Have you ever wondered what to wear when going from day to evening? As a magazine editor, I often had to go to parties or fashion events right after work, and I used to stress about what to wear — until I finally came up with an “easy evening uniform” based on dressing monochromatically.
Dressing monochromatically or tonally (in other words, wearing shades in the same color family) is my favorite “out the door in 10 minutes” outfit solution. It’s also a stealthy figure-flattery trick. Matching the color of your top and bottom creates a long, unbroken vertical line that can make you appear taller and slimmer. When dressing tonally, just remember to put the darker clothing item where you want to minimize your proportions.
For evenings out, I have turned to this formula over and over again: Sweater + pants + heels + small bag + jewelry. It’s a comfortable, elegant look for a date night, cocktails, dinner at a friend’s house, a gallery opening or the theater.
If you are going out straight from work or a daytime meeting, stick to neutral colors. They make the transition from day to night more easily and always look more expensive than brights, with a quick change of accessories.
One crucial styling tip: Use textural contrasts and shine to enliven your outfit. If you pair a flat knit with wool pants, you may want to go for a metallic shoe or bag and sparkly jewelry. If your sweater is textured (such as an open-weave or a shaker-knit), that adds to the visual interest.
Your accessories are what make the outfit evening-appropriate. Switch your daytime shoe for a heeled sandal or slingback to elevate your style — and to enhance the lengthening effect of your outfit. For evening, a smaller bag, such as a clutch or wristlet, works beautifully. Wristlets have the added advantage of allowing you to go hands-free while enjoying a cocktail or hors d’oeuvres.
Step up the glamour with dramatic jewelry. Sparkly hoops, drop or chandelier earrings pair beautifully with turtlenecks. With an open-neck or crewneck sweater, think statement necklace or pendant. If your sweater has 3/4 or short sleeves — a bold cuff bracelet is an excellent choice. In terms of metals, gold complements warmer colors such as camel and ivory; silver goes well with cooler shades such as navy and gray. Feel free to add a little glitz to the mix, as in diamonds, cubic zirconia or rhinestones. Any of these combinations work with black. Like magic!
Here are some examples of easy evening outfits:
Outfit No. 1: Black cardigan + black bootleg pants + slingback + wristlet + gold cuff
The gold buttons on this knit jacket up the dressy factor and function almost like a piece of jewelry. Push back the sleeves and add a textured gold cuff. The striped wristlet with a gold strap adds drama.