DETAILS: denim dress made by me (tutorial here, buy similar here and here) | espadrille sneakers | fringe bag | similar necklace | mirrored aviators 
*photos by Jana Laurene
In the past year or so, I think I’ve really figured out my style. And although I can’t quite put it into one particular style category (like feminine or preppy), I feel like I’ve discovered what I love to wear and what pieces make me look and feel my best. I still take risks with my outfits, but I feel like the thing that has made the biggest difference is figuring out my Wardrobe Building Blocks. These are pieces that are the foundation of my wardrobe — the pieces off of which I build the rest of my outfit, and the pieces I find myself buying and wearing over and over. 
My main wardrobe building blocks are dresses, heels, sneakers, distressed denim, and basic tops. For each season, the pieces change, but the categories do not. I might wear a sweater dress instead of a sundress, or a simple sweatshirt instead of a basic tee, but the building blocks remain the same, and thus my style stays consistent. 
My chambray dress and these striped espadrille sneaks are staples for my summer wardrobe, and are great building blocks because they are so versatile. I wore them here for an easy summer look with a cute fringe bag (by the way, crossbody bags are definitely one of my accessory staples), but this dress is great with heels, a jacket, a sweater, a button up tied over it, or even with tights and boots. As for the sneakers, they’re almost as versatile — I wear them with jeans, shorts, dresses, and skirts. 
I get emails and comments all the time from readers trying to find their style, and I think this is the key. If you can figure out what your wardrobe building blocks are (or at least what you want them to be — so long as they work with your body type and lifestyle), you can find your style. 
Next week I’ll get more into what specific things you should look for as you build your wardrobe and discover your building blocks, but for now check out Janssen and Landen’s wardrobe building blocks! Happy Tuesday!


  1. Natali says:

    Such a simple and super cute outfit! I like your necklace and bag very much. 🙂

  2. Liv says:

    Such a simple, yet stylish outfit. Thanks for sharing!


  3. gorgeous post! Love that dress! XO

    ig: @stylemelauren

  4. Anna D Kart says:

    I love this denim dress you made! lovely styling dear

    Happy Medley

  5. Heidi D. says:

    So simple and pretty! I absolutely love your style! I have an amazing giveaway up on my blog, I hope you’ll check it out!

    Wishes & Reality

  6. Elisabeth Klassen says:

    Beautiful. I love having sisters, my sisters and I still to this day borrow clothes from each other.

    Diary of Elegance.

  7. Kate Khavari says:

    I went through this same process of defining my staples when I put together my first capsule wardrobe in January, and its only gotten easier to discern things I can always rely on to love wearing. It also makes shopping so much easier when you know just by looking at the cut or pattern of the fabric that it won’t work for you. Its a great feeling! Also that dress is amazing, I thought it was the sweatshirt dress from Madewell thats been all over Pinterest the past year. Its great!


  8. Emily Choulaghians says:

    Love this look SO much Merrick!

    Emily Jenny

  9. Kate says:

    Love that necklace with the dress- such a fab look!
    This Side of Paradise

  10. Valerie says:

    I can’t get the link for the shoes to work. Can you tell me the site they’re from?

  11. I agree! A good basic dress is an awesome foundation that you can build on and dress up or down. The fit & flare style is my fav too!

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A few months ago my sisters and I posted about wardrobe workhorses.  Pieces that you wear constantly, that go with everything, etc. Today is part two — a second wardrobe workhorse in our closet! Mine is this striped blazer from Old Navy. I bought it a few months ago, on a total whim, planning to try it on with a few things at home and then promptly returning it. Instead, I got home and realized just how versatile it was, and then figured out a bunch of ways I could wear it. Here are five:

1. Try it with a solid colored dress to add a splash of pattern
2. Wear it with distressed jeans to create a nice balance of casual and sophisticated
3. Pattern mix with florals, wider stripes, or polka dots
4. Throw it on over a t-shirt to instantly dress up your outfit
5. Try it with a loose or flowy top or dress to add structure

Here I applied #2 and #3 by pairing it with a floral print for some easy pattern mixing, and combining it with distressed jeans for a sophisticated casual look.

photos by sara walk
old navy blazer (similar options below)
sole society boots, c/o (similar)
jewelmint necklace, c/o (similar)

Now hop over to my sister’s blogs to see their wardrobe workhorses! 



  1. Kimberly says:

    This is such a cute mix of prints – perfect casual outfit!

  2. Whitney says:

    These are some really great suggestions! I have a striped blazer that I admit to not wearing often enough. I'll have to use this post for some inspiration!

  3. Love the floral and stripes! Such a great combo!

    The Style Storm
    <3, Christina

  4. Isn't fantastic when you by something on a whim and then get tons of use out it? I have a stripped blazer but don't wear it nearly often enough, thanks for the tips. This outfit looks incredible on you, very chic but effortless.

  5. Becky G says:

    Love this mix! I don't have a blazer, but I keep seeing them worn well – might be a fall back to school buy for me this year!

  6. Sarah says:

    This is a perfect post, I just bought a striped blazer this weekend at Target! That combo is fantastic!

  7. Paige Flamm says:

    I am loving that striped blazer! Its so versatile and goes with almost anything!


  8. Lyn Cheapasf says:

    I really like that blazer! The text says there are similar options below, but I don't see them. Am I just missing something?

  9. Iris says:

    Hi Merrick, I've been following all your ankle boots posts on Babble and I notice you wear them in a lot of your outfit posts here…question: do you wear socks with any of them? Which ones?

    • Yeah, I wear ankle socks with some of them. The cut-out boots show the socks so I skip it on those ones, but all my other ones that are high enough to not show the socks are free game for me 🙂

  10. Lindsey says:

    I love love love that bag but it doesn't seem to be available on the Sassy Steals website. Do you know what brand it is or if it is sold anywhere else?

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Everybody has at least one piece in their closet that is a workhorse. Am I right? It’s a piece that is a fail safe for any social event, goes with everything, is incredibly versatile, or just makes you feel amazing. But whatever the reason, you continue to pull it out of the closet and wear it everywhere. 
For me, one of my wardrobe workhorses is this green utility jacket. I didn’t expect it to be quite as versatile as it is, but it’s probably the jacket I wear more than any other. It goes with everything, it’s a little bit unique and interesting, it’s not too warm and not too thin, and it always adds a great layer to any outfit. Do yourself a favor and buy a utility jacket. 
Now go hop over to Janssen and Landen’s blogs to see what their picks, and tell me in the comments what your wardrobe workhorses are (anything that I must have in my closet??)
jacket: c/o chicwish
button up: c/o lulu*s
jeans: old navy
flats: target
bag: c/o jototes
glasses: c/o lulu*s
watch: michael kors


  1. Ash says:

    Love this outfit… you look like a movie star! =) I love my utility jacket, too. It's what I reach for when I need a little something different in an outfit (same with my utility vest, which I'm wearing today!) More workhorses for me are my burgundy cardigan, chambray (so cliche, I know) and a stretchy black and white striped pencil skirt that I wear allll the time.

  2. Kimberly says:

    A cargo jacket is definitely on my must-own list…perfect casual topper for spring or fall!

  3. Love this look! So pretty!
    The Style Storm
    <3, Christina

  4. Emily says:

    I love utility jackets! I agree, they go with anything. I have a camel one, and now I'm looking for a green one, haha. Great outfit! I love the leopard flats!

  5. Stephanie X says:

    Love this outfit! I would totally wear it myself 🙂
    xx Stephanie (

  6. Sabrina says:

    I wonder if anyone has pointed out that you posted about your green cargo jacket while wearing leopard flats and one of your sisters (Jannsen, I think) wrote about her leopard flats while wearing a green cargo vest. ♡ It made me smile.

  7. I bought an army jacket last year thinking it was a little out of the box for me and that I wouldn't wear it that much. Boy was I wrong! You're right – it's a workhorse for sure!

    ~Sarah of Sarah's Real Life

  8. I love your style. I just absolutely had to have a utility jacket after all the posts I saw on your blog featuring yours. Thanks so much for the inspiration! You're one of the bloggers that inspired me to start my own blog!

  9. Becky says:

    Could you please please please do a video of your makeup? I know you've been nice enough to share your products but I swear I can't make it look as great as you do

  10. a green utility jacket has been on my wish list for ages, and I just got one for Christmas. totally my new favorite…and so so versatile! love how you styled yours =)

  11. Roybn says:

    I love this jacket! What size did you order? I am on looking at their website, and since all of the sizing is in centimeters, I need some clarification. How tall are you, and (roughly) what do you weigh? The company selling the jacket is in the UK, so I don't want to mess the sizing up and have to return the jacket. Thanks!

  12. Roybn says:

    Thanks! I'm 5'6 and 117. Small it is!

  13. I have a simple sleeveless black shift dress I purchased a while back at Kohls…I wear it all the time and my outfit never looks the same. Also it has held up very well for such an affordable piece.

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