What a ‘Going Out Top’ Looks Like in 2016—and Where to Buy One

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What a ‘Going Out Top’ Looks Like in 2016—and Where to Buy One
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The going-out top: a staple piece in the wardrobes of sorority girls, New Years Eve partygoers, and Paris Hilton circa 2002. While there isn’t a strict definition for the garment—it could be a tube top, a sequin halter, a backless tank—you know it when you see it. Ideally, it’s worn to parties where they serve Jägerbombs and play Nelly (then) or Pitbull (now), worn with low-rise jeans, a mini skirt, or, in the warmer months, denim booty shorts.

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In my head, the archetypal going out top is the one Keira Knightley wore in “Bend It Like Beckham”—sparkly, slinky, and totally impossible with which to wear a bra.

"Bend It Like Beckham"

“Bend It Like Beckham”

In fact, Knightley was a master of the form back in the day—remember this red-carpet crop top?

Getty Images

Getty Images

Of course, that was 2003, and in the intervening decade-plus, the going-out top has become an object of scorn, not to be worn by any self-respecting, sophisticated, more-than-a-year-out-of-college woman. In their place, we’ve embraced bodycon dresses, fancy jumpsuits, rompers, and leather leggings, letting our strappy tanks and cowl-neck tops languish in the backs of our closets.

But, inevitably, as we (hesitantly) welcome the return of stretchy chokers and Von Dutch trucker hats, the going-out top is likewise making a triumphant comeback. Today, however, they look a lot different than they did in our youth—they’re far less spangly, for one, and tend to be more about the body they’re showing off. Naturally, Instagram stars are the ones carrying the torch: Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Hailey Baldwin—you know the names.

MORE: No, Wearing a Choker Doesn’t Make You ‘Basic’

In the gallery, we’ve let them be our spirit guides to the going out tops of the modern age, and picked out shopping options should you wish to follow their lead.

By their nature, these shouldn’t be investment items—ideally, you want to pick them up in a last minute scramble a few hours before your party from somewhere cheap and easy like Zara or Forever 21. Since there’s a good chance they’ll smell like stale cigarettes and regret the morning after, you probably don’t want to spring for Saint Laurent unless you’re an actual Hollywood scion.

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The Choker Top

I mean, if you're going to wear a choker anyways (and surely you are), might as well kill two birds with one stone, right?

Photo: instagram / @kendalljenner

The Choker Top

Choker Zip Back Crop Top, $32.30; at Missguided

The Choker Top

Choker Crop Top, $15.90; at Forever 21

The Choker Top

Off-the-Shoulder Choker Crop Top, $29.90; at Express

The Lace-Up Top

Yes, the lace-up trend may be soo 2015 according to some, but the going-out top crowd is impervious to the fashion industry's judgment.

Photo: instagram

The Lace-Up Top

Philo Bodysuit, $58; at Free People

The Lace-Up Top

Deep V Lace-Back Tank, $36; at ASOS

The Lace-Up Top

Liz Lace-Up Crop Top, $188; at Guess

The Bra "Top"

Whether or not you believe this actually constitutes a top depends on a) your age and b) your degree of comfort with walking around halfway naked.

Photo: instagram / @kendalljenner

The Bra "Top"

Watermelon Festival Bra, $98; at Free People

The Bra Top

Lucia Lace Bralette, $117; at For Love and Lemons

The Bra "Top"

Black Eyelash Lace Bra, $32; at River Island

The Camisole

No longer candy-colored or trimmed with rhinestones and lace, today's silky, spaghetti-strap tops are minimal

Photo: instagram / @gigihadid

The Camisole

Spaghetti Strap Top, $39; at & Other Stories

The Camisole

Sholu Silk Camisole, $49; at Club Monaco

The Camisole

V-Neck Camisole Top, $17.99; at H&M

The Bodysuit

Yeah, ok, so it's technically a one-piece: who cares? It's skin-tight and denim-friendly, since it requires zero tucking.

Photo: instagram / @bellahadid

The Bodysuit

Christy Bodysuit, $78; at Reformation

The Bodysuit

Bodysuit with Lace ,$34.99; at H&M

The Bodysuit

Asymmetric Ribbed Body, $52; at Topshop

The Halter

Satin Top, $45.99; at Mango

The Halter

Halter Neck Top, $29.90; at Zara

The Halter

Novella Crop Top. $110; at The Jetset Diaries

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