Each time COVID-19 rates dropped over the last year and a half, conversations would inevitably move towards the return to ‘normality'. But with spiking infection rates creating a continuous cycle of national lockdowns, it often felt like the end was moving further and further away. While we all got pretty used to this uncertain reality, today the government is taking a major step by removing almost all social distancing restrictions in England, with 46 million people across the UK now having received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
Among many things, this rule change means there will no longer be any capacity limits at venues and events, with nightclubs allowed to reopen for the first time since March 2020. On top of this, there will be no limits on how many people can meet up at one time, meaning weddings and house parties can now also take place. Though we are, of course, proceeding with caution, we're welcoming the return of the big night out with open arms.
Pandemic times have been synonymous with elasticated waistbands and fluffy slippers and the very idea of stepping into a pair of heels may send some into a spin. It begs the question: what does a good ‘out out’ outfit look like in the new world? Thankfully, some of Instagram's most stylish women are on hand to share their new approach to night out fashion. Should we return to the streets in glittering gowns or is post-lockdown occasionwear about to get a whole lot comfier?
Ahead, find out what the country's most fashion-forward influencers are wearing for their first big night out.
"I'm really excited to get dressed up again. 2020 was the year of loungewear and as much as I enjoyed the comfort of it all, there's something about putting a look together that lifts my spirit. I've always been a super extra, bold dresser and if anything, my time indoors has raised the stakes. I don't believe in the cliches of overdressing anymore. If you want to wear a sequin gold dress to the supermarket, do it – life is too short. My first event post-lockdown is a big girls' night out in the city and the vibe is definitely the 'fun, flirty and fabulous' cliche. I've chosen this outfit because it just screams fun. I like my clothes to reflect my bold and outgoing personality and this outfit does just that. The green ASOS heels paired with this Monki tassel dress add a fun pop of colour to the look and the whole outfit makes me feel fierce, which is the most important thing."
"The return of dressier outfits feels like such a long time coming. I’ve been playing dress-up at home and documenting some favourite ‘out out’ looks in my posts over the last year but I'm so excited to finally have somewhere to wear them to. Over the course of the pandemic, my approach to dressing hasn't massively changed as my key thing has always been dressing to feel comfortable and like myself. Saying that, though, I don’t think heels will play so much of a role in my looks from now on, especially not in the summer. My feet have been so happy and I don’t want to start stressing them out. I truly think you can achieve a chic, effortless look with a great pair of flats. My first post-lockdown event is the launch of Soho House in Brighton, which is right on the seafront overlooking the beach. I've chosen to go with a look that makes me feel effortlessly chic and ready to party. Oversized tailoring is a go-to for me because it feels smart but also relaxed and it works so well for an evening. I had this Sundarbay jacket and trousers adjusted to fit my frame and I just think a white suit is an unmistakable summer vibe. I love the way that the cut and fabric hangs and it pairs so perfectly with my Arket sandals and Bottega Veneta clutch."
"I'm overjoyed at the idea of getting dressed up again. I've always loved putting a look together that makes me feel confident and I love spending time on my hair and makeup too. I've spent the best part of the last year and a half in loungewear like most people, so a big night out feels massively overdue. I think my style in general has changed a fair bit during the course of the pandemic. It's given me the time to experiment with different styles from the comfort of my own home so I now have a lot more colour in my previously neutral and monochrome wardrobe. I've realised there's nothing wrong with standing out so I'm planning on taking a bolder approach to occasionwear going forward. Post-lockdown I have lots of friends' birthdays to celebrate, which means I have a bottomless brunch and a club night on the agenda. I've recently become obsessed with green and I've always loved a good pair of leather trousers so I knew immediately I needed these beauties from Free People. They're the kind of trousers you can dress up or down so they're appropriate for both eating and dancing in. I've never been one to gravitate towards a dress but this ASOS bralette keeps the outfit sexy and dressy. Paired with my favourite black vintage blazer and trusty Tony Bianco, this outfit makes me feel confident and most like myself."
"I’m sure I'm not alone in feeling a level of angst at the prospect of integrating back into society and having to worry about what to wear for non-virtual, real-life events. After spending over a year in baggy sweats and having highly rotated comfortable loungewear, sans makeup and very little or no sartorial imagination, I've been itching for an excuse to get dressed up again. There's something different about getting dressed for an occasion, it's not just getting 'ready', it's a whole lot of meticulous outfit planning which brings me tons of joy. Aside from the lockdown style rut I've been in lately, I’d say I’m quite comfortable in my personal style, which is classic, minimal and understated. I think my approach to dressing post-lockdown will remain largely the same but I'm hoping to incorporate more sustainable brands into my shopping catalogue. I previously fell victim to fast fashion and impulsive purchases, especially when it came to occasionwear. Now, I'm only adding considered, coveted and versatile pieces to my wardrobe and I'm also attempting to normalise repeating my clothes. I also like to think I'm now more open to exploring colour. My first post-lockdown event is a relaxed, pre-wedding family gathering. I chose to wear this Tove dress from Ghost fashion. It's chic, fresh, airy and effortless and can be dressed up or down. I decided to pair it with some edgy accessories to elevate and balance out the look, including some brushed leather loafers by Prada, the Kuai bag by Wicker Wings and the Siren hammered ring by Monica Vinader. It's the perfect outfit for the occasion and makes me feel special, comfortable and ready to socialise."
"I feel so excited about getting dressed up again. On the rare occasion I wore makeup during the pandemic, I couldn't help but get so hyped about the thought of going 'out out' again. When it comes to wearing occasionwear, I think I'm more excited to get ready than to attend an actual event. We've spent so long in casual, comfy clothing and I'm just so ready to go in hard with the glitz. I have quite a few postponed weddings to attend so I'm really excited to finally see my family and friends in one location. I bought a few dresses last year in the hope that the weddings went ahead so I'm super prepared styling-wise. I had my eye on this dress from Zara for such a long time. It was styled to absolute perfection on the website with layered accessories and gave off proper Versace vibes. Initially, I couldn't justify the price tag but then I bagged the bargain of the century when it went in the sale for £12.99. Pink and red is my ultimate colour combination and the silhouette, lace details and sequin fabric are just divine. It makes me feel like the best version of myself and that's a feeling that I've missed for sure."
"I’m so hyped to go out again. Getting dressed up makes me feel super creative and good about myself and it’s so important to do things that make you feel good. Over the course of the pandemic, my style has got bigger, bolder, funkier and more. When I dressed up before the pandemic, I wouldn’t go all out because I always felt there were more occasions to dress up bigger and better, but now that we’ve had to stay at home for over a year, I'm seeing any occasion as a big occasion. My first post-lockdown event is a girls' bar crawl in London to lots of cool and quirky places like Swingers Bar, Opium, First Aid Box and the Harry Potter Bar. When I was thinking about my look, I wanted something comfortable. I can't last a night out in heels so I went for my trusty Converse instead. I also chose some vintage Levi shorts, my favourite smiley blouse from Mia Layzell Knit and a bag from Kairi London. I love wearing loud clothing with clashing colours and prints, I find it fun and different to most things out there. I’m also a massive advocate for sustainable fashion so wanted to wear an outfit that includes brands I admire. Mia makes all her clothing on a made-to-order basis using organic cotton and Kairi London uses cactus leather for its bags which is just so cool. Overall this look makes me feel good, comfortable and myself. Fashion is a great way to represent your personality and I feel this outfit does that for me."
"I honestly cannot wait to go on a night out. I love getting ready, putting some music on and treating myself to a little drink while I'm doing my hair and makeup. It feels like extra special me-time, which I think is so important to have. I think my approach to dressing for big events hasn't altered too much over the course of the pandemic. I always opt for something classic and timeless and style that with a pair of strappy heels. In saying that, I only want to wear heels from now on if I absolutely have to – I prefer a pair of trainers any day of the week. Excitingly the restrictions being lifted are timed pretty nicely alongside my boyfriend's birthday so we have a big night out planned, including dinner, cocktails and hopefully a little dance somewhere. When I was choosing my outfit I decided to go for a blazer, which is a bit of a security blanket for me. I've not had a chance to wear this H&M one yet so I decided to style it with a pair of H&M leather kick-flare trousers, H&M strappy heels and my new baby: my Chloé bag. It's an outfit that makes me feel confident but comfortable, which is exactly what you need for a big night out."
"At some point during the pandemic, I decided I was going to start dressing up again, even though I wasn’t going anywhere. I started wearing jewellery and beautiful dresses so I feel like I've been dressing up the entire time. Still, I'm excited at the prospect of others now getting to see and appreciate all my cool outfits. After over a year of lockdowns, comfort has now become my main objective because I have no interest in sacrificing my internal peace for the sake of an outfit anymore. I think you can very easily be comfortable and chic at the same time, so you won’t catch me wearing anything uncomfortable or super high heels moving forward. The next big event I have planned is Copenhagen Fashion Week, which is taking place later this summer. I’ll be seeing the 'fashion crowd' for the first time in a while, so it’s the perfect opportunity to dress up. The vibe there will be very ‘I just threw this effortlessly chic look together’, even though I most definitely did not just throw it together. I chose this outfit because it makes me look like I walked straight out of American Gigolo. Not only does it complement the chill vibes of Copenhagen but it's also comfortable and super cool. It’s an ode to all my favourite materials, from the Vince cashmere ribbed top to the long Vince silky trousers (and Mango mules). It’s the perfect embodiment of how I want to dress from now on."
"I'm really looking forward to getting dressed up again. Even though I've been trying to make the effort to get dressed up for the littlest things throughout lockdown, it's nice to be able to put on occasionwear for proper social events again. I've always been quite a casual dresser and I think that will probably continue post-lockdown. I would much rather be dancing in a pair of trainers than heels and I feel like dressing comfortably is even more important to me now after spending the past year in tracksuits. The first big night out I have planned is an evening at a rooftop bar with my boyfriend, which I'm super excited about. I snapped up this Saks Potts dress in the Selfridges sale and now I finally have an event to wear it to. I'll probably dress it down with some dad trainers and a small cross-body bag to keep things cool and comfortable. Styled all together the outfit makes me feel cute and ready for some beers in the sun."
"I'm feeling really excited about going out again but equally a bit lost. I've spent loads of time saving outfit ideas on Instagram without actually looking into where to get them from. I think my style has changed over the last 18 months but it's all down to the occasion. I can get quite agitated if I've forced myself to wear something that's uncomfortable so I think I'm definitely going to be more relaxed with my dressing from now on. I find that as long as your face and hair is on point, flinging on a heel with some boob action works most times. My first event post-lockdown is going to see the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Tate and then going out for drinks afterwards. I've chosen to wear a blazer from ASOS Curve and some trousers from Pretty Little Thing. I decided to go for a pair of low, colourful strappy heels and my Steve Madden bag. I think leather and PVC can be really sexy if styled properly and I want to walk into the room with a strong presence even if it's a casual-ish event."