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Welcome to the other side of 2021, where going out is (in most places around the United States) finally socially appropriate and safe (just get those vaccination cards ready). We've been waiting for over a year to dust off any and all cool weather pieces from our wardrobes that aren't sweats, but even still, the pandemic has left many of us struggling to shake our attachment to all things comfortable and comforting. Piecing together going-out outfits — and then wearing them throughout an event — now feels harder than ever.

If you're not quite sure how to dress for specific occasions, such as date night dinners and bottomless brunches, you're not alone. We've been out of the game for so long that naturally pulling together the perfect going-out outfit again is going to take some practice. It would also take a lot of hours perusing social media for inspiration — if, of course, we hadn't already done that for you.

Below, we've rounded up some simple yet still highly stylish going-out outfit ideas, courtesy of our favorite Instagram fashion influencers.

Sweater Vests

Models like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, and Kaia Gerber have been wearing sweater vests as tops and the fit is the perfect transition from summer into fall. Pair the knit with mom jeans or wide-leg trousers for a cute but casual look, and polish it off by throwing your hair up in a claw clip. When the weather gets chilly, layer the vest over a button-down or turtleneck.


One-shoulder tops are among the most versatile clothing items you can add to your closet. Not only are they the perfect transition piece for summer into fall, they're also a year-round staple. A one-shoulder bodysuit will not only help you achieve a sleek fit, it's also the ultimate foundation piece and and can be paired with either flared denim, a mini skirt, or trousers, with a blazer in place of traditional outerwear.

Shop similar: Boohoo Tall Neon Rib One Shoulder Bodysuit; $8 (originally $20)

Animal Print

Fashion staples from the '90s are coming back, and animal print is one of those alternative era trends that are getting a pass — and we mean all kinds of animal print. For the upcoming season, celebrity stylist and affirm partner Tara Swennen told InStyle that pairing a bold animal print with an otherwise monochromatic ensemble will help to really make a statement.

Shop similar: Miaou Lou Pants; $265

A Colorful Co-ord

There's a pop of color, and then there's head-to-toe color. Co-ords make the latter both seamless and easy to achieve. Choose your favorite shade and either stick with it throughout the entirety of your outfit (accessories and all) or opt for neutral footwear and minimal jewelry.


For anyone who isn't ready (or plans to forever boycott) denim, leggings, and virtually any and all tight pants, trousers are the answer. These stylish bottoms are comfortable and appropriate for office wear. They can also be dressed up or down with heels or sneakers, a fitted top or cropped tee; wherever you're headed, trousers not only understand the assignment, they ace it.

Shop the look: Zara Rustic Wide Leg Pants; $50

Slit Pants

Slit pants, tuxedo pants — whatever you want to call them, these bottoms are making a beeline for our fall wardrobes (and we're here for it). They're essentially an upgraded version of black dress pants or leggings: comfortable, multifaceted, and seasonless, so they'll have a place in your going-out outfit rotation year-round.

Shop similar: Blank NYC Skinny Tuxedo Pant; $68

A Graphic Tee

Casual outings like running errands or just grabbing lunch with a friend call for casual going-out outfits. Enter the graphic tee, another trend hot off the '90s creeping into our wardrobes in 2021. Dust off your favorite band tees or splurge on a vintage collectible, then experiment with pairings. You can dress it up with skinny jeans and heels or half-tuck an oversized graphic tee into a pair of joggers before polishing off the look with running sneakers.

An Oversized Blazer

Here at InStyle, we firmly believe you can never go wrong with an oversized blazer. Throw a patterned number (we love this one from Ramy Brook) over a white T-shirt and jeans for a classic look, or ditch the undergarments and wear it as a dress with combat boots (shop this writer's favorite pair here) or an over-the-knee option. The addition of layered necklaces will complete the look. You can also channel cozy vibes in this double-breasted blazer with a built-in hoodie from Express if you want to appear dressed up, but feel dressed down.

Shop the look: AllSaints Aleida Tri Blazer; $215

Mesh Detail

A pop of mesh is always a fun pick for date night. But aside from its flirty appeal, the material is also perfect for breezy summer nights. Once the weather gets cool, grab a blazer as you head out the door in case you need to warm your shoulders. A mesh turtleneck, like this one from White House Black Market, also makes a great layering piece. Style it under an oversized tee for a cool yet laid-back look.

A Flowy Maxi Dress

Like blazers, maxi dresses are never a poor choice when deciding on a going-out outfit. They're a done-in-one ensemble that's comfortable enough to lounge in after the night is through, and depending on your preference, can be dressed up or down with the right accessories (think strappy heels vs flats, dainty necklaces vs chunky bracelets, etc.).

Anything Plaid

As we head into fall and winter, plaid is bound to make a cameo in your wardrobe. But oftentimes when we think of the checkered pattern, it's in the form of a button-up flannel — something grungy or a farmer aesthetic. However, there are alternative ways to implement plaid into your going-out attire, like gingham blazers or shackets that are often designed to have a more tailored fit, as well as plaid pants, which pop a little more than a pair of jeans.