Disclaimer: I borrowed the idea for this post from Trinny Woodal's and Susannah Constantine's What Not To Wear for Every Occasion book. However, the book is a few years old and most of the clothiers they were referring to have not yet come to the United States. So, here is a day-to-evening transformation using pieces one can find in American stores and on line.
Most of us do not possess the luggage space to travel with a full ball gown, like Fanny Cranberry from On the Verge. At the same time, we may have a need for a smart outfit for an upscale dinner to follow either a day at the office or a day of navigating places of interest at your travel destination. While the evening version of the outfit described below wouldn't work for a full-on black tie affair, it would do for a dinner at a nice restaurant or a night at the theater.
The foundation of the outfit is the long-sleeve black fitted dress from Travel Smith. The color and the cut of the dress make it very easy to build upon - if done right. Here it is worn with a brown suede blazer and a pair of flat brown boots. While I still maintain that black does not go with everything, nice deep brown is one of the colors that go very well with black, but for some reason is often overlooked.
The jacket gives the otherwise comfortable and casual outfit a dressier edge, and creates the vertical line, emphasizing the narrowest portion of the figure. The boots work in tandem with the jacket, with the design that is modern and stylish, but is also comfortable. You can be on your feet all day, and barely notice you have these on.
To add some sparkle to the day version of the outfit, I am test-driving one of my Seaside Collection necklaces. The longer pendant breaks up the solid black field in the front, and the natural color scheme works well both with black and with brown.
The dress stays. So do the ornate tights already worn under the dress. The boots are swapped for a pair of evening pumps.
The hair goes up in a French twist or a bun. If you have medium length or short hair, you can tuck it behind your ears or slick it back. If you have long hair, don't make the twist or the bun too severe - allow a few strands to fall around your face.
Put on long dangly earrings - gold or gold-tone in this case. The updo allows you to show them off, and the two work together to visually elongate your neck. Here, I am wearing a pair of gold-dipped maple leaf earrings I bought at a nature store in Marketplace Mall in Rochester, NY as a student (here is a clue for you - I was a student, so they were not expensive). However, the long stringy earrings would work as well.
Add an opulent wrap. Wraps are fantastic - they can be had inexpensively at your local Ross, or TJ Max (like the one I am wearing here) or Target, they come in many colors or frequently combine colors and they pack small. With a showstopper like that, your simple dress will be ready for just about anything. Transformation time: 20 minutes.