What exactly constitutes a going-out look? No matter how many parties or dinner dates you go to, you may still feel a residual sense of confusion putting together a cute going-out outfit. But, ask women who consider after-hours events a part of their job — DJs, models, designer, and influencers — and it becomes clear that while there's no strict definition, there are certain guidelines to keep in mind when trying to pull something together for a night out.
The six women below have each perfected the concept of going-out dressing in their own way. While they all have a strong sartorial point of view, their advice is especially valuable as they represent those who work in nightlife, who walk red carpets on regular occasion, who design party-ready looks professionally, and who generally live public lives that often includes adhering to a packed social calendar. Their bottom line: Don't feel pressure to conform to any look you're not comfortable with, and make sure your shoes can withstand a night on the dance floor.
Ahead, each of these six experts share what they actually wear for a special night and how they each set their own rules for what constitutes a going-out look.
For model Denise Bidot, going-out looks are all about prioritizing comfort. "There’s no point in going out if you’re not going to have fun and you’re going to be uncomfortable the whole night," she says. It's something she learned the hard way: "That was me at every red carpet. I would put on my most gorgeous outfit, but the whole evening I was tugging and adjusting and pulling down and couldn’t walk and I realized I wasn’t any fun."
After some experience, Bidot says she now prefers a different approach. "I go for a high-waisted trouser and either a sheer bodysuit or a crop top with feathers, sparkles, or something that still indicates night time but allows me to really get down on the dance floor," she explains, adding, "If it’s a bit more casual, maybe a pair of beautiful leather pants."
While these combinations work for her, Bidot emphasizes that style, particularly for a fun evenings out should never feel too prescriptive or strict. "Fashion is no longer meant to limit you, it’s meant to express who you are. Do it however you want to."
Amrit's career goes hand-in-hand with going-out style. She's not only someone who attends parties thrown by brands like Dior, Levi's, and Farfetch, she's the person you can credit in part for their success. And since going-out looks are part of the job, she's nearly got hers down to a science.
"I like to keep things simple with the look itself," she says, explaining her love of tailored pants from brands like Prada, Proenza Schouler, and The Row; bralettes and crop tops (particular one from Aritzia she owns in every color), and a statement jacket to top it off. "There are no rules! My philosophy to putting together looks is always to be comfortable so I can actually have fun and dance. I'm usually in a chunky sneaker or platform for ease, so I'll go over the top with accessories and glam looks," she says, calling out her penchant for Pat McGrath-inspired beauty.
When dress brand Rotate Birger Christensen launched in 2018, along with it came a wave of appreciation for its party looks — ones that blend bold, forward silhouettes with sexy hemlines and more subtle flashes of skin. It's something you can thank creative director Thora Valdimars for. And naturally, it's an approach she adheres to, as well.
"I have a red and black short dress from Rotate's first collection with a bare back and long sleeves," says Valdimars of her go-to look. "I always put a belt on the waist, a pair of beautiful heels, and an eye catching bag."
Copenhagen-based Valdimars says she relies on this formula so often because it can be styled multiple ways. "I feel really comfortable in the dress and love the fit. It makes me feel sexy, and my accessories allow me to have a new take on it every time I go out."
"If there is a last-minute party or event I'm definitely reaching for something eye-catching," says Monroe Steele, an influencer and editor of Steele Magazine, based in New York. "Perhaps shiny or sparkly or a form fitting dress in a bright color like pink, blue or red."
As an entrepreneur, Steele says a form-fitted option works well because it can easily translate from one event to another, if that's what your packed schedule calls for. "You can add a blazer for a more business occasion or go bare for more of a party atmosphere," she says, adding that she always finishes off the look with a heel.
Grece Ghanem is a microbiologist-turned-personal-trainer as well as a constant source of style inspiration. One glimpse at her Instagram page confirms it. And for the fashion influencer who wears several hats, she sticks to a tried-and-true combination anytime party plans arise. "My go-to last minute party look would be hands down a slip dress," she says, calling it her own personal version of the LBD. "I prefer midi silk slip dresses that give a '90s vibe. Throw in a leather jacket or blazer and you have a unique feminine masculine contrasting look."
For a flash of shine, Ghanem prefers to use accessories, "like a bold pair of earrings or maybe a Paco Rabanne iconic chain purse," she explains. "This outfit works well because it is simple yet has a lot of room for creativity and edge."
For designer and model Nadia Aboulhosn, the answer to special event dressing is simple: "A black mini bodycon dress with heels would have to be my going out look because it's so easy, especially if last minute."
Instead of sparkle, Aboulhosn says she looks for unique fabrics, ruching, or lacing in an LBD that make it feel special. "If the party is a little more laid back," she adds, "I'm all about a good pair of hip-hugging, high-waisted jeans and a cute little crop top. I'm also big on slicking back my hair or wearing it up in a ponytail so if I'm dancing, I don't get hot."