Tina, here.

It's the time of year you need that one piece that beautifully transitions your winter wardrobe to spring. That piece you wear under a jacket or blazer instead of a sweater, or long sleeve tee or blouse. And that piece, my dears, is the shell. Here are some pretty spring outfits that utilize this wardrobe hero, the layering shell.

A Wardrobe Hero That Will Change Your Life

St. John shell

St. John shell

The Wardrobe Hero That Will Change Your Life is a Shell.

A shell is a top. Not an underpinning, like a cami or a tank. Meaning, you can wear a shell on its own without looking like you are wearing your underwear. It's a stand-alone piece. A silk or silk look-alike (like polyester or viscose) shell can be worn without your blazer, if you need to shed a layer.



For fun and review, let's look at the three options you can wear under a blazer or jacket:

1. A T-Shirt

(less expensive option)


I love this look, too. Very "airport style."

2. A Button-Down

A collared blouse is what most people wear under a blazer:

A Wardrobe Hero That Will Change Your Life

Nothing wrong with this look. In fact I adore this look - but with jeans. Once you put a button down under a blazer and wear it with its matching suit pants or skirt, you're on a fast track to being accused of being boring or stiff or outdated. There are other options to wear under a blazer with your suits.

A Wardrobe Hero That Will Change Your Life

While we're parked here for a minute, here's a side note: don't ever wear the collar of a shirt outside the blazer lapel. That's too many collars and kinda manly. Women, when you do wear a button down under a blazer (with jeans of course), tuck the collar inside the lapel, like in the top picture. Kk?

BTW, here's my favorite Theory black blazer (it's double-breasted, which is usually hard to pull off unless the buttons are placed well and it fits really well). I will say, yes, the perfect blazer is a wardrobe hero in its own right, but you've got to know how to wear it. To look cool, modern, casual and fabulous. Less expensive option here and below.

A Wardrobe Hero That Will Change Your Life

3. The Shell

If you get this one piece in your closet, you'll start wearing your blazers (and cardigans) and feel so much more hip and casual, and not stiff like you used to feel in blazers.

silk shell and Chanel blazer

Shells are great layering pieces, too, because in warmer temps you can remove your blazer without feeling bare. Because, remember, shells are tops, not camis. Oh. BIG update! Remember this Chanel jacket I wanted to sell? My friend Susan Davis, an expert in high-end resale, found my buyer (she *might* be a celebrity) and it is s-o-l-d! Discover more about the designer resale market on our blog, and for Complete Insiders only, you can watch our exclusive behind the scenes video about all things consignment!

YSV Free Trial

A Wardrobe Hero That Will Change Your Life

The reason why drapey collars are so popular is that they are so flattering to the neckline and bustline, and are so easy to wear under just about any collar or layer. A shell can typically be worn untucked, which is a heck of a lot easier than keeping a blouse tucked into your pants or skirt.

A Wardrobe Hero That Will Change Your Life

Grab your jeans to pair with your blazers. You know all those suits in the back of your closet? Unless they're ten years old and have huge lapels or more than 3 buttons, you may be able to repurpose them for a fun night out to dinner. How fabulous for you to wear such a sophisticated outfit amidst all the tiny dresses and short shorts? You'll draw attention for the right reasons.

A Wardrobe Hero That Will Change Your Life

I'm just as big a fan of the v-neck t-shirt under a blazer for a more utilitarian outfit like traveling or running errands. And here's another silk shell that has a plain scoop neck, that will be soft and pretty under an edgy blazer. Have you heard of Everlane? It's a really interesting concept of a retailer who sells direct to consumer, so the products are luxury but the prices are not. It’s important to us to support companies we respect and want to see be successful, and this is one of those companies we use for the Style Vault. We love their silk shell!

Want us up close and personal? Get us in your closet now! We’re booking in-home spring wardrobe makeovers now. Check out our wardrobe packages from Tina Adams Consulting here.