The end of spring brings the season of proms, weddings, and other formal events. Alongside a surge in dress sales comes a surge in stress about what is or isn’t appropriate to wear. Countless texts from friends who are stressed about buying a dress online, lest it comes in looking like one of those tragic memes on twitter (yikes). I know the stress, I live the stress. I live somewhere where it’s impossible to find a dress that fits everything on my want list without breaking the bank. On top of that, when it came to finding a dress for a recent formal, none of my go-to sites (Zara, H&M, Topshop, Tobi) had anything I was committed to. I get seriously stressed about clothes: I know it’s superficial and doesn’t matter, but the narcissist in me broke down over semi-formal dresses and prom dresses at least 10 times in my senior year.
This year, I thought, F-it. If Emma Watson can wear a classy trouser-top duo on the red carpet, why do I feel the need to wear a dress to every formal event? And I started browsing in the trouser/blouse sections instead. It. Was. Glorious.
I stuck to Zara’s site, because we were getting down to crunch time and I didn’t want one half of my outfit showing up without the other. ALSO Zara’s clothes have been ON. POINT. this season. 10/10, I’m super impressed. Still, none of their dresses felt right for the occasion. Oh, I should tell you what that was – “The Occasion” = Lakehead University’s Historical Society Formal – basically my program’s formal at Uni. It’s always a small event, but people still get dressed up, and the location’s super fancy, and it’s just nice to feel fancy at least once a year. It’s the kind of event that makes you want to look classy, elegant, and, (because it’s a history formal and only weirdos study history), unique. Nothing was fitting the bill. Then I thought, I could go super tame top-trouser pair, and it would meet all the things I’m looking for. Monochrome top-trouser: classy? check. elegant? check. unique? well, the top-trouser pair isn’t done all that often around here so check.
What I Wore
To be honest, it’s just really hard to find a normal looking top from Zara. I flip-flopped a lot on this top, I never planned on wearing it again (though I probably will, haven’t yet though) it just fit the aesthetic that I was going for, and it was cheap. Score, and score. This white asymmetrical top with a ruffle from Zara fit me surprisingly well (I was a bit worried about it), and wasn’t see through (I wore a white strapless bra underneath, no problems. Overall, it added the extra interest to the outfit without having any of the expected drawbacks. It’s so outside of anything I would normally pick out, but I’m already picturing other outfits I could wear it with.
You can’t go wrong with monochrome and I have like NO dress pants so I wanted a black pair that I could easily rewear. The top was easily the piece that brought a little more interest to the ensemble. The trousers themselves are ‘cropped tuxedo trousers’ from Zara (50$CAD). They were way better than I expected, they fit like a glove and are so comfortable. They also have lovely satin detailing around the top and down the ankles. I was pleasantly surprised by these, and I’ve already reworn them.
Shoes + Accessories
I wanted at least a little pop of colour, and at first I was committed to buying black heels (I don’t have any, would you believe it) and using my jewelry to pop that colour, but I couldn’t find any for cheap enough. The shoes I wore had an ankle strap, and an ankle strap – trouser combo is not my fav, but it didn’t look too bad, and the maroon colour was the subtle pop that I was looking for, so it all worked out in the end. I searched high and low for these – initially for a Christmas party. They’re a velvet maroon material with a gold zipper on the heel. They were initially $90 (50% off though!!!!) from Tobi, but they don’t have them in stock anymore. I kept the colour pop consistent by using a similar colour for my lipstick (D for Danger, by MAC).
I stuck to the monochrome and gold theme with my jewelry. My earrings were Kate Spade, and I was so glad to wear them, they’re gorgeous but I’ve never found an outfit or event that really worked for them before. Because of the neckline of the top I didn’t want to wear a long necklace that would cut it off, so I wore a gold choker that I bought from Icings by Claires (guilty!), and I stuck to the gold theme with my rings (also cheaply bought from Pull+Bear ages ago) and that was that!
Have you tried a trouser/top duo at a formal event? Did people think you were super weird for dong so (because they definitely thought I was)? How did you style it? Did you love it as much as me?! Let me know in the comments!