Date night: Channel the red carpet looks of Alicia Keys and Millie Mackintosh

Turn the town into your very own award-winning runway by dressing in simple statement style. Stephanie Smith has tips and high street picks. Plus details of a Leeds charity fashion show next week.

Choose romantic ruffles - Millie Mackintosh in frothy pink at the Baftas. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA
Choose romantic ruffles - Millie Mackintosh in frothy pink at the Baftas. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA

We might not all have BAFTAs or Grammy awards ceremonies to attend, but we can still put on our own little red carpet display, if and when we feel like stepping out.

Many of us have spent much of the year so far in a state of hibernation, exhausted after Christmas and New Year, sick of huge meals and alcohol, wanting to stay out of the cold and, not least, feeling penniless. But now we are well into February and it’s time to emerge, like fresh shoots from the soil, so that we can begin to resume our social life, glitzy or no. It all kicks off around Valentine’s Day, which has always brought with it the perfect excuse to dress up and head out to a bar, a restaurant or the cinema, whether it’s a date night or an evening out with friends.

Keep the romance bubbling throughout the rest of spring by taking a few tips from the recent red carpets. Red is a popular shade for the coming season, unusual so soon after Christmas, but it does strike a bold note when you want to be noticed. Keep it classy, though, as Alicia Keys did in the long and slinky button-through dress she wore to present the Grammys.

Choose bold red but keep it classy: Alicia Keys hosts the Grammy Awards in slinky red (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Head to Dorothy Perkins where there’s red animal print, for extra raciness (try The Outfit store at The Springs Thorpe Park Leeds, while Anthropologie at Victoria Gate in Leeds has a gorgeously easy red off-the-shoulder dress (and a lovely faux leather skirt) and Joe Browns at Meadowhall Sheffield is the place to go for red floral print (and check out the men’s shirts, too).

If demure and pretty is your thing, make like Millie Mackintosh who wore a blush pink off-the-shoulder filmy gown with frothy frilled short sleeves. Not as dreadful as it sounds and tiered frills are a major trend for spring/summer ‘19, the bigger and frothier the better, so look out now for blouses and dresses that feature them. Try Somerset by Alice Temperley at John Lewis and Whistles, for starters. Hobbs has a beautifully simple double-layer floaty tunic dress coming (see the picture). This is exactly the sort of piece you can dress down with flats for summer or dress up with heels, hat and clutch for the races or a summer wedding. Look out for it.

If you’re going out for dinner, remember that your top half is the main focus so Bardot necklines and frills are a good idea, and you can wear jeans if you’re feeling that you would rather not look overly dressed up (first dates and all).

As the new collections begin to filter into the high street, keep half an eye out for any pieces that might work for special occasions you’ve got coming up throughout the summer. There’s going to be a lot of soft pink and blue about (and beige, loads and loads of beige – honestly, we’re all going to look like digestives), so you can get ahead of the pack by picking up pieces now, or you might prefer to look out for something that will make you stand out, perhaps an unusual print or an all-in-one in a draped fabric and a fabulous colour, as a go-anywhere stand-by.

IN STORE NOW: Red animal print fit and flare dress, was £28, now £21, at Dorothy Perkins.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different at prices that won’t break the bank, Apparel Leeds, an independent boutique in Pudsey, stocks several Leeds-based independent brands, including Laurelle Woman and Fruitbats & Screwballs.

On Thursday, February 21, the boutique is staging a charity fashion show at the Constitutional Club in Farsley to raise money for Will’s Way, a Leeds based charity established by Will Barker, 15, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour in September 2016. The charity supports families with children who find themselves in a similar situation, providing financial support for their families.

Doors open at 7pm with the fashion show beginning at 8pm. Tickets are available on Eventbrite at £7.50 + booking fee. All proceeds will go to the charity.

*There’s last minute Valentine’s gifts and more Yorkshire fashion and beauty here

RVera Mont Summer Blossom dress, £195, coming March at House of Fraser and department stores.
Teaming pink and soft rich red is a pairing that always looks classic and romantic. This is from this is a look to channel, from the Tom Ford AW19 collection shown at New York Fashion Week. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
simple and floaty: Pink Edie dress, £229; Lula bag, £149; sandals, £89. Coming to Hobbs.
Striped top, £42, and skirt, £38, by Laurelle Woman at Apparel Leeds, which is holding a charity fashion show in Pudsey on February 21 2019.