Fashionable February: How to choose double-duty outfits

I mentioned in an earlier post that one of my resolutions this year is to make smarter clothing choices. I want to try harder to look my best. This can be a challenge considering the type of work I do – kid wrangling, cooking, cleaning, organizing (some scary areas, I might add), DIY projects, office paperwork, online business and military duty.

Making smarter clothing choices in my world means wearing something cute yet totally comfortable. I need to be equipped to take on manual tasks without tearing seams or falling off of heels.Β I also need to be able to go from home to town and vice versa without making major adjustments to my outfit.

Finding pieces that can be dressed up or down is important, too, because I’m always looking to save money, reduce my closet clutter and keep my choices simple. With my crazy life, anything simple is good! Today I thought I’d share how I’m trying to choose double-duty outfits that meet my goal of looking fashionable and non-frumpy.


Lately I’ve been stacking comfy shirts to create a more put-together look for around the house. Here, I’m wearing the Duluth Trading Co. Longtail T Long Sleeve Henley (in natural heather stripe) layered over a Longtail T Long Sleeve Shirt (in turquoise heather). The clothes from Duluth Trading Co. are some of my favorites because they’re made specifically for DIYers, which gives me that extra boost of mental mojo when I’m tackling a tough projectΒ (insert Tim “the Tool Man” Taylor grunt here).

The shirts pictured above are two inches longer than average tees; have built-in UPF 35 protection; and are pre-washed and heat-treated for shrink resistance. They are also fade and pill-resistant and have a no-itch, tag-less label.

This “shirt-stacking” method also works great with flannel or chambray shirts layered over (or even under) fitted tees.

The jeans in the photo are from JCPenney and the boots are from Gabriel Brothers. I only paid $30 for those suede boots. Score!

If I need to leave the house to run errands or do casual business, I can quickly dress up this outfit with some jewelry, a handbag and scarf.


The scarf is from a mall kiosk and the handbag was on clearance at JCPenney (I think).

If I need to take it up another notch, I can add a jacket and heels, and swap the jeans for dress pants.


The jacket and pants were purchased years ago from Kmart. Shoes are from Payless Shoesource.

The goal, again, is to choose pieces that are stylish, yet durable (aka work and kid-friendly), and that can easily be dressed up or down. I need simple and quick outfits to choose from when I stagger into the closet in the early morning. πŸ˜‰

In next week’s Fashionable February post, I’ll be sharing some grooming tips for lazy busy ladies like me who need to get going quickly in the morning. So keep an eye out for that.

Do you have any tips for dressing comfortably and stylishly at the same time?

Disclosure: At my request, Duluth Trading Co. provided me with the shirts highlighted in this post. As always, all text and opinions are 100 percent mine.Β 

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20 Responses

  1. Teresa F. says:

    Really enjoyed this post. You’ve given me some great ideas with a few things I have.

  2. Joanne McMilen says:

    You’re so right on with attempting to create more fashionable “day looks”! When we look good we often feel good about ourselves. I work from home and sometimes find myself jumping out of bed and into clothes that drain the energy right out of me…poor fitting, mismatched, dead colors. A lesson I’ve learned is to lay out my clothes the night before so the “whatever I can grab first” monster doesn’t get me down. By the way, you are “rockin” in that turquoise and “poppin” in the purple scarf! Love the look on you!

    • Susan says:

      Great idea to lay out clothes the night before, Jo. I really need to start doing this. I’ve been trying to do it with Eva (our 7-year old) but I never seem to get around to doing it for me. Thanks for stopping by. I hope all is well with you!

  3. Jan says:

    I have both of those shirts! Never thought of layering them so thanks – helps to expand the wardrobe when you can wear things in different ways. πŸ™‚
    I’m expecting an order from Duluth Trading tomorrow. Some tees for traveling.

    • Susan says:

      Awesome, Jan. I’m glad the info. was helpful. I actually saw one of the models in the Duluth catalog layering shirts. That’s where I got the idea. πŸ™‚

  4. Linda says:

    I recently became aware of DT. Could you comment on the cut of the tops? It looks like they might be sized for comfort as opposed to being fitted, but I’m not certain. Thanks.

    • Susan says:

      Absolutely, Linda. I feel that they size their tops on the roomier side. For example, I would normally order a small or even a medium in some brands. But with Duluth, I can comfortably wear an extra small, which is unusual for me (I’m 5’5″ and 133 lbs.) Also, you can check the fit of most of their tops under the “Features” tab near the bottom of the page of whatever piece you’re looking at. For example, their NATURAL FIT follows your body’s natural curves without clinging. Whereas, the RELAXED FIT has a generous, work-friendly fit that allows for easy movement. I personally prefer items with the natural fit because they are tailored a bit closer to the body to create a slimming, feminine look. Just my preference … Hope this helps! Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  5. Carol says:

    I really like the way you dress the shirts up or down, the scarf is a perfect touch. Great job!

  6. You look really great in all of these outfits! Smart choices πŸ™‚

  7. Valerye says:

    Susan you always look so cute but these outfits look great on you. I will have to look at that company’s clothing. Like you I am always knee deep in some project and I start dressing like a rag-a-muffin. I would like some cute but durable clothes.

  8. Sharon says:

    Those are some great looking outfits! I love the dressed up version.

  9. Donna Gibson says:

    You look smashing! However, I must point out that for those who have a little added baby weight from having babies and haven’t yet lost it, a striped top going horizontal should not be worn, because it gives the illusion that you are wider that you really are. However, those who have been blessed with a good thyroid and have lost the weight, can indeed wear horizontals. Those with love to lose should stick with vertical stripes if they love stripes. However, you lost the baby weight and look beautiful! I think you look great in red too!

  10. Pam P says:

    You Look MAHvolous Dahling! lol Love the way you made two ts look like a million bucks. Going to start layering more of my ts and will have to check out Duluth Trading Co. Blessings!!

  11. Earline says:

    Love the outfits and the detailed info about both. I so need to incorporate these changes. Keep up the great work!

  1. February 13, 2014

    […] Fashionable February: How to choose double-duty outfits […]

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