What to wear when ‘jeans and a nice top’ won’t do

I’m about to say something extremely controversial as a blogger; I hate the dress code ‘jeans and a nice top’.

Hear me out!

The thing is, I live in Topshop Joni jeans. The black high-waisted ones. I don’t go for the pairs with rips or embroidery, just the plain black jeans. If I’m feeling fancy I’ll invest in a pair of ‘ultra holds’ which keep the dye in a little longer.

So if that’s my everyday uniform (and I really do mean every single day) I’m going to need to wear something different for special occasions, aren’t I? After all, there’s only so many days I can get away with wearing a turtleneck, jeans and sock boots. People are so used to seeing me in this combo, when I strut out in something like this I feel as if I’ve made more of an effort and my mood seems to match!

Luckily I had Pretty Little Thing to help me out with this look and coax me out of comfort zone. This floral wrap dress and complimenting neutral ruffle heels can be found in their Race Day outfit range.

I’m sure you’ve felt like this too. Stuck in your ways, attached to the styles you feel safe in. There’s of course nothing wrong with this per se, but experimenting with print, textures and fit can really make you feel differently.

Abandon your whatsapp group – we all know that if you ask what everyone is wearing they will downplay it anyway! If you’ve got an event on the way or simply want to spice up your wardrobe with something different, I’m your gal. We’ve got this and you’re going to look AMAZING. Here are my top tips.

Find your colour opposites
If you’re the type of girl to wear all black everything (me too), try opting for neutral colours for a mini transformation. If you’re not feeling too adventurous, this is a good way to still use the styles you love whilst changing things up. This does work the other way round too. If you’re a ‘blue jeans and white t-shirt’ kind of girl, go for a classic LBD or a darker colour that people aren’t likely to have seen you wear before.

Grab a prop
Trying something new and glam is great, but there’s always one person who makes a point of saying ‘oh don’t you look different!‘ Now I don’t want to get too deep, but many of us stick with jeans and a nice top so that we blend into the crowd. If this is something you can relate to, you can still dress a little fancier without feeling as if you’re on show.

I draped this classic cream coat over my shoulders to cover myself up just in case I started feeling a little anxious. Balancing style and practicality, it’s always good to have something on hand to make you feel a bit more comfortable.

Use the brand’s stylist
There’s a reason ecommerce models look so good and it’s not just because they’re all total stunners. Most brands have a stylist who will attend shoots and accessorise each outfit. Use this to your advantage! You might not have your own glam squad on hand, but you can use the complete pre-made outfit that’s been prepared for the website shoot instead. Try to track down the same shoes and necklace your dress of choice is paired with, you can even tweet the brand for help if you’re looking for something specific.

Keep your makeup simple
Going glam doesn’t mean you have to follow some sort of elaborate makeup tutorial on Youtube. Give yourself a break and take some extra pressure off by keeping it simple. For this look I only used my regular NYX HD foundation, an NYX liquid lingerie lipstick in the colour ‘Babydoll’ and my NYX liquid eyeliner (what can I say, I’m a cheapskate). Let your outfit do the talking and just enjoy yourself! Don’t pressure yourself into perfecting a fifteen-step makeup routine if it’s not what you’d naturally do.

Wear the right underwear… or none at all
This is a blog first for me, a no bra outfit. Some dresses just don’t lend themselves well to bras, do they?

I know a few of you might shudder to think about walking out the house without a bra, but I think part of the reason I’ve stayed true to the ‘jeans and a nice top’ code is that the dresses I like all show my underwear. You know the dresses I’m talking about; cute cut out dresses or plunge necks that show your straps or bridge.

Now there’s nothing wrong with a strap popping out but if it ruins the look of the dress I’d rather go without! It took a while for me to figure out that it would actually be better if I went out bra-less but gals, I’m finally here.

Don’t blow all your cash
There are plenty of places to shop for amazing dresses these days and you don’t need to blow your whole overdraft to look glam (the more you save the more you can spend on drinks, right?) The wrap dress featured in this look costs just £20. Can you believe it!? Go beyond the shops you might usually visit and check out what’s beyond the highstreet.


Most importantly of all, know that you’re not confined to one fit, shape or style just because of your own body type. Fashion is fun. It’s a way for you to express yourself. So get out there and show people what you’re made of!

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  1. February 26, 2018 / 3:08 pm

    Mixing up style can be so difficult when your stuck in your ways. I do like to play around with different outfits on special occasions but people are always shocked when they see not in my usual attire.

    Love your tips for people trying to be more adventurous with their style 🙂

    Gem | gemsupnorth.co.uk

  2. Yasmin
    February 26, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    Ahhh great tips, you look lovely! I love the dress, I agree I’m not really a fan of jeans and a nice top tbh. It’s a little too safe!


  3. February 27, 2018 / 2:33 pm

    Love the tip of taking a prop with you, I always feel more comfortable when I know I can hide my pooch with a cool jacket! This dress is gorgeous, I’ll definitely look at their race day range for upcoming events 🙂

    Hannah x

  4. Ellie Dickinson
    February 28, 2018 / 11:06 am

    Love this! I’m so over ‘jeans and a nice top’ but it’s always a fall back for me! I love a bold trouser instead of jeans x

  5. February 28, 2018 / 11:35 am

    I never wear jeans usually, so it’s a reversal for me and jeans with a nice top is actually a thing I’m considering more these days. It’s quite amusing.

  6. Bryanna skye
    March 5, 2018 / 3:56 pm

    That dress is gorgeous! I’m a leggings girl so wear dresses pretty often, but have never gone sans bra in a dress tbh. Maybe I’ll give it a go

  7. March 5, 2018 / 5:20 pm

    Love the print on this dress, it makes for such a cute dress for day or night.

    • Jess - Actual Philocalist
      March 7, 2018 / 11:22 am

      Thanks Jenny! It’s gorgeous isn’t it! It’s from PLT. I can definitely see myself getting away with it for night and day.