If you invite me round for drinks in your garden or to a picnic in the park – and please do, by the way; it’s a hard yes from me to any invitation that has three-dimensional humans and isn’t a walk – I’ll be the one in the tulle party dress. Or possibly the feather-trimmed silk pyjamas. Or maybe the vintage flapper dress. Maybe I’ll bring all of them, and change looks on the hour.
I cannot wait to dress up. Life has been wellies and home cooking for quite long enough, thank you.
The logistics of what to wear for the first social encounters of 2021 are a little challenging, however. Action will be alfresco, and Britain in late March is not famed for its balmy evenings. I am so sick of my puffer jacket that if it came down to a choice between wearing it in company or freezing to death, I would need to weigh up the options carefully.
Instead I’m planning on layering a Uniqlo Heattech thermal top under my new Simone Rocha x H&M tulle dress, or a snug polo-neck sweater under the feather-trimmed PJs, or digging out a fake-fur chubby jacket from my noughties clubbing wardrobe to wear with the flapper dress. Stilettos might be a stretch, on treacherous and still-soggy ground, but I’m swapping the wellies for ankle boots.
There is plenty to be anxious about. Picking up the wrong wine glass is now a health risk rather than just a social faux pas. And what to do about my growing-out roots? I’m thinking of channelling Lady Gaga in the new Gucci movie, with a huge white fur hat. But I won’t be worrying about being overdressed. A year ago, my idea of a night worth getting dressed up for might have involved Instagrammable restaurants and artisan negronis, but now? Look, if I get an evening with my mates and cans of supermarket gin and tonic and it doesn’t rain, I will be hyperventilating with excitement.
There may be no disco balls or bar stools, but we can bring our own glamour with major earrings and hoist ourselves up on to the first pair of heels in a year, instead.
Think of poet Amanda Gorman in her buttercup yellow coat at the US presidential inauguration: that wasn’t just an outfit, it was a ray of pure sunshine. A moment like next week has nothing to do with fashion, and everything to do with hope. I’ll be painting my nails for the first time in months, and crossing my fingers for clear skies ahead.