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The "Going Out" Wardrobe

Recently, I shared on my Stylesmarts Facebook page an article I'd come across in the NY Mag The Cut titled: What Even Is A Going Out Top Anymore? Since the article was published, this t-shirt has also become available (which I am seriously considering as it aligns more with my personal style than traditional "going out" tops of past days...).

As I write this, I am happy to say I am hunkered in on a Saturday night wearing a comfy sweatshirt and jeans - perfectly happy NOT to be going out. But, this article has led me to think about what sorts of pieces I have at the ready when I do venture out for the evening.

I'm glad to say that "going out" for me, no longer means clubbing or long lines at the Roxy. Back then (gulp, about 20 years ago now), it was usually jeans and either a black or white "cute top" perhaps found at Guess, Le Chateau or Aritzia. That was before I discovered my personal style and love of print, colour, texture and shine. Or, before I had any sense of dressing my body type or knowing what silhouettes made me look and feel good. I was more concerned with having the right attire for a night out, which was sadly a little cookie-cutter.

I do embrace an opportunity to get dressed up and play with fashion. Going out for me is usually drinks/dinner out with my husband/and or friends. Maybe a night at the theatre or an occasional concert. Vancouver is very casual, but it still fun to step it up a notch when the occasion arises.

In the past, I would buy pieces specifically for evenings out. While it is true, I do have a few dressier pieces in my wardrobe that serve the purpose for a more formal function; overall, I do try to style garments in a way that they serve me for a variety of purposes. If you've read my blog or posts before, you know I am all about cost-per-wear. When I am shopping and considering buying something new, I try to ask myself if there are at least 3 ways I can style the garment which often leads to thinking of a ways to dress it up or down.

Here are a few things to think about when it comes to choosing those "going out" garments:

1) Be true to your personal style. And if you haven't nailed it down yet - take some time to figure it out and then incorporate this into all aspects of your daily. life. Maybe you love texture so you might love something in lace or crushed velvet. Maybe you like eye-catching bold hues and will rock a bright shoe or blouse. Maybe you have a feminine style and would prefer to stick to soft dresses and pair with a Moto jacket - the possibilities are endless. If you need to think a bit more about your personal style and taste preferences, here is a worksheet with some bullet points to get you thinking (also see image below). Each bubble provides an activity to try to help you get a little closer - hopefully at least one speaks to you!

For me, as you can see from the header images this translates into often pairing a denim jacket or vest with something shiny or over a dress. Prints and texture often find their way into an outfit, but I try to find pieces I can style for work, weekend or an evening out. Jackets with interesting details also catch my eye and can be so versatile.

2) Mix dressy and casual pieces together for a modern and interesting look:

Not only is this fashion-forward, it allows you to get more mileage out of the garments you invest in. Here is a little inspiration:

image source from L-R and top to bottom: Askthemonsters; anthropology, closetfullofclothes, FMag, Glamour

3) Elevate your basics with statement jewelry:

You don't need to spend a lot to take an outfit to the next level. I wandered through the mall today and stores like Zara and H&M have eye-catching accessories for very reasonable price points. Pair them with your favourite knitwear, sweatshirt, blouse or dress to amp things up a bit.

image sources: Stylecaster, WhoWhatWear and Fountainof30

If you need to add a couple of pieces to your wardrobe to combine well with what you already have, Anthropologie has a section on their webpage titled "Going Out/Party Tops" that had many interesting pieces that would work well for Fall/Winter or holiday - click here to check it out. Also, they seem to encompass a range of style personality.

My style (and I) have certainly evolved over the years and I am so glad that this article led me to take a walk down memory lane to look at some photos of past "going out" evenings with friends and happened upon this gem:

Over 15 years have passed since this photo was taken - our lives have gotten busier, but the friendship is always there. And this photo sparked me to nail down a date with these girls for a drink/dinner next Saturday - now...what will we wear?

When it comes down to it, it really isn't about the outfit. It is about the people you spend your time with, how they make you feel and the memories you create.

But, it doesn't hurt to feel good in what you are wearing before you head out the door...and to not spend too much time thinking about it.. I hope some of these ideas help!


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