The secret code: How to dress for your first glamorous night out, post-lockdown

As we continue on through a lengthy period of lockdown, you could be forgiven for dreaming of a return to a more normal way of life – from booking that next luxury holiday, to heading out to doing some shopping, or maybe getting dressed up to the nines for a glamorous night out with friends.

Social distancing has put a stop to face-to-face gatherings for the time being, and the lack of social contact has put us on a difficult road to navigate – but it has also served as an important reminder of how lucky we are to enjoy such privileges in the first place. It’s also an opportunity to feel the excitement and awe of a special outing in a way that we haven’t felt for years – because let’s face it, that first foray back into the big wide world is going to be one of the most thrilling days of the year.

So, whether you’re dreaming of an evening of cocktails and glamour, good food, or perhaps a little singing and dancing, there’s plenty to look forward to – and there’s lots of time in the meantime to make sure you’re ready to head out looking your very best when the time comes. We’ve pulled together our top fashion tips to help you to dress to impress on your first night out post-lockdown – with glamour and sophistication guaranteed.

The casino

A night at the casino, rubbing shoulders with your fellow rich and maybe even the famous, is the perfect opportunity to get dressed up to the nines, and although many establishments have loosened the strict black-tie dress codes once required, it doesn’t mean that you have to keep things casual. By and large, men are still required to wear smart, closed shoes and shirts, so it’s the perfect excuse for you to break out your favourite glitzy dress. If you’re heading to a particularly swanky casino, then anything from a sequinned number to a full-length gown will have you looking the belle of the ball, and dressed to impress for your turn at the roulette table.

If you’re going for a statement dress, then keep your accessories minimal to avoid clashing or drawing attention away from your outfit. Delicate diamond studs and a dainty silver pendant necklace will make for the perfect partners for your look.

A swanky cocktail bar

What’s a night at a lavish cocktail bar without a stunning cocktail dress to match? This is your chance to up the ante on glamour and go all out – and, after weeks at home in our loungewear and casuals, what could be a more thrilling prospect than that? This is the perfect occasion to bring out that LBD you’ve been saving – and the beauty of a simple yet stylish black number is that it provides the perfect blank canvas to let your accessories do the talking. Think a sequinned designer clutch bag or sparkly shoes, and your most expensively dazzling pieces of jewellery, and you’re guaranteed to get things just right.

The theatre

For a night at the theatre, think traditional elegance. Midi-length dresses or skirts, tailored trouser suits and shawls are all acceptable attire, but avoid flip flops, slogan t-shirts, sportswear and ball gowns – which all come from one of two extremes. The theatre is all about subtle sophistication, without going overboard, so lean more towards the ‘smart’ end of ‘smart casual’. Ballet flats and simple clutch bags both work well as accessories – but avoid hats, which may look good, but can block the view of people in the rows behind you once seated.

A Michelin-starred dinner

What to wear to a fancy restaurant is a perennial style dilemma that can flummox even the most confident of dressers – especially given the broad variation in dress codes amongst them. Some Michelin-starred eateries are surprisingly relaxed about what attire you choose to wear, but others can be quite the opposite. As a general rule of thumb, trainers are a no go, and the same goes for ripped denim or anything branded or featuring a sports logo.

A luxe satin dress in a bold colour, paired with printed heels, is a safe bet – opt for a midi or longer length (but not full), with printed heels to add interest. Keep jewellery simple to let the rest of your outfit do the talking. In the summer, light-coloured trouser suits with capri pants, teamed with bold accessories, is a good look – wear over a shirt in a bright hue, such as magenta, and carry a bright handbag to match. In 2020, we have more freedom to dress as we wish than ever before – but there’s just a little something about making an effort for an evening out that makes it even more enjoyable. After weeks spent at home, there are few things more exciting than the prospect of getting your favourite outfit back on or splashing out on something new for the occasion.