Hushed lighting. Thoughtful cocktails. Swinging rhythm. Hot notes. It can only mean one thing: jazz night in L.A.
And to top it all off, my outfit is on point: I’m comfortable and confident. Why did I choose to wear what I did – or perhaps more specifically: How did I decipher what I was supposed to wear?
Introducing: What I Wore
I get questions all the time on social media and in the Primer inbox about what to wear to highly specific social engagements.
For example: A destination wedding in the Caribbean that says “shoes optional!” but there will definitely be dancing. A first date at an art gallery (and the reader’s never been to a gallery). Christmas eve at your brother’s wife’s parents’ place.
Now, Primer already has an enormously popular feature for what to wear … The Getup! And while the Getup can be for specific situations (like a casual date), it’s definitely broader and more conceptual.
What The Getup generally doesn’t address are the nuances of venue, location, weather, and particular cultural expectations that factor into determining what to wear to a specific event. And these nuances are essential for accomplishing the goal of dressing with intention – whether that’s impressing upon clients or potential employers that you’re competent, being a respectful partner in front of friends, or simply someone who looks like they connect and belong with the tribe they’re immersing themselves in.
What I Wore is an outfit-driven feature like The Getup that goes deeply into my thought process for what I wore to a very specific thing and why.
What I Wore: Personal Style Intel For Specific Situations
Think of it like this: You and I are texting, getting ready to go somewhere together, and you ask, “How dressed up am I supposed to be for this thing?” What I Wore is my answer.
Or instead of “what to wear on a first date” it’s “what I wore to this first date.”
This first installment of What I Wore came about totally spontaneously. I was at my place and decided to make this particular Tuesday night different for a change… and check out some live jazz.
En route, I made a tongue-in-cheek video on Primer’s Instagram Stories as if we – you and I – were hanging out, I invited you to go, and you asked, “What should I wear?” Check it out below, and make sure to give @primermagazine a follow on Instagram for more style, self-development, and home inspiration, as well as coming along on some of my adventures in our Stories.
Where I Went
I headed out to the The Parker Room, a small, plush bar in Hollywood that’s known for its live jazz music nights. I walked in the door to the perfect atmosphere: candles, moody uplighting, a busy crowd with a seat waiting for me at at the well-stocked bar, and the smooth tones of jazz guitar.
Just what I was looking for.
Why I Wore What I Wore
Any time you head somewhere new, you’re taking a risk that you’ll show up and be either under-or-over dressed. It’s been one of my biggest style challenges for… well… ever.
On Primer, we talk a lot about experimenting with the concept of intention in style. When you dress with intention, it buys you a lot of leeway within the traditional categories of “dressed up,” “dressed down,” and all the expectations that come with those categories. It’s one of the fundamental principles to loving (and nailing) “smart casual”.
I’d never been to The Parker Room but I knew it was:
- A small cocktail bar that doesn’t normally have music
- A Tuesday night
- In Los Angeles, a notoriously casual city, especially on weekday nights
…and not a two-drink-minimum big name jazz club. So what I wore was casual but intentional just in case it was fancier than expected. A fitted trucker jacket, dark pocket tee, dark suede boots, and black selvedge denim jeans.
While individually these items – a pocket t-shirt and jeans – are the definition of casual, choosing a dark, muted color scheme makes the whole look clearly purposeful. No one would confuse me for being a lazy, poorly dressed schlub in jeans and a t-shirt…even though I am wearing jeans and a t-shirt.
The lightweight tan trucker jacket fits slim to the body and maintains a fitted, trim silhouette and acts more like a cardigan or blazer would in terms of being part of your outfit that stays on versus a typical jacket that you remove when you go inside. (That is, unless, you get hot, of course.)
These dark suede boots are actually olive in color, though they appear as a blackish brown in most lights. They’re rugged-ish in form, but their low sole, tapered capped toe box, and suede texture are more refined than a chunkier Red Wing Iron Ranger might be. Read our ultimate guide to wearing black jeans with brown boots!
What Do You Think?
So that’s the story of what I wore – and why. Let me know what you think of this new feature … and even throw out some places and situations for me to try next. I’m always up for fresh experiences and would love to share my process with the Primer community!