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How to Style a Polished Nautical Spring/Summer Work Look with 30 Wears: Red Crochet Top

It's definitely been a minute since I shared an item from my wardrobe that has reached the 30 wears mark! I actually have several that have hit that goal since my last post, but with July 4 just around the corner, the time felt right to share a red short-sleeved knit top and the navy and white striped outfit in which it featured last month. As always, a thank you to Mica for inspiring me with her 30 Ways to Wear series.


I purchased this red top and its navy counterpart back in 2017, and both of them have been great options for spring, summer, and fall outfits. I love that they have the comfort and ease of a t-shirt but are prettier, more interesting, and more of a smart casual/business casual alternative. The crochet detailing at the yoke creates nice structure around the shoulders and upper chest, but the floaty fabric below that gives an elegant draping effect. Both the red and navy ones are still in great shape at 30+ wears each...washed in cold water and hung to air dry; that's my secret for extending the life of clothing.

30 Wears

I had discovered earlier in the spring that my thrifted CJ Banks navy work pants (Goodwill, $5.59, 2/2020) were fitting me like a dream this season, so I have been creating outfits using them ever since. Usually I experience the opposite - a well-fitting item doesn't work as well anymore - so when these pants suddenly fit more perfectly, I didn't want to squander the opportunity to wear them! (And no, I have not lost any weight, but I don't know...maybe my weight has shifted around??)


Because these pants have a polished office-appropriate design, I decided to create a red/white/blue nautical spring/summer outfit that would be a bit more elevated and polished than is my norm. Still firmly in the business casual camp, but without as much of the rough-around-the-edges vibe I usually wear. The navy pants, red crochet top, and this thrifted CJ Banks navy/white striped cotton cardigan (Goodwill, $5.99, 12/2018) that is in immaculate condition came together for a great base outfit in a classic style and traditional summer color combination.

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OOTD 5/9/24

Continuing in the classic, polished line, I wore these pretty navy flats that always read as dressier than a typical ballet flat but are as comfortable and easy to wear (as opposed to a heeled shoe, which is always less comfortable for me than flats, though I know people vary a lot with what is comfortable in shoes!).

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

Since the stripes have a seriously nautical feel to them, I doubled down with a lightweight scarf with white anchors against a navy background and a red stripe down the edge. I tied the scarf using genuinely easy method #5 (loop with ends brought through) from this post.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40

OK, despite this being a "polished" look, I simply couldn't resist wearing one of my many red and navy paper bead bracelet sets as the basis of my daily bracelet stack. This set is unusual in that it has five paper bead bracelets: 3 with 1" bicones, 1 with 0.5" tubes, and 1 with 0.5" bicones. The paper beads are rather skinny in this set, measuring from 3.5-5mm around. I finished off the stack with a striped red bead bracelet and a navy/red bead bracelet. For a truly polished and classy accessory, a simple silver bracelet would be hard to beat, but I liked the more organic, laid-back, colorful handmade bracelets in this outfit for my own style.

DIY Paper Bead Bracelet Set

If you look closely, you'll see that the red tube beads in the third bracelet do not all have the exact same pattern! That's because I used these three different small images from catalogs in making the beads. I didn't have enough of any one of them for a full bracelet, but because they had the same colors and a general navy-and-white-on-red look, I decided to make the three different beads and combine them for my bracelet. Print mixing meets making do at its finest, haha! Tube beads are great to make because you can make a small bit of paper go a long way by adding your "nice" paper to the end of boring paper, since only the end part will show when the bead is rolled. {stretch bracelet tutorial} {bicone paper bead tutorial} {tube paper bead tutorial}

DIY Tube Paper Beads

Y'all know that truly polished hair and make-up are well beyond my capabilities, but I did up my game a bit here! I added some smoothing product to my hair and brushed it out so it is straight-ish, relatively speaking. (The product also made my hair look a bit darker, which created more value contrast between my hair and skin, which wasn't a bad idea given the high value contrast of the white and navy stripes.) My make-up is still very minimal, but I did wear a bit of foundation, powder, and (fittingy for the color palette) red lipstick. Of course the pièce de résistance is the DIY anchor charm earrings! 3 beads in my color palette on a stick plus a charm that echoes the motif of the scarf and voila, perfection. This may not be the most polished choice but it's definitely a well-coordinated one!

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
Design earrings for a scarf

So that outfit was actually the 31st wear of my red crochet top. Number 30 was this black, white, and rabbit-y outfit that I shared in the introduction to my 7 color capsule wardrobe post, worn at the end of last summer.

Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
30th wear: OOTD 9/21/23

Here are some previous OOTD featuring the red crochet top from the spring and summer seasons. I tend to wear the red with navy/denim or black neutrals, but I do sometimes mix it with accent colors in the Green or Blue-Green families of the color wheel as well. The top works alone or layered and untucked, partially tucked, or even fully tucked.

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OOTD 8/1/19
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OOTD 7/4/21
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 9/26/21
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 8/28/19
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 8/2/21
Plus size outfit idea for women over 40
OOTD 7/7/22

Do you ever experience something in your closet suddenly fitting? Do you find flats or shoes with a heel (perhaps a low heel) more comfortable? Do you ever wear nautical pieces or color combinations in summer? Where are you on the spectrum from Polished to Rough-Around-the-Edges (RATE)? Are you more polished vs RATE for some occasions/seasons than others?


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9 Comments


mimifce
Jun 28

Lots of different ideas on how to wear a red top but I do love the first one with the cardigan. That stripe is really striking!

www.chezmireillefashiontravelmom.com

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Jun 28
Replying to

This striped cardigan is one of those pieces that whenever I wear it, I wonder why I don't wear it more (answer: large wardrobe, haha). Thanks, Mireille!

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Di Cook
Di Cook
Jun 27

This outfit looks great on you, Sally! It would be perfect for the 4th of July. It is hard to fathom that you have clocked 31 wears with your red crochet trimmed top-it still looks like new! You are wearing some of my own favorites for this post. I love wearing the color red, the combination of red, white and blue, stripes in general and nautical looks! A nautical look is especially fun for the summer and summer holidays, but I like to wear it all year round. I have trouble with perfectly flat shoes, (need some support). Hope you enjoy your weekend, and thanks for sharing!

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Jun 28
Replying to

I definitely feel the similarity between elements of this outfit and some of your outfits, Di! I swear the quality of knit tops/t-shirts has gotten worse since 2017 and now; I'm not sure the equivalent top now would look so good after 31 wears (though I do kind of baby my clothes by not drying them). I think I'm in the minority on liking really flat shoes.

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mlrbanks57
Jun 26

I love a good nautical look, but my son-in-law used to be in the Navy so I don't wear it often. I really like that striped cardigan and scarf. Stripes just seem to call for a print or pattern, don't they? I don't wear flats very often as they don't give me enough support. I do like flat sandals, but I usually only wear them for short periods of time. Hmmm...am I polished or RATE? I think I'm more RATE than polished in real life! I have been making more of an effort with proportions and such, though!


https://marshainthemiddle.com/

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Jun 27
Replying to

It's interesting that your son-in-law being in the Navy has influenced your style choice but I can see it! I agree that stripes love to be paired with a print. As long as I'm not walking or standing a lot, I can make do with flat shoes without much support, though I have a pair of much more supportive shoes I put on even when I'm going to be standing in the kitchen cooking for a while. I think polished is such an ideal that it can be hard even to see that where you sit on that spectrum is a valid style choice! I can make even a very polished outfit look limp and unraveled quickly so it's j…

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jodie filogomo
jodie filogomo
Jun 26

Not only do I love the stripes with this red shirt but the scarf with it is the cherry on top!

And red lipstick looks fabulous on you!

Xoxo

Jodie

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Joanne
Joanne
Jun 26

What a lovely, versatile piece to have in your closet. I love the nautical look but rarely think to emulate it myself. My summer clothes tend to be more brights and florals than stripes and navy. Though I do love stripes and navy.

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sallyinstpaul
sallyinstpaul
Jun 26
Replying to

I hear you on brights and florals for summer - these are favorites of mine too! But I've always loved stripes so the nautical vibe comes naturally to me.

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