I’m going to share a conversation that most millennials over the age of, say, 27 will probably recognize:
Friend 1: “What are you wearing to the Sigma Chi mixer tonight?”
Friend 2: “Jeans and a nice top!”
Friend 1: “Perfect. I was thinking the same.”
It was a nighttime outfit formula that defined a generation: jeans and a ‘going out top.’ Whether it was a simple black tube top accessorized with an inexplicably enormous belt, a silky camisole laden with sequins that you paired with your skinniest jeans or anything peplum, the going out top was a wardrobe staple that came to epitomize millennial cringe. One of my most egregious going out tops was a silky, hot pink and black animal print number I wore during my freshman year of college in 2009. (I’m sure there is photo evidence of said top in some Facebook album entitled “nights we’ll never remember with friends we’ll never forget,” but I’m too embarrassed to search for it too hard.)
It’s a bit jarring, then, to report that the going out top is back with a vengeance. Spend ten minutes in downtown Manhattan on a Saturday night and you’re sure to see a gaggle of Gen Z’ers in baggy jeans, going out tops, mini handbags and even kitten heels. But here’s the thing: These are not the going out tops of yore; these are chic, modern pieces that can look positively stylish. There are a few keys to wearing a going out top without looking like you’re headed to a Y2K theme party. Here are a few tips for wearing a going out top in 2023, plus some of our favorite options to shop right now.