Quarantine Dressing Can Be A Thing

So it’s week I-don’t-even-know of quarantine and I can’t be the only one that has been questioning all these peppy people encouraging you to “stick to your normal routine” “wake up early” “get dressed, put on make-up” “set your intentions for the day”… Honestly, who are these people? I know from the constant streams of FaceTime calls, that my friends and I are (for the majority of these days at least) definitely NOT doing any of the above.

Being cooped up inside all day everyday, only venturing into my back garden to absorb the small amount of sunlight the UK provides (and my pale-ass ginger skin can cope with) – I have had A LOT of time to think.

My mind flicks from topic to topic – am I being too lazy? Should I be doing something more productive with my time? When is the queue to get into the food shop going to be at its smallest? Am I eating too much? Am I not eating enough? What will happen to the world when all this is said and done? The list goes on! I’m pretty sure we’re all having thoughts similar, some of which no one has the answer to. I thought I’d have a go at answering one of my more light-hearted thoughts, one I feel many can relate to during this time of being constantly homebound: has my love of fashion dissipated due to my lack of interaction with the outside world?

I honestly didn’t think something so minor as stepping out of my doorway would alter my thought process when it came to getting dressed, turns out, it kind of does… some days at least. For me (WARNING: This is going to get very “Fashion Graduate”) getting dressed was my way of communicating what I wanted to tell the world about myself, on any given day. This desire doesn’t seem to be as close to the surface now we are faced with constant quarantine. I mean, why should I dress as my normal self when nothing feels normal right now?

Since the start of my time working from home I have descended further into the depths of sweats. Beginning with an ‘all on the top, none on the bottom’ aesthetic to keep up appearances during Zoom meetings, before my inevitable furloughing led me down the path of head-to-toe sweats or just one giant t-shirt. Which having seen fashion matriarch, Anna Wintour, the woman who once claimed to never even own a pair of sweats, interpret these very bottoms into her own WFH outfit, I no longer feel so bad.

For the last few weeks I have mostly been wearing the same formula of stretchy bottoms (joggers, leggings, cycle shorts and beach shorts) combined with an oversized, ridiculously soft and cosy, jersey cotton top. I change only to work out and go to sleep (occasionally to walk the dog too if what I am wearing is deemed a little too indoorsy to actually go outside in). Otherwise, I am the epitome of a bag lady.

Wearing these things do make me feel good, I guess, in the sense that I feel nothing but exuberant comfort, but not-so-good in the sense that I haven’t really felt like myself, or dare I say… attractive (?!) in weeks as a result. I mean what happened to the whole view of, “I wear this outfit for myself, not anyone else” – “I wear make-up to please myself, no one else”, I guess it’s a hard toss up between being comfortable in your house, letting your skin breathe (saving a TONNE of money on beauty products!) and not completely losing who you are and what you like in the process.

Bringing me round to the thought that maybe these peppy people that I was so against at the start of this post may actually be onto something. I must admit as I ritually scroll through Instagram and online shops for inspiration, as I always have, I’m finding myself drawn to the idea of turning my ‘homebound’ ensembles into actual fashion led looks. I haven’t purchased anything new since the lockdown began but I have definitely taken screenshots of lush looks (as you can see alongside this blog post) and fully intend to recreate some with what I have in my wardrobe.

This development has definitely encouraged me to put some thought, or at least intention into fulfilling my idea of a ‘brand identity’ when getting dressed to stay at home. I’m experimenting with looks again, what’s better, I’ve learned you can really push the boat out if you don’t actually venture out, as fashion-faux-pas or no, who would ever actually see?! I wake up with more hope and excitement for the day when I start to think of the prospect of selecting an outfit. Clothes once used completely one dimensionally, to the gym, to the office, to the beach, can all be mashed together in the biggest creative experiment known to fashion. You never know, some looks may even survive this quarantine and be part of my everyday style rotation.

On top of this, as hard as it has been for me to feel motivated to put clothes on that don’t have an elasticised waist, it has been easier than ever for me to write – hence my return from a long-ass hiatus to the blogging world. I’m even working on writing my first ever novel, so keep your eyes peeled as you guys will be the first to know when it’s finished.

Quarantine has thrown many for a loop; it has really messed up people’s sense of purpose. The necessity of getting dressed every day used to be a significant source for me, and I am glad to have it back, even in a small form and not necessarily every day – I still love a good quarantine no-effort sweat look! I am only human. Writing has been another way for sure, as has drawing, reading more books in the past month than I have done since January, binge-watching nearly the entire Netflix catalogue, cooking and even gardening (?! Not that I’m that good at it). I also feel personally, I have had a lot of time for self-reflection and examination. Thinking is there a way, however small, that I can use this extended time at home to my benefit?

If you can figure out a way to find that meaning from the side-lines – whether it be by reading all those books you never had time to, pairing a Fair Isle cardigan with cashmere shorts, whisking away at an elaborate trending coffee recipe or writing your guts out, then good. Carry on doing whatever it is that makes you happy in these unprecedented times, it doesn’t have to be something you deem massive when even the small things, like getting dressed in the morning, can make all the difference. Don’t let anyone, least not yourself, crush that enterprise. The phrase “you do you” has never applied more to a situation, don’t you think?

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