Girl About Town: What to Wear on a Fancy Night Out

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Shannon - Boston University
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Photo: ELLE

When it comes to a night out on the town, there's always the pressing question of what to wear. Last time, we focused on style ideas for more casual venues, and this time around we've rounded up some cute ways to amp up your fashion game when you're headed out to a dressier occasion.

Keep reading to see what to wear out to a nice restaurant, a cocktail lounge, and a nightclub.

Nice Restaurant

What to wear to a nice restaurant


Product Information: Top, Ponte Pants, Boots, Satchel, Ponytail Holder, Earrings, Eyeshadow Stick

Whether you're headed out on a romantic dinner date or a fun Restaurant Week meal with your friends, your outfit can make or break the night. I'm being totally serious here, guys. Ever worn an uncomfortably tight dress and had to eschew the last delicious bites of dessert for genuine fear of breaking the zipper? Or spilled soy sauce all over a brand new cream-colored blouse? Or set a billowy sleeve afire with one of those little ambiance-setting tea candles? (Okay, the last one hasn't happened to me... yet, but you get the point.)

A cute, dark-colored blouse in a washable fabric is super-comfy but looks put-together, especially when paired with sleek over-the-knee riding boots. I'm all for a good pair of leggings or ponte pants, as long as they pass the opaque-even-when-bending-over/no VPL/no camel-toe test. Trust me, it's a better look than secretly unbuttoning your jeans under the table because you're too full, and then forgetting to re-button before you stand up.

Complete your look with a structured satchel and trendy ear cuffs. Forget the statement lip (who wants to worry about getting the dreaded lip-ring when you could be focusing on your tasty entree instead?) and go for a smokey eye instead - the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick is pricey, but it's a worthy investment. I've been using mine (in Khaki) every day since I purchased it and it's fantastic.

Cocktail Lounge

What to wear to a cocktail lounge


Product Information: Blazer, Top, Skirt, Boots, Necklace, Wristlet

Something like a hybrid of an upscale restaurant and a subdued nightclub, the cocktail lounge is a great place to relax and engage in some sort of intellectually stimulating conversation with a mysterious stranger. Or, you know, watch other people do that. I had no idea such places even existed until a friend dragged me to a fancy hotel bar downtown one night. The clientele for cocktail lounges where I live skews a bit older; think more young professional than co-ed.

At first, I was a little intimidated whenever I went to that lounge - everyone seemed so hip and cool! - but it also felt exciting to pretend to be more grown-up than I really felt. And most importantly, it gave me a chance to dress up!

For the cocktail lounge, go for tasteful glamour. Instead of full-on sequins, opt for a shimmery yet conservative pencil skirt. Throw on a simple black blazer and breezy tank, then jazz it up with a pair of killer ankle boots and an elegant pendant. Last but not least, a geometric wristlet looks sophisticated but will keep your hands free.

Nightclub

what to wear to a nightclub


Product Information: Jumpsuit, Heels, Jacket, Clutch, Lipstick, Brow Gel

The ritual of getting ready for a night at the club is half the fun! While the bandage dress, tank and bodycon skirt, and flowy top with jeans outfit formulas are tried-and-true favorites, why not spice up your night with a more unexpected look?

A sleek, well-fitting jumpsuit is sexy and daring without showing too much skin. Plus, a monochromatic jumpsuit visually lengthens your body, making you look taller and slimmer. Just make sure that it fits well: it should skim your body without bunching up at the crotch area. If you prefer keeping your shoulders covered, a lightweight kimono-style jacket or a thin cardigan look cute but won't make you overheat on the dance floor.

Keep the drama going with your accessories: a pair of cutout heels and a tough knuckle clutch will definitely turn heads! Strong brows are still a hot trend, and you can never go wrong with a vampy red lip.

What did you think?

Would you wear these outfits? What's your go-to formula for dressing up? Tell me your thoughts by leaving a comment.