What to Wear to Lunch With Friends

friends having lunch

Whenever I do a style consultation, I ask about the client’s lifestyle, favourite shops etc and what occasions they find it challenging to dress for.

Almost without exception, women tell me that what they find most difficult is dressing for lunch out with their friends! Generally, there will be at least one woman in their group who absolutely nails her look, leaving the others feeling a bit frumpy, boring or overdressed. Of course what we wear really shouldn’t matter because, if they’re true friends, they won’t judge us. But, the fact is, we judge ourselves, don’t we?  Too many of women spend too much time fretting about what to wear and feeling they haven’t quite got it right.  My aim is to help you to feel confident in your choices so that you can get dressed for any given occasion with minimal stress and then forget about what you’re wearing.

A nice lunch out with friends is generally the sort of occasion which calls for a smart-casual approach to dressing. Unfortunately, this is a dress code that strikes fear in the heart of many a woman as it can be interpreted in so many different ways and no one wants to get it wrong and end up feeling under- or over-dressed. Really though, it just means taking things up a notch from what you’d normally wear, whilst not looking too formal or like you’ve tried too hard. Effortlessly stylish is the look I think we’re aiming for. But how to achieve it in a way that works for us?

How to style jeans for a lunch date

Whatever our style personalities, most of us will have at least one pair of jeans in our wardrobes so, for simplicity, I will base my outfit suggestions around a pair of  standard denim jeans.

Jeans are incredibly versatile but, if worn with a plain top, they can look a bit too casual and let’s face it, boring, for a lunch gathering.  So even if you’re generally a very casual dresser, you’re probably going to want to dress your jeans up a bit to make them lunch-date appropriate. Fortunately this is very easy to do by layering on additional pieces such as jewellery, scarves, jackets etc to add interest. Just how much you want to elevate your look will depend on your style personality.

Level 1 – fuss-free style

Switch the plain top for a print one (stripes/floral/spots or abstracts – your choice) or, if wearing a block colour make sure that it has some detailing such as an interesting neckline (cowl /asymmetric/halter/bardot etc ) or is in a luxurious fabric such as lace or silk. If you’re wearing trainers, they shouldn’t be the ones you wear to dig the garden or go running in!

Level 2 – understated style

Add a jacket to the level 1 look. This could be a soft blazer, perhaps with the sleeves pushed up for a more casual look, a biker, or trucker jacket depending on your style personality and what appeals to you. Unless you are confident in your style credentials though, I would play safe and steer clear of doing “double denim” ie wearing the same colour denim jacket as jeans. Wear one statement accessory – scarf, necklace etc.

Level 3 – seriously stylish

Layer on accessories. These could include a scarf or necklace,  a colourful bag, statement heels or funky trainers. How many accessories you go for will depend very much on your style personality. Dramatics will want to layer on multiple statement pieces, whereas Classics will probably just want to stop at the scarf and earrings. Naturals don’t tend to wear accessories and will probably have stopped reading by this point!

Take a look here to see various outfit suggestions I have put together based around a pair of  inexpensive M&S jeans. This particular pair are slim fitting so if that’s not your best look, by all means substitute them for whatever style suits you; the principles for putting together your outfits are the same.

Of course you don’t have to wear jeans at all. There are many other pieces you can build outfits around such as casual dresses, trousers, skirts and jumpsuits. As a personal stylist it’s my job to help you develop a style that makes you look and feel your very best. Check out my My Perfect Wardrobe service and let me know if you’d like me to put together some looks specially for you.