I’ve got an old school outfit post for you today, how about that? Just one single outfit. I know, crazytown!
Someone wrote in and asked me what to wear for dinner and drinks, and I thought to myself: I’ve got this. That’s basically all I do for fun.
Seriously, going out to dinner and/or drinks with my husband or good friends is my idea of a good time. Bonus points if it includes live music, but I digress…
This is what I wore for a birthday lunch with a friend last week, and I think it’s such a nice mix of dressy and casual elements.
I don’t usually wear blouses, but this one has such good drape, and the shorter length makes it so much easier to tuck. I’m not dealing with a bunch of excess fabric, and because I prefer a front tuck, it doesn’t hang super long in the back.
It also has really nice details like the covered button placket, relaxed spread collar, and extra long cuffs. This blouse is a 55% silk/45% rayon blend, and it runs true to size.
I paired the ivory blouse with a pair of mid-wash bootcut jeans. I chose jeans with a finished hem to keep the look polished, and I like how the wash is fairly uniform.
There’s some subtle whiskering at the hips and fading on the thighs, but it’s nothing too dramatic. They really walk the line between dressy and casual, and that’s what I’m usually trying to accomplish when I get dressed for a dinner & drinks outfit.
Since this blouse is rather loose and shapeless, I did a front tuck and added a belt. I chose taupe to match my shoes, but I don’t remember which piece I chose first.
The other option would have been black or brown. Any would work since the blouse and jeans are neutrals, but I almost always match my belt and shoes.
And because the weather has been fairly mild here, I opted for open toe booties/sandals in a taupe color. I like how they keep the look light, both in color and in style.
Of course, I won’t be able to wear open toe shoes for long here in Philly, which made me realize as I put this outfit together that I’d like to have a dressy pair of booties in a lighter color like this. I have a couple of black pairs that would qualify, but sometimes I want to wear taupe or cognac.
I was considering this pair in the Dark Amber or these in Stella Suede, but I prefer leather or waterproof suede so I can wear them in the rain. I do have these, but they aren’t quite as dressy as what I have in mind, so I’m still looking.
Okay, back to this outfit…
Accessories are key when it comes to a date night look, and since this outfit is very simple, I added a statement necklace to the neckline of the blouse. I got this mixed stone necklace at White House Black Market a few years ago, and I keep it on hand for outfits like this one that need a little extra “something-something”.
The colors are perfect for fall, but you could wear almost any color with a neutral outfit like this one. I recently saw a very similar style at LOFT, and I love the shades of blush, green and plum.
I absolutely consider my sunglasses an accessory to the outfit; they’re not just for sun protection. I chose the brown instead of my black pair because I wanted a lower contrast with the light neutrals in this outfit.
I also consider a handbag an important accessory to a complete outfit, and I often match my bag to my shoes, but not always.
Taupe would be the obvious choice here, and I have several pretty taupe options that I love, but I used this opportunity to carry the olive green Loewe bag that I purchased in Italy. (I found bags in a similar olive color here and here.)
I like how it adds a new color to the outfit, but the muted shade of olive green blends in nicely with the other light neutral colors I’m wearing. It also just so happens to coordinate perfectly with my necklace. These are such minor details, but they all help to take a basic outfit to the next level.
Alison and I photographed this outfit right before I left for lunch, and I purposefully added the trench coat because the outfit is so plain, not because it was so cold that I really needed a coat to be comfortable… Which this brings me to my next (and final) point about this outfit.
Your coat matters. ESPECIALLY when the outfit does not have a “3rd piece”.
Wearing a coat that complements your outfit and is appropriate for the occasion is one of the things that sets apart a stylish woman from the rest of us, and it’s something I’m trying to remember to do.
That also may require beefing up your coat wardrobe, which is another thing I’ve been working on over the past few years.
I’ve been rewatching Gilmore Girls, and I noticed as I was writing this post while watching the show that Lorelei and Rory regularly wear great coats that match the style and formality of the occasion.
I tend to go without a coat unless I really need it, and I ended up not wearing the trench coat that day, and I wished I had. Not because I was cold, but because when I got to the restaurant, I felt like my outfit looked incomplete.
(After that little lesson learned, I did wear my trench coat a few days later over a more casual dinner and drinks outfit even though I brought a different coat to wear to the marching band cavalcade afterwards.)
It probably sounds like way more effort went into this look than any single outfit should require, but it actually came together very quickly. I’m just trying to break it down for those who like to hear the thought process. This is more or less a formula I use to put outfits together all the time.
The key really is to have the items in your closet to create outfits that work for your life and style.
What is YOUR go-to dinner & drinks outfit???
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photos: Alison Cornell