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Ask Belle: Going Out Staples

This week, we’ve talked about casual staples and career staples, but what about staples for going out on the town?  Unlike the two previous categories, I don’t go out enough to justify having three sets of party clothes (fall/winter, spring, summer).  So I have to make one set work for winter/spring/fall and one for summer.  Here are some versatile staples that can work in multiple seasons.

Dress: Rebecca Taylor Lace Detail Dress ($206) Top: DvF Raechel Top ($385) Pants: J.CREW Stovepipe Trouser ($178) Dress: Versus Cutout Minidress ($330) Shoes: Harlen Sandal ($99) Earrings: Kevia Crystal Earrings ($85) Bag: Demi Exotic Minaudiere ($27) Earrings: Berry Mixed Stud ($28) Bracelet: Mod Cuff ($38) Belt: Club Monaco Ana Obi belt ($69) Bag: Harlow Clutch ($78) Shoes: Ryder Pump ($120) Earrings: Alanna Druzy Earrings ($95) Shoes: Jessy sandals ($169) Dress: Rebecca Taylor Draped Dress ($158)

Lace Dress.  Every woman should have a little black dress.  If you like boxy, modern shifts, buy one of those.  If you like breezy chiffon, buy that.  If you like simple, simple, simple, choose that.  I like lace.  It’s pretty, a little bit more interesting than plain wool and ageless.

Want something cheaper?  This cap sleeve dress is nice for $76. Plus sized? This long sleeve mini has a touch of old Hollywood.

Sequin Top and Trousers.  There are so few occasions in life where we can dress up, that I don’t believe in wearing jeans to evening events unless they are very casual events.  Instead, I prefer to wear a well cut trouser with a sequin top.  You can choose slim cut cropped pants or wide legs is these straight legs don’t suit you. 

This sequin top is so totally unique, there is no way I could find a comparable alternative.  So let’s just stare and dream for a moment, shall we?  Need something less expensive? I would go for pailettes over traditional sequins and choose this sleeveless top.  And if you’re plus, size try this one.

A Colored Dress.  I think every woman should have a brightly colored dress in their wardrobe.  Or at the minimum a colored dress.  I love this bright punchy pink.  It is so fun.  And unlike most of the pieces in this set, could be worn in spring or summer.  You could even pull it off in the fall/winter with the right accessories.

If you’d like a deeper pink, try this DKNY number.  Or you can rent this punch-pink one shoulder dress for $50.

A Jersey Dress. A draped jersey dress like this Rebecca Taylor number is a great option for people who attend events that require attire that falls somewhere between casual and cocktail.  (If you’re a medium, you can pick it up for $79 at Bloomie’s.)  I chose the grey because it works in any season, but is still an alternative to black.  This Ann Taylor dress is also a good option at $118 and comes in three colors.  Plus size? Try this black one.

Shoes.  I have three pairs of going out shoes: black sandals, black pumps and nude sandals.  You could also choose a pair of nude peep toes.  Later on, you can add colored shoes or satin flats, but this is as good a place as any to start.

Jewels.  For this set, I chose three pairs of earrings and a simple resin cuff.  The druzies sparkle but have a bit of edge, the cluster stones bring a hint of color and the drops are pretty without being too sparkly.  I think The Outnet and Max & Chloe are the best places to find cool jewels in a wide range of prices. 

Bags.  I would start with one black envelope clutch and one minaudiere in the color of your choice.  If you want sequins, that’s up to you.  If you go out a lot, a pop of color or some leopard could be nice too.  And if you want to stock up without breaking the bank, hit up vintage and consignment store and my fave online retailer for inexpensive accessories, ASOS.

Check back later today for some outfits made from these pieces.



  1. helixy says:


    How I wish it were in a friendlier price point! I love it.

    January 25, 2013/Reply
  2. Christina says:

    Such gorgeous pieces! I am always compelled to buy everything you post / recommend! Just purchase the Rebecca Taylor Drape Dress, and FYI 40% off Sale with Code RT13EXTRA40A and don't forget Ebates (just thought I would share the find ­čÖé

    January 25, 2013/Reply
  3. CynthiaW says:

    Sigh… you've sold out another dress, Belle. That's what I get for not checking first thing this morning -now I will mourn the loss of that Rebecca Taylor..

    January 28, 2013/Reply