The Unexpected Rise of Personal Style In Our Covid-19 Reality
Style is dead. Long live style!
In the current social, economic and environmental uncertainty-riddled climate, a concern towards personal style seems at the very least frivolous.
With many people working from home, amongst kids, pets- maybe also a spouse who’s just as frazzled- an interest in styling ourselves becomes unlikely. While a stronger interest in our old indoor clothes and “never sported in” sporty Athleisure- the norm.
And it’s not surprising that we would turn our PJ’s into loungewear, and our loungewear into workwear in these murky times.
Because comfy gear gives us more than physical comfort- it takes a bit of pressure off. It eliminates one more decision we’d have to make daily.
And it lends a layer of emotional solace, when everything else is grating.
Ultimately, it shrouds us in a protective armor against an ever-changing world we hardly recognize anymore.
A feeling I also shared, at the start of the Covid-19-induced work from home period.
From PJ’s to indoor workwear
On days clouded with unease and unrest, I relished the sudden possibility of wearing my PJ’s 24/7!
Not needing to wake up early and pick my outfit for the day, match accessories to it, paint my eyes or my lips before scurrying to the office in heels felt like a gift.
Still, as weeks went by, and more companies extended their work from home policies for months (or in some cases- forever!) working at home took on a new meaning.
It quickly turned from a free pass for a Casual Friday everyday into our new norm. A norm that has forced us to reassess our daily habits in an effort to adapt our individual lives to it.
Like many others, I also started creating new routines, test driving new ways of motivating myself, and setting up a different structure for my day to day life.
At which point I found myself reaching for my “normal” clothes again.
It was a gradual shift, starting with comfortable, but chic cotton dresses. Easy-to-wear culottes and soft Tencel T-shirts. A breathable jumpsuit with printed rose buds, that makes me smile every time I see it.
The more I started wearing beautiful, yet cozy clothing on the daily, the more I started to feel like myself again.
I realized that spending the whole day in my PJ’s or loungewear was making me miserable.
Far from being a protective shield, my lazy-wear was actually weighing me down, adding to my state of unease.
I realized that the purpose of donning my “outside clothing” indoors was not only to look better, but to feel better.
To add structure back into my disrupted days.
To separate the different periods of a day, which had started blurring together in an unstructured way.
From personal experience
to collective outlook
And once I discussed this with friends and colleagues I realized many felt the same!
Some shared they also rely on easy-to-wear shirt dresses, or chinos and shirts.
While others felt much better in snug loungewear, but still doing their hair and makeup.
And others even confessed to putting on little fashion shows in their living room, to perk up their day.
Either way, these women (all working in very different fields, some at home, some still partly in their work place) were doing their best to look and feel put together.
By interpreting “the new normal” according to their individual preferences over seasonal fashion must-haves, their personal style shone through!
So could this mean that the dispiriting crisis we are facing might actually be a catalyst for embracing our style, rather than foregoing it?
A broader overview of the fashion scene can help answer this:
Fashion shows look different
Since the spread of Covid-19, fashion retail has been thoroughly upturned.
Every brand has had to reassess their processes, and find ways of protecting their employees and customers.
This has also changed the look and feel of Fashion Weeks.
With many houses initially looking at cancelling or postponing their shows, it seems that this part of the industry will no longer look the same.
But passion in the face of obstacles sparks innovation;
and brands are now looking towards smaller, more intimate- and some would argue, more earnest- showings in the future.
And with the help of digital, we can look forward to these events being next-generation inspirational and visually rich!
Sustainable fashion is gaining even more momentum
In the past years, we have seen a stronger and stronger focus on creating sustainable, ethical, long-lasting fashion. Consumers and NGO’s alike have asked for changes, and some companies have been quick to respond.
With the emergence of the Covid-19 crisis, it looks like the demand for sustainable fashion will be louder than ever. With greater monetary and environmental uncertainties, consumers need options that last.
Which means more stylish, good-looking basics that easily mix and match, and less trendy bits that need replacing after 3 wash cycles.
Repair, restore, retain
Next to adding in more durable alternatives, many are turning to prolonging the life of their already existing wardrobe. Small repairs, greater garment care, plus all the videos with easy-to-apply hacks circling Social Media can help keep a beloved item for longer.
And with extended periods of work from home, plus less opportunity for socializing, there is more time available for honing our clothing care skills.
Many of us are making fewer new clothing purchases in general, and creatively recycling more of our existing wardrobes.
Slowed down production, amped-up vintage
And speaking of recycled fashion, the current period is positively impacting the vintage style market.
While thrifting had already gained popularity in the past years, the emergence of a financial crisis and a slowed down production are bringing it to the forefront even more.
Style staples of decades past are now available online, in a more curated form than you could hope for in any flea market or second hand shop.
And with their classic lines, sturdy fabrics and stitching that has already stood the test of time, they represent more affordable alternatives for comparably qualitative current pieces.
More time for our wardrobes
Coming back to the previous point of being at home much longer than before, this has allowed many of us the chance of a thorough wardrobe reassessment.
And with a more reduce and reinterpreted number of current items comes a better understanding of our future needs. By giving ourselves a clean slate, we can start building a more solid understanding of our preferences, our taste, and our perception of style.
Not to mention, with the pandemic-boosted expansion of online education, enriching our knowledge of personal style at home has become more affordable and accessible.
Many amazing tools have emerged, allowing us to invest a little in our personal style now, gaining so much more from it in the future.
One such tool (I’ll let you be the judge of how amazing or not it is) being You and Your Personal Style: the video and book course I created for those in search of a better understanding of themselves, their style, and the connection between the two.
With these aspects in mind, we could say that personal style is finally stepping into the limelight that consumerist fashion has been the center of for so many years-
at least after the first wave of coronavirus. If this will still be the case after the second or third one, we can only surmise.
With thanks if you’ve made it to this row, I hope this post resonated with you and provided an interesting perspective on the subject! If you’d like to read more posts like this, don’t forget to join The Style Club, to always keep in the loop with them.