WIW 10.23 [dressy olive and black]

After work tonight my husband and I are headed to the annual Can Can Cabaret Halloween production at the Triple Door in Seattle. There is a huge range of dressiness, from casual to dressy to costumed. Hubby is planning to dress a step below smart-casual (fitted button-down tucked into belted dark blue jeans with nice boots), so I'm going smart-casual (new soft blouse tucked into waxed black jeans with pumps (#1); I feel like I have to dress a step up from him to have the same effective dressiness because whenever I match his dressiness level I always feel under dressed). For work I'm debombshelling a bit by untucking the blouse and swapping the plum evening lip gloss for a peachy-nude (#2).

I've discovered through my time here at YLF that I have a totally different style persona for event dressing: still urban but more bombshell, dialing up the glam even more, and more conventionally flattering and pretty (this is what my husband likes). Since I don't actually have much actual need for "event dress", I keep a small list of items from my wardrobe that fit those desires (as well as holes that need filling) and pull together outfits from there. For a while I struggled with not feeling "special" in event outfits that were composed of my "normal" clothes. But then I realized that in normal work or weekend wear, these pieces often won't get paired together or styled in the event way and THAT'S what should make these event outfits feel special. I'm not 100% there yet but certainly getting closer. This outfit, when tucked, totally hits the mark for me!

Anyone else do something similar for event wear? How do you deal with the idea of feeling special in these outfits that aren't composed of dedicated "event" pieces?

  Newer: blouse, jeans (gift from Una), earrings
  Older: pumps, clutch, sunnies
  Nails: Essie 'Sew Psyched', a grayed olive

Comments, critiques, thoughts and questions welcome!

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • replied 5 years ago

    I think I take the same approach as you:  pairing the same jacket and top with different or "better" jeans and higher heels, adding jewellery and ramping up the makeup.  I think when you have a large enough wardrobe, wearing "normal" clothes for special occasions is easier , assuming you can take breaks between wearing these pieces. If that makes sense;)  

    Now that I think about it, the opposite doesn't hold as true, dailing back not the "fancier' pieces for work purposes....and I"ve probably created a wardrobe that is more a meeting-in-the-middle of dressier vs everyday clothes  . (in other words, it's all one collection that can go both ways).

    That said, you really look great here - kind of a different look for you, and really shows off your terrific physique.  I love that blouse and the nail colour, and only wish I could wear those jeans :)

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    Thanks for the detailed reply Lisa! I was nodding along the whole way. Definitely right about being able to "take breaks" from items; my wardrobe is certainly large enough to accommodate that, even as it continues shrinking. It's interesting that you don't feel dialing back fancier pieces for work is as successful. Do you have some real life examples you'd be willing to share? Perhaps I am just underestimating how dressy you are thinking for the dressy side (since I don't really have anything like that, hah!). I would consider my wardrobe in the middle as well. It can basically do a little business-casual, smart-casual, casual, and the VERY occasional dressy (but not like, dressy dressy you know?). Proper dressy is a true wardrobe hole for me, but I have no desire to fill unless a real event need pops up.

  • carter replied 5 years ago

    Gorgeous blouse. You look stunning, Aida.

  • donnat replied 5 years ago

    That blouse is gorgeous. I feel your eye is miles ahead of mine, so for what is worth, I like the untucked version better. So I would of half tucked. The evening version.

  • bonnie replied 5 years ago

    That blouse is perfect and you look great - better than the model. Love the color combination and it looks wonderful in both versions.

  • replied 5 years ago

    No, I mean what you do - in that I no longer have really dressy pieces in my closet.  I find it easier to dress something up rather than dial something really dressy down.  It's also a function of my preference to look more on the minimal side now than the "fancy" side. Whatever fancy even is anymore ;) 

  • Firecracker replied 5 years ago

    This outfit is stunning, Aida. And of course I love the colors (and would wear that blouse myself!).The clutch is awesome with the outfit, the way it complements the colors and pattern in the blouse. Love the big rock earrings. Your shiny higher-heeled pumps add so much to the glam appeal, too.

    Speaking of which, that's the main way that I dress up a look--wear pumps. Because no matter how much I thought I would become an everyday-pump kind of gal (with each pair of pumps I buy), it just hasn't happened yet. I don't have a formal capsule at all. A dress and heels is as dressy as I get.

  • annagybe replied 5 years ago

    Don't really see bombshell. But I do prefer it tucked. I think in day and age in Seattle it really doesn't matter anyways.

    ETA the true rockabilly/bombshell subculture in Seattle has died out it seems. Used to be pretty strong in Ballard.

  • Gigi replied 5 years ago

    Nice outfit! I have a pair of jeans that look to be similar--a coated jean that has a bit of a sheen to it. I too use mine for event wear as well as for daily dress when the mood strikes.

    I haven't ever thought about it, but I do the same as you for the most part: I don't have many pieces that are special-occasion only. In fact, I can think of only two dresses off the top of my head. I choose items from my everyday closet, but I tend to choose items that are drapey rather than knit, and items that have some kind of sheen or sparkle (like the coated jeans, or maybe something with metallic fabric or some rhinestones). Shoes are very important (preferably heels), and I find that having painted toenails with an open-toed shoe adds to the glam. Like lisap, I also try to ramp up the makeup and maybe add some jewelry.

    Thanks for this post! I have only recently been focusing on developing a going-out capsule, and this post is making me think more in terms of items that can do double duty.

  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago

    Love the blurry plaid blouse!  Marc Jacobs had some fuzzy plaid recently and I missed out on it, it's so fun.  His was pink and more high contrast & in your face, this blouse looks so much more wearable.  Good job Express!

    Question:  are belts with full tucking out?  I notice no belt on you, no belt on the Express model.

    I agree that we might take on a different persona when it comes to event dressing.  I especially do this if I'm going somewhere with older people in my family, like parents of in laws.

    I'm keen to hear how the party went.  I'm sure you were one of the prettiest girls there.

  • replied 5 years ago

    Aida, I follow exactly the same system as you for events (though I rarely have a social life so no need for fancy clothes anyway). I always have to make up an outfit from 'normal' everyday clothes by combining them in a dressier way. I really like the subtle differences you have in the two looks and as always you look wonderful!

  • Bijou replied 5 years ago

    I have few needs for really dressy wear, but I find having a selection of silk and lace tops to be very versatile.  I dress them down with denim jeans and dress them up with dressy pants or skirts. I love to wear dresses, but feel these are harder to dress up or down than separates. Accessories are often what will elevate a look for me.  Heels and clutches help to dress up a more casual look.

    You look stunning in this look - the blouse is superb. 

  • replied 5 years ago

    Wow.  Just wow.  

    You have so many perfect WIWs.  Yet this one is one of my favorites.  

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    FWIW Aida, I think you always look pretty, and you DO look especially pretty in this killer simple outfit. I prefer the tucked version in #1 just a little more. 

    For special events, I tend to dress more ladylike. Sometimes it's more classic, and sometimes it's more trendy. 

  • Colette replied 5 years ago

    You look great. I really like this outfit and I would love those pants and blouse. I rarely have to dress up anymore but when I do I have to be more creative and push myself because my default is towards super conservative.

  • JAileen replied 5 years ago

    Beautiful outfit! I love the blouse, the print and the colors.

  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    Gorgeous. I think I like it tucked out. But also good tucked in although I feel like adding a belt? Is that wrong? My events are so radically different than my day to day life that I have two wardrobes - but within day to day their is dressier and more casual. Well, let's just say I have plenty of clothes to cover most situations.

  • rachylou replied 5 years ago

    Fantastic. And yes, hot! Lol. I think I'm the reverse: I have dedicated event wear that steals into the every day.

  • Joy replied 5 years ago

    You look gorgeous!
    I aspire to do what you have done here and dress up everyday pieces for events. I think I have some pieces to do this but need to take time to make some outfits. It doesn't help that I don't work so I need to go from MOTG to event. Please continue to show us your stylings as they give us ideas. I bought some gold metallic jeans about a years ago for this but need to figure out how to style them for everyday as well as events.

  • Stephanie replied 5 years ago

    You look stunning! I can definitely relate to what you've said about event dressing. I have a few nice dresses I save for special occasions, but most of the time I just dress up what I already have in order to create evening looks since I rarely need very dressy clothes. On the bright side, doing this is a good exercise in creativity :) I think you're right in realizing that your normal everyday items take on the special vibe in that what you pair them with for events is totally different and new from your everyday.

  • Maneera replied 5 years ago

    You look lovely! And I agree with Angie - you always always always look very pretty :)

  • catgirl replied 5 years ago

    You bring pretty (in the best way) to the table no matter what! The jeans are of course perfect and the blouse is wonderful with it.

  • dakotacheryl replied 5 years ago

    LOVE these pieces on you.

    I have not been to an event requiring true "dressy" clothes for many years. So, like others have already stated, I use accessories to dress up a black pencil skirt when needed.

    Shoes that have a higher heel, and more details, swingy sparkly earrings, red lipstick and a great clutch (which you had here).

  • Janet replied 5 years ago

    I agree that dressing up now is rarely something that requires visiting the "occasion wear" department. In fact, sometimes I wonder how much business those departments filled with sparkly dresses get anymore. I have one beautiful beaded cocktail dress that I keep just in case, but otherwise, that requirement in my wardrobe has been taken over by pieces that dress up but also can be worn every day with a change in footwear and accessories.

    I can also relate to going out with a SO and not wanting to be overly over-dressed compared to what they are wearing! So I default to dark wash jeans or slim black pants with heels and a silk shirt for "dressy" wear quite a bit. I have been cleaning my closet, and I'm now down to only four fall/winter appropriate dresses, which is the least I have ever owned in my life. My skirts have similarly been thinned out. Casualization has definitely taken over the style landscape.

    This is a beautiful outfit and I love this silhouette on you.

  • lyn67 replied 5 years ago

    Love your outfit, that blouse is glorious with those waxed jeans (no matter tucked in or left out!)! That clutch is another showstopper, and you look killer in both renditions!!!!
    I do have different capsule for events, but you gave me food for further thought:
    "I keep a small list of items from my wardrobe that fit those (dressy) desires (as well as holes that need filling) and pull together outfits from there. For a while I struggled with not feeling "special" in event outfits that were composed of my "normal" clothes. But then I realized that in normal work or weekend wear, these pieces often won't get paired together or styled in the event way and THAT'S what should make these event outfits feel special".
    This is  such a great post and I've learnt a lot from your analysis, thanx for doing this thread. 

    ETA, after reading some comments: Those of you who no longer have really dressy pieces in your closet and  find it easier to dress something up rather than dial something really dressy down think your everyday pieces are already a step up a notch in quality and nature so  perfectly suitable to make an outfit for an event  with a look on the minimal side you would be after! (I quoted Lisa here). 

    That is a great place to be, and would like me to get there once, already closer and closer:-)). 

  • Marie replied 5 years ago

    I LOVE your outfit & especially love your longer hair. Your hair is glorious.

  • Karie replied 5 years ago

    I love your outfit, and I typically dress for events the same way. My everyday dressing is quite dressy, so for events I love to bring out my jeans, a trendy top and a cute pair of shoes (usually heels).

  • Sal replied 5 years ago

    That is a lovely outfit, and I prefer it tucked!!

    I too can relate to trying to kind of complement a very casual other half!!

    I do have a few evening only pieces that I try to wear as much as possible.  But I also dress up a few day pieces with heels, nicer hair and jewelry.  My evening/going out style is a bit more bombshell, more fitted, redder lips, and sometimes cleavage depending on the occasion.  Half my dressy nights would be girls nights out, and the rest a mix of birthday parties, concerts, and special occasions. 

    But like many of you, dressing has become so casual for many occasions.  I prefer at night to be at the dressy end, rather than the casual end, but not TOO extreme.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I love the shoes, of course!
    I think I need a pair of leather/pleather pants to be able to do the mid-level dressiness you show here. It seems like this type of pant is so versatile...

    Right now, I feel mostly underdressed for out-to-dinner occasions, and typically wear denim, heels, and a silk top (my every day wear). I have so much denim that I really do need separate set of clothing for the dressiest, Office Christmas party-type events. I've got a sequined mini skirt and drapey silk top, as well as a LBD and black pashmina for that.

    I'd love to show up at a Christmas party in black leather pants and a tuxedo jacket :-)

  • Aida replied 5 years ago

    Ladies! Thanks so much for all the lovey comments, but especially for sharing your dressy capsule approaches. It was fantastic to read through.

    And in case it didn't come across clearly in my original post, I actually often feel under-dressed next to my husband (who bats for Team Dressy and Team Few Items But Best Quality) when I try to dress at the same "dressiness level" as he; for example if he dresses casually, I need to do smart-casual because his "casual" is dressier than my "casual." I can certainly appreciate both directions of this when trying to dress in a way that compliments our other halves, though! It can be tricky at times to be sure.

    Lisa, thanks for clarifying. I wonder if being able to dress more common items up feels better because those items are getting more use on a day-to-day basis. Whereas keeping really dressy items feels a little less versatile; there are often more ways to dress an item UP than to dress an item DOWN.

    Sharan, Gigi, Bijou, Dakotacheryl, Karie, and Sally, heels are certainly  a quick way to step an outfit up in dressiness, and my go-to. Though my husband prefers flats, so I also will wear my dressy flats for some occasions. And like you gals I also like to add additional sparkle, but of course since I bat for Team Daytime Sparkle I have to really ramp it up for event wear ;)

    Anna, hah! Yes you are totally right, this is NOT bombshell. I just felt like it because it's more fitted overall than what I usually wear. The top would have to be a fair amount more fitted, certainly. I think that's about what I can manage right now though. David was totally with you on this too, he specifically asked me to tell you he agrees :) Too bad about the Seattle rockabilly scene. Back in my band days I loved playing Ballard, the crowds were always super fun and I felt very comfortable there (especially early on when I was dressing more rockabilly for our shows).

    Denise, hmm good question on the belt. I don't know! Now that I look at it I guess my outfit is quite similar to the stock photo. I suppose it's a way to get the crisper dressiness of fully tucking without it feeling overly formal, which is what I was going for. The show was fun! As expected a full range of dress, and several fun costumes. I felt perfectly in place.

    Angie, I love that your event dressing still includes "trendy". I really like trendier event dressing but I definitely tone that aspect down when out with my husband since he does not. He did like this outfit, weird coated jeans and all, so I was very happy!

    Jaime, how fun that you have a nice range of dressy events to attend! I have the utmost confidence in your amazing wardrobe's ability to handle anything that pops up ^^ Re the belt, see my reply to Denise above!

    Rachy, teehee well it seems you are one of the few to prefer dressing down the dressy! Totally fits and totally makes sense.

    Janet, most of the time I see those sparkly dress departments devoid of clients, and when they're there they seem to be younger (under 25). I don't have any cocktail dresses but have been thinking it might be nice to have one as an option. I'm thinking orange or red :)

    Smittie, I purposely don't include any denim (except something very special, like this coated pair) in my event capsule -- already wear jeans plenty as is! Love the idea of a sequin skirt. I've been on the hunt for a sequin jacket for a while now, too! I like the sound of your dream Xmas party outfit ^^

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