There is a lot of discussion online about where fashion is headed post-COVID, but we first have to come to terms with the fact is that we’re not exactly post, as we see the latest lockdown orders in Victoria going into effect.
We may not be out of this pandemic for a long time to come, so I’m not sure if I am quite ready for designers to get hyper creative and start talking about a return to romanticism when I haven’t really had the need to wear anything but thongs for the last six months.
There were valuable lessons learned the first time we went into isolation, one being the absolute liberty of wearing relaxed clothes 24/7, and how nice it is to wear athleisure pieces that make us feel cosy and safe and with enough stretch to allow us to comfort-eat numerous times a day.
There is a great deal of anxiety attached to this unpredictable environment, where one day you headed to Aldi dressed like a doctor in Contagion, and the next you’re enthusiastically hugging your friend hello at a BBQ. I am both confused and worried about what this year, and beyond has in store, and a result a kind of fight-or-flight mentality has taken hold, where I just want to wear sneakers and jogging clothes in case I have to make a panicky dash to I-don’t-even-know-where.
Even though historically we have seen bursts of fashion flamboyance after life-changing events such as the two World Wars, this battle is not over. Life is not really back to normal and I am not investing in a tailored pantsuit or frothy flapper dress anytime soon.
On a positive note, this may be good news for the planet, as we have begun to realise that we most certainly own far too many clothes and that re-wearing the same thing over and over again didn’t result in the fashion police showing up at the door.
I FaceTimed a very stylish friend in London, who was feeling particularly cold and miserable at this point in a brutal winter lockdown, and I was mildly shocked to see he was wearing a Country Road logo sweatshirt. I am more used to seeing him in Balenciaga. “My mum sent it”, he replied when I rudely asked what on earth had come over him.
“It’s freezing and I’m homesick and I’m over everyone and everything, and I’ve been wearing this sweatshirt for a week and it makes me happy”. Go, him.
There are no overseas holidays to plan for on the near horizon, and a lot of larger events we would normally dress up for, such as weddings and major birthdays have been postponed. Many of us will not be returning to the workplace full-time ever again, working from home and spending more time on Zoom calls. We have re-adjusted our lives, and sensibly adapted our wardrobes and our actual needs, to meet all of the consequences of a pandemic. This trend may last.