Style

A Week of Outfits: Caroline Donofrio

A Week of Outfits: Caroline Donofrio

“I love fashion, but hate clothes,” says our features writer Caroline. “At just over five feet tall, nothing ever fits me off the rack. My loyalties lie with accessories, which always work!” Still, over the years, she’s learned to love certain silhouettes, and now she wears them everywhere. Here are five outfits Caroline recently wore in a week…

Jacket: Everlane. Dress: Aland, similar. Tote: Subway Book Review. Sandals: Birkenstock.

“My wardrobe is definitely composed of easy-to-wear neutrals. Previously, it was nearly all black, but I’ve been trying to move out of that because it’s looked like I’ve been going to a funeral for the past five years. I’ve been incorporating more grey and denim and (gasp) even some patterns, like these teeny polka dots. My friend Uli gave me this tote bag, and whenever I wear it, strangers inevitably come up and ask me what I’m reading, causing me to suddenly forget the title of every book, ever. For any fellow book lovers, Subway Book Review is currently donating 50% of all proceeds from sales of the tote to Everytown for Gun Safety.”

A Week of Outfits: Caroline Donofrio

Sunglasses: Ray-Ban. Top: Christy Dawn. Jeans: Levi’s. Sandals: Birkenstock. Necklace: Made in Earth.

“I tend to wear the same pieces over and over and over, including these jeans. If I find basics I love, I’ll buy duplicates. The same goes for shoes — I’ll replace my Converse once a year, and have multiple colors of these sandals. When I was a kid, my mom had a pair of felt Birkenstock clogs, and I made fun of them mercilessly, saying they looked like David the Gnome footwear. Now I wear Birkenstocks more than any other shoe. Oh, life.”

A Week of Outfits: Caroline Donofrio

Jumpsuit: Elizabeth Suzann. Sandals: Stella Luna. Sunglasses: Ray-Ban.

“Most jumpsuits are taller than I am, so they’ve historically been off-limits, unless I want to deal with a lot of tailoring. But my similar-heighted friend (and Cup of Jo photographer) Christine kept wearing a jumpsuit that looked incredible on her. Turns out it was from Elizabeth Suzann, whose made-to-order pieces come in short, regular and tall. After considering it for a while (due to the price and also that whole undressing-in-the-bathroom situation), I took the plunge. Now it’s easily my favorite outfit. It makes me feel sophisticated and also like a giant four-year-old, which, if you think about it, is a pretty unstoppable combination.”

A Week of Outfits: Caroline Donofrio

Windbreaker: Alala. Tank: Koral. Leggings: Lululemon. Shoes: Nike ID, similar.

“If I had my way, you’d always find me in gym clothes. When I don’t have anywhere important to be, I’ll put workout clothes on first thing in the morning, because it’ll get me to the gym at some point. This is my version of a superhero suit — it’s comfortable, I can run and jump, and I feel ready for whatever comes my way. Recently, I couldn’t find training shoes I liked, so I designed these myself via Nike ID. You can get words or initials embroidered on the back, so my left shoe says ‘NAPS’ and my right one says ‘NACHOS.’ Because is there anything more uplifting? I think not.”

A Week of Outfits: Caroline Donofrio

Tank: Koral. Bra: similar. Leggings: Lululemon. Bracelets: Satya.

“When I was a kid, I loved the book Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, about a donkey who collects rocks, including a magic pebble. It must have embedded itself in my consciousness, because now I am an unabashed crystal-carrying adult. I once tucked a boulder opal into my sports bra (don’t ask) and forgot it was there. Later that day, I was jumping around in a gym class and it skittered across the floor. The very intense instructor was like, ‘WHAT WAS THAT?’ Cue me not-at-all smoothly slinking across the studio to retrieve my runaway stone. I am also a rational person, I swear.”

A Week of Outfits: Caroline Donofrio

Dress: Reformation, similar.

“Growing up, I desperately wanted bigger boobs. I prayed for them, just like in Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret. Then I waited. Nothing happened. Alas, some things are not meant to be. Now, I heartily embrace a dramatic plunging neckline, knowing everything will more or less stay in place. Silver linings! I bought this dress six years ago with nowhere to wear it, but have found many, many occasions since — neckline and all.”

Thank you, Caroline!

P.S. More women share their weeks of outfits, including two podcast hosts and a photographer.

(Photos by Nicki Sebastian for Cup of Jo. Yoga photo shot at Love Yoga and bookstore photo at Arcana Books.)

  1. Joanna Tsay says...

    I got some linen overalls this summer and I’m all about it! Love a good one piece, a jumpsuit would be even better!

    Caroline, what have you done? I just added a seventh pair of Birkenstocks to my collection but I didn’t know I need another pair of Arizonas in WHITE. God help my husband…

  2. AJ says...

    A good jumpsuit is a life-changer indeed. I’m so with you on the giant toddler dressing Caroline! It seems to have become my ‘look’. I like the silhouette and the nostalgia.

    Ps. Is it really creepy that I’m slightly jealous I can’t spot the CoJ team around town?! This is reigniting my more youthful yearning to move to New York and hang with the cool kids. Can you make a documentary about CoJ, please? :)

  3. Emily says...

    Caroline moved to LA?! The outfits are perfect and may we all wear Birkenstocks forever and ever, amen.

    • Jessica says...

      Wondering the same thing! I love that flower/coffee shop that she’s standing outside of in the 3rd picture down! I want to live inside the shop.

  4. H says...

    Sylvester made my entire family cry when I was a kid. That book should really come with a warning.

  5. Katherine says...

    Oh my god I knew I loved Caroline and then she goes and wears a Clyde jumpsuit!!!

  6. Kristen says...

    Also 5′! Thanks for including someone who’s dressing for a shorter frame. I use to worry about certain rules people said for short people, but I started styling online clients for a company and now I break “rules” all the time. I love jumpsuits so I figure out all kinds of tricks to wear them. Love the custom Nikes!

    • Yes, thank you! I need more short people fashion tips. (Though I need ones that also come with short + larger chest tips. So many petite options are too small in the chest for me. It’s endlessly frustrating!)

    • Fiona says...

      Mine is short and big hips/butt :) problematic when you’re the right LENGTH for kids pants, but baby got back in a way no 12 year old does…

  7. Lori says...

    Omg 2 of my most favorite books! I love Sylvester and the magic pebble!!!!!

    • Michelle says...

      People love Sylvester and the Magic Pebble? I hated that story! When his parents have the picnic and he’s RIGHT THERE and wants to call out but can’t because HE’S A ROCK? Stab me in the heart.

  8. Whitney says...

    I didn’t realize the Nike ID shoes were still a thing! I made some back in high school about 15 years ago. Adding to my to-buy list! Also, wouldn’t that be the best gift certificate for a tween/teen?

  9. AH says...

    THAT JUMPSUIT. Question – do you wear it in the winter with a shirt underneath (as per the website)? I’m wondering how warm it is? I live in Canada so as much as I’d wear it in the (short) summer, I’d love to be able to wear it year round…

    • Elke says...

      You can definitely wear this jumpsuit year round! I do in the winter with turtleneck size/sweaters and sometimes tights as well, depending on how cold I am. You can also wear a sweater over it for extra warmth (although super annoying set up for the bathroom!). I always joke that it’s exactly my style – toddler chic.

      Ps if the price is daunting, you can find one preowned through Instagram accounts like selltradeslowfashion – it’s nice to support small businesses like ES directly when you can, but buying preowned thoughtfully and carefully also aligns with their ethos, imo

  10. Lauren B says...

    “It makes me feel sophisticated and also like a giant four-year-old, which, if you think about it, is a pretty unstoppable combination” — this is my new life goal.

  11. Katie Larissa says...

    I definitely came to appreciate my small breasts when I was nursing children and suddenly it was cleavage for daaaaaaays in all my normal clothes. NOTHING stayed in place anymore, and my back hurt, so I was always glad to get back to the tiny (albeit much saggier now) boobs I had previously scorned.

  12. Erica says...

    Beauty! Love everything!

  13. Jennifer says...

    Effortless style, charm and wit. Lovely post.

    Damn, I love this blog. I wish I could purchase all these style gems!

  14. Jill says...

    I am 5′ and have the same problems. You look great! Now I understand why no one sees my pain – you look perfectly put together, like I would doubt you had clothes troubles! But i feel your pain. That reformation dress is going in my cart! Also you have inspired me, I am getting “wine” and “90 day fiance” on my next Nikes!!!

  15. Katie says...

    Naps & Nachos :) This made me smile!

  16. Bec says...

    This was already a lovely read, and then you went and referenced Judy Blume and made my day!
    I borrowed all her books from my local library when I was growing up (in Australia) and re-read them all many times despite so many of the references going over my head.
    I’d never been to New Jersey, no one I knew went to Sunday School or Temple, I had no idea that pads used to come with a belt and hooks instead of an adhesive back… I think it’s time to go back and read them again!

  17. Kathy C. says...

    I absolutely love all of your posts! And had to write because until I read your “small boob lament” — I totally forgot that I had desperately prayed for a bosom that never came in as well, lol. It’s so funny how things we were obsessed with when we were young are not a big deal at all after we grow into ourselves. My baby sis, who has gorgeous large knockers by the way, is always telling me how lucky I am to be so petite – the grass is certainly always greener no matter how blessedly endowed you are ;)

  18. Jessica says...

    Did you try the “I must, I must, I must increase my bust” exercise like Margaret (and me)?

    • Monica says...

      I certainly did! LOL! Daily at that; to no avail, of course.

    • Lori says...

      Lmao!

  19. Katie says...

    I’m also little, 5’1, and have a whole collection of jumpsuits from Target. I can wear the girls L or the juniors/womens XS without alterations (right length and crotch where it belongs). They’re my go-to. Hope this helps some of the other vertically challenged ladies!

  20. Lexie says...

    What a lovely feature! We all love Caroline!

    If you don’t mind sharing, what size is your ES jumpsuit?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! The love is very mutual. :) My jumpsuit is the XS short.

  21. Nicole A. says...

    I’m also 5’ tall! The struggle is REAL to find petite items that fit. On the plus side, I have a number of children’s shoes (size 2-3, which is a women’s five) and I got them at wonderful prices! On the downside, some shoes don’t even exist that small. (The smallest size most adult shoes come in is a six, rarely a five.) Maybe I’ll at some point take the plunge to buy a maxi-dress or something, but the idea of it engulfing me keeps me from it. Haha

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Truth. My wardrobe is mostly composed of midi dresses, which I wear as maxi dresses. It’s the only way I’ve ever found a “maxi dress” that fits!

    • Audrey says...

      As another 5″ gal, I was SO excited to read that Caroline is also petite! I literally had a romper cut through the middle by a tailor so the crotch wasn’t at my knees… good times!

  22. Sarah says...

    So so jealous of the plunging neckline! As a carrier of double D’s since middle school, I’ve always dreamt of being able to wear a plunging neckline without people’s eyes popping out of their heads. The grass is always greener, I suppose.

  23. Luísa says...

    I love this ♥♥♥ and the pictures, so lovely!!

  24. Danielle says...

    I am also very petite (5’0 on a good day) but I have a larger chest. I LOVE your style, but looking for more affordable options – especially for that jumpsuit, love! You seem so fun!

  25. Lasara says...

    What size are you wearing in the jean jacket? I’m 5’2″ and I never know what size to order!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      I have the XXS. It’s cut a bit oversized!

  26. MK says...

    Are you posing in Arcana, my favorite bookstore on the West Coast?! Love it.

    I love this feature on CoJ and this was one of my favorite entries. I’m off to consider that Elizabeth Suzann jumpsuit!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! caroline was out in LA for a wedding when we did this shoot!

  27. Fantastic

  28. Sara M. says...

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. For ever and ever. That is all.

    • Morgan says...

      Same – a classic in our house.

  29. Roxana says...

    Haha! This is the best: “It makes me feel sophisticated and also like a giant four-year-old, which, if you think about it, is a pretty unstoppable combination.” So true!

    Love your style and the tote! Thank you for sharing!

  30. Tara says...

    I knew I loved Caroline (and her style!!!) and when she mentioned the coming of age book Are You There God it’s Me Margaret my love grew – so so good.

  31. Ask me how much I need that Burt Reynolds book?!!!

    • Jenny says...

      So much. Is there a chest hair feature?

  32. Michelle says...

    Does Caroline also have tiny feet? I wear a size five and STRUGGLE to find cute and comfortable shoes.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Yes! I’m a 5.5 and the struggle is real.

    • Eloise says...

      Same (size 5) and I live in Doc Martens and (ugly but comfortable) Tevas. Nordstroms always has a decent selection of shoes in 4.5 – 5.5 range

    • Allison says...

      ME TOO – I always find great deals on shoes at Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack, and Shopbop! They carry small sizes!! I love your style, Caroline!

  33. Nicole says...

    Definitely also prayed to God for bigger boobs as a tween despite growing up with no religious influence whatsoever, haha. I’ve become more comfortable as I’ve gotten older, figuratively and literally – I bought two ThirdLove bras in size A 1/2 after reading about them here and have never found a better fit! Thanks CoJ!

  34. Blythe says...

    Am also guilty of crystals falling out of my bra in random places! My go to is a rose quatz!

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      So glad to hear I’m not the only one!

  35. Lee says...

    Fellow flat-chester here. I dreamed of bigger boobs as a teen and now I love my flat chest. I often forego bras and this year I pretty much stopped wearing bras with underwire and padding (life is too short to suffer!).

  36. Kim says...

    Love the shout out to the Subway Book review tote!

  37. Heather D says...

    What nail color are you wearing? It’s lovely.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s Essie Geranium. One of the best!

    • Marianne says...

      Would love a round up on summer jumpsuits! This one is super cute, but way out of my price range.

  38. Maria says...

    I was amused by your first line – because I feel like I hate fashion but love clothes. I can’t stand trying to keep up with trends, but appreciate good clothes that make me feel put together, fit well and have a certain utility type of quality to them. Loved your post!

  39. Abbe says...

    THIS. As a big boobed lady I have always envied my flatter-chested friends because everything looks so much more chic on them! I can recommend KnixWear bras and tanks which are both comfortable and fit super well, and someone (I believe on CoJ) recommended Bravissimo, which makes clothes specifically tailored to fit women with larger busts. Good luck Jessica! And welcome to the club. :)

    Also, I loved this Caroline! Comfy, light clothes that look totally wearable — as a (very) low maintenance gal I appreciated that leggings made an appearance twice! This is the kind of week of outfits I can get behind.

  40. Hannah R says...

    Not to sound stalkerish but I have seen you twice around Brooklyn and you always look so cute! Thanks for sharing and I really want those sandals…

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i agree, she looks so cute/cool/friendly every day! :)

    • Wait, I have also seen Caroline around twice (once in BK and once in NYC)! It’s such a small/weird world haha

  41. Suzie says...

    love this style! so easy breezy, effortless and classic! yay caroline!

  42. Mckenzie Cunningham says...

    More short people week of outfits! The 5’2″ struggle is real. Also, had the thought that Elizabeth Holmes would be a wonderful person to do a week of outfits for! (When she gets back from maternity leave, of course)

    • Louise says...

      5’0″ here and I have to order everything. I can never walk in a store and just buy something.

  43. Caroline, I love your style, but most importantly: TELL ME ABOUT THOSE LIPSTICKS! :)

    I vehemently request another month of lipsticks from you! Your series from Spring 2014 (oh gosh, so long ago) is what propelled me into my current love of lipsticks. I bought several based on your recs, and your favorite Laura Mercier from that bunch has been my go-to ever since! Would love to see what 2019 colors you are loving right now.

  44. Alyssa says...

    Thanks so much for the inspiration, Caroline! Loving all the outfits and also obsessing over your nail color – what is it??

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Thank you! It’s Essie Geranium. Any time I try another color, I always go back to it!

    • Amanda says...

      Essie Geranium is my favorite too! It’s so great.

  45. Polly says...

    I want to know more about the crystals! How did you get into them? What do they mean to you? I’m interested – perhaps another post for another day?

  46. Jessica says...

    Caroline, be thankful for your small chest! Clothes fit so easily when you don’t have boobs. For most of my life I was pretty small chested, but since having kid, my boobs have ballooned in size. I have no idea what to do with them! I’m having to completely relearn what clothes work for this new body. I really miss my itty bitty boobies, they were so cute and perky.

    • Sandra says...

      Agree! I was an A cup before motherhood. Now 9 years later after nursing my son and moving well into middle age I’m a C cup (and not a perky one). I really miss being able to wear plunging necklines and go braless.

    • Sasha L says...

      Jessica, maybe clothes fit for smallish breasts (A/B/C), but for tiny (AAA/AA), they absolutely do not. Bathing suits, bras, formal wear are a nightmare. And since bras don’t fit, anything you wear over the not fitting bra looks crap too. I am extremely limited in what actually fits and I feel like I look good in. Small breasts are excellent for everything else (zero sag at 46 despite 5 years of bfing), exercise, sleep, back pain, underboob sweat…….. But looking like you want to in clothes, nope.

  47. Lisa says...

    NAPS and NACHOS for the win. Thanks for bringing this vibe (and laugh) into my life this morning!

  48. Rachel F says...

    Sylvester and the Magic Pebble!! Omg – I forgot about that book! It always made me cry (as a child, maybe today as well!) but I loved it so much, too.

  49. celeste says...

    Buying several totes to give out to friends – affordable AND a timely cause!

    The rock is totally something I’d do. I’ll always modifying in BodyPump class and instructors don’t care. Except! This rather intense instructor didn’t like my modification and said, “those plates should be stacked together,” and when I ignored [pointed finger] “YOU! Stack those plates!” Scary!

    • gfy says...

      Yeah, do not allow that. A brief conversation about respect is in order. I love a strict trainer – but only a personalized relationship where you’ve established that you want pushing is acceptable for a tone that harsh. Otherwise it is out of line and you need to stick up for your self pronto.

  50. Caroline, you gorgeous thing you! I’m so excited our jumpsuit made the cut!!! I’m tempted to get the cotton canvas version, since I only have the linen. Worth it?

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      YOU KNOW IT. Seriously, though, I’ve washed it multiple times now and it holds up like a dream. Thank you for introducing me to my new uniform. x

    • Jen says...

      Just curious what size you ordered? Small short? Is it baggy? Thanks!

    • Sara M. says...

      Saving up for this jumpsuit now. So beautiful!!

    • florence says...

      Ha, I think I always complement you when you’re wearing your ES jumpsuit! It always looks so good on you… and now on Caroline! xx

  51. Gaby says...

    I am so fragile from this weekend’s news that the tote proceeds going to Everytown made me tear up! I giggled so much of your description of the “unstoppable combination,” though. Great week of outfits.

  52. Alec says...

    Praying for bigger boobs —–> appreciating the ability to wear a plunging neckline. A journey I am very familiar with, and only wish I had made earlier in life.

  53. Clare says...

    Yay yay yay yay YAY!

  54. Candace says...

    Your skittering stone made me laugh out loud at my desk. Thank you for sharing :)

  55. THAT JUMPSUIT! Caroline, I love your style. #orderingitrightnow

  56. Lauren E. says...

    LOVE! But I have to ask: how do you keep your Reformation dress in place?! I’m a similarly busted girl, and I just bought one and taped the neckline closed because I was so afraid to flash people on the street.

    • Caroline Donofrio says...

      Great question. I often wear these silicone coverups with any low-cut clothing, to prevent accidental flashes: https://amzn.to/2KjRGty

      And for something this low-cut I will often employ the two sided tape. This one is verrrry sticky and a little goes a long way: https://amzn.to/2KjyP1D