evident—at least on my computer! But I’ve forgotten my mascara more than once—even while I was working. I get home and think, geez I look bad!! And then realize that I forgot it—-it’s so crazy!!
    This is a great way to spruce up a graphic tee!! And the message? Perfecto!!

    1. Yeah, the blush addition was a subtle difference, but overall I feel much better about them after some tweaking. 🙂 And I agree – I thought the message on that tee was too perfect to pass up! The wind – OMIGOSH it makes me CRAZY. I get SO cranky when we get outside and the wind is whipping my hair and clothes all about. We have some pretty funny outtakes with my grim faces. Ha! My husband has the patience of Job. He always insists that we’ll get the shot if we persevere, and we usually do. It may not always be my ideal, but I can’t stand to waste a photo shoot so we try to make the best of them no matter what.

      1. I know…I get so cranky too—it must be because we want it to be perfect.
        Just the other day, I gave up and just put my hair up in a pony tail. At least then it wasn’t in my face–ugh (especially after all the time I spend getting it straight!!)

  3. Cute outfit! This totally works for my current lifestyle of playgrounds, walking through a field for school pickup, and errands! I’m on a quest to find the perfect flat booties, tho. Heels are not ideal for field-trudging 🙂
    I love the round earrings! Where did you get them?

  4. Stunning pics. I like with wind swept look with a touch of snowflakes! Found a cardigan in that color that would work for my shape. As usual, thank you for the outfit inspiration. That’s a great color heading into spring. I haven’t made a single clothing/accessory purchase during the month of January. Whew! (I just wanted to see if I could do it). Glad that’s over, now I need some retail therapy! Praying for a quick recovery for the kiddos!

  5. Cute outfit! This could become one of my favorite capsule ideas!

    And I enjoyed your photo editing share…now if I could only find a “real life” makeup editing tool, how helpful would THAT be?!!

  6. Jo-Lynne, Thanks for sharing some of the behind the scenes stuff you go through. I would not have noticed you didn’t have blush on because I focus more on the clothing. The snow does give the pictures a really cool effect, and the wind is keeping it real. This outfit gives me ideas on how to combine some pieces that are in my closet.
    I hope the kids feel better today!

  7. Miss Jo-Lynne, I can speak only for myself (stay at home mom to teenage girls and a childish husband) but I am not checking out your make-up unless that’s what the post is about!! I look at your outfits and I appreciate your words of wisdom but you lost me at “slather” on foundation. Love ya, and if you should do a make-up post again keep us in the Southwest in mind, the sun has left many freckles on this over 40, Attitude infested Momma.

  8. Thanks for sharing the “Behind the Scenes” stuff. And thanks to your Husband and Kids for helping you put this out. I know that we all appreciate your fashion tips! I have to admit, this is one of my staples, even at work! Today I have on a “fancy”t-shirt, blazer and dress pants! 🙂

  9. I Love this! I am very sad the pink sweater is sold out. Looks so cozy. You look wonderful as always.

    I love your posts..here in Michigan..full of snow and slush, those little booties only come out on rare occasion. I am usually trudging in Snow Boots. A few suggestions for some cuter, more clean lined winter boot options would be much appreciated.

  10. Thanks for braving the elements to get the job done!!! All that work editing, I bet we would not have noticed!! Pretty without the blush ~ but I know how you feel! Probably would have done the same thing! HA!

  11. Hope your kids are feeling better soon. My son was in training in Philadelphia last week for a new job. Came home Saturday with a fever, cough, and body aches. Maybe the City of Brotherly Love is too good at sharing! Haha! Anyway, as always, I love your style and I think the snowflakes add a nice touch to your pictures. You always look very pretty – blush or no blush! Have a great day.

  12. I’m currently really into the graphic tee trend, so this outfit formula is right up my alley! I adore this tee and clicked on your link to check it out. Would you say the material is thin and a little see-through and would require a cardi or jean jacket , or could it stand on it’s own? Thanks for your inspiration-love, love, love your blog and look forward to it everyday 🙂

    1. Hey Debbie, it is a bit thin. I wear it on its own under the cardigan but I’m not sure if I will when I have nothing over it. It’s fine from the front, but from the back it may need a light cami. I’m not one to wear camis tho so I probably won’t. Since it is a relaxed fit and not clingy, I think it’s okay without, but I think it will depend on your comfort level. Hope that helps!

  13. Love this post — does the cardigan run TTS – also if you wore it with the black cardigan – same color booties or black?

    1. Hey Daisy, I think it runs big. I have the small, and it’s plenty roomy. You may want to size down one. I would do black booties or grey with a black cardigan – maybe a darker grey than these, but these would definitely work, especially with the lighter jeans. You could also do colored denim with black booties, black cardigan, and a graphic tee. 🙂

  14. I love this Wednesday casual outfit formula for moms that you have been doing with Cyndi. I hope you do it each season.

  15. You are way too critical about how you look. I enjoy looking at all your pics because we are all everyday women and something usually goes wrong with our appearance everyday! It is a fact of life! Wait till you get to be 59 as I am! There is no blush or Pic Monkey that can help with that! You represent the American woman very well, everyday, even if you think you are having an off day! I was at breakfast with several of my friends today and encouraged all of them to start reading your blog. We are all 55 and up and we all care about how we look! Several in the group have kids getting married in the upcoming months and I told them that the tips you give will help them too! Thank you for taking so much time to make yourself look as great as you do but even if you did no touch ups you would still be a wonderful example to all of us!! Keep up the wonderful work you do and quit being so hard on yourself!!!

  16. You know that this is my MOST favorite series yet Jo-Lynne!!! These outfit formulas are just so helpful…I find that I am learning how to use what I have in my closet in more than one way and I’m so grateful to you for doing this! I also think you look amazing with or without blush! Keep inspiring us! Thanks again so much for what you do!

  17. You look amazing as always!! And the snow turned out to be a bonus – makes the photo so interesting. What lens are you shooting with these days? And PS – Paul is doing an awesome job as your photographer. 🙂

  18. Cool insider view! Since you shared the before and after, I can tell a big difference. That was a lot of work! This type of outfit is my favorite.

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