Thursday, May 18, 2017

{ STYLING NOTES } H&M IS YOUR NOT-SO-SECRET DATE NIGHT TOP DEPOT



There was a time, not so long ago, when "Going Out Tops" was a very specific category in my wardrobe. These were tops with a unique purpose—only worn at night, usually between Thursdays and Saturdays exclusively. It was an interesting time in fashion for us all. It was the early aughts.

In 2017 fashion has largely shifted into a more utilitarian mood, and those of us who were young and wild in those carefree days circa 2005 are still pretty young—duh—but also working at actual jobs and incorporating more depth of experience into our lives and naturally, our closets. Spending money on a dress or a top that's only meant to be worn to a bar or a party feels bizarre and a little too niche now. Or does it?

Recently I was bemoaning my lack of "tops" in general to Meghan. I wrote about it in this post a few weeks ago, and discussed my desire for a top I could throw on specifically for dates, which is ridiculous because I don't date nearly enough to warrant the purchasing of items specifically for that purpose. (Same reason I don't buy workout clothes—ba dum bum cha!)

Then I thought about the tagline from Field of Dreamsyou know the one. If I have more things to wear on dates, will more dates come into my life? I know this narrative is really wandering but stick with me. What if I could have it all? A top that serves this specific purpose of being "date-y" but could also be worn for more practical and frequent events, like day drinking with my friends on the weekend or just any ol' Tuesday at the office? Like magic I'd have more outfits for life in general and (maybe) more eligible gentleman in my life.

As you may have surmised from the title of this post, I found what I was looking for at H&M. Let me explain a little more about what I mean through the form of a Q+A that I questioned and answered myself.


SO WHAT, PRAY TELL, IS THIS VERY SPECIFIC DATE NIGHT TOP THAT ALSO WORKS FOR OTHER THINGS?
I would say this top is one that works specifically with your favorite, most flattering jeans or your best mini skirt—the pieces you reach for all the time no matter what the occasion. It's got to have that "I know this will look pretty good no matter how I feel," factor.

My ideal DNT-TAWFOT (Date Night Top That Also Works For Other Things) is pretty but not fussy, shows some skin, but not all of it. The fit is easy, maybe a little flowy—but not overly boxy. A DNT-TAWFOT does not make you question yourself or spend 15 minutes too long pivoting in the mirror wondering if it looks okay. You know you look good in this top—you slip it on and feel great instantly. Whatever your best features are, this top should remind you.

BUT HOW CAN I MAKE A $15 TOP LOOK EXPENSIVE? I LIKE LOOKING EXPENSIVE.
Oh! You want to look expensive in a very inexpensive top? Me too! The first thing to consider is color. Bright, bold colors tend to look cheap when they're not rendered in actual expensive fabrics like silk, cashmere or velvet. Go for subtly first—black, white, navy, cream and blush are great bets. (This top is also very neutral and easy in black/white stripes.) Plus, all of those colors look great with each other, so finding layers, jeans, skirts and accessories to wear with them is much easier.

Next—remember to take good care of your affordable finds. I refresh mine each time I wear them with a steamer, and soak my white tops for a few hours in Oxi Clean every other month to keep them bright. Never put this kind of top in the dryer, either.

Finally, of course, is what you wear with your $15 or $30 DNT-TAWFOT to make it look like it didn't come from a store where a lot of teens shop...

IS THERE A MAGIC FORMULA FOR FEELING VERY DRESSED FOR YOU BUT ALSO A LITTLE BIT DRESSED FOR HIM, TOO?
Personally, when I'm on an early date with a guy, I want my outfit to read equal parts cool, comfortable, confident and feminine. That's a lot to ask both from my clothes and from some dude—but I want what I want. To be honest I've never actually doubled back with my ex lovers to find out if my outfits gave them all those ~*ViBeZ*~ but that's because my feelings about my clothes mean more than his, always.

For me and my body—there is a formula that works every time. I suspect that some version of it will work for you, too. I pair my DNT-TAWFOT with whatever jeans I'm currently obsessed with—right now it's a pair of cropped slightly-flared jeans. (Like these black jeans from 3x1 that I really want.) Then comes shoes. In the colder months I wear my high-heel Vince ankle boots on pretty much every date—so in the spring I switch those up for a block heel sandal, usually my Steve Madden 'Irenee'—which are on sale right now for $55... Or my new M. Gemi mules that are too legit to quit.

Then it's just a couple good accessories—a structured cross body bag that can hang on the back of a chair or on that little hook under the bar, and either a few layered gold necklaces or some fun earrings. Lately that's either these Baublebar tassels or Julie Vos' Grecian-inspired gold hoops.

I'm going to cut myself off here because the truth is, you should wear whatever you want on your next date. Sometimes I wear my Vans slip-ons even though all my friends tell me not to. Sometimes I wear a really short dress because my legs are their own entirely thirsty entity that I cannot control. If you want to wear a graphic tee and culottes or head-to-toe sequins I say go for it—if he doesn't get it, screw it.


// SHOP MY FAVORITE H&M TOPS BELOW //

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