Go small or go home

Wherever your new social leads, your style can take it to the next level. 

Big parties with many guests are out. It’s smaller, seasonal settings up next. We look at four Spring-time occasions you’ll find yourself at and give you the inspiration you need to dress for them. From outdoor to indoor, morning to afternoon, your look is sorted. 

By Nabeel Allie

South Africans have had more family meetings than a Dr Phil box set since President Ramaphosa took over the Sunday 8pm slot. The president has Carte Blanche looking over their shoulder wondering if their 7pm slot is next – South Africans need to hear important updates straight from the president’s affable mouth. Despite this, even Derek Watts was in front of his TV for the latest presidential update where springtime small occasions were given the green light by the national coronavirus command council. 

South Africans are getting up, out, assembling kindling for the beginnings of a more intimate festive season, and enjoying warm weather. With Spring stretching our days longer and 7pm seemingly safe from updates, we’re here to inspire your wardrobe for smaller settings.

Walk in the park – When every outing is an occasion

The pandemic has changed everything. Uber for who? Now we walk because we can and dressing for the occasion has never been more important. Botanical gardens, parks, pavements and miscellaneous seas of grass have become spots to walk through, socialise on and style for. When walking routes that turn and wind, a hat is essential, topping off your look and affording you protection from the sun at all angles.

The days are gone where we go for walks and only one person brings a bag. When we go to the shop and the teller asks us if we want a bag, we say, “No thank you.”  When we walk we all bring bags. Jacket, keys, water, snacks, these were the things men used to keep in their pockets. Now we bag ‘em. If you’re repping your favourite brand, in need of extra pocket space or want something on-the-go you can use for anything, pick up a bag to reflect your everyday style.

Braai guy(s) – When kicking back is key

Smaller groups means smaller venues and the best small venue is that one guy’s house. Yes, that guy with the patio and a pool, the perfect spot to gather and gab. This is the springtime cosy venue, where the wind is warm and shirts and shorts are the order of the day. Unlock the safe and release your denim shorts – their time has arrived. Whether rolled up, clean cut or frayed, denim shorts are a must-have this season. Younger cousin to the full-length jean, they can bring together any outfit and pair well with shirts. Think deep colours to wear with lighter denim and light colours with darker denim, but don’t miss out on patterns that speak to you or catch your eye. If you’re heading out late in the afternoon, wear your shirt over a solid-colour T-shirt – black and white are staples – or ensure you’ve got a light jacket to stay warm in.

Don’t stop ‘til you get some brunch – When looks are served before the mimosas

Brunch is an enigma. When is brunch? Some have bandied around the idea that it’s between 10am and 12pm. What is brunch? Some say it’s a late breakfast while others say it’s an attempt at a ‘classy’ portmanteau. Brunch is a lot, so own it and make it yours. Dress to impress or not at all, but with your touch of style evident. Pair some clean kicks with a patterned jacket. You’ve heard about dinner jackets, now show them how it’s done with the brunch blazer: buttons undone. No buttons? No problem. Do not come to brunch in long socks. It’s simply against the rules. Life’s short, show off your ankles. 

Come around sundown – When eating in is the new dining out

There’s nothing quite like being invited over for dinner. That’s an adult’s invitation, the kind of invitation that heads of state issue – Xi Jinping is not inviting Cyril Ramaphosa for brunch. There’s a familiarity and intimacy to being invited for dinner, however. It’s a great honour to be invited into someone’s home, even your friend of all these years, so your dress should speak to the familiarity and the honour of it all. Consider sandals or open-toe shoes; they suit a home setting and ground you in the space. A shirt tucked into matching trousers will announce your outfit as formal but not restrictive, appropriate for a spontaneous drive for ice cream or to watch a nearby radical theatre collective. Finish it off with a watch or slim jewellery to give your look the gleam it deserves.