I’m an All-Day Person: Making Your Whole Wardrobe Work for Day and Night

Look awesome always, even if you’re like me and never leave your house.
Publish date:
November 26, 2013
shoppables, fall fashion, wardrobe dilemmas

Read more from Rachel on xoVain!

I try really hard to save money. I also try really hard to dress well. (I know, “trying” is not on-trend right now, but whatever. I’m incredibly earnest, get over it.) Every time I find myself drooling over $500 boots, I remind myself that I’m 23. That means I will retire in (fingers crossed!) 42 years. I’m already saving aggressively for retirement, so that means in a mere 42 years, I can have ALL the $500 boots I want!

Of course, this perspective functions mostly to remind myself that I won’t care about those boots in 42 minutes, let alone 42 years.

In the name of saving, I try to only purchase pieces I can get a lot of wear out of. This isn’t all that difficult because I live in the Deep South, where our weather deviates strictly between “hot as balls” and “slowly drowning in a puddle of my own sweat.” It is actually surprisingly cold already this year. I assume it means an apocalypse looms near, which is fine.

For a lot of people though, having both a winter and summer wardrobe is necessary. I get that. I hope to one day, as well, understand this phenomenon called “seasons.”

You know what we all don’t need, though? Separate wardrobes for day and night, that’s what. I don’t like to buy things that I can only wear when I go out at night, because I HATE to go out at night. I also don’t like buying things that I can only wear when I go out during the day, because I HATE going out during the day.

So I only buy things I can wear out both day and night. By “out,” I mean inside my house, drinking red wine and taking selfies in front of my full-length mirror.

When going about making our wardrobes as versatile as possible, there are two paths we can wander down. Your first option is a fast-track enrollment at the University of DGAF.

Here at UDGAF, you can wear an evening gown to brunch, or a denim romper to your sister’s wedding. Turn a well-lined blind eye to strangers’ leers and looks as you sashay through the frozen foods aisle in sequined hot pants and a shredded D.A.R.E. t-shirt.

Some of us, though, do GAF. A lot of us get paid to GAF. So we use our senses and our sensibilities to find pieces we can carry with us from day into night.

Everyone owns a dress that’s simultaneously floor length and super skanky, right? Last year, I “rewarded” myself with a nice dress from Reformation I’d been eyeing for a couple months. Here’s the thing- I don’t even remember what it was a reward for. I’m pretty sure it was a reward for not buying the dress before that, which is lame. Anyway, I really do love it. Reformation’s stuff is gorgeous, and I dig their mission. It’s just super expensive, and not entirely wearable in my day-to-day basic bitch life.

A lot of their stuff is “day to day” wearable, but this beautiful floor-length black number with a fully open back, glorious side boob exposure and slit so high up it requires a bikini wax isn’t exactly what I would wear to a staff meeting.

I have worn this dress quite a bit more than anticipated though, and it photographs beautifully.

For a more affordable option, Reformation has a collection for Nasty Gal with a lot of gorgeous items, including this simple, sexy jumpsuit. Jumpsuits typically make me so mad. I have a hard enough time finding pants and shirts that fit me right, and people expect me to find two that fit me perfectly that happen to be sewn together? Psh.

This one’s an exception though. The T-strap back is so simple and breezy, it doesn’t need to be perfectly fitted and the legs are so wide, until you spread your legs it looks like you’re wearing a maxi dress! It’s essentially a cute slutty gown you can do cartwheels in.

It also works for day AND night, if paired with the right accoutrement. The jumpsuit is $78, which is a bit pricey for some, but you can use a similar dress to create these looks as well! I’ve created a “day look” on the left and a “night look” on the right.

For a cold weather winter look, layer a thin and long cardigan over the jumpsuit. It should be long enough to cover your back, and keep it from being exposed to chilly wind or gross bus seats. Wear a structured jacket over that. A military jacket works well, but a denim or leather jacket could also work. I paired that with simple pointed-toe black flats and a leopard print beanie to keep the look casual. It turned out a bit more “tumblr” than I’d hoped, but what’re ya gonna do?

For a night of cocktails or a hot date, pair the look with pointed toe metallic flats or heels, a (faux) fur jacket and layered necklaces. One of these says “DOPE” which is my dad’s favorite word and I love it.

Something I love more than most things is sequins. Maybe it’s because when I was 9, my mom begged her friend Michael to let me perform in his drag show with him. By Michael, I mean Cinnamon. It was awesome, and I learned a lot about makeup sitting at the mirror next to Cinnamon backstage. It probably explains a lot about my present day makeup habits.

In reality, the sequin weakness can probably be attributed to a near constant manic need for attention. I’m a walking disco ball. I’ll lead you to the good times.

Sequins aren’t the most acceptable form of daytime attire, because the world is full of lame-o’s in cotton-wool blends who would try and block my shine. Well, haters to the left because you can totally wear sequins all day long without causing a fuss if you’re smart about it.

My sequin shirt from that photo isn’t available anymore (but it’s sick and is really strappy in the back), but black sequins are more wearable, I think, and this one’s only $30 from Target!

Layer the sequin shirt over a fitted button down, and top with a thick cropped sweater so the sequins peek out below. Pair with denim and a sturdy boot so as to tone down the disco fever.

For night, start getting excited about American Hustler and pair this top with some skin tight leather pants, a big fluffy (faux) fur, pointed toe heels and an envelope clutch. Those earrings are very RiRi, which I’m always into.

A cool thing about being 23 is that Sex & the City aired during an extremely formative time in my psyche’s progression. (As far as what I was allowed to watch or not, my parents were alumni of UDGAF.) I obsessed over SATC throughout my tender tweendom, picking up new vocabulary, dating tips and a penchant for punny self-reflection.

The other day, I got to wondering if the iconic SATC opening montage has anything to do with my lifelong quest for the perfect tulle skirt. I loved seeing Carrie stomping down the streets of Manhattan in a poofy tutu, a slinky tank and her signature stilettos arching one brow at a time through the steam and smoke until, SPLASH, she gets side-soaked by the spray of a bus donning her own image. I totally ate it up. I still do, to be honest. The theme song was the first ringtone I downloaded onto my brand new Nokia 3310 in 11th grade.

I still haven’t found THE skirt for me, but this one from ModCloth shows definite potential and it’s only $38.

You could go Carrie’s route for a daytime look, but you’d be freezing trying it in NYC right now. Instead, pair the skirt with a tight striped turtleneck and a floral coat. Make sure the coat and skirt both synch your natural waist, so as to avoid adding to much bulk to your frame. Pair the look with opaque black tights, tan lace up booties, and a black cloche.

For night, add some unexpected color and texture with this super cool fuzzy sweater. Keep everything else sleek, with a structured black military jacket, black pointed toe heels with a gold strap and some cool hoop earrings that are VERY Carrie. Bonus points if your name’s inside each earring.

In my fantasy world, I get invited to fancy events every night. I go to galas full of cheese and wine, gallery openings full of artistic renderings of vaginas, fundraisers for charities that, like, give makeovers to elderly giraffes in Botswana, etc.

In my reality, I get invited to dollar beer nights at bars named after confederate war generals and karaoke contests at the after-hours blues joint. Meh.

Yet somehow, I’ve ended up owning a lot of “cocktail” dresses despite the lack of actual cocktails in my life. (Does chasing whiskey with beer count as a cocktail?)

Cocktail dresses can be really difficult to turn into a casual daytime look, but with the right dress it can be done. I have a dress I bought from Urban Outfitters 4 years ago that I’ve worn probably a hundred times because it works for so many occasions.

For a fancier occasion, I paired it with tights and heels. To tone it down, I tied the ribbon down and tucked it in flat against my back and put a blue belt on. I wore patterned tights, a long, structured sweater that was just slightly shorter than the dress, and lace-up boots.

You should definitely own some dresses you only wear to fancy events. It is nice to have things that feel special to you. But it’s also nice to shop purposefully for dresses you can dress way up or way down.

I understand the desire to have a huge and awesome wardrobe, and I do own a ton of clothes, but figuring out new ways to wear clothes you already have is a good way to make them feel new! And that saves you money and stress!

What are your tips for wearing “night” clothes during the day?