Personally, I hate the idea of saving certain items in my closet only for special occasions or feeling like I can’t wear a piece that I love for fear of looking overdressed. I want to be able to utilize my whole closet, on weekends and weekdays alike.
Of course, there are no rules in fashion and there’s no reason that you can’t be unabashedly over-the-top fancy whenever you like. If you feel like going to class on a Tuesday in a metallic crop top with a tulle sequined skirt and six-inch heels, then by all means go for it! But if you feel comfortable sticking to a more modest, social-norm-conforming style of dressing, like me, then here are some ideas for how to dress down your party clothes so that they’re wearable for everyday life!
1. Pair crop tops with high waisted bottoms and a light jacket or cardigan like the black sweater I’m wearing here. This is an easy way to decide how much skin you want to show to keep yourself comfortable and confident.
2. Normally I’d only wear these heels for formal events, but a monochromatic black outfit seamlessly incorporates the black shoes! The simplicity of all-black-everything makes the outfit feel understated and not over-the-top fancy.
3. This jumpsuit is one of my favorite things in my closet, but sometimes the print can feel overwhelmingly bold. I like to add casual shoes, like these black and white sneakers, and layer a black tee over the jumpsuit to give it the more laid-back appearance of shirt+pants.
4. I’m a huge fan of the off-the-shoulder silhouette, but I like to layer this top with a vest for two reasons: the top itself is extremely tight–not exactly something I’d want to wear to class; and adding the vest means that I can wear a normal bra and not think about hiding the straps. And let’s be honest, you can never really go wrong with a leather vest!
5. Now that the temperatures are starting to rise, I’m eager to pull out all of my skirts and dresses. This floral dress is one of my favorites because of the bold color and pattern, but it’s a little chilly to wear all on its own. That’s why I layered this tee underneath! It covers up some skin so that I feel more comfortable and keeps the look seasonally appropriate (Note: when layering tees under dresses, choose a shirt with a high neck that is completely above the dress’ neckline).
6. Another trick I like to use is to mix “high” fabrics or textures with “low” to create an outfit that isn’t too fancy or too casual. Here, I paired my velvet top with ripped denim to balance out the formality of the shiny silver velvet. Another example is wearing a lace tank top (fancy fabric and texture) with basic black leggings (casual fabric and texture).
I hope these ideas inspired you to break out those party clothes the next time you can’t figure out what to wear to class! Whatever you wear, remember that confidence is the best accessory to any outfit; so go out there and rock it!
All photos courtesy of Emily Waterhouse (photographer) and Ariana Infanti