Universal Standard Viva Boatneck Top with Tux Pants

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Woman in the Universal Standard Viva Boatneck Top in white with black tux-inspired ankle pants from Talbots.

Outfits don't have to be complicated to be dressy.  Fabric can go a long way in transforming relatively simple pieces into a more formal ensemble.  Essentially a t-shirt and ankle pants, sheen and tuxedo-inspired details elevate it to after-five attire.

Woman in the Universal Standard Viva Boatneck Top in white with black tux-inspired ankle pants from Talbots.

blouse | pants | bag | shoes | earrings | bracelet | ring

Woman in the Universal Standard Viva Boatneck Top in white with black tux-inspired ankle pants from Talbots.

Blouse: Viva Boatneck Top c/o Universal Standard (XS) | Pants: Tuxedo Pants c/o Talbots (old and tailored twice to current shape; similar in straight sizes, similar in plus sizes) | Shoes: ASOS (old; similar concept but with more practical and modern heel) | Bracelet: Sceptre Linea Corset Bracelet c/o REALM | Earrings: Sceptre Linea Luxe Exclamation Earring c/o REALM | Ring: Sceptre Pave Ring c/o REALM | Bag: Gift (similar) | Lipstick: NARS “Pigalle” with Fenty Gloss Bomb in “Fenty Glow” over it

Woman in the Universal Standard Viva Boatneck Top in white with black tux-inspired ankle pants from Talbots.

When Universal Standard came out with this blouse, I reached out immediately and asked if I could have one to style.  I had just received the white high-waisted denim trousers from Talbots (seen in this post) and I thought oooh… the white high-waisted jeans with this silky white t-shirt and some badass silver jewelry… Universal Standard was kind enough to send it to me.

It's not a true white, in fact, the bag it came in was labeled “Marshmallow.”  That's a perfect description.  It's the kind of not-white that would work as a blouse with a true white suit for a monochromatic effect but with just one other white piece it looks off. And in this fabric, it's like wearing a pearl; it's really pretty, a great weight, and feels luxe. It arrived on a Saturday and I wore it that night with these shorts from Talbots in Sage, my Jenny Bird Cober Hoops, and my silver Birkenstocks when we went to dinner at our friends' house. 

Woman in the Universal Standard Viva Boatneck Top in white with black tux-inspired ankle pants from Talbots.

After finding this blouse not right with the white jeans, I thought my black culottes from And Comfort and my Jenny Bird monogram necklace.  And it was cute.  I tried a slim gold metal belt (like this one I wore from ASOS but half as thick) and it felt like glam minimalism but I didn't have the right shoes. Like seriously everything I owned killed the vibe. My silver Birkenstocks dressed it down too much for what I wanted at the time. I was feeling heels and slim pants and a clutch. 

These pants are from this suit I wore almost two years ago for a sponsored post with Talbots.  I love this lady tux so much I have tailored it twice to fit my changing shape. I wore it again in this post, the pants alone in this post, and the jacket in this post. The tuxedo stripe down the side is subtle but instantly adds a dressy factor to the trouser. My tailor tapered the pants slightly and hemmed them to ankle length which works with a heel like this or a cute D'Orsay flat.

Woman in the Universal Standard Viva Boatneck Top in white with black tux-inspired ankle pants from Talbots.

I'm a bit obsessed with REALM jewelry. Designer Ann King Lagos creates some beautiful jewelry that exudes strength. I love this bracelet, it's like an elegant Wonder Woman cuff.  These three pieces are the nicest jewelry I have ever owned outside my engagement ring and the style is so on point.  I find myself styling looks around these three pieces so I have a reason to wear them. The last time I wore this set on the blog was in this post.

Woman in the Universal Standard Viva Boatneck Top in white with black tux-inspired ankle pants from Talbots.

So anyway, back to this blouse.  I, in typical Alison fashion, spilled something on it during dinner at our friends' house.  I came home, doused it with Bac-Out and threw it in the hamper.  Next day I washed it gentle cycle and hung it to dry.  Stain gone, blouse same size and shape, and didn't even need to be steamed. It has a curved hemline and looks nice tucked or untucked.  This blouse comes in navy as well and in sizes 00-40.

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A woman with curly hair wearing a plaid blazer holds a green fur coat over her shoulder on a city street.

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  1. I love both the outfit and your hair! Would you mind sharing again what hair product you’re currently using ? I think your hair is s similar texture to mine.

  2. Augh! When I saw the title of this post, I thought Universal Standard had come out with tux pants. Alas, Talbots has been sold out of their tux pants in my size for months now. I’ll still put the top on my wish list tho.

  3. I think that the top is beautiful but $110 is pretty steep for a fancy t-shirt. Would you pay full price for it?

    1. See, I don’t see this as a fancy t-shirt. I do say it’s essentially one at the beginning but the details are what matter. Silky fabric that drapes and adds a luxe factor. A cowl neckline that is interesting and more formal. Dolman sleeves. A curved hem. All this and its machine washable, not too trendy, something that can be worn four seasons. Some of the most expensive items in my closet are pretty simplistic. I have a black silk dress, not even lined that I paid almost $400 for. I likely could make it myself… but I wouldn’t. But it was one of my very best purchases, worn so many times, the perfect something I needed. It really varies per person and their wardrobe if this is the kind of top that is valuable to them, but I have to say it’s not in the same category of garment as a poly cowl neck shell for $50 at Macy’s.

      1. This top is 100% worth full price. I own it and it is gorgeous and feels even more expensive. I am hoping they use this fabric in other tips because it is so fantastic – and DOESN’T REQUIRE DRY CLEANING!!! It’s my favorite Universal Standard purchase thus far and I own a few things from them.

  4. Killing it with the hair game! I conceptually like the black and white combo until I wear this out to dinner and someone inevitably says” oh miss, can I get some bread at our table?”. Maybe ’cause I don’t wear the high heels? Middle aged? Brown person?
    Still very nice on you.

    1. OMG I have gotten that too! My best “heck no she’s not a waiter” tip is earrings. Something sparkly and large uusally keeps me from being seen as the hired help. Also a silky or shiny fabric with a unique detail. But there’s always some idiot (usually a man who finds himself very important) who will snap his fingers at me. (insert eyeroll emoji)

    2. Yeah, I came here to say that your curls are really popping lately — such great definition! As a fellow wavy-to-curly, I’d love to hear more about your routine right now…

  5. This look is fantastic! Would be perfect for someone (ahem, me) who is always overdressed. It’s dressy but in a classic, subtle way. Perfect for over air conditioned interiors this summer, and every other season (in Florida). LOVE!

  6. Black & white is so classy & I just love this whole outfit! I don’t usually have many reasons to dress up in the summer anymore but this is something that would work so well when/if do.

  7. Fabulous outfit. Simple, clean, and built from basic, basic pieces that you’ll be able to wear for years. More of this, please. (Not that you don’t do this. But so many other influencers are fad of the day.)

  8. I am a devotee of Universal Standard and your feedback on their newest items is helpful – thank you! I recently purchased my first items from And Comfort and found the skirts not to fit me well, but the one dress they make, the button down tunics, and the tshirts are fabulous! I am curious about the culottes…I hesitate to try them because the belly area looks bulky. What is your experience with them?

  9. What size did you get in the blouse? I just ordered the Bac-Out. Amazon said there was 1 in stock so it seems to be popular.

    1. I got XS. 99% of the time I am XS in Universal Standard. While I’m a 14 in most brands, their 10/12 fits me nicely. And Bac Out is AMAZING. It’s great for pet smells, oily stains, spots on your rug, all kinds of things and it smells like lime Skittles.

  10. Your hair looks really beautiful. It’s worth the trouble.
    Thanks for acknowledging that we all suffer from heat and humidity. I now use Monkey Butt powder…

  11. That looks amazing! I love the look of classy trousers with a more laid back blouse or t-shirt, it makes you look fancy but still approachable.

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