Going Out Tops

I’m not sure why but the whole concept of “going out tops” just cracks me up. It’s a REAL thing for girls! I didn’t know anything about it until college and then, bam, I had to have a bunch of “going out tops” for back to school. It was a constant struggle for me though. I’d end up in Forever 21 a week before school looking through racks of sexy and sexier tops that, while considered a “going out top,” would never be seen on me going out, ever.

I ended up finding a few black tank tops that I would wear on rotation, basically praying that everyone would be too drunk to realize it’s what I wore every time.

The problem popped back up when I was single in NYC and I never really found a good solution.

Well, months ago, I purchased this camisole from J. Crew. I felt like it was kind of expensive for a simple tank, but honestly? It’s worth every penny. (Oh, and it’s 25% off this week with code “SUMMER”!) It fits the bill for a going out top where I still feel comfortable and still (most importantly) feel like myself.

J. Crew Carrie Camisole

It’s very drapey and not that structured at all, which I love. It’s really comfortable to wear. I’ve been mostly wearing the top with jeans, but it can also be tucked into skirts and cute shorts for a casual look.

J. Crew Going Out Top

Photos by Carter Fish

A version is also available from J. Crew Factory. I have ordered it as well. While the material isn’t as nice as the regular J. Crew one, it looks just as great on. AND the straps are adjustable which I find to be a huge perk. For all my fellow scallop-loving friends out there, there’s a super adorable scalloped version available as well. Tempted to get one in every color!

PS For some reason I’ve been getting a TON of questions about what bras I wear with different pieces of clothing and I know people are going to ask. If I can (or rather, must) wear a regular bra, this is my current favorite. And for tanks like this, I just use these little stickies or these shapers. I can’t remember which one I was wearing with this camisole, but it was one of the two. HOWEVER, I’m also pretty anti-bra when/if I can pull it off. I hate bras. Why do they even exist ugh?!

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HA I can totally relate to the “going out tops”! Struggled with this in college ALL the time. I would have a solid 3that were on rotation and I prayed no one would notice. This top is perfect for many occasions!
xo elle //


Love that top! I have a similar one from Loft that’s my summer “going out top” too. I’m so with you about how weird it is having a “going out top” – it’s something I stress over when getting ready but once I’m out, I never notice what I’m wearing anyways!


Love those tanks! I also despise wearing “real bras” as I call it and pretty much wear camis with a built in bra or sports bras


Carly! You’re looking so pretty, as always. Love the camisole on you and the braid! Also, those guns are looking good! xoxo LA


I am obsessed with these tops- they are just a little bit sexy but still adult. I’m 34 & a mom of 2- my collection of “going out” tops from my 20’s felt ridiculous after having my first kid (with good reason!). Definitely still wanted something cute for the occasional date night or girls’ night, so slowly stocking up on these tops.

I really love the scalloped version at J Crew Factory!


Love this top! My “going out top” is pretty similar….just a black, silk, drapey tank top and it’s perfect!

Briana |


Haha this is so true! All those forever 21 tops ended up at the salvation army after the year was over.

What a pretty top! I have a similar cami from Jcrew thats older, I like this one better!

Jessica Alvarez

This post cracked me up, because it’s just so TRUE. (Especially that sentence about having a few shirts on severe repeat…) It seems like such a simple concept, and yet for some reason, it is still SO difficult for me to put together the proper “going out” outfit. I was hoping this would get easier as I got older, but I can see that I may just need to grit my teeth – and buy more shirts like these!


Your post just totally took me back to my Friday afternoons in college when all my Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame girlfriends would pile into the 1 car that someone had on campus and take a pilgrimage to the South Bend mall to get a party top! LOL! Forever 21 was crawling with girls in the same boat. I laughed about hoping people were too drunk to remember your tops. lolol! I love this! It is so flattering and a great update for us girls past our 21 year old days.


Silky camisoles are my favorite for going out too. I usually wear the Express “Barcelona” cami since it’s a similar option that’s reversible(!!), but they haven’t restocked their basic version in a while so I’ve been looking for alternatives.

Alex C

Oh my goodness, this is too relatable. I’m about to be a junior in college and the first thing I realized once I arrived freshman year was that my typical wardrobe was not at all fit for the party scene. I have about 3 tops and a pair of cheap booties that I wear constantly (or beg my more trendy friends to let me borrow one). Haven’t really encountered this issue as far as the dating scene though– if only college boys would step up their game and take girls out on more real dates! Once I graduate I’m definitely going to be stocking up on camisoles like these for a more grown-up look.
Alex //


Omg, the concept of Going Out tops cracks me up too. I had quite the collection in college, and now that I’m very much out of college, my collection has really dwindled. Whenever I have a bachelorette party to attend I need to dig through and find a good going out top (I have like 3 left in rotation ha). Love your recommendation from J Crew- looks polished, yet ready for a night out! A mature going out top 🙂


The shape of the top of the tank is so flattering! For a “going out top,” still so classy! I relate to your college days currently, I basically have 3 outfits I wear and change them around when it’s time to go out!

Christina //


In college I felt like “going out clothes” were all just bodycon dresses and skirts with tank or crop tops in different colors. But I will say, I don’t think “going out” clothes in the real world are half as boring. When I go to bars now as an “adult”, I see some really great outfits that aren’t like the basic college combos at all.


Thanks for addressing the bra situation. I feel really weird not wearing one. I can count on one hand the number of times I did not wear a bra outside of my house. I have a few slip dresses that are impossible to wear a bra with…Bring on the nippies…


I had the same exact problem when I left for college. I’m entering my sophomore year, and right before freshman year I kept hearing everyone talk about getting going out clothes. I have a black GUESS romper that always seems to do the trick, but I might grab one of those camis too!!
xx Abby


Been there, done that! I was in the same predicament in college. Apparently I missed the memo about having “going out” tops when you got to college. I would spend what felt like hours in forever 21 trying to find a top. Always feeling inspired by my friends, I’d find tops that they would totally wear but then I’d try it on and no such luck. I had a rotation of black tees, one shoulder tops and those empire tanks from jcrew! Or whatever my roommates would let me borrow. What a struggle is right!!


Can so relate to this- witty and well written, unfortunately still haven’t found my own so I make do with my friends’. Love the top by the way!