Your Date-Night Outfit Essential Is Right In Front Of You

Expectation: You show up for date-night and look like a total knockout (without putting in any effort, of course). Reality: You spent hours grooming pesky fly-aways, turning your bedroom floor into a mini war zone of discarded outfit options, and reapplying your cat-eye three times because you couldn't get the flick just right. And we're right there with you.

But sometimes less effort equals a cooler look (imagine that!), and your favorite wardrobe essential has something to do with it. We're talking about denim — the perfect foundation for a slew of ensembles that instantly read: Oh, this outfit? I just threw it on. You might overlook the staple because of its casual vibe, but with the right accoutrements, jean pieces can give your outfit the understated finish it needs. See how we worked the latest denim styles from Macy's into looks that work for every type of date, below, and soon enough the expectation vs. reality struggle will be a thing of the past.

The "Cultured & Adventurous" Date
Whether you're checking out an exhibit or getting schooled in a wine class, you'll want a chameleonic look that can go with the flow of the evening — you know, in case you two hit it off and a "have you eaten yet?" is thrown out there. Start with always-chic stripes paired with a tailored trouser in an eye-catching color. Sleek and shiny booties are easy to walk in and elevated, while a distressed denim jacket thrown over your shoulders gives the look a carefree, down-for-anything vibe.
The "Last-Minute & Low-Key" Date
If your on-again, off-again fling isn't a big planner, you're probably all too familiar with the zero-heads-up text. For an invite to something impromptu and laid-back, like hanging at your local dive bar or a casual Netflix and chill sesh, you'll want a look that's comfortable but with an edge. If you're coming from work, for instance, you can instantly take it down a notch by swapping your HR-approved bottoms for lived-in denim and cozy sneakers. Add a playful ode to the '90s with an embossed lunch-box-style bag.
The "Drinks & Dance Floor" Date
So you're in for an epic night of specialty drinks and tearing up the dance floor. It's a no-brainer that you need a look you can move in — and a stretchy dress is not the answer. Instead, throw on black skinny jeans that can easily be dressed up (and you don't have to worry about your hemline creeping up). Leave the painful heels at home in favor of sleek pointy-toe boots, and top it off with a sparkly halter top to keep the festive mood going from first impressions to last call.
The "Official Sit-Down Dinner" Date
While there's nothing groundbreaking about going out on a dinner date, our rapid outfit changes leading up to it would suggest otherwise. Instead of stressing about the perfect outfit combo, go for an all-in-one style, like a collared denim shirtdress. It has the same versatility as your go-to shift dress, but reads more cool girl, less cocktail party. Add playful pieces like a mint-green sweater, leopard booties, and quirky pins to show off your fashionable (and funny) personality.

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