There IS Redemption for Buyer's Remorse--Party Tops

Here's a problem that I find myself in quite a bit, and I know I'm not the only one: I'd see a cute party top on sale and think it'd be great for the next party or night out to a club. After I buy the said top, which is a really good deal ($20 or under, instead of the $200 or so retail), I realize that I'm a professional student who doesn't have time to go out much. Oops. To make matters worse, I already have like 6 other such tops. What now?

I was raised to save my "nice clothes" for "special occasions," but if I continued to do that, I'd never get around to wearing a lot of clothes I have. A deal is only a good deal if you're able to use it. To lower the cost-per-wear ratio, the only thing to do is to casualize the fancy tops.

One of the "problem pieces" in my closet is actually a beauty. It's a Jak and Rae silk top in a beautiful yellow--the one that is the backdrop for my blog's header. I loved it when I bought it, but once I got it home, I changed my mind. It is way too low-cut, but there was no way I could have fitted into it if I got a size smaller. I thought that I'd use some double-sided tape, but it is clear that it won't do. I contemplated returning it, but after receiving compliments from my friends who saw the garment, I took the tag off and decided to keep it. After all, it's not everyday that you can find a beautiful top like this for $12 at Loehmann's.

What a foolish decision! I let the prettiness of the top overcome all reason. I knew that it didn't fit me very well, but I felt compelled to keep it. However, I decided that I would redeem myself by finding ways to layer it. I have to say that I'm very pleased with the results and I'm glad I didn't take it back for a refund.

Here are pictures taken when I played around with the silk top a couple of months ago. I have a system when it comes to trying out new combinations, which I'll present here in a stream-of-consciousness fashion. First, I'd start with the basic and/or obvious--layering the top over something simple, nothing crazy about the color schemes.

I like this one the best--tone and tone is matching but not too matchy:

After that, I venture out a little further with prints and sharply contrasting colors

I kinda like how the gold foil print on this next t-shirt works with the satiny texture of the top. The colors are very similar, but the gold parts seem to blend together. Coincidentally, Agathe from Style Bytes did something similar today by wearing a gold dress over a print tee.

Now comes more variations with the neckline and other elements of the underlayer...

Hmm...necklines are too matchy. Let's break it up a little...

The silk top has a somewhat frilly hem, so let's layer it over something that's also frilly! Meh...don't like it much. Looks better than pictured, but it's still bleh.

More recently, the weather got colder, so I decided to add a layer on top. The following are outfits that I've actually worn to go out; the preceding ones were merely experiments, but I plan on wearing half of those.

Here's how it looks like in the back. Fits right in with the jumper craze right now. And yes, those are the same ugly pants featured last time. See what a long top can do for ugly pants?

Experimenting really is the way to go to get more wear out of clothes, to get the bang for your buck. That's why I don't believe in buying outfits--what's the fun if I can't play around? Outfits can go out of style in a blink of an eye, but individual pieces endure long after the craze is gone.


The Cheap Chica said...

nice combinations with that top! i too have a lot of party tops and find myself not going out as much, so the tops never get worn. i never thought to casualize them, though. good idea. maybe i need to put together a few combos of my own, lol.

bee said...

It really is a beautiful piece, I'm glad you've found ways to work with it! And what a steal at $12! Loehmann's is good if you have the time to look -- I got a James Perse shirt for $8 once. :)

S. said...

I agree that it's no bargain if you're not putting it to use so, resist further party top purchases!

It doesn't look like it's too much for every day wear if done right.

Summer gives us permission to be pretty. You can wear it with jean shorts and flip flops in the summer to make it more casual.

Sales Rack Raider said...

I definitely learned my lesson. I haven't bought anything party-like since April. At least the party tops I already have are quite tame, since I wanted to be able to wear them for, say, a nice dinner. I'm happy to report that I've worn all those tops at least 2-3 times, but not nearly enough.

Great idea with the shorts and flip-flops, S.!

ambika said...

This is an incredibly useful post. I think, too often, I throw a cardigan over a dressy top and call it a day. But there are definitely a lot of other ways to wear these. I do tend to stay away from anything satin or shiny, as those often don't translate well for work or casual wear, but I've still fallen prey to buying something pretty that just ends up sitting there for far too long unworn.