You’ve been invited to a party and the invitation calls for dressy casual.
Sure, you have both dressy outfits and casual outfits in your closet. Great.
But how do you mix the two?
Would you be surprised if I suggested you start with jeans?
Jeans aren’t right for every occasion, but with some style savvy you can make them party ready.
Pretend I’m in your closet right now.
Using your jeans as a base, I’m going to help you look through your tops, jackets, jewellery, shoes, and handbags for ingredients that will make you party-ready.
When you see your wardrobe through my eyes, you’ll be surprised at how ready you can be when that friend of yours calls and says, “I’m going to a dressy casual event tonight. Want to come with me?”
1. It all starts with the RIGHT jeans.
Here are some general rules for the best jeans to use for your casual chic or elegant casual outfit.
– The darker the denim, the more dressy and formal it is (which works well with the fancier items you’ll be wearing on top).
– If your party leans more to casual than elegant and you love jeans that are distressed in some way (holes or fading), plan to wear a dressy shoe.
– You could start with a denim jean that is coated, so it takes on a different hue.
– Or consider a jean with some elegant embroidery or other embellishment – a great option is the grey velvet stripe jeans in my new online boutique which have an amazing mid rise fit and are super comfy with just the right amount of stretch!!! Just sayin’. 🙂
2. Find unique jackets in your closet.
Now let’s get to what you’re wearing on top because jackets can play a crucial role in dressing up jeans.
Leave your work jackets out of the mix for now though, and let’s focus on more festive choices and think outside the box.
Here are some of my personal fave jacket styles to dress up your denim…
– Statement pieces like kimonos, dusters, Asian-inspired jackets, or vintage beaded jackets.
– Blazers in velvet, leather, lace or jacquard prints.
– A tuxedo jacket.
– Knit or woven jackets with fur trim.
– A heavily embroidered or quilted jacket.
3. Tops that are just right for going out.
Look at your tops through a ‘dressed up casual’ lens.
Do you spot tops that you may have worn in other parts of your life, but that would look well accessorized for denim outfits?
Here are some looks to consider…
– Blouses with statement sleeves like ruffles, ties, pleats, or ribbons.
– Romantic blouses with lace or leather trim.
– A knit or woven or top in a bold, bright print.
– A sheer print top with a camisole or bustier underneath.
– A sweater with pearl or sequined details, or a cashmere sweater that is delicate or feminine.
4. Jewellery selection is a must.
If you’re wearing simple clothing pieces, then your jewellery choices will lift your outfit into a dressy casual party scene.
Go beyond your tried-and-true everyday pieces and consider vintage or crystal jewellery, or any of your fine jewellery like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls.
If you’re wearing tops that are already sequined or jewelled, then your jewellery may need to be more simple.
Here are some ideas for using accessories to make your outfit sparkle and shine:
– Chandelier earrings or dangly earrings.
– Statement necklaces or double or triple layered chokers.
– A sparkly brooch or a collection of pins worn together.
– Bold cocktail rings, rings on many fingers, or stacks of rings on a finger or two.
– Cuffs or layered bangles that have lots of shimmer and shine.
– Mixing in fine jewelry with costume jewelry.
5. Shoes matter, both functionally and fashionably.
You may have shoes in your closet that will only work if you’re sitting at a table (rather than standing all night), so be careful when picking which shoe to wear.
Know whether a two-hour shoe will work or whether you need a shoe that you can dance in all night long.
Here are some shoe choices for dressing up your nighttime denim look…
– High heels or kitten-heeled pumps in patent leather, fun colours, or fabrics.
– Comfortable flats that have playful details like bows, sequins, ribbons, or appliques.
– Metallic flats or booties.
– Velvet slippers, flats or booties.
– Heeled sandals.
6. Handbags need to be a lot more special than your everyday purse.
For many gatherings, the purse you choose only needs to hold your lipstick, a credit card, some cash, and your smartphone.
You may have cocktail handbags that you’ve used for years, but I encourage you to take a closer look at them this year. Do they still look viable or does yours need an update?
Here are some handbag selections for your jean party outfit…
– A smaller cross body bag with chain straps.
– Fabric bags made with beautiful tapestry or damask fabrics.
– Small framed bags including vintage bags.
– A small handbag in an intense colour or a metallic.
– A small clutch in faux reptile or animal print.
So, there you go – there are tons of ways to wear denim and still look dressy!
Could you use a few fancy casual denim outfits in your wardrobe? I’d love to help you assemble them, so you are party ready at any moment.
Or maybe you’ve realized some gaps in the “party department” of your wardrobe.
Let me help you discover them – we can set up an appointment and get this party started!