Stop Wearing “Jeans and a Nice Top”

Talia Maggs-Rapport discusses her alternatives to the stereotypical go-to night out look.

You know that siren call from the deep abyss of your wardrobe, as you try to work out what to wear for the night ahead at the Union or the Rule? Or that easy option when you want to look dressy, but not too dressy? Or that reply that seems to come up every time you message the girls and ask them what they’re wearing tonight? You guessed it, it’s jeans and a nice top.

So how to avoid this classic, but frequently overused dress code? Maybe you’re looking to stand out from the crowd. Maybe you’d like to experiment with some new styles. Maybe all of your jeans are dirty because you can’t bring yourself to pay for Circuit Laundry. Well look no further, because these alternatives have got you covered.

Photo: PxHere

One option is to simply substitute jeans with an another type of trousers. More and more trouser styles are popping up all over the high street at the moment, especially those with flares, ruffles, stripes, or ties. To keep it laid back for a night out, try pairing these with a t-shirt or casual top. Culottes are a comfy alternative, and are available in a variety of lengths – from just below the knee to the ankle – and can be styled with anything from trainers to heels and a leather jacket. To balance their wide leg shape, wear with a fitted top.

For another substitute, try layered dresses. Many of us are hesitant to turn to a dress for a smart-casual event, in the worry that we will look too formal. One way to avoid this is by layering dresses with t-shirts, turtlenecks, or long-sleeved tops. Slip dresses are especially good for this. Bonus points here too, because it’s going to keep you warmer in that St Andrews cold.


I know that skirts are an obvious recommendation, but bear with me here. While they may not seem as versatile as jeans, skirts can be styled to suit any occasion. Bare legs or tights, shirt, top or jumper, the list goes on. Admittedly, they don’t have the freedom of movement of a pair of jeans, but you could always opt for a skort instead (Ed. note: Bring back the 90’s!).

Popping up on Instagram everywhere, and particularly popular as the newest “off-duty model” look, sports luxe is here to stay. Grab a pair of smart joggers (go for wide or straight leg, á la H&M’s side button pair), or style up a sporty crop top. Rule of thumb, don’t wear anything you would actually exercise in, to avoid looking like you’ve just come from the gym.

So there you have it: some easy alternatives to jeans and a nice top. Lock away those jeans and prepare your Instagram ladies, because your next night out is about to get a whole lot more stylish.



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