Three Simple Ways to Create Function-Forward Chic Outfits


Since moving to the lake I’ve been letting my style needs to adjust accordingly. This has mostly meant a shift towards more of what I like to call “function-forward-chic”, which tends to involve terrain-ready footwear and weather-friendly outerwear.

I’ve been doing my best to make my existing closet work for these new conditions. Turns out this has been more doable and much easier than I expected, especially when I focus on simplicity and wearability.

I thought it might be helpful to share the three basic approaches I use to put together outfits that are highly practical but still have an elevated feel to them.

Read on to see what I mean!

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This is the easiest and most effective way to create an outfit that’s equal parts sophisticated and practical. At least that I’ve found anyway. To keep it from feeling flat or perhaps a little too off-duty CIA agent, I like to start with a black and grey base, then add a black hat and jacket. From there you could totally continue with black shoes and accessories but I caved and opted for a hint of cream tones to brighten things up just a touch.


BLACK ANORAK JACKET (True to size for easy layering. On sale. More water-proof than water resistant.) | BASEBALL CAP | MICRO RIB TURTLENECK (On sale.) | 90’S CURVY CHEEKY JEANS (Fit comparison here. On sale.) | ALL STAR 70’S HIGH TOP | CANVAS TOTE



For me this is usually a jacket or an element that won’t be hidden. Patterns always pack a visual punch and then you can pull from the colours within to keep the look cohesive and simplistic. I tend to stick with neutrals so the pattern remains the focal point. In this case that’s a taupe long sleeve and boots with charcoal jeans and a canvas bag.


PLAID JACKET (old, other options here and here. On sale.) | MICRO RIB LONG SLEEVE (On sale.) | 90’S CURVY CHEEKY JEANS (Fit comparison here. On sale.) | CORTINA LUG SOLE BOOT (Similar here and here) | CANVAS TOTE



If cold weather means one thing here, it’s layers. For a sunny day, I like to pile on lots of the same tones like a chunky knit, under a puffer vest with a beanie (aka toque). Of course an all cream outfit isn’t exactly the definition of practical so I pair this light and textural upper half with a darker base to balance it out. In this case I find the closer the tones are to each other the better, as lots of layers can get a bit complicated.


PUFFER VEST (I sized up for easier layering.) | POM POM ALPACA TURTLENECK (old, I love this one that’s on sale) | 90’S CURVY CHEEKY JEANS (Fit comparison here. On sale.) | CORTINA LUG SOLE BOOT (also stocked via Madewell) | BLACK HALF MOON CROSSBODY (old, linked to the option I’d buy now.)


So tell me, which of these three approached would you try?

Leave me a comment here!

  1. Laura says:

    Still kicking myself for not getting that shacket (Frank and Oak?) a couple years ago. Pounce or regret!

    I always look forward to your posts. Thanks for all the care you put into your work here.

  2. Donna says:

    Definitely the cream on top, darker color on the bottom. But my coloring is different than yours. I’m a Scandinavian blonde with fair skin so dark colors on top wash me out. I like the cream, grey and brown plaid as well. But you look good in all three looks. You pull off those dark colors very well.

  3. Jen says:

    “…or perhaps a little too off-duty CIA agent…” 🤣
    All of your tips and outfits are great, but that comment is the winner in this post, as far as I am concerned. Thank you for the laugh!
    The first approach is my favorite, as approximately 95-97% of my wardrobe is black. I am a teacher in Southern California, so outerwear is not something I need to think about more than a few days a year (sadly–oh boy, do we need lots more rain). I keep things from looking too harsh or uptight by mixing more casual elements in–for example, washed black jeans with a structured black blazer, or my trusty Prince Purple Rain tee under a black cardigan or blazer with saturated black bootcut jeans and boots.
    Your posts have really helped me to see what works best for me and to grow my awareness about what I feel best in (usually stuff I already have) rather than always chasing what looks cute on someone else (still a temptation every now and again, but in a fun way, rather than the perfectionistic way it used to be). Thank you! 🙏🏽