Call me extra, but I like to sift through sales and secondhand shops to find party pieces. Does my shopping habit take into account that we’re still living in a pandemic? No. Do I have any gala invitations in my inbox? No. Will that stop me from buying a full-length Dion Lee gown? Also no. For me, shopping is about crafting a wardrobe with one-of-a-kind pieces I can wear for years to come. Plus, the thrill of being able to whip out the perfect outfit for any party dress code is unmatched. Of course, I realize how rationalizing the need to have a feather dress on hand puts me in the slightly unrealistic territory, but I’m here to tell you it’s not just voyeurism. Having an assortment of casual party pieces can not only prepare you for a future where we can go back to gathering IRL more frequently (fingers crossed), but it’s also a way to inject a little shine into your daily life (which is necessary when circumstances are dreary). So in that vein, I’ve taken it upon myself to round up some of the most versatile party-ready staples and given tips on how to dress them down for everyday wear. These 18 casual party outfit ideas will make embracing your most extra self easier.
WHAT: Minidress. WEAR: Minidress + button-up blouse + knee-high boots . Before you put that minidress you’re obsessed with in the back of your closet, please consider restyling it more casually. Doing something as simple as pairing it with a button-up blouse and knee-high boots can take it from sultry to stylish in one second.
WHAT: Sparkly heels. WEAR: Blazer + pajama set + sparkly heels. While I’m a maximalist who will justify splurging on sparkly shoes on any given day, I know for a fact that my approach may be too much for others. But if you’ve found yourself needing a green light to justify buying or even re-wearing those sparkly shoes, consider this it. All you have to do is dress them down (i.e., pair them with pajamas or jeans and a cute top), and you’ve got the perfect outfit.
WHAT: Sequin crop top. WEAR: Sequin crop top + blazer + jeans + flats. Now that you’re past the holiday party season, you’re probably looking at that sequin crop top and thinking, What on earth do I do with you? Don’t ditch the piece. Instead. think of it as a way to spice up your everyday uniform or your girls’ night ensemble. Pair it with jeans, a blazer, and flats, and you’ll be the belle of the local bar.
WHAT: Feather top. WEAR: Faux-fur coat + feather top + leather pants + sneakers . You don’t have to clip your wings when it comes to wearing feathers for a casual gathering. Simply style them with wardrobe staples like leather pants, sneakers, and a coat, and you’ll be feeling so fly.
WHAT: Metallic pleated skirt . WEAR: Metallic pleated skirt + sweater + knee-high boots . Metallic pleated skirts are that holiday party staple that always comes back season after season for a good reason. They not only look good on everyone but also can be worn year-round. And while the styling possibilities for this party staple are endless, we recommend wearing a sweater and your knee-high boots, as it’s a surefire way to garner compliments.
WHAT: Velvet blazer. WEAR: Velvet blazer + bodysuit + jeans + heels. When preparing for a party, it can be overwhelming to know what to wear, which is why opting for an all-black ensemble is always the move. Don’t be fooled; black doesn’t have to be boring. Just opt for a velvet blazer. This luxe fabric will take your go-to bodysuit and jeans to a new level.
WHAT: Opera gloves. WEAR: Opera gloves + black dress + sneakers. If you’re anything like WWW editors, when opera gloves bubbled up as a trend on F/W 21 runways, you hopped right on the bandwagon. But if you’re unsure of how to re-style this accessory for everyday wear or more casual soirée’s, you’ll want to look to the ensemble above for inspiration. Gloves with a black dress and sneakers? It’s giving.
WHAT: Metallic boots. WEAR: Metallic boots + sweater + shorts . As someone who recently just splurged on Simon Miller sequin knee-high boots, I can tell you firsthand that even I wasn’t sure how to make disco-inspired shoes work in the daylight. But I’ve learned that it’s less about toning those statement boots down and more about letting them shine by styling them with basics (e.g., a pair of shorts and a sweater).
WHAT: Tube dress . WEAR: Faux-fur coat + tube dress + knee-high boots . Unless you’re Carrie Bradshaw, making a tube dress rewearable for more casual situations can feel daunting. Luckily for you, the ensemble above can serve as a tutorial in re-styling the piece. Simply remember the key to pulling off a tube dress is layering. Add a faux-fur coat in the colder months or a trench in the warmer months ahead, and you’re good to go.
WHAT: Shiny handbag. WEAR: Shiny handbag + oversize shirtdress + flatform sandals. We need to talk about the party staple that’s been poppin‘ off among the fashion set: shiny handbags. Whether it comes in the form of metallic, sequin, or rhinestone, this former party bag has become a mainstay in the fashion set’s wardrobe (in part thanks to Prada, Paco Rabanne, and Benedetta Bruzziches). But if you’re unsure how to inject shine into your daily life, just live by the following ethos: Metallics are neutrals. Pair your It bag with a fun, oversize button-up or jeans and a T-shirt, and watch how it adds dazzle to your everyday life.
WHAT: Statement mules. WEAR: Statement mules + wrap top + jeans . So you treated yourself to a pair of statement heels—now what? Remember that they’re an investment piece that can be worn time and time again for any party. Should the occasion be casual, you can’t go wrong pairing them with jeans and a cute wrap top.
WHAT: Party minidress. WEAR: Party minidress + cowboy boots . Who doesn’t love an over-the-top party dress? But if you’re looking to get more than one wear out of that piece, don’t be afraid to whip it out for a casual get-together or even to run errands. Simply style it down with a pair of cowboy boots or sneakers, and you’ll be able to give that dress the limelight it deserves.
WHAT: Sequin dress . WEAR: Blazer + sequin dress + loafers . That sequin dress you bought for the holiday season deserves more airtime. The simplest way to dress it down for a dinner party or casual social gathering is to pair it with basics. Throwing on a pair of loafers and a blazer will ensure you look polished without overdoing it.
WHAT: Feather crop top . WEAR: Feather crop top + jeans + sneakers . You ever fantasize about walking into a party and people looking at you and thinking, Oh, she’s so chic and cool? Well, friends, if you want that to happen, then you’ll want to take your favorite pair of jeans and sneakers and dress them up with a feather crop top. Wear this, and there’s no denying that you are the main character.
WHAT: Sequin button-up . WEAR: Blazer + sequin button-up + biker shorts + knee-high boots. I’ll let you in on a little secret: Sequins aren’t just for special occasions; they’re a staple piece. Don’t be afraid to dress down a sequin button-up top with biker shorts, blazers, and boots for a more casual get-together. Not only will it add the perfect amount of luxe to your look, but you’ll be so comfortable.
WHAT: Sheer dress . WEAR: Sheer dress + button-up + leggings + heels. If you’re anything like us, celebrity style can influence you to jump on some risqué trends, like naked dresses. Of course, buying a sheer dress may cause regrets because who else can pull off a naked number like Rihanna? But before you return it, why not rework it into a more casual ensemble by pairing it with a button-up and jeans? You’ll get the sheer effect without as much skin in the game.
WHAT: Sequin skirt . WEAR: Sequin skirt + T-shirt + heels . Sequin skirts are that staple that bubbles back up every holiday season, and while they’re great for a variety of occasions, it’s important to remember that you can wear this piece well into the New Year. A simple way to dress it down for a casual setting is by pairing it with a T-shirt.
WHAT: Metallic dress. WEAR: Metallic dress + sneakers . For everyone (fashion editors included), finding ways to rewear fancy party pieces can be challenging at times, but the main takeaway should be don’t be afraid to wear what’s in your wardrobe. There are no rules when it comes to wearing your party pieces, so if you decide to wear a metallic dress with sneakers just to go to the bodega, then that’s your prerogative.
Next: 10 Going-Out Outfits That Would Be Perfect for a House Party