If you’re anything like us, you have an embarrassing number of amazing party outfits and dazzling dresses in your closet staring at you on the daily. But what you don’t have is a festive function in sight on your schedule — or, at least not one where you can recycle the same ensemble.
So, what’s a girl to do? Don’t wait for the invitation to that next soirée. Instead, whip out those looks to wear by day. With these 10 simple strategies, you can style those outfits into more casual looks and get way more use out of your favorite party outfits — even without the party.
1. Strategic layers
If one of your favorite going-out looks is a sexy bustier top, don’t write off the piece if there’s no party in sight. Instead, make the top daytime-appropriate by layering it over a knit top or a lightweight shirt dress. Then, top it off with a chunky sweater or jacket. The knit or dress underneath will take away some of the skin-baring quality that’s a bit too dramatic for the day-to-day, and the jacket on top will add more on-trend visual interest along with a streetwear-chic finish.
2. Denim for days
Denim can be your new best friend when it comes to taking any party look into the light of day. It is a surefire way to send a more casual message — and it goes with practically anything. That little black dress? Throw on a fitted denim jacket and a pair of chic sneakers, and take your LBD from fashion soirée to football stadium. Or, color outside the lines even more by tying a lightweight denim shirt or jacket around your waist as a sporty counterpoint to a lacy dress, then top it off with a pair of ankle booties.
3. Blazer daze
One of the most effortless and entirely chic ways to make an after-dark dress appropriate for the office is with a blazer, preferably an elongated or belted one. The sharp structure of the tailored jacket brings a more serious (but certainly not stuffy) mood to the party look. To tame the dressy factor even more, wear a pair of mules or flats rather than high heels.
4. Sneaker-ing around
Ah, a crisp white pair of sneakers … there’s nothing much they don’t play well with. Even if you’re fundamentally against wearing sneakers anywhere other than the gym, give them a run for their money. Designers have fashioned a whole new breed of kicks that have cool-girl written all over them. Plus, they’ll take your favorite LBD or midi dress down a few notches, so you can run errands without missing a beat, proving you don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style.
5. Moto jacket mood
To immediately edge up a sweetly chic dress, all it takes is a black leather moto jacket. It will update the entire look and also make it more appropriate for daily wear. The same goes for any of those long and languid jumpsuits that you may not know how to wear again — a cropped moto can transform the one-piece into a whole new outfit.
6. Sweater weather
A cozy, chunky knit can be a cocktail frock’s perfect companion — and don’t be afraid of the mixed textures. It looks very relevant and on-trend. Throw an oversized nubby sweater over a lace LBD or try a classy, fitted mock-neck knit on top of that feminine dress. It will also make those skimpier dresses suitable for colder weather.
The sweater can likewise save a leather miniskirt from not being worn again; it will immediately make the leather appropriate for everything from a business meeting to brunch. Just make sure you swap your stilettos for booties (or even that cool-girl pair of sneakers) for a sportier rendition of the mini.
7. Plain white Ts
Layer your LBD over a T-shirt for a look that’s more casual and super street-style savvy, making it into an ensemble that oozes casual Parisian charm. You can also grunge it up a bit with black ankle boots and a distressed leather jacket to go with the look. And if you want to wear that sultry bustier top to brunch, simply layer it over a thin white T-shirt and pair it with skinny denim jeans, and you’re all set.
Speaking of jeans, denim is again relevant when it comes to re-wearing an alternate version of that party dress that’s been patiently waiting in your closet to make an appearance. Even a flowing, chiffon frock can make a style-forward statement over jeans as long as you wear the look with confidence.
9. Belt it out
When in doubt, add a belt. It’s one of the easiest ways to transform a party outfit, plus it has the added bonus of cinching in your waist. The sky’s the limit when it comes to this accessory. A wide, obi-like sash can add Asian inspiration to an ensemble, while a casual leather buckle belt immediately makes a dressier gown approachable.
10. It’s in the bag
Accessories can be everything when it comes to getting more mileage out of your party outfits, as seen with belts. But handbags also deserve their own credit. Oversized cross-body bags and big, punchy purses can give a look a totally new lease on life. Don’t be afraid to go bold, either. With this bag of tricks, plus the other nine looks on this list, you’ll be dressed to impress while showing some love to all those party outfits you’ve left behind.