What to wear out on the town

BlogHer Original Post

I am a big believer in basics, in the idea that there are pieces in your closet that you fall back on constantly, pieces that work together and work for your life, and that those pieces are where you should spend your money, in order to have the most functional closet possible. Not every woman's basics are the same, but each of us is passionate about our basics.

The dilemma, though, with the basics wardrobe is that it is geared toward the things we do all the time. Stay-home moms tend to own more yoga pants than their office-bound peers, for example. It's just a fact of life.

But what happens when you suddenly get the chance to do something you DON'T normally do? Something that requires an outfit that is more -- or less -- dressy than what you normally wear? Amy is wondering precisely that:

My husband and I have been invited to a night on the town with a group of friends. We'll be tooling around in a free limo (won by one of the friends in a contest), having dinner at a nice restaurant and bar hopping at some Atlanta night clubs. Sounds fun, right? Well, of course it will be, but only if I can find something decent to wear! We (like most 30-something parents of small children) never go out and I have no idea what to wear out to the "hotspots." And what's worse, it's "tween" weather (somewhere between winter and spring). Any suggestions? Help!!!

No matter what you do all day, you need, in your closet, a few pieces for emergencies just like this one. Choose pieces that will work with your everyday closet, but don't limit yourself to pieces you will WEAR everyday. It's okay to have one or two special occasion pieces in your wardrobe, for those times when you want to look better than everyday.

What pieces, you ask? Well ...

A blouse with some great detailing. The detail can be in the shape or the fabric or the pattern, but this should be more than just your usual button-front shirt. The blouse pictured here is lovely because of it's shape and color; it is also incredibly versatile. Amy could wear this with her jeans (dark rinse, mid-rise, of course) or with a pencil skirt, either tucked in or belted.

Blouse from Banana Republic, $64.00

Black skirt. Speaking of the black skirt, everybody needs one. Or a brown skirt, if you prefer, but a good neutral, sophisticated skirt, one that can go to church and to dinner and to funerals and job interviews and out on the town. The pencil skirt is both classic and current; Gap's clean pencil skirt is also machine washable and not too tight. Perfect.

Great shoes. Amy wants to go all out here, with shoes that she would NOT wear to chase her kids. She has a lot of options: peep toes, slingbacks, pointy pumps, mules -- anything that is not park-friendly works. A pointy toe will elongate her leg and give her a little extra sexy, which is always fun on a night out.

Amy mentioned that the weather was still cool-ish in Atlanta; she has a couple of different options for outerwear. The trench coat is perfect for nights like this, both in terms of the weather and her outfit, or she can opt for a lightweight shawl or wrap, in cashmere or merino wool. Take a tip from celebrities, who have drivers to shuttle them around, and don't worry too much about a heavy coat or sturdy shoes; the whole idea of the limo is that Amy and her friends will be dropped right at the door and met there when it's time to leave. No hiking six blocks to the car for these rock stars! So wear the cute shoes and skip the big coat.

More fashion advice from the Interwebs:

StyleDash's Kristen Seymour answers the perennial question "I'm tall and curvy -- what should I wear?".

Amsale at StyeList muses about how old is too old for the new fashion trends.

NotMartha reviews the Hotel Chocolat Gift Bag for Every Season. What do you mean that has nothing to do with fashion and shopping? It's CHOCOLATE, people. Sheesh.

Susan Wagner writes about fashion at Friday Style and The Working Closet and Fashion Find. She is taking her kids bowling today, which will require some socks. Which she does not own. Hmm.


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