Entertainment Style Move over smart casual, ‘Zoom chic’ has earned its stripes in our locked-down COVID era
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Move over smart casual, ‘Zoom chic’ has earned its stripes in our locked-down COVID era

When Kirstie Clements sat down for a Zoom dinner date with friends, she noticed a theme. Photo:: Getty
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I can’t be the only one who has settled very swiftly into a serious love of all-purpose, comfy loungewear since we all went into isolation.

I was walking in the park last week with a friend who lives just around the corner, and she invited me to her house for dinner, as the restrictions on visitors had just been lifted in NSW. “Ohh, how exciting” I said. “I’ll wear actual clothes. Maybe makeup.” Natalie was excited too. “Same! Can’t wait!”

The day of the dinner rolled around in this sea of time that has made us all realize there is really no such thing as a weekend.

We had an appointed start time of 6pm, as we were going to chat via Zoom with a mutual girlfriend in Melbourne and have a virtual cocktail. At around 5pm I watched a spectacular sunset from my couch at home, dressed in sports leggings and a man’s oversized brown cashmere sweater with a v-neck I have had for about 12 years. I joined a conference call with my work colleagues and kept the video component switched off. There was a slight chill in the air, so I slipped on some daggy wool lined moccasins.

Dinner was in half an hour. I just could not summon the enthusiasm to dress up. My regular clothes looked scratchy and stiff and unappealing, hanging on the rack like the ghosts of Christmas past.

Couldn’t I go in what I already had on? Weren’t these clothes?

I decided that I would do ‘smart casual/Zoom’, a new dress code that I would suggest is not going away anytime soon.

Smart casual has made way for a more relaxed dress code in the COVID era of Zoom dinner parties and drinks. Photo: Getty

So I showered, put my brown sweater back on, different black jogging pants with a stripe down the side of the leg, then added spectacular jewelled earrings I bought in Bhutan and a new red lipstick. I tossed up wearing the moccasins but changed into a sneaker instead. I trotted around the corner, with nothing but my house keys and bottle of wine.

Natalie opened the door. She had on a similar sweater to me, but in black. Jogging pants with a stripe down the side of the leg. No shoes.

I did put on mascara,” she said, and I was suitably impressed.

We started our Zoom chat and I noticed our friend in Melbourne had the same sweater on, but in grey. No mascara though. We discussed all our news while she stirred her polenta. Natalie’s husband arrived and he was wearing the now ubiquitous sweater, but in navy, with jogging pants with a stripe down the leg. I was sensing a theme.

We sat down at the dining table and finished up the Zoom chat. Natalie had set the most wonderful table, with silver candlesticks and crystal glasses and flowers and a mauve French linen tablecloth. And we sat in our COVID casual uniforms and just felt relaxed, cosy and grateful to be in each other’s company. No black tie necessary.