Pandemic Fashion

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Designer Karl Lagerfield infamously said, “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought sweatpants.”
Now that the world has been reeling under a pandemic for over a year, and now that so many of us have had several months of working from home under our belt, these words no longer ring true.

So many of the people who insisted that they dressed only for themselves switched to far more relaxed outfits, so much, so that skinny jeans have finally become passé, after being a bestseller for years. Makeup sales have crashed as the sales of masks skyrocketed. People worldwide embraced casual, free-flowing clothes in favor of the strict suits that many offices mandated.

Fashion may never be the same, but going full slob also adds to the feeling of being stuck in a rut. The early part of the work from home cycle may have been dominated by loose shorts, worn old T-shirts, and joggers; people quickly realized that when no real separation between work and home existed, they had to create their own. And for many young professionals, wearing a different set of clothes sets the tone for their workday. Many psychologists also agree that just the act of showering and dressing up might create the ‘switch’ to work mode in your mind. While people have not gone back to wearing full suits to sit in front of their computer, an elegant top with comfortable pants can help start the day. The infamous ‘zoom call look’ – put-together face with a formal top paired with pajama bottoms. Many anecdotes of people accidentally switching on their camera while in their bathing robes or underpants have become cautionary tales.

Many young professionals are also calling fashion their savior. Trying out something that has been on your mind for a while can alleviate stress and provide a short boost of happiness. It has never been more acceptable to experiment with a new look. People dye their hair in colors they would never have dared to while they had to routinely go to the office and try out new makeup and skincare routines. There is also a spate of comfortable – but- suave dressing options cropping up – palazzo pants in soft fabrics, breathable button-down shirts that are not too structured, kaftans, slip-on shoes, flowing maxi dresses, and yes, the sweatpants-the athleisure sort that look good- available in stores.

The pandemic may be over soon, but work from home and virtual school has been completely normalized. Many employers have also come to terms with the fact that what was deemed ‘professional’ in the last decade may just be considered fussy and uncomfortable in the new one. Fashion will likely reach a happy medium of looking like you’ve put in effort without being restrictive in the coming years.

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