I’ve had various requests for outfits for quite niche occasions recently. “I’m going to a gig in Nottingham, and I want to dress up, but not be too dressed up, I want to have comfortable shoes but I don’t want to look like I need to be in bed by 10”, was one. “Help! I’ve got a girls’ weekend in London in May, and we are taking in a show and going to a few restaurants, what can I wear?” was another. Well, as ever, the answer is always “whatever you feel like”, but it would be a very short blog if that were the only answer, so I’ll give you some ideas for what to wear when you’re out (but maybe not ‘out out’), plus a few places I’ve been to and really enjoyed.
That old quote from Oscar Wilde – “You can never be overdressed or overeducated” – doesn’t always ring true for me. In fact, these days it can be quite the opposite in terms of the former. If you’ve ever worn your best glittery party frock, sky-high heels and a full face of almost drag-queen-esque makeup only to turn up and everyone else is in ‘just jeans and a nice top’ you will know it’s almost as bad as making no effort at all. As for being overeducated, I can’t pass comment as I only made it as far as college, the need to go to university overridden by the desire to go to work and make money to buy the clothes I wanted to wear. Some things don’t change.
So to that end, let’s take a glance at a few of my go-to looks when it comes to an evening out of the house. Spoiler alert: there are a lot of jeans, because at heart I am still your quintessential JJANT girl.
TO THE THEATRE
I hadn’t been to the theatre for about ten years, but since the ‘end’ of the pandemic I’ve been far more adventurous with my cultural pursuits. I live in London, so I feel the need to utilise all it has to offer.
I’ve seen musicals: ‘Wicked’ (loved it, great songs, big production), ‘Sweeney Todd’ (really excellent, and I hope it comes to London), ‘& Juliet’ (not for me: despite the songs, it was too hammy) and ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (intense, visually powerful and it has Paul Mescal in it).
As for plays, I’ve seen: ‘Jerusalem’ (Mark Rylance is so brilliant, it makes every other play seem mediocre), ‘Mad House’ (good, but very shouty), ‘2:22 A Ghost Story’ (good, but I did guess the ending halfway through) and ‘A Little Life’ (traumatic and heartbreaking performance from James Norton).
I even booked myself one ticket to an audience with Gary Janetti this past Friday, just because I love his books and his Instagram and I wanted to go. Happily, I got a seat right next to a friend of mine, but don’t be afraid of going it alone. You can often get really good single seats at the box office on the day of the show.
- Monki organic cotton sweetheart neckline top
- Monica Vinader Siren Muse large hoop pearl earrings (use code KATEH25MV for 25% off)
- Abercrombie 90’s ultra high rise crossover jeans
- Sezane mini Milo classic red leather bag
- H&M single breasted black linen blend blazer
- Tamaris red and fuschia block heel suede sandals
TO THE GIG
In my nearly 30 years in the music business I’ve been to every style of gig in every venue known to man. They all have their charms, but these days I will only go to places where I’ll get a good view and, ideally, a seat. There’s no way I’m going east to something that starts after 9pm. Forget it. Level 1 at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire is my number-one preferred gig option, or the Royal Albert Hall, ideally in a box. Spoilt bastard, but I’ve done my time in spit-and-sawdust pubs in Camden. It was fun at 25 when I was drinking pints of cider, wearing crop tops and hanging out with indie boys in mediocre bands, but I’ll leave that to the youth and take my seat now, thanks.
- La Redoute cotton Victoriana collar long sleeve top
- Whistles pearl teardrop huggie earrings
- Ted Baker cropped suede bomber jacket
- Phase Eight Magsie wide leg mid wash jeans
- Converse Chuck 70 hi trainers
TO THE RESTAURANT
A nice meal in a restaurant with friends is now my favourite evening pursuit. There are SO many to choose from here in London. These are just a few of my recent recommendations.
The Sussex: Soho, great British food, nice cosy atmos. Have the mushroom marmite eclair. Thank me later.
Milk Beach: Soho, Australian, small plates, modern setting, feels like LA.
Rovi: Fitzrovia, Ottolenghi restaurant, so the food is going to be amazing. See also Nopi.
Lore of the Land: Fitzrovia, Guy Ritchie’s pub but the restaurant is SO good. The food is excellent.
Duck & Waffle: Liverpool Street, best-ever view, it’s on the 40th floor. Have a spicy marg and the truffle fries.
- Mango pocket tweed jacket
- Zadig & Voltaire rock clutch leather bag
- Cos white cotton rib vest
- Jigsaw Balfour wide leg jeans (20% off with code STYLIST20)
- Mango jewel toe flat shoes
TO THE NICER PUB
You know, the one that does the best roast lunch around. For me that’s the Black Dog Beer House in Brentford, which is unmatched in both its Yorkshire puddings and meat selections, but I need to stop telling people about it as it’s now becoming harder and harder to book a Sunday lunch spot. It’s awful, don’t go there please… P.S There’s 25% off everything at Levis at the moment. These pleated Dad jeans are my current favourite. Go down a size though, they come up big.
- Hush Mika pointelle knitted top
- M&S bevelled preppy sunglasses
- & Other Stories small rounded leather handbag
- ME + EM Italian sporty tweed bomber jacket
- Levis pleated wide leg Dad jeans (25% off with code LEVIS25)
- Adidas Gazelle black and white trainers
TO AFTERNOON TEA
Recently I’ve veered away from wearing dresses, but I’m thinking that’s more shit-weather-related than me losing my love of a good frock. If there’s one indoor event that’s a great excuse to wear a nice dress, it’s a spot of afternoon tea. I’ve had my fair share of those over the years. Here are my top three spots in London.
Claridges: I mean… The epitome of the classic afternoon tea. Warm scones, lovely china, perfect surroundings.
The Berkeley: The Prêt-à-Portea, for cakes and fashion fans. The attention to detail is something to behold.
The Wolseley: Because they have an eclair in their pastry selection, which always gets points from me.
- Beulah Flora Bud midi dress
- ME + EM polka dot ruffle dress
- Le Monde Beryl blue felt ballet flats
- Superga 2750 Coto classic eggshell trainers
TO THE NO-DRESS CODE DRINKS PARTY
I don’t know what it is, but I still can’t shake my love of the 90s’ ‘sort-of suit with trainers’ look when I am lost for something to wear. It’s a good alternative to either a dress or JJANT. I think it’s the comfort factor I’m drawn to, meaning you can get on the dance floor if the opportunity arises, along with the fact you can wear the jacket or trousers separately at another time. Double win.
- & Other Stories relaxed fit t shirt
- Martha Calvo gold plated chain necklace
- Mango textured knot handle bag
- La Redoute cotton fine stripe wide leg trousers
- La Redoute cotton fine stripe blazer
- Gola tenni Mark Cox trainers
Next week, I’m going to try and steer away from jeans and give you some trouser alternatives for a change.