How to Style a Going Out Top

So that you don’t immediately want to go home and change


This piece was originally published on December 10, 2015

Theory: going out tops are coming back.

Reality: going out tops are like, the reason the 90s were so weird.

Solution: learn to style them without feeling like you’re wearing a going out top or in other words, are coming from an afternoon Soul Cycle class, followed by a smoothie and glass of wine at the hair salon where you’re getting a blowie (girl talk for getting your hair blow dried by someone you don’t know). Which isn’t to say don’t act basic (as evidenced by our project and furthermore by the lifestyles that 96% of the population employed by Man Repeller both maintains and celebrates), but it is to say, don’t look so obvious.

Do you get what I mean by that?

Let me break it down by example.

Say you’re getting dressed, right? It’s 8 p.m. on a Thursday night and you’re going to get a drink with the ladies. Sorry, I mean tHe LaDieZ~z*s~z. You just acquired a black silk camisole and for a reason still consciously unbeknownst to you, it’s the only thing you want to wear. Fuq the button downs, fuq the t-shirts. So you put it on. And then you stare into your closet in Donald Duck mode thinking about what bottom to pair with it. Somehow, your jeans make you feel — not necessarily look — like every other girl on the corner of Lafayette Street. So you’re like, where’s the character? The individuality! And at this point, you think to yourself: Soul Cycle.

You follow? So, how do you feed the beast that is your almond milk latte while feeling like the cover star of an indie mag called something bold and nonsensical, like “Combustible.”

Three ideas, right this way.

#1: Compliment your going out top with going out pants.


Céline top (another bare shoulder option here), Rosie Assoulin pants, Atea Oceanie denim top around waist (similar here), Valentino shoes, Illesteva sunglasses

Add a shirt around your waist if you feel like you need a belt but know it’s not going to work. Also! Clashing shoes work if you’re the kind of person who doesn’t particularly love looking extremely neat and put together. I can explain what I mean when I say this by expressing that I like for my outfits to leave a couple of question marks on the table.

#2: Slouch toward layers.


Céline top (another option here), Rosetta Getty metallic top, Levi’s jeans, Walter Steiger shoes, Olympia Le Tan x Muzungu Sisters bag

I don’t know why I’m standing like Napoleon Dynamite but I do know that wearing a gold mock neck underneath this particular going out top plus a pair of old Levi’s (I think I’m ready to retire mom jeans) makes me feel like a fairly earnest version of myself. I’d wear this to work or to the bar or to stand on a red wall near Great Jones Street. There’s no wrong way to do a Snow White sleeve.

#3: Pretend it’s spring, but know it’s not


Céline top (another bare shoulder top here), Stella McCartney skirt (similar colorful floral skirt), Rosie Assoulin necklace, Dior boots (these are cool too)

I apologize for looking like I am trying to have sex with you, but the fact of the matter is, I’m just trying to help you get dressed. Here’s an example of grade-Aa, Slow Fashion recycling on display with a very trusty, 5-year-old skirt plus new-ish “sock” boots to…boot.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? I am literally sitting at my desk waiting to answer them.

Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis


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  • Stephanie

    I know this post was about the top- but all I really want now are all 3 of those shoes!

  • Carrie Colbert

    Such great original styling. Love it!


  • So cute! I love it with the big red pants


  • Cari C

    When I have a great going-out top, it seems I try to make it look like a not-going-out top…if that makes sense. It’s like what you said, we don’t want to look to obvious or appear like we re trying too hard. The styles you’ve put together master that, and thanks for the good laugh with your photo comments.
    Question: I’m traveling to NY during Christmas from Texas. How do I master the going out top, or basically any article of clothing, in a much different climate without looking like I’m wrapped in seven blankets??

    • chouette

      It’s turning out to be a crazy warm winter so far… it’s like 65 today. I’m not even wearing a jacket.

  • Zsofi V

    I can’t belive you didn’t write “but first you have to get naked” after this sentence “I apologize for looking like I am trying to have sex with you, but the fact of the matter is, I’m just trying to help you get dressed.”

    • Leandra Medine

      Well, fuck.

  • Kerrith

    Those Valentino shoes are amazing! I feel like there are shoes, even high end ones, that just wear feet. Then, there are shoes that get worn and make feet look hot. Those shoes definitely make your feet look hot!!

  • PAAR

    I love the floral skirt

  • sofia allyn

    This all gets back to the “trying too hard” conversation, doesn’t it? These aren’t the minimalist, norm-core, mom-jeans-only looks of last year, and they’re also not Jeanne Damas’ uber-French “I just threw this on” thing. I’m cool with that, but it definitely feels like going out tops require a bit more confidence, in that they imply (more than, say, a t-shirt) that you are trying. Eh?

  • That Stella skirt… amazing!

  • BOOM. The essence of man repeller right there! “I like for my outfits to leave a couple of question marks on the table.”

  • pri

    Check out my blog

  • Brit

    You look so pretty in every single one of these pictures!

  • Alice in Whateverland

    Since I kind of came of age in the aforementioned ninenties I am perpetually seeking the perfect going out top!! Love the fact they are back!!!

  • storiesoftheworld

    Forever scouring the internet for that Stella skirt. Swoon.

  • Elizabeth von E

    Amazing! Dying!

  • claudia

    Love the 2 look and the red flares are so cool!

  • Gabriela Cavalheiro

    Who do we take this awesomeness to “using-public-transport-braving-the-cold’ life?

  • This is what I like — unexpected and looking great!!

  • Hell yes to everything! Even the sex face 😉 and especially outfit #3. I want to be in that top.

  • Matilda Terolli
  • Love all 3 looks!

    xx Melis

  • Dale Chong

    I loved all of these options! Now that we know how to style it, can we have some good suggestions for going out tops?

  • Stephanie

    I love the second looks. Those skirt & boots are perfect match

  • Love your outfits! Beautiful combinations!

  • Aprillandry85

    Those Dior boots need to jump onto my feet this second. I love them!

  • Lisa

    Really beautiful and now it’s time to relax

  • Can we talk about the hair that is this ponytail?
    I mean, where did that come from, I’ve been seeing a bob tucked in shirts for months and boom hair as long as that camisole you’re styling.
    I’ve been trying to grow out my highlights for a year now, what are you on to make it so long and so shiny so quick? #Share please

  • I love how your posts make me laugh (in the best way possible) more than an episode of Broad City can. How do you do it?

    Read a few posts from my blog, maybe?