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Summer outfit ideas: From beer gardens to dinner dates and nightclub looks, here’s what we’ll be buying

Make your debut back into the social realm in style

Sarah Young
Wednesday 31 March 2021 08:25
<p>Feel comfortable and put together with our pick of fashionable buys available now</p>

Feel comfortable and put together with our pick of fashionable buys available now

Excited Brits are waging a war against dressing down as they celebrate Boris Johnson’s tentative plans to ease all coronavirus restrictions by 21 June.

On Monday, the prime minister announced his roadmap for getting England out of lockdown, with plans for schools to reopen from 8 March and shops, hairdressers and pubs due to begin trading again from 12 April at the earliest.

Read more: M&S is selling an affordable dupe of Kate Middleton’s sell-out £1,500 summer dress

However, it was the fourth stage that really captured people’s attention as Mr Johnson said he hoped that from 21 June all curbs on social contact could be terminated, with the remaining elements of the hospitality sector, such as nightclubs, festivals and big weddings, allowed to resume.

While the date is subject to review, with the prime minister stating that the timeline is not guaranteed, many people could not help but celebrate by sharing their plans for summer 2021 on social media, including one person whose tweet went viral after asking what is perhaps the most pressing question on all of our minds: “What’s everyone wearing?”

It’s easy to brush fashion off as one of the more trivial aspects of our lives to be affected by lockdown but, after months spent loafing in the warm embrace of cosy loungewear, there is a feeling across the nation that now is the time to re-establish some sense of normality in our wardrobes. The post-lockdown glow-up is real.

It’s been a while since we’ve had the opportunity to wear our glad rags for something other than the odd Zoom quiz, so we might as well make the most of it. The good news is that the fashion world is lightyears ahead, with an abundance of summer outfits already up for grabs online.

From dinner dates to impromptu pints in a sunny beer garden, picnics with your besties and one too many cocktails, the time has come to start shopping for next-level outfits we can wear to all the different types of occasions we used to enjoy getting dressed for. Read on for our pick of the best pieces you can buy now that will serve as the perfect antidote to tracksuits, from OTT dresses in vibrant colours to feel-good prints.

You can trust our independent round-ups. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

Picnics in the park

According to Mr Johnson’s roadmap, picnics could be given the green light as early as 29 March, when the rule of six is slated to return, allowing groups to meet in outdoor settings such as parks and private gardens.

While brighter days are already upon us, the weather is likely to still be relatively cool around this time, so we suggest investing in an outfit you can layer up now and strip back when the temperatures rise. Enter: the floaty midi dress.

With sartorial staining on the cards, be it from ketchup or grass, a bold, patterned style is your best bet and we love this green floral number (£25.99, that is bound to turn heads at your local park. With long sleeves, it’s an ideal piece to wear during those awkward months between spring and summer, while the slit skirt and empire waist mean you can comfortably sit cross-legged on a picnic blanket for hours on end.

If you want to toughen the dress up, tap into the grunge trend with black chunky biker boots (£45.00, and throw a leather jacket (£318, over the top to keep you warm when the sun goes down. Alternatively, simply team the floaty dress with a pair of strappy sandals (£65, that will effortlessly complete the look on warmer days when coupled with a cream crossbody bag (£103.20,

Date night

For most couples, date night during lockdown involved watching a Netflix series in your PJs. But, with the hospitality industry set to open its doors, date night is about to get an upgrade, and so should your wardrobe.

Swapping your dinner table for a restaurant calls for a change of clothes, and when it comes to picking an outfit, the ultimate “jeans and a nice top” combo will never fail. Choosing the right denim for your body is essential and while shape, shade and fit will all vary depending on your own preferences, you can’t really go wrong with a classic straight-leg style.

Topshop, which recently merged with Asos, is well known for its cult denim styles and its editor straight jeans (£49.99, have become a popular buy among influencers and fashion fans alike.

When it comes to the top half, big-collar energy is high on the fashion agenda for spring/summer – this bright pink blouse (£36, should be your number one choice. Equal parts stylish and fun, it promises to put an end to all of those “I don’t know what to wear” dilemmas.

To complete the look, team with understated mini gold hoop earrings (£85, and a pair of strappy heeled sandals (£185,, which will make a welcome change from your trusty Birkenstocks.

Sunny staycation

The pandemic has thrown a spanner in most people’s travel plans, but as restrictions are set to ease in England, people are starting to look a little closer to home for a blissful getaway.

If you’ve spent the last few months dreaming of white sandy beaches and you’re lucky enough to be heading off to one nearby, you’ll want to make sure your look matches your easy, breezy surroundings. Beach days call for swimwear and when it comes to stylish and flattering pieces, it doesn’t get much better than this gingham bikini (£218, Pair it with a set of cool square-frame sunglasses (£108, for a timeless vacation look.

When you’ve finished soaking up the sun, slip on this off-the-shoulder dress (£76, and accessorise with a summer-worthy Staud bucket bag (£365,

Going out out

It’s safe to say that the first drinks with your friends when lockdown ends are going to be the social event of the year – and your debut back into the world of overpriced cocktails requires nothing less than a showstopping ensemble.

With all rules due to be lifted on 21 June, hot girl summer is back with a bang and so are Nineties-inspired slip dresses. An item you can also dress down during the day when layered over a short-sleeved t-shirt (£16, and teamed with Converse trainers (£45.49,, a satin slip dress like this floral one (£175, will be one of the hardest-working items in your wardrobe.

For a night out, we recommend wearing with a comfortable pair of heeled ankle boots (£190, so you can dance the night away without pain, and accessorising with a metallic bag (£215, that has enough space for your cardholder, phone and hand sanitiser, as well as a chain strap, so you can go hands-free. Complete the look with layered silver necklaces of different shapes, sizes, and lengths, like this double snake chain (£65,

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