It’s Friday afternoon, and you’re clocking out for the weekend. You’re traveling to a meeting with some coworkers at the local cocktail bar in thirty minutes. There’s no time to run home and change clothes, so do you wear your work clothes for evening? Of course not! By choosing the right outfit, you won’t have to worry about this fashion faux pas.

Of course you want to keep your work clothes professional; nobody in the office wears their best party dress to work. But you don’t have to look so buttoned up, even while working. Think layering for day-to-evening outfits. A ruffled satin blouse would look stunning under a neutrally colored business jacket, paired with an A-line skirt and pumps. If you love wearing dresses, then it’s even easier. That little black dress can be made work-appropriate with a jacket and wide belt.

When you choose this route, make sure that you can cover enough to stay within your office’s dress code.

Keep in mind that not all potential evening wear is over the top. On the contrary! Some of the best day-to-evening outfits are simple in concept. Instead of a flashy, sequined, lace up ball gown- inspired dress, choose a dress (or skirt, for that matter) that is knee-length. Anyone can pull off a black dress with the right lines, especially if it is accessorized correctly.

Think outside the box…

Don’t be fooled though; dresses aren’t the only way to dress your work clothes up. Skirts can instantly become classy with a shiny wide belt and fancy blouse. Patterns and prints shouldn’t be discounted, either. Paisley is the ultimate work to evening transition pattern. It’s fun, but can be covered up enough by a jacket to be professional at work.

Think about keeping a few evening essentials in your car or work bag. Transforming your daily grind ensemble into a belle-of-the-ball look is all about how you accessorize. Think about what compliments your chosen outfit. If you love how your shoulders look in your cocktail dress, consider a shawl, wrap, or shrug to emphasize them in your big reveal. Include a pair of strappy sandals in your beauty emergency kit. Think neutral colors for this; you can’t go wrong with gray or black shoes in most color palettes. If your office doesn’t allow long or dangling earrings, bring a pair along with you, especially if you wear your hair in an up do.

Evening Wear Kit

In your evening wear kit, make sure that you don’t leave out makeup. Over the course of the day, makeup can get smudged, smeared, or wipe off. It’s a good idea to freshen up cosmetics before heading out with friends. A few basics can do wonders for fading work makeup: black eyeliner, mascara, and highlight shadow are great pieces to keep in your purse. When in doubt, keep a small palette of makeup with you; if it’s in a brown or gray category, then there’s a good chance that it, along with your jewelry and accessories, will compliment your work to night life ensemble.