Going out used to mean just that: going out. A few drinks after work. Something hot, wrapped and sauced on the way home. Stinging flashbacks the next day. It was a simple time: you’d switch shoes in the loo when work was done, line your stomach with a pint of milk and head aimlessly into the night. But going out has changed and the going out spectrum has grown – clubs may be closing, but alternative parties and venues are opening in their place. Even the festive office party has become a high-profile event, filtered and shared with unfettered abandon on social media. Language about going out has changed accordingly. Now you have the option to go out, go out-out or – on say, New Year’s Eve when proper partying is law – even, out-out-out. And there’s a world of difference between them.
The history of the phrase “going out-out” is up for debate. Some cite the Robert Frost poem Out, Out–, a meditation between death and life. Some talk about Macbeth whose speech after the death of his wife – “Out, out, brief candle!” – was a comment on the futility of life. Others look to 2009 and comedian Micky Flanagan’s skit on the difference between going out and going out-out which started a legal spat over intellectual property, when the directory enquiry company 118 118 used the phrase in an advert.
Us? We’ve been going both out, and out-out-out, for years – we just never had the vocabulary for each. Now that you do, it’s time to have a bit of fun with what you’re wearing, to rethink your approach to sequins and outerwear after-hours. Whether you’re after a post-work pint or are committed to the straight-thru-crew, let your wardrobe help you. MF
Yes, even in party season™, sometimes you just go out for dinner with mates. What to wear? Fashion has got this covered – see the return of 90s classic, the jeans and a fancy top. A staple of after-dark dressing around the time Mariah Carey released Heartbreaker and three inches of exposed stomach were de rigueur whatever the weather, it’s back this season, endorsed by Vogue and seen on the catwalk at Saint Laurent and Alexander McQueen. Rest assured, no midriff is required these days. Instead, you’ll want a high-waisted mom jean, as seen on Victoria Beckham. She wore hers with a band T-shirt, but you can be a bit jazzier than that – it is nearly Christmas, after all. Think shiny fabric, a feather trim or, to really nod to the late 90s moment, a sequin cami and pair of wedge sandals. LC
Arguably the proto-party mindset, this is the type of going out you’ll be most familiar with. It involves some preparation, an acceptance that best laid plans may go awry and a look that is both committed to the party without being too sensible (if you can handle 20 days’ annual leave, then you can handle 3in heels into the wee hours). A fun suit is ideal, so take your cue from Isabel Marant who elevated the “boardroom look” into something more pinched and feminine. Topshop’s velvet version is slick and affordable. If you want a dress, go for something long and shimmery à la Bottega Veneta and whack a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath if you’re planning to go three parties deep. Pair both with white boots and some fun earrings. Finally, don’t be a tool. Pace yourself. MF
With fashion rediscovering hedonism, the Walk of Shame – coming home in the wee small hours, when everyone else is going to work – has been reclaimed as a triumph to shout about. Handy, since New Year’s Eve and other Christmas dos are now on the horizon. What to wear on a night out that may well turn into a lost weekend? It sounds counterintuitive, but now is the time to think practically. You want something that brings the party – but also keeps you warm and even comfortable. Smart party girls (see Kate Moss, Rihanna) think sequins, but with a polo neck underneath, sparkles, but on a low heel, hemlines below the knee and, the stealth secret weapon, sleeves. You’ll also need a coat that brings the wow – from our experience, nights like these can involve a lot of waiting for Ubers, or loitering outside newsagents while friends inside procure essential pickled onion Monster Munch. And, hey, you may as well be glamorous while you wait. LC
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