It’s important to dress for yourself. It’s a principle of style to which most of us would readily agree. But it’s easier said than done. Often, we dress to conform to an office or classroom or even cultural dress code, whether it’s explicit or implicit. Indeed few times have people dressed only for themselves for such an extended period of time as during this global pandemic. Of course, for many this is a time of deep loss and grief: across the country, people are losing parents, grandparents, relatives, and colleagues. Those of us dealing with uncertainty and anxiety are the lucky ones. But that doesn’t mean we must ignore the bright spots or small opportunities our current circumstances provide us. And this time can actually be a great opportunity to find our personal style.
While it’s frustrating not to be able to wear outfits outside, you can use this time to find greater clarity about what you love and don’t love. Think about what you’ve been wearing while at home, what you have skipped wearing, and what you long to wear once the lockdown has lifted. This can help you adjust your style so that it more accurately reflects who you are and what brings you joy, both now and at the end of quarantine.
What are you wearing?
We’re all wearing a lot more loungewear right now! Before deciding that loungewear must be your true personal style, consider whether your current preferences are a function of a) prioritizing comfort, which is a good thing to know about yourself, or b) your current activities being less compatible with your regular work or everyday clothes.
(Soft, flowy pants can mean trousers, too.)
(Loose jeans with a paper-bag waist are easy to wear at home.)
If you find yourself prioritizing comfort, this is a metric you can use to reduce and revise your wardrobe. You may find that you are wearing a lot of sweatpants, as a lot of people are. Maybe you love sweatpants more than you knew you did. However, you may also fall into the category of people who do not own any comfortable pants besides sweats. Consider making a note to look for some comfortable trousers to wear in public later on. Softer, looser pants can still be work-appropriate. Look for relaxed jeans, broken-in, vintage denim, wide-leg pants, or paper-bag-waist trousers. Or, if you are finding that you really don’t like pants at all, maybe you can experiment with wearing more dresses.
(Bright sweaters are something joyful to cozy up in.)
Or, you may just prefer loungewear for now because it’s harder to wear your favorite clothes while working or pursuing hobbies in quarantine. Working from home on the couch, on the floor, or in bed may not be as ergonomic as your regular desk. Or, you may be doing a lot more cleaning, gardening, painting, or caring for children. Pencil skirts don’t lend themselves well to stretching out on the floor while reading, and you may not want to get blazers dusty or dirty while doing chores. In these cases, it’s not that you dislike your workwear, but it is not serving you in this season of life.
(Kimonos are both comfortable loungewear and street-style chic.)
What have you cut or kept from your usual makeup routine?
Now that you’re home alone a lot more, consider how your makeup routine has changed. Maybe you are very happy to be fresh-faced at home, in which case, you may want to consider whether you are wearing makeup out of the house because you enjoy it or because you feel that you’re supposed to. If you are still wearing makeup, it is probably only the products that make you the most happy. Remember this when we can leave the house again!
(Bright eye shadow doesn’t have to be reserved for nights out, especially when the rest of the look is subdued.)
(Colorful mascara is another one of many ways to inject some joy into your quarantine beauty routine!)
What brings you joy?
Find the patterns in the clothing you’re wearing or longing to wear right now. Whether you prefer to stay comfy or feel energized by putting on more professional clothes, just wear whatever makes you most happy at the moment. We’re in a pandemic! Just getting through it will be a success. And though it could be a while, once we’re through, look back at what brought you joy in quarantine—and wear more of it!
(Caftans, like sundresses, are often printed in bright, happy colors.)