What to Wear to Parties - 5 Cute "Going Out" Outfits

We've found the perfect outfits for your next night out.
Publish date:

Love it or hate it, partying is part of the college experience. From casual dinner parties with your friends to cramped madness and cheap beer at house parties, there's never any shortage of going out opportunities.

And with so many chances to go out at night, that leaves the question - what should I wear for a night out?

Today, I'm here to answer that question, with cute going out outfits, college party outfits, date night outfits, and more, all perfect for fashion girls on a budget.

If you've worn all your dressy clothes to death and want some party clothing inspiration, want to buy new outfits for parties, or just want some new ideas on how to wear your existing stuff, you'll want to keep reading this article.

Here are 5 fabulous "going out" outfits for five different occasions, including perfect college party outfits. You can customize these looks yourself with items you already own and tailor them to suit your personal style as well.

1. Girls' Night Out Outfit

Girls night out outfit with leather jacket, off the shoulder crop top, baker boy cap, mom jeans, sparkle heels, leopard clutch, glittery jewelry

Products: Jacket - Nordstrom, Earrings - Nordstrom, Hat - AEO, Necklace - Neiman Marcus, Crop Top - Free People, Jeans - AEO, Clutch - Nordstrom, Heels - Steve Madden

This look would be perfect for a night out with your favorite girlfriends - whether its dinner and drinks, dancing at a club, or just a cocktail party at your place. When you're choosing a girls night out outfit, you should experiment with trends and have fun with fashion! After all, your girlfriends (more than any guy) will appreciate style risk-taking.

Boyfriend or mom jeans are perfect for a girls night -- men don't seem to understand the trend, but your girlfriends get it. Add a cute off-shoulder crop top to balance out the baggy jeans, and drape a moto jacket over your shoulders. Finish with trendy accessories like a baker boy cap, glitter pumps, a leopard clutch, and gold earrings.

2. Dinner Date Outfit

Date night outfit idea with white body-con dress, gray draped trench, nude heels, pink clutch, rose gold earrings, white nail polish, and Fenty beauty lip gloss

Products: Trench - Boohoo, Dress - Forever 21, Earrings - Nordstrom, Gloss - Sephora, Clutch - Nordstrom, Nail Polish - Amazon, Heels - Lulu's

This pretty dinner date outfit is perfect for having a meal with that special someone. The dress is from Forever 21 so it's ultra-affordable, plus it's sexy without showing a lot of skin. I love the look of a shorter dress with a longer trench or duster over top, so I added this gray duster trench from Boohoo.

I kept accessories sweet and romantic, adding a pretty satin bow clutch in blush pink, star ear-crawlers, and suede ankle strap heels (with a thick enough heel that they're easy to walk in). Finish with a swipe of lip gloss, like this one from Fenty Beauty.

3. Keg/Frat Party Outfit

College party outfit for frat party, keg party, or on campus party -- ripped black jeans, black ankle booties, off the shoulder white top, metallic crossbody bag, red earrings, gold necklaces

Products: Jeans - Topshop, Off-Shoulder Top - Revolve, Earrings - Baublebar, Crossbody - Express, Shoes - Jessica Simpson, Necklaces - Nordstrom, Eyeliner - Sephora

When you're going to a party and there's a good chance you'll get beer spilled on you, you have to dress strategically. College party outfits shouldn't be expensive: No pricey leather shoes or designer bags for this one! You can still look ultra cute though.

For this look, pair your favorite skinnies (these Topshop ones, though they're an investment, are my personal favorite jeans ever) with a pretty off-the-shoulder top. Add lace-up ankle booties, tassel earrings, and a cool metallic clutch. Finish with a swipe of black liquid liner for a cool-girl vibe.

4. Casual Night Out Outfit

Casual night out outfit for college, going to a bar trivia night or drinking at a friend's house: Graphic tee shirt, classic skinny jeans, pink moto jacket, Huda beauty eyeshadow palette, embroidered crossbody bag, pointed toe ankle boots

Products: Tee - Shopbop, Eyeshadow Palette - Sephora, Jacket - Nasty Gal, Jeans - Topshop, Crossbody - Express, Boots - Amazon

If you're heading out to a bar trivia night with your significant other or just hanging out at a friend's place, here's a cute and casual going out outfit that's anything but basic.

I paired simple dark-wash skinny jeans (again with my favorite Topshop Jamie jeans!) with a pretty graphic tee, then layered a pink moto jacket over the top for an edgy but cute feel. Low-heel ankle boots are perfect for a casual night out -- they feel fancy but aren't too dressed up. Finish with a smokey eye and embroidered crossbody bag.

5. Cocktail or Dinner Party Outfit

Cocktail party outfit for college: Green off the shoulder dress, mint clutch, statement star earrings, nude and white floral heels, gold nail polish, red lipstick, gold ponytail holder

Products: Lipstick - Sephora, Hair Accessory - Chloe + Isabel, Dress - Nordstrom, Clutch - Target, Ring - Baublebar, Nail Polish - Amazon, Earrings - Baublebar, Heels - Amazon

If you're in the mood to wear something a little more fun, consider throwing a cocktail or dinner party with your best friends. Make a rule that everyone has to dress up in cocktail attire - it's a great excuse to buy a cute new dress! My friends and I used to do this a lot and it's so much fun. Here's an idea for a cute cocktail party outfit:

For this look, I went bold with a pretty green off-shoulder dress and a mint clutch. Keep the accessories neutral here: I just added beige and white floral heels and gold jewelry. If you want some extra pop, complete the look with a bold red lip.

What do you think?

Now that you've seen my ideas for going out outfits, I want to know what you'd wear! What are your favorite going out outfits? What about college party outfits? How do you accessorize for nights out? What do you think of my choices? Discuss in the comments!

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2008; it was completely updated and revamped in 2018 with new photos, outfit sets, and information.

Going out outfits: Outfit ideas for date night, casual bar, and girls night out, plus more outfits for college girls going to parties

Related Stories