Style

What Do You Wear on Nights Out?

Joanna Goddard Cup of Jo

What do you wear when you go out at night? For the past five years, I’ve worn a black top, jeans and heels (see above!) to dinners and parties, but the black top recently got a stain. So, I’m looking for an easy top for the next five years. Here are a few options…

Thoughts? Which do you like? And what do you usually wear to parties? These shoes are so cute, too.

P.S. My packing list for England, and Kelsey’s 14 favorite size-inclusive brands.

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  1. Maureen says...

    Love the black polka dotted top!

  2. Lisa says...

    I think a deep v cashmere sweater like the boyfriend one you love from J Crew would be a perfect replacement. I have a going out uniform lately. I always feel myself and know I look good in it.

  3. Sarah Clews says...

    I’m always cold and we frequently do a restaurant date so I always choose something I will be warm enough in. Sexy is overrated if I’m shivering the whole time! I do like to wear one of my dressier outfits but I usually wear comfortable shoes (my feet will be under the table most of the time anyway!).

  4. Carmen says...

    Only one going out top (every 5 years)?! Eek! That now stained top does look very comfy, perfect for the movies or daywear with trackies and trainers!

    From the design options you listed, the Boho one, in black? I really love the ruffled one, but think it’s more for daytime or office wear than evening. Personally they’re not quite evening enough for me – I like something more tailored or more dressy or more bohemian. Plain black velvet halterneck? Navy silk, maybe with a silver stripe running through it? Plain red silk? I also always wear flats – boots, shoes or trainers, though I do wear wedge sandals in summer – on overseas holidays.

    My favourite shop for going out tops is Anthropologie hands down. Then Zara. I literally could buy my entire wardrobe, and home decor, from Anthro actually.

  5. El says...

    I’ve worn a long-sleeved cotton black eyelet top from Madewell for years– grabbed it on sale, and it’s just the best. Depending on how you style it it’s kind of goth Victorian or very easy bohemian, the dark color keeps it subdued (not too 70s) and it’s pretty stain-proof! (Madewell almost always has a few of these styles– probably some of the ones linked above are from them, I haven’t checked yet. Zara also has some, but be sure to get a natural fiber like linen or cotton.)

  6. jane says...

    I love the dotted black top and the white lace boho in the upper left corner – both very charming.

  7. Maire says...

    For some reason, I have gotten really into a Sandra Dee look for date night. Black jeans, black pleated satin cami and then in the summer, heeled slides that are red and in the winter, black booties and a furry leopard print jacket on top!

    • Dana says...

      That sounds perfect!

  8. SusieG says...

    They’re all gorgeous and would look great on you. Personal vote is for the eyelet.

  9. Brittany says...

    While I love most of these looks, I’d love to see things I can actually afford. I get that it’s supposed to last for years and years, but I’ve had much less expensive shirts last a long time. And it’s one short. I’d rather spend the same amount of money and get two or three shirts for the same quality that will last.

    • Becky says...

      I often take inspiration from the expensive pieces and find something similar ( or not!) at H&M or Forever21. I’m in my 30s and still shop at both.

  10. Sharon says...

    You look so good Joanna! I love how classic and timeless your look is.

  11. Rosie says...

    No matter what season I wear a satin camisole and jeans. In the winter I top it with a leather jacket or blazer and wear ankle boots, but in the summer I just wear flat sandals. Add a dangly earring or mid-size hoop and I’m in business!

    • Jenny says...

      Rosie, what kind of bra do you wear underneath? I love the idea of a cami, but I feel stymied by whipping out a strapless

    • L says...

      Yes, i love this look, both the summer and winter versions! I have yet to find a camisole I feel comfortable wearing without a bra, but it’s such a chic look if you can swing it :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      this sounds so pretty, rosie!!

    • Laura says...

      I got some Nippies on the recommendation of a past beauty uniform (Sukhie Patel) and they are perfect for this kind of top! May not work if you need some extra support, but if you are smaller-chested like me, they are awesome!

  12. Jennifer says...

    No puffed sleeves. Ever. You will regret. Ruffles are at most an occasional pleasure, not a go-to evening outfit. All these tops are too fussy. Not too fussy to wear once or twice–but too fussy to wear month after month, year after year. Oh, and by the way–you’re getting older. We all are. In a few years, you’ll look at photos of yourself and wonder why you were trying to look like an ingenue. Sorry to be harsh, but I”m about to turn 60 (“entering my 7th decade,” I like to say, although it makes age-mates cranky). Cut the twee, go for the tailored. In short, none of the above. I have your best interests at heart, I promise.

    • Jeannie says...

      It makes me sad to read your advice, although you mean well. I’m in my early 30’s, and feeling inspired by elders such as Lyn Slater (IG iconaccidental), who show me that we can wear whatever the heck we want especially as we (women, and anyone who identifies as a woman) get older. I look forward to dressing as loudly or quietly as I like, fussy or not-fussy. The point is: I get to choose, be happy and everyone around me better accept it!

    • Gracie says...

      Oh Wow. No, more like- WOW. Thank god we live in an era where women are finally -finally ! – wearing whatever the hell they want.
      There is no one way to dress as a woman, and there is no one way to dress as a woman of whatever age.
      Your comment is not harsh, it’s retrograde and completely out of place on a blog that is trying to celebrate diversity and individuality.
      I hope that some day you can leave behind the weight of having to fit in some made-up image of what a woman over N-years-old is “supposed” to look like and wear something just because it’s fun and makes you enjoy life !

    • NTCT says...

      Nevermind the naysayers, we should all wear whatever makes us feel beautiful :)

    • Christina says...

      wow.

    • JL says...

      But that’s her style??? Simple, feminine and sweet…

    • Susan says...

      Nah. This is not just for Joanna, but for all of us: Wear what you like, at any age. If you like puffed sleeves and ruffles and they make you smile, I say go for it. Same for tailored and frills-free pieces. If that’s your style, embrace it. Going out clothes are to provide you with pleasure and fun. Yes, there is a time and place for things (for example, follow the dress code for whatever industry you work in), but when you’re off duty, wear what makes you feel good. Don’t listen to people who would impose their style rules on you, especially rules regarding what is “age-appropriate.” I’ve found that sometimes this comes from a place of feeling like they’ve been judged harshly, so they are going to judge other women harshly as well.

    • Kinga says...

      Thank you Jennifer for saying this. I’m (only) in my 30s but I like to think that I totally get what you mean. Personally, I’d really love to be this person that wears ruffles and puffed sleeves and makes the feminine look work – but its just not me. I will try them on enthusiastically and then just shudder at how much my mirror image is not reflecting what I was hoping to see. My most loved and worn items are like the original top above: a great cut, a solid colour and maybe a bit of finesse from a sensual material (silk being a current favourite). Of course anyone can wear whatever makes them happy at any age etc. etc. BUT I at least am now closing 5 tabs with ruffly-puffly cutesy tops and will instead invest in a really well-made leather jacket. Seriously, thanks!!

    • Liz says...

      I’ve been wearing “puffed sleeves” for years and have never once regretted it.

    • C. says...

      Good grief. For one thing she is not 60, but whatever, we are all getting older, and honestly- so what? why should that be the defining criteria? Enough with all the derogatory ageist labels and judgements. Who made these rules – the ageism fashion police? These are just your opinions, and while they probably work fine for you, why would you assume everyone else should limit themselves in that way? Turning 60 does not make us an authority on everybody else’s choices. I am in the same age bracket as you are and I don’t agree with any of your comments. We all get to make our own decisions about the aesthetics of what we wear, and age doesn’t mean we have to relinquish femininity or a sense of our own beauty, or quit celebrating being a woman.

    • Wj says...

      I think ruffles and chiffon can be elegant and worn at any age. I am not sure about puff sleeves for any age but that’s my personal taste. True style is personal!

    • J says...

      Oh, Jennifer. Silly, you. These top options are not “fussy.” Fussy would be a loud print, a loud color, and a loud design, all in ONE blouse. Instead, these options are classy and timeless, with a light touch of mystery. Do yourself a favor and purchase one, I think you will find yourself much more beautiful after putting it on.

    • Laura says...

      For what it’s worth, I don’t think Jennifer was trying to be harsh at all!

    • Puffed sleeves, eyelet lace, and ruffles forever! (And I’m 45.)

    • Selina says...

      Clothes are meant to be fun. And now more than ever and in the future from this point on, women don”t need to dress depending on their decade. It’s great to have some statement pieces. I say go for the puffed sleeve or a ruffle if that’s the only going out top you have because life is too short not to have fun with your style

  13. Nicole says...

    You look radiant in this picture. With two little kiddos at home, I just call it a win if my hair has been washed in the three days prior to a date night. But, I like the inspiration here:)

    I would love to learn where your shoes are from- I love them!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you! they’re from sézane.

  14. MJ says...

    I’d vote for the black eyelet one. I wouldn’t go with white—even though there are some lovely white tops there—if you want it to look nice and fresh in five years. I’ve never managed to keep a white top looking good for that long.

  15. Vanessa says...

    I just bought this top! https://www.kanoewear.com/products/maharaja-scallop-sleeve-top-forestry-1-1-1-1

    Had my eye on it for ages, after finding this seller who’s based locally, makes small batches from sustainable fabrics, and is affordable! I’m just so happy to support her, and even though there are other tops out there that are more my style, I’m paring down my style to suit small businesses (it’s just as easy as paring my wardrobe down.)

  16. Jenny says...

    I asked a question about date-y blouses that got answered in the Nordies roundup and I was super pumped! I am seeking a top that is nearly opaque but juuuuuust sheer enough to peek at my shape, but not cheesy or sheer enough to reveal my secrets. High neck, not too much extra crap on it and dear god, no flutter sleeves.

  17. Wendy says...

    You look fantastic 😍😍
    May I (rudely) ask what brand/kind of bra you are wearing in your pic?
    Dy-no-mite 💥 💥

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you! it’s a third love bra.

  18. Kristen says...

    Joanna! My goodness you look FANTASTIC, you gorgeous creature, you.

  19. Angry_bird says...

    You know, I have been a follower/reader of your blog for years (~7 years and counting). In the old times it was very authentic and your posts on motherhood and other less discussed issues seemed so genuine..I could feel I could reach across the screen and shake your hand or give you a hug. Not so much anymore.
    Your sponsored/recommended brands don’t work at all for me. I felt like I was the one in minority but then I reached out to others who seconded my opinion – madewell has some real poor quality off-late and is overpriced; sezane is for slim, tall, wealthy women such as yourself and everlane – omg where do I start! I have almost tried every item that this lovely community fawns over in that brand and had no success. Then I looked outside your blog and found so many people who have had issues, hell everlane has a very well-known bad reputation for sizing and fit! Shopbop has notable sustainability issues due to its fast fashion tag.
    I bought something off sezane (based on your blog) and the fit was so off! It looks and feels luxurious but I have better luck with the more regular – GAP, Boden brands. The flamingo wax strips have 2 star reviews on amazon and I find that community often has a more honest take on products than here!
    I know you claim all these brands work for you personally and you are paid by them to write about them, but I feel I cannot trust your judgement. This feels so different from the days you seemed like a best friend/cool sister who would give me rad recommendations and keep me on-trend. Won’t it be better if you could take the bad reviews people leave and actually bring it back to the brands who sponsor you than just delete the comments that are not pleasant! Now that would evolve into a real conversation.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you so much for your honest feedback, bird. it means a lot to me. i do love the brands we feature on Cup of Jo, and we let both positive and negative comments go through (i really encourage and want constructive debate). i hope you still feel like a friend — i really feel connected to readers and feel really grateful for this smart and funny community of women. thank you so much, again. xoxo joanna

    • Midge says...

      The same, but also mostly not the same. I’ve been a reader for ~7 years, and I can’t afford– or wear– any of this stuff. I’m 5’10” and have huge boobs and am bloated all the time from perimenopause. I have an arsenal of classic clothing and beauty products that hasn’t changed in years. Many product posts have nothing I would ever buy. But I still love seeing what 30-year old New Yorkers are wearing. It informs my style, trains my eye, and makes me feel brave.

  20. Lauren says...

    I find this fascinating: “For the past five years, I’ve worn a black top, jeans and heels (see above!) to dinners and parties, but the black top recently got a stain. So, I’m looking for an easy top for the next five years.”

    I love clothes and like to mix it up a lot, but I also start to feel self conscious if I wear the same thing too many times…. anyone else feel this way?

    • Lydia says...

      So, this is an interesting point. I work in the apparel industry and went to a conference where the speaker mentioned something that really struck me–the US is one of the few places where the social norms dictate we wear a completely different outfit everyday. When you think about this, it is a bit bonkers. The impetus for this social norm is, of course, to encourage commerce and buying more. Food for thought… :)

    • SB says...

      Lauren – I used to (and sometimes still do!) feel like this. But it’s true – after living in five non-North American countries over the past 7 years, I’ve realized that other people/cultures don’t feel this way. Parisian chic ladies? Will literally wear the same outfit to work 2 or even 3 days in a row! Weekly salsa dance classes/outings? Same dress every single week. I have worked with dozens of men over the years who have 5 dress shirts for work and wear the same ones every single week. And so many more examples.

      At first I was like, whaaaat? But after awhile it’s kind of liberating! You don’t get that stress of “wait – what did I wear when I last went out with this group??” etc and you end up saving money on clothing (and laundry!). I also find it easier to invest more in quality pieces because I know I will get a lot of use out of them/want to wear them often.

    • Emily says...

      We had an exchange student from Switzerland visit. He was from a quite weathy family and one thing I noticed that he wore the same pieces of clothing over and over. If you buy quality pieces they should be able to be worn multiple times a week for a long time!

    • Alice says...

      Nope! I’ve got a black top that I’ve had since I was 16- I’m now 30. I’ve worn it a million times, and it never, ever bothers me!! I’ve worn the same dresses to weddings (generally not with the same group, but I go to so many that it isn’t difficult to find an occasion for them) and wear the same things to work on a basically rotating schedule. I’ve also noticed that most people really, really, really don’t pay attention to what you’re wearing at ALL. You’re good, I promise :)

    • Katie says...

      @Lydia, That’s interesting. I have inadvertently made a winter subset for myself out of all of my clothes. I’ve been working on curating my closet anyway, so it’s already comparatively smaller than many of my friends. Anyway, I have about five sweaters, 3 pants, and 3 pairs of shoes that I just been reaching for this winter. I just wear a black or gray long sleeve shirt underneath. Sometimes I’ll think ‘man, I just wore this sweater two days ago, I need to mix it up’. The truth is, it looks good on me and no one ever notices that I just wore it. I do wear a lot of neutrals, so maybe nothing really stands out. Anyway, overall, I like the simplicity of rewearing often. It’s nice not having to make one more decision in the morning, and I know it will always look good on me.

  21. Lara Cobra says...

    I LOVE that 1st picture. You look stunning! :D

  22. Meredith says...

    I also vote for the ruffled blouse from Sézane! I would like it better in black, but I think the white would suit you :)

  23. Heather says...

    The Dot top is making me drool!

    Black always for a night out. Good for all seasons and easy to pair with just about any color/wash bottom. And more forgiving of stains and sweaty arm pits!

    Aritzia Babaton Murphy blouse in black: in both long and short sleeve. Sexy v-neck, slightly cropped but loose and forgiving for over-indulging. Chunky-heeled sandal in the spring/summer, booties in the fall/winter. Easy to accessorize with fun earrings, and hot lipstick! Simple but sexy & fun. Done!

  24. Jennifer says...

    You look amazing, Joanna! xoxo

  25. Steph says...

    Dresses with an 80’s element, but not more than one or two, to avoid looking costume-y. I just find bold shoulders, midi lengths, and/or high waists suit my shape and make me feel good.

  26. Wendy says...

    Without spoiling the fun of a new top, perhaps the old one could be salvaged, if only for everyday? If the stain is not in an awkward spot, perhaps it could be covered with an embroidered daisy, moth, rainbow…

    • Lydia says...

      Yes, exactly what I was thinking! Instead of discarding, mend :) I love the idea of embroidery or even a bit of fabric paint. I read that Julie O’Rourke of Rudy Jude keeps her light colored/white outfits fresh by using paint to cover stains. I love that idea!

  27. Mar says...

    I love wearing a silk shirt, a worn or black jeans and my Ashley Babies in patent leather from Sézane. So as not to bore me, I’m changing shirt color.
    If it’s a special night red it always works.

    • Isabella says...

      I love my Ashley babies! I have the studded version, and my four-year-old calls them “the shoes with stars.” Your going-out outfit sounds chic and lovely.

  28. Sarah says...

    A little off topic, but I’m heading to Barcelona for the first time in March, and I’m wondering how to pack. Do people typically dress up for dinner, etc.? I love in Portland, OR, which is pretty casual, so I barely own heels. I also have a 1.5 year old, so my style has really slipped and I’d like to find a few cute things to bring along. Any ideas? Does anyone have a recommendation for a perfect, soft leather jacket? (Or is that something I should try to buy in Spain?) Thanks!!

    • Isabelle says...

      I’ve travelled many times to Barcelona and my opinion is that it’s pretty casual and laid back. Flats with a nice top and jeans are common; many streets are paved, especially in the old part of the city.

    • Amy says...

      We went to Barcelona during the summer, I found it more laid back then other parts of Spain. Instead of heels maybe ballerina slips? Also I would save my shopping for Spain. I think Mango and Zara originate from Spain so the pricing is good. Also, Primark is great!

    • vera says...

      You certainly won’t need heels. Comfortable flats and a dressy top are all you will need. People in Barcelona are laid back. It is full of independent designers so you might want to save some luggage space. Of course, as with most places in Europe, flip flops and leggings are only for the beach and gym :)

    • H says...

      Sarah! I also live in Portland and I would highly recommend checking out a Crossroads location for a soft, leather (or pleather) jacket. I found the perfect one for traveling that I can wear during the day and out at night. Plus, thrifted is not only economical but also environmentally friendly, so Portland ;) Have a great time in Barcelona, it’s the best!

    • Mar says...

      Hi Sarah, I’m from Barcelona, but now I live in Mallorca. You can go as you prefer, many people go informal (but a pretty shoe changes any look).
      I had been wearing a leather jacket for a long time. In Paris I tried one of Sézane but I found it too rigid and short for me. Two months ago I bought the Leather biker Jacket from Repeat Cashmere. For me it’s perfect .
      I don’t know if you buy in Massimo Dutti in the USA, there are fantastics soft leather jackets too, and there are more than 6 stores in Barcelona.
      Bon viatge!

    • Txell says...

      I am from Barcelona and I agree, I don’t think you’ll need heels… people are pretty laid back.

      Although I guess it actually depends on your plans (I can go out at night and wear from trainers to heels, whether I am having a snack in a terrace, a drink at a “fancy bar” or just a walk out). In my opinion a nice top, a jacket, some cute jeans and booties are the perfect combination.

      Sadly, weather is crazy these days (blame Climate Change… ergo humans!!!) so check it out some days before the trip.

      I hope you enjoy the trip! Welcome to the city :)

      PS: yeah… Zara is a bit cheaper here!!

    • Lea says...

      Have an amazing time in Barcelona! It’s a great city for walking so I would say flat comfy shoes. Leather jackets in Spain – Zara and Mango will probably be better priced and there’s a great Mango outlet store not too far from Place de Catalunya. There’s also a lovely ballet flats shop there called Kokua https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g187497-d5111740-Reviews-Kokua-Barcelona_Catalonia.html
      And try Bar Cañete if you have time – the food is delicious and it feels like a hidden gem tucked away down a side street just off Las Ramblas http://barcanete.com/en/

    • SHOP AT THE BARCELONA AIRPORT! I’m not kidding. So how to pack? Light so you can shove a bunch of new pieces into your luggage.

      And if you’re trying to blend in and not look like an American, the Europeans do this fabulous thing with color.

      Ex: yellow top, yellow pants of a different shade. It always blows me away how put together they are with what seems to be minimal effort. Eat all the things!

  29. Amy says...

    On a recent trip to NYC, I shopped at Sezane and splurged on a white blouse. I vacillated because goodness knows with a 5, 3, and 1-year-old, I am not in the life stage for white or silk. But I’m so happy I did! It has some Seinfeld puffy shirt vibes, but in the best way. Would love a follow up post/Instagram story to see what you land on!

    • Marge says...

      Where are those jeans from?!

  30. ekbnyc says...

    The dotted. For sure. Adding to my wishlist too.

    • Sara says...

      May I ask where the black top in the first photo is from? It’s so flattering!

  31. Monica says...

    Love, love the ruffled blouse.

  32. SB says...

    Love the square neckline on the dotted blouse!

  33. liz says...

    Jumpsuits, forever and ever! Coveralls when it’s extra cold with thermals/ turtleneck underneath.

  34. Annie K says...

    I see the dotted blouse one hundred percent.

    I have never figured out how to pair jeans with heels- something about the mystery of the pant length plus heel height plus heel style…my brain just can’t figure out how it’s supposed to look. But you look slammajamma. Rock on.

  35. GG says...

    Skip ALL the pretty white, which beg for stains like magnets, lol. then treat yourself to ALL the lovely black options. Every women needs more than only one “date” tops because variety is the spice of life. Even if you’re on a budget. there are lots of lovely, affordable options out there.

  36. tina crisas says...

    So pretty!! I’m more of a midi dress type of gal with knee length leather boots or heels or heeled ankle boots, if I’m in all black I like to throw in some black fine polka dotted stockings or shimmery ones. My other go to would be a midi skirt, love my new leather one, with a white or black top with some detail at the shoulders. I also LOVE massimo dutti and I shop from there all the time, so anything there is totally my style!

  37. Claire says...

    Joanna, your jaw could cut glass!

    • ASHLEY says...

      Seriously, I’ve been slain.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      aww haha thank you!

  38. Stephney says...

    I think the chiffon shirt is lovely and you would look fantastic in it.

  39. ASHLEY says...

    joanna, you look so striking in this shot!

  40. O says...

    I love these blouses but it looks like a lot are being worn tucked in. I have small breasts and a bit of a protruding belly, and always feel like I should be careful not looking 4 months pregnant. Any recommendations on how to wear blouses like these? Has there ever been a post about different body types/what looks best?

    • Katie says...

      I have small breasts and a short torso. Tucked in shirts look horrible on me. I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. I prefer sleeveless loose silk or fitted cotton both falling just below the waste/at hips with a good jacket, blazer or long cardigan. I also like everlane’s cashmere sweaters for winter.

      The plus side of a small chest, you can wear silk tops with a thin strap (or any thin strapped/no strapped top) with the hollywood tape silicone coverups. No bra where you see straps needed!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anna says...

      I’m built the same way- A cup, size 2 all around, but I carry weight in my lower stomach/get bloated after eating. I like a good half-tuck if the hemline of the shirt is the same length all across. For whatever reason, this makes the tuck more flattering without drawing too much attention to my stomach. Overall though, flowy tops are where it’s at!

    • Jenny says...

      @Katie — Me too! I feel like I never hear from anyone who also has a small chest and short waist and doesn’t like to tuck. So many tops right now are just dreadful on me — huge and wide and cropped, or else bathrobe-style (long, shapeless open cardigans). I literally could not find a nice, simple, trim, fitted top at Nordstrom recently. I know fashion lives by trends, but I always feel like, can’t we please stock some perennial classics too? (Can’t some of the jeans stay lower, not ALL high-rise? For heaven’s sakes.) Moderation. ! ps — I have been enjoying the occasional partial-front-tuck lately, especially with thin fabric blouses or sweaters.

  41. Eloise says...

    Gorgeous options but if you are seriously seeking to replace your now-stained go-to (hate when that happens!) and not just showcase goegeous tops (which is fine and fun!), you may want to look beyond these as I suspect part of why your go-to became your go-to is tbe faxt that it was easy to grab, put on and care for. These options all look “fussier” to wear/care for.

  42. Fitz says...

    Oh my goodness you look like such a bombshell in that picture!!!

    • Emily says...

      I was thinking the same thing!! Jo, you hair looks so gorgeous.

  43. Cara M says...

    I’m a size 16/18, but I absolutely love the neoprene pencil skirt I purchased from Eloquii (this was a brand mentioned in Kelsey’s post which I second). It is a very eye-catching graphic print in shades of blue, black, and white. I pair it with a black v-neck cami (great to show some neck and tasteful but not overly revealing cleavage) and a leather jacket. It is just the right amount of edgy/dressy. For a warmer more casual look, I’ve been living in American Eagle High-Waisted Flair jeans and pair it with a long-puffed sleeve t-shirt… definitely has a fun 70s vibe to it.

  44. maywyn says...

    Dot and boho have range, ageless style, and seasonal flexibility.

  45. Betsy says...

    Kind of digging that ruffled blouse. But they all seem to be cute options. I’m not a dresser upper kind of gal. In the winter, dressing up is jeans, sweater Converse tennies, or my favorite Timberline boots if cruddy weather. If I’m feeling crazy, maybe my favorite pair of soft gold flats In the summer, I only wear dresses. You know, for air flow in-between the legs since I live in hot, sweaty Kansas City. For shoes, my plastic silver Birkenstocks . Or, my olive green pair. OMG…love the plastic Birks. If trying to play dress up, I do have a nice pair of camel leather sandals that I will wear. I wish I could wear heels, but at almost 46, I still cannot walk in them at all. I am going to buy a pair of Everlane ballet flats. Tried them on at Christmas in an Everlane store, and so amazing. Everything I’ve read about. But I want the nude color, and of course they don’t sell them in the stores. I need to get on the ball an order them in time for warmer weather. I have a feeling I will never take them off.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      cute!

  46. Polly says...

    I feel waaaaaay better in a cute dress and heels or boots than I ever do in jeans so I have a rotating collection of little black dresses and tights for winter date nights- and sleeveless pretty dresses and sandals in the summer! My husband always says, “are you wearing a dress tonight?”

  47. I get sweaty in my underarms really easily so I actually prefer to wear a camisole or sleeveless top under a moto jacket for a night out! It feels a little more breathable to me and if I’m inside and warm I can just take the jacket off. All of those tops are so cute though!

  48. Claire says...

    Oh what nice choices!
    I just really love lace, and these are all so very pretty. I like how none of them are “basics”. I have plenty of basics. Basics are everywhere. Lately I have been hoping for items that are special, and each of these fits that bill. The Sezane blouse with the ruffle neck and the bow at the back is beautiful. If their clothes ever fit me I might go for that one.

  49. Connie says...

    OMG, that black lace top with the high neck and the ruffles! I DIE.

    We’ve had a sad run of just….zero babysitters, so I feel like when I’m going out with my husband our kids are ALWAYS with us…so I have to also be capable of mothering in whatever outfit I’m going out in. SO. That ends up being a tunic-style dress and leggings and some kind of bootie.

    When we DO get the chance to go out as just him and I, I find that I like a pair of cute jeans, serious heels, and tops that favor a jewel-tone color but have a neat texture (like lace, ruffles, etc.), and I pair it all with nice jewelry. I like shoes that are tall enough to force me to slow us down when we walk…if that makes sense. We get so excited to be out on our own, that we end up just stalking through the sidewalks to get where we are. When I’m in tall heels, I physically can’t. SO, we stroll, and that’s romantic as hell. ;)

  50. Where is your original black top from? I can see why it was on heavy rotation – I love it!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sezane! xo

  51. Kristy says...

    The Elodie wrap tops from Boden are my new go-to (they are also great for work!). They are super flattering and come in lots of colors/patterns. The cost is $70, but you can usually find them on sale :).

    • celeste says...

      Those are super cute, v neck with enough coverage!

  52. JJ says...

    Weird question – what do chestier girls wear with those eyelet or mesh tops up top? They’re so pretty but bra straps be damned. Is everyone just have amazing big boob strapless bras that I haven’t heard about?

    • Courtney says...

      check out Wardrobe Oxygen’s blog (https://www.wardrobeoxygen.com/) or instagram (@wardrobe_oxygen) for great strapless options!

    • Sarah says...

      I am not chestier but sometimes I can get away with a bra (with straps) under these shirts ideas I get a bra that matches my skin tone exactly. I can tell I’m in my 30s now because refuse to buy shirts I can’t wear with a normal bra. Ha!

    • Sarah says...

      *Shirts if, sorry. Autocorrect

    • Stephney says...

      I like the sticky bras, I’m an ‘E’ and I found them over the summer. Good support, didn’t slip in the heat and steam of Southern Maryland. You can get them on Amazon.

    • liz says...

      I just wear bras that have straps that I don’t mean showing (ie – all cotton bras are usually my favorite)! never really in the mood for strapless most days

  53. Lauren E. says...

    Same here, for the most part – blouse, jeans, and heels or funky flats. I’ll also add some big, weird earrings and lipstick.

  54. M says...

    So timely! I need a night out uniform (I do like the J Crew eyelet shirt). I struggle finding something that is cool-enough, sexy-enough for a night out while also balancing my need to be warm and comfy.

    My current wardrobe feels stale but I’m not really sure what else to try for nights out!

  55. Jen says...

    Haha, I also have a going out uniform! Makes it easier to get out the door while wrangling over-excited children due to babysitter arrival:
    *Dark blue jeans with navy cashmere crewneck and the awesome Hermes chain necklace my in-laws gave me when our son was born, OR
    *Black jeans with black cashmere crewneck and said necklace
    *And: the Ted Baker floral scarf I thought was a terrible splurge but am still wearing all the time 10 years later and is still so lovely. Some variation on fancy heels. Velvet blazer if weather calls for one.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sounds so pretty!

    • Claire says...

      LOVE leather blazers! They’re so gorgeous!

  56. Em says...

    I struggle with tops for a night out, largely because (here in Canada) it is often cold enough at night that I need at least two layers. At that point, the jacket/blazer/sweater etc. becomes the main piece. I love all of these blouses, but they often don’t look great when worn under an over layer, and I end up feeling like my $ should go to over layers and that I should stick to boring old t-shirts underneath? Anyone have any tips for climates with 10+ months of cold evenings?

    • Tamara says...

      I need cold evening outfit tips too! We are in the U.S. but near the Canadian border so even during summer it gets quite chilly as soon as soon as the sun goes down. Em, I completely relate to feeling like I should put $ into the outer layers but that kills the date night vibe almost as much as being cold does.

    • liz says...

      Lately, Ive been loving layering dresses over turtlenecks + wool tights and chunky boots

    • liz says...

      nevermind that, I am just remembering i got a great pair from Mott & Bow!! They might be slightly above $100 though

    • liz says...

      whoops — the mott and bow recommendation was for another comment-er who asked for jeans recommendations. clearly posting too much on this thread today… :D

    • I’m in Canada too and struggle with when I have to dress up in winter (and want to be warm and have to deal with snow boots, etc.) Last year I bought a black cashmere long cardigan, and it has felt like a special layer to put on for dressier occasions. It’s super warm but makes me feel dressy too. I also have a black top that sort of has the vibe of the top right white one (but with a couple of buttons that, when open, create a v-neck and plain 3/4 sleeves instead). It falls just below the waist and does not need to be tucked in. I wasn’t sure when I got that, but the fabric feels dressier than many of my clothes, and if I layer it with a camisole under it and a sweater on top (it looks fine with a sweater), it is warm and looks nicer than my day-to-day clothes.

      But also, I do think there is something fun about wearing a bottom layer that has a nice fabric or pattern or detail, even if it only partially shows due to a top layer of a sweater, etc. In December, I wore the black cashmere cardigan with a silky silver camisole (and winter boats and coat, etc. and the camisole felt festive peeking out. But I think it mostly helped ME feel more festive/dressier, which I enjoyed. (But also, I get most of my clothes at thrift stores, so I feel more freedom to take a risk since it is a small investment.)

  57. B says...

    All of these tops are so cute. I wish I had somewhere to wear them.

    A question/suggestion for a future post: I had a boss who always told me to dress for the job I want, not the job I have. My current gig is part-time barista at Barnes and Noble, with the occasional bookselling shift thrown in.

    I have to wear black pants (can be jeans, dressier pants, whatever; just cannot wear leggings). I must also wear non-slip shoes as there are often spills to clean up. I’m on the hunt for a nicer, more comfortable pair of non-slip shoes that will also look okay for my bookselling shifts.

    My question is: do you have any recommendations for tops that can hold up to potential messes (I have an apron) but are also nice enough to wear for bookselling? Additionally, I’m on the hunt for a good pair of high waisted black jeans, preferably with a button fly (though that’s not a requirement); I’m willing to spend up to $100 on a pair.

    Fashionable ladies of Cup of Jo, please help!

    • For the jeans, I say try universal standard.

      For the top, maybe something with an interesting collar? Like the ruffled blouse and the lace top shown above. Also dark, with a small print?

    • JoyL says...

      Try Madewell for the jeans!

    • Megan Raitano says...

      Oooh!! Everlane high waisted denim always. They have a button fly black pair. They will fade so you may need to dye them after a little if you need a solid black but the fit and stretch and everything else is perfect!

    • Em says...

      I hear you, B! I would love to see the top recommendations — on the black high-waisted jeans front, Denim Forum jeans at Aritizia are amazing value for your $. The ‘Lola’, ‘Arlo’, ‘Yoko’ and Nina are high waisted and button flies, and have a fantastic fit. I kid you not that I have each pair in various colours and washes. The wide leg ‘Farrahs’ are also fabulous, though a little more casual:
      https://www.aritzia.com/en/brands/denimforum/denim-forum-jeans-highrise

      Happy shopping!

    • Mouse says...

      Black jeans, Everlane! There’s a washed black that ends up being dark grey that I really like, if that can ok for work.

    • C says...

      Hey B, I would actually add a layer for bookselling! Take off the apron, put on a blazer? Or cardigan? If you keep a staple black, navy, or camel colored blazer in your locker or bag, it will 1) dress up a plain white or black tee and 2) cover any potential stains/messes.

      Black high-waisted button-fly jeans, I would go with either JCrew or Madewell! I also have a pair of black Old Navy Rockstar skinny jeans which are great and have kept the black color really well. One last thing: the Athleta Skyline pant is phenomenal.

      https://athleta.gap.com/browse/product.do

    • Kiana says...

      Hi B,
      Just wanted to encourage you to shop at a local consignment store or second hand clothes store. Often you will find things that have barely been worn, like cute blouses but jeans are awesome to buy used because they’re soft and already worn in.

    • liz says...

      levis wedgie jeans!

    • liz says...

      nevermind what I said, I think my best pair of high waisted black jeans came from Mott & Bow. Maybe slightly over $100…

    • Emma says...

      I’ve found Gap jeans to be my favorites for this kind of situation. My current side gig is hosting at a restaurant and I just alternate between two pairs of the same jeans–dark blue and black. Also, tip for black jeans–wash inside out and you lose less of the dye. Also wash as little as possible for the longest life expectancy.

      In the shoe department, Dansko has some really nice options beyond standard clogs–check Zappos–very good for this sort of thing as well.

  58. Nina says...

    I have a white lacey top I wear if I want to look fancy (usually paired with regular jeans and boots/sneakers/sandals depending on the weather and amount of walking I have to do). Usually though I will just go in whatever I was wearing during the day , very few things compel me to dress nicely (oops). I do pretty much always brush my teeth before going on a night out, not sure why.

  59. Elizabeth says...

    That chiffon shirt is gorgeous and a reasonable price too! Joanna, where are those jeans from? We’re a similar build and I’ve been looking for a cut exactly like them 😍

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      sezane!

  60. I love the white ruffled blouse from Sézane. I’d wear that day and night!