Dressing Up Denim

During the holiday season, there are so many occasions to dress up, dress casual, and dress like a mix of both.

In my e-newsletters, I shared many ways to dress up and what to wear to five different events. This time, let’s talk about how to dress up denim. Jeans aren’t right for every occasion, but with some fashion finesse, you can make them party ready.

Pretend I’m in your closet right now. Using your jeans as a base, I’m going to help you look through your tops, jackets, jewelry, shoes, and handbags for pieces that will make your outfit party-ready.

It all Starts with the Right Jeans

Here are some general rules for the best jeans to use as your casual chic or elegant casual outfit.

  • The darker the denim, the more dressy and formal it is, which works well with the fancier items you’ll be wearing on top.
  • If your party leans more to casual than elegant and you love jeans that are distressed in some way — holes or fading — plan to wear a dressy shoe.
  • High-rise jeans are a great base. They’ll look great with any fanciful top or jacket.
  • You could start with a denim jean that is coated, so it takes on a different hue. Or consider a jean with some elegant embroidery.
  • Beware: dark indigo jeans can discolor lighter-colored leather handbags. Pay close attention to your handbag selection for the night. They can also stain any part of a lighter-colored bootie that they come into contact with.

Find Unique Jackets in your Closet

Now let’s get to what you’re wearing on top. Jackets can play a crucial role in dressing up jeans. Leave your work jackets out of the mix for now. Focus on more festive choices and think outside the box.

This list of jacket styles we love to dress up your denim.

  • Statement pieces like kimonos, dusters, Asian-inspired jackets, or vintage bed jackets
  • Blazers in velvet, leather, lace or jacquard prints
  • A tuxedo jacket
  • Knit or woven jackets with fur trim
  • A heavily embroidered or quilted jacket

Jewelry Selection is a Must

If you’re wearing simple clothing pieces, then your jewelry choices will lift your outfit into a dressy casual party scene. Go beyond your tried-and-true everyday pieces. Consider vintage or crystal jewelry or any of your fine jewelry like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and pearls.

If you’re wearing tops that are already sequined or jeweled, then your jewelry may need to back off a little.

Here are some ideas for using accessories to make your outfit sparkle and shine.

  • Chandelier earrings or dangly earrings
  • Statement necklaces or double or triple layered chokers
  • A sparkly brooch or a collection of pins worn together
  • Bold cocktail rings, rings on many fingers, or stacks of rings on a finger or two
  • Cuffs or layered bangles that have lots of shimmer and shine
  • Mixing in fine jewelry with costume jewelry

Shoes Matter, both Functionally and Fashionably

You may have shoes in your closet that will only work if you’re sitting at a table, rather than standing at a table all night. Be careful. Know with a two-hour shoe will work or whether or not you need to wear a shoe that you can dance in all night long.

Here are some shoe choices for nightlife.

  • High heels or kitten-heeled pumps in patent leather, exciting colors, or fabrics
  • Comfortable flats that have fanciful details like bows, sequins, ribbons, or appliqué
  • Metallic flats or booties
  • Velvet slippers, flats or booties
  • Heeled sandals

Handbags Need to be a Lot More Special than your Workbag

For many gatherings, the purse you choose only needs to hold your lipstick, a credit card, some cash, and your smartphone. You may have cocktail handbags that you’ve used for years. I encourage you to take a closer look at them this year. Do they still look viable or does yours need an update?

Here are some handbag selections for your jean party outfit.

  • Smaller crossbody bag with chain straps
  • Fabric bags made with beautiful tapestry or damask fabrics
  • Small framed bags including vintage bags
  • A small handbag in an intense color or a metallic
  • Hard, rather than soft, clutch in faux reptile

Could you use a few fancy casual denim outfits in your wardrobe? I’d love to help you assemble them, so you are party ready at any moment. Or maybe you’ve realized some gaps in the “party department” of your wardrobe. Let me help you discover them. We can set up an appointment and get this party started. Call me!

Tops that are Just Right for Going Out

Look at your tops through a ‘dressed up casual’ lens. Do you spot tops that you may have worn in other parts of your life, but that would look well accessorized for denim outfits?

Here are some looks to consider.

  • Blouses with statement sleeves like ruffles, ties, pleats, or ribbons
  • Romantic blouses with lace or leather trim
  • A knit or woven or top in a bold, bright print
  • A sheer print top with a camisole or bustier underneath
  • A sweater with pearl or sequined details, or a cashmere sweater that is delicate or feminine

Could you use a few fancy casual denim outfits in your wardrobe? I’d love to help you assemble them, so you are party ready at any moment. Or maybe you’ve realized some gaps in the “party department” of your wardrobe. Let me help you discover them. We can set up an appointment and get this party started. Call me!