How to Improvise a Fancy Outfit

My packing equation is pretty simple:

\frac{(Occasion + Weather) x  Inspiration}{Number of days}

Rinse and repeat.

Thanks to this little formula, I’ve gotten pretty good at determining what I need to pack and almost never feel overdressed or underdressed while on a trip.

But life is full of surprises and I received a last-minute invitation to a theme party put on by the WWI Museum in Kansas City. The theme: Early aviation.

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Flowchart to the rescue

Spontaneity is the best part of any trip and I love a good theme party. But I had less than a week to figure out what I had with me that remotely fit the theme and what I might need to buy to complete the look. Keep in mind how casual my Kansas City Capsule was.

Here’s a flowchart inspired by my outfit problem-solving skills.

kansas city looking fashionable

Here’s how this played out for me

Do I have anything that works? Yes! I brought along a fun silk jumpsuit/dress from last summer’s Club Monaco tile-print collection. I’ve been dressing it down lately but I knew it had potential in its quirk. It even had a 1920’s vibe.

Can I borrow shoes or accessories? No. I don’t have the same size anything as anyone around me here.

What do I prioritize? Shoes. I only had flat sandals and sneakers, so that was something I knew I’d need to spend money on. I am the kind of person who builds an outfit from the ground up, so I did not want to spend money on a crappy pair of shoes that hurt and that I’d probably never wear again. I ended up choosing a theme-appropriate and sensible pair of $40 Mary-Janes. Nothing amazing or exciting, but super comfy and good quality.

Where can I save a buck? Accessories! I picked up a clutch at H&M and a necklace from Forever XXI — which I’ll have no problem donating or passing on to a local friend.

My last tip? Bring a red lipstick wherever you go. It takes up so little room and can instantly change an outfit.

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Photographs by Jeff Evrard

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