What I Wore: Universal Standard Basics

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Wardrobe Oxygen wearing a whole outfit from Universal Standard: thei Meg Short Blazer, Universal Standard T Rex, and Siene jeans in petite length. I was tempted to call this post, “What I Wore: Bad hair and too much wind for a photo shoot.”  Honestly, if I wasn't sharing my real life core wardrobe, I'd likely scrap this shoot but this is real life and what I really wore the other day.  What I wore was a really bad hair day made worse by the wind, causing me to delete the majority of the photos.  I'm cool with being real on this blog, but not a complete hot mess!  But not until I was going through the photos did I realize that my entire outfit is Universal Standard and I felt it deserved to have a couple of the photos shared.

alison gary

blazer | t-shirt | jeans | bag | shoes | earrings

As I mentioned in my core wardrobe post, this blazer at first was a miss.  It's not my typical “thing” being so relaxed in shape.  But with my more relaxed lifestyle, that's why it works so well.  I can throw it on, I don't have to adjust it just so, cuffing or ruching the sleeves, adjusting the collar, making sure the shirt underneath has just the right neckline, isn't too bulky or tight.  And unlike many relaxed blazers, this one isn't a knit or casual fabric.  This is a nice suiting fabric and lined with buttons and details that would make it at home in a boardroom. It can dress up great, and it can make a plain white t-shirt look polished.

universal standard blazerBlazer: Meg Short Blazer c/o Universal Standard (XS) | T-Shirt: T-Rex c/o Universal Standard (XS) | Jeans: Petite Seine Jeans c/o Universal Standard (10P) | Bag: ALLSAINTS | Shoes: Nine West | Earrings: Jenny Bird (similar concept) | Bracelet: Had forever (budget-friendly alternative)

I also shared the specialness of this t-shirt in that original post.  I have NEVER been one to wear a plain white crewneck t-shirt, it goes against everything I believe in.  I like a v-neck to elongate my neck, flatter my bust, provide interest.  I like colors and stripes because they're kinder to my complexion and well, they're better at hiding stains and well, me and coffee have this complicated relationship. But this one is perfection.  It turned me into a white t-shirt gal.  And as for coffee, we still are BFFs but I carry a Tide to Go pen in my purse and a gallon of Bac-Out next to my washing machine.

nine west flax pumps

In my bag were my Lissom flats which I changed into (gotta love a big purse!). I do this often; two pairs of shoes for one look.  I no longer can wear pumps for long periods of time, but they do a great job at making jeans look dressy.  I had a lunch to go to, but after I had a ton of errands to run and there was no way I'd be wielding a grocery cart through the Target parking lot at my local strip mall in heels. And since I had a busy day, I chose to go with my biggest purse.  This bag was NOT cheap but it was one of the best buys I've made in the past few years.  Inside is one small pocket and there's a pouch on a cord.  I organize my bag with pouches, each with a different textured exterior so I can easily without looking find my lip balm, my iPhone cord, or my wallet.


universal standard petite review

These jeans are awesome… above the knee.  I like Universal Standard jeans but they aren't my Holy Grail.  These are a bit too short and with my solid calves and ankles, a bit too tight at the bottom.  I like the color, I like the fabric, I like the higher but not mom jean high waist, I like how the petite cut fits me in the rise. I love how the jeans really smooth my belly; a lot of jeans hit at places that just seem to segment and highlight it. Also, the pockets are super deep, like fit your iPhone plus in the front pocket deep.

ACS 0510

I usually end up wearing these jeans with tall boots because of the length and tightness.  If I were a bit shorter and/or if my legs tapered like most people's legs (I walked on my toes as a kid and built up muscles in my ankles, shins, and calves) I would love these jeans. But I'm not so I am on the hunt for some awesome jeans.  I just received an order I made with Madewell; after so many of you have raved about their jeans I ordered six pairs.  And I returned six pairs.  I see the appeal, but they just don't seem right for me.  I didn't like the color on any of them, even with the petite the rise was too long (not too high, but I had droopy crotch and saggy bum), the straight legs were surprisingly too loose below the knee and the skinnies so skinny they look painted on below the knee (and normal above which wasn't cute). I love my AG jeans, but lately, I've been desiring a higher rise.  I also like a darker wash, but one that isn't super blue. I like a jean with stretch, but also some thickness and rigidity so they sort of suck me in, smooth the figure, and don't look too painted on to be worn with tucked in or shorter tops.  A straight or slim leg, and a zip fly.  If you have any suggestions do share them in the comments!

Shop the Look:

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. Did I read somewhere that you size differently in the Tee Rex? Petite xs if wearing untucked and regular xs if tucked? I’m close to your size and thinking of ordering. Thanks!!

    1. I do! I have the XS Petite in gray and while I do tuck it in, there’s not as much to blouse out and it’s a bit more snug in the body, which looks better untucked (also a better untucked length). The white one I have XS Regular and it’s a bit longer and looser in the body and works better for tucking and blousing. Hope this helps and hope you love your Tee Rex!

  2. I’m curious about what you put your spare shoes in in your bag. Do you use a particular travel shoe bag inside your tote?

    As for jeans, I’ve been on a personal weight loss journey, so I’ve been sticking to less expensive brands as I’ve been changing sizes over the past year. Old Navy curvy boot cut and skinny in short have worked well for me. I’ve also been a Gwynnie Bee subscriber (thanks to you!) for several years and have come across the Hydraulic brand that worked for me at a couple of sizes.

  3. I just bought the US T-Rex v-neck in white. The fabric is so nice and drapey and opaque! Have you tried Talbots denim jeggings? They don’t bag out and are very comfortable, more like a skinny jean than a legging. I have the petite dark wash and ordered a second pair recently in black. The black seemed to run a little tighter, so I reordered them in the next size to compare. Read the rave reviews on the Talbots site!

    1. I forget about talbots denim and it’s pretty great! I do have their jeggings, they’re awesome but they have a bit of a weird fit in my bum (all those leg days at the gym!). But I should try them again for this year!

  4. I can’t suggest jeans but I do have a suggestion. Why not have your tailor put a slit in these at the bottom to add some ease?

    1. I don’t really like the slit look and they’re also a hair too short. I’m looking for an ankle jean I can wear with a bootie and this has too much of a gap between the two, but also have the jean work with flats and pumps. But that’s a good idea!

  5. Love the t-shirt blazer look, but have never found the right combo. Short waist, kinda busty, weight in the stomach. If it fits my bust, it’s too big everywhere else and the stance is always off at the waist. I’m in the nowhere land between Petites and Regular. But you are killing it here!

    As for jeans, I had the AG Prima and also found them too low waisted for me. By a smidge. I just like the feel of a higher stretchy waist. I bought a pair of Julia, High Rise Straight, by Paige from eBay and love them. I’m usually a 10/12 and had to go with the 32, but have other Paige denim in 31 with the Transcend fabric and love it. Not cheap, but you might give them a try. But, look for the Transcend fabric. It’s comfy and doesn’t bag out. The high rise Jacqueline is my favorite, straight leg, fits through the hip and thigh so it’s flattering. but I think it’s discontinued.

    The Everlane High Waist Stretch Skinny was too baggy in the crotch for me. Their regular (non stretch) fit in the crotch, but were a little baggy in the bottom. But you’ve got a better shape than I in that department, so they might work. Love the “washed black.” I think they have a straight leg too.

    Good luck on the search and let us know how it goes! Might pull the trigger on the Universal T. 🙂

  6. I love the blazer/tshirt thing but what do you do about wearing a coat? Do you just put a coat over the top? Isn’t it too bulky? I love the idea but have never quite figured out how to make it work for me logistically!

    1. I find with more fitted and heavier fabric blazers I feel sooo awkward with a coat over it. This one doesn’t have the same problem because it has drape and is looser.

  7. I think you look great — the light in the photos is quite lovely. And 100x yes to Bac-out. I use it for pit smells/stains and everything else. Would you consider a post on all the non-wearable but important parts of great style: hangers, laundry supplies, shoe maintenance products, hem tape, whatever else? The invisible infrastructure of great style… That would be amazing!

  8. I really like the new Everlane stretch denim. I got the high waisted cigarette jeans in “washed black” aka medium grey. I sized down by two sizes or so at Susan’s (unefemme.com) recommendation. They also have a medium rise offering in the stretch denim. I wish they offered a larger size range, of course.

    1. You’re not the first to recommend Everlane. I’ve been hesitant because their size range is so limited and my audience is half plus and half straight sizes. But I may check them out… thank you

  9. I like Democracy jeans. I have both their straight leg and Itty Bitty Bootcut (which I prefer, because I think it’s a more flattering look on me).

    1. Oh, and I also am very thick of ankle and calf, (as in tall boots don’t work for me, because even if I can find a calf wide enough, the ankles are not also wide) and the Democracy straight legs still work on me and don’t look too tight–they just look like a slim cut.

  10. I feel you with the calves/ankles issue. I have the same issue and it drives me crazy. So I never wear dresses or skits because of it. Mine issue is hereditary. My mom and my grandmother are/were the same. I would love to find pants that fit well and wasn’t like second skin on my calves. 🙁

    1. I find straight legs are usually a slim fit on me so I go with that. I have also been doing more alterations with my tailor to get what actually flatters. Good luck!

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