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Why we should all embrace over-dressing for post-lockdown socialising

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There’s no such thing as over-dressed this summer. (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)If you’ve been anywhere over the last few weeks – for brunch, lunch, drinks, or even just a jaunt in the park – you’ve probably noticed that everyone is going big with their outfits.
Body-con dresses, heels, full make-up, showing thigh and cleavage… nothing is too much. Even for daytime events. And we are here for it.
That Prosecco brunch you might have once attended wearing jeans, trainers and a shirt is now the perfect excuse to showcase your latest statement garms. That risque sequin dress and the crotch-skimming shorts you normally reserve for the club are now getting outings at a humble midweek dinner.
It’s likely a combination of the bursts of glorious weather and our newfound freedoms after long and grueling lockdowns that has caused it, but subtle and understated is out – and being extra is in.
Right now, there’s no such thing as over-dressed.
It makes sense. For more than a year we existed in a weird, isolated space, free from the gaze of others, with no need to wear outfits that looked good, fit the latest trend, or were remotely flattering. Most of us spent months dragging ourselves from our beds to our sofas to our kitchens, draped in weird combinations of fading and ill-fitting pyjamas/loungewear/gym kit.
In some ways, this was freeing. There was zero anxiety about what to wear, no stress about spending money on new clothes, no social trends to conform to, or worries about if your body fits in to those social trends.
But in another way, it has been creatively stifling to have such little space for self expression through our appearance. The way we dress and present ourselves to the wider world can be a positive declaration of identity, and it can make us feel really good.
So this return to all-out fashion and the embracing of glamour in even the mundane moments of our lives, could be just what we need to help us get our mojos back this summer.
Why is everyone dressing up after lockdown?
To put it incredibly simply, we need cheering up.
We’re so keen to dress up at the moment, because we were fraught with uncertainty and anxiety at the onslaught of the pandemic,’ explains fashion psychologist Dr Dawnn Karen.
‘And now coming out of the pandemic, we finally have more sense of control. And we can improve those moods of anxiety and trepidation through mood enhancement dressing, which is a theory in my fashion psychology field.’
Mood enhancement dressing is choosing clothes that optimise your mood, and is also known as dopamine dressing.
‘So, you can wear certain colors, you can wear a certain fabrics, you can wear a certain silhouettes, that actually activate the dopamine levels in your brain,’ says Dr Dawnn.
‘I believe that over the next year we will move towards a Great Gatsby style of dress, where we dressed up even to go to basic events.
‘It’s all about dopamine. This dopamine, this incredible chemical rush after being in lockdown for more than a year wallowing in feelings of again anxiety, uncertainty and melancholy, is powerful.
‘So, this is a way to move away from those negative emotions which were consistently with us for such a long time.’
Accredited therapist Sally Baker says this surge in glamorous and statement dressing is tied to our perceptions of self-worth, and what we have missed out on over the last year.
‘Many of us use the arena of work as a measure of our self-worth, and we build our self-esteem on how we function professionally,’ Sally tells Metro.co.uk.
‘In professional spaces, there are lots of rules, lots of ways of being praised and recognised. Which is why the arena of work is really important space for us to build our self-worth.
‘During the pandemic, it has been really hard to feel like a successful person – working from your back bedroom, surrounded by dirty laundry, wearing trackie bottoms. So, everybody is desperate to get back out there so that they can reclaim that space, claim that paradigm that makes them feel important and successful.’
Sally says getting dressed up again is part of reclaiming who we are, who we want to be, and acknowledging all that we have missed out on over the last year.
‘Wearing our best clothes, full make-up, having manicures and pedicures again – it’s a way of reminding ourselves of the technicolour people we used to be, prior to all of this,’ she adds.
That settles it, then. We’re dressing up-up all summer.
But what about if you’re not used to donning heels in the daytime? Or if you’re idea of full-makeup is an extra swipe of clear lip gloss?
That’s obviously completely fine. For some people, dressing up is just not their thing, and you always look you;re best when you’re most comfortable.
However, if you do want to dabble with bringing a touch more glamour to your everyday – we asked an expert stylist for some tips.
How to embrace glamour if you’re normally more casual
‘Dressing up has never been more important,’ says stylist and consultant Krishan Parmar.
‘Whether it’s heading to an outdoor bar to see your mates for the first time, or visiting loved ones, now is the time to dust off those glad rags and make use of those things you have been saving for special occasions.’
Krishan says that in the post-pandemic world, dressing up will be a celebratory act, as we will find more joy in the things we used to take for granted.
‘Every meeting with a friend, or every walk in the park is a chance to embrace being together, and what better way to celebrate than throwing on your favourite outfit?’ asks Krishan.
‘Look back to the Roaring Twenties – it was a celebration of freedom after people had suffered a lot. A chance to enjoy life again and dress up to the nines, no matter what the occasion.
‘People have had months to fantasise about what they would wear if they were able to go out, and now is the time to make those fantasies a reality. Designers and shops have really made this easy too, by filling the rails with beautiful and elaborate garments.’
So, where do you start?
Accessories are key
‘You can dress up a t-shirt and jeans with some killer accessories,’ says Krishan.
‘Throw on a statement earring with even the simplest outfit and it is a super effortless way to elevate your look. Even a nice belt can show that your look is considered rather than something you just threw on.
Colour brings an outfit to life
‘Whether it is full-on tonal dressing, or a pop of colour in a neutral outfit, adding vibrant colours or pastels to your look instantly adds style points,’ says Krishan.
He suggests swapping a navy jumper for a coral, or adding a lilac over-shirt over your favourite summer dress.
‘The key is to avoid darker colours and mix the bright colours with whites and neutrals,’ he adds.
Try staple 90’s trend – jeans and a nice top
‘This is a great look, and can work in the office and a cocktail bar,’ says Krishan.
‘The first thing is to get a good pair of jeans. I personally would steer clear of skinny and opt for a wide leg, or a relaxed fit jean.
‘Then you can experiment with how dressy to go up top. Dip your toe in with an over-sized satin blouse and some nice jewellery.’
More: Fashion

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And no, embracing a more glamorous look doesn’t mean you have to break the bank, or go wild on fast fashion. There are more considered ways to do it.
Dr Dawnn suggests starting closer to home before you open the old faithful ASOS app.
‘If people begin by shopping their own closets and practicing a bit of sustainability, even going thrifting, I believe it could help to alleviate insecurities now that we are coming out of the pandemic,’ she says.
‘Our relationship with our clothing has indeed shifted. We may not need to have on the newest threads to receive that external validation – the number of likes on an Instagram picture, or compliments received throughout our day.
‘By wearing something that we styled ourselves, we can reap the internal validation of where we are in this current climate and where we are heading.’
Do you have a story to share? We want to hear from you.
Get in touch: metrolifestyleteam@metro.co.uk.

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