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Lately my evening wear has been inspired by classic, romantic and feminine black and white photographs, like this one:

Photo credit: pushthemovement.tumblr.com

So, for a night on the town, I chose a relatively plain black ensemble with some classically inspired jewelry.

Top: Black with beige polka dots H&M semi-sheer button-down. Skirt: Black H&M. Shoes: Black suede platform pumps from Target. Necklace: J.Crew black “Majesty” necklace circa Fall/Winter 2009. I also wrapped a long gold-tinted pearl strand around my right wrist for a bracelet, with my black onyx David Yurman ring on my right hand and an antique red cocktail ring (hard to see in the picture) on my left hand. I also carried my new J.Crew envelope shoulder bag with the gold chain strap.

I always hesitate to wear a tight black bandage-style skirt because when worn incorrectly they can look exceedingly tacky. However, they key to wearing skirts like this one is to pair it with more conservative pieces. The loose fitting, three-quarters sleeve top balanced out the tightness and shortness of the skirt, and my jewelry gave the outfit a more feminine and timeless feel.

My goal in nighttime outfits is to look sexy and feminine, while keeping the look as close to classic and conservative as I can get away with. Balance is always the key.

What rules do you live by for nighttime outfits?