Fashion and Adversity Part 3: From Comfort Dressing to First Impressions by rhiannon

If our clothes ever had a great responsibility, it was to bring us comfort over the last few months. In this blog, we explore how stay-at-home style has changed us for good, and delve into the past to see how fashion might thrive in the new normal.

History has served up some pretty stylish ways to feel better in times of adversity. From morale-boosting 'victory rolls' during the war to prettily-patterned face masks today, one thing is for sure; creativity and self-expression thrive when life gives us lemons.

But what if the style we've all perfected this time is one that's not meant to be seen by the outside world?

What if your self-expression involved dressing more casually than you've ever done before, and now you're hooked? If you're usually a trendsetter or snappy dresser, and the style that helped you thrive at home is totally different from your pre-lockdown look, you'll know what we mean when we say it's going to be hard to go back...

Vintage comfort is the best kind of comfort. Sweatshirt from RetroStar

Isolation Chic

There's no way around it. You can't discuss the future of fashion without acknowledging that these last few months have completely changed our outlook on getting dressed up (or dressed at all).

Comfort dressing like no one is watching has been a trend, a goal, and a way of life for most of us over the last few months. The after-effects will be felt, people!

Did we ever truly know our own capabilities before lockdown comfort dressing? And now we've discovered them, are we honestly prepared to just let these talents go?

During lockdown, we 'found ourselves' in new levels of comfort. Hey, many of us didn't wear anything other than pyjamas for weeks. But how will this affect our wardrobe choices as we emerge into the new normal?

Will we jump at the chance to get all glammed up again, or have we fallen so hard for the elasticated waistband, we’re nowhere near ready to let it go?

Should We Keep on Comfort Dressing?

Our willingness to embrace the latest Athleisure trend (a mixture of streetwear and traditionally gym-only pieces) suggests we’re not over comfort gear just yet…

Street-savvy sportswear, hmm? Good, because we've almost forgotten what real sports are. Athleisure items from RetroStar

Also, with so many other things to consider when we leave the house now (sanitise, mask, sanitise, distance, sanitise…) perhaps the fashion world will be forced into a more laid-back approach to ‘going out’ style.

Loungewear legends? Or just us being us? From RetroStar

We can't wait to see what the fashion world will need to pull out of the bag to tempt an army of expert comfort-dressers to choose style over comfort.

The Future of Self Expression

Throughout wars, repression, and personal or political adversity, people have always sought to express themselves through style. Since clothes couldn't be fancy during WW2, for example, hairstyles became incredibly intricate.

Could 2020's hair be even more extra than 1940's hair? Image: Wikimedia

With face masks limiting our true expressions and our self-expression with makeup, are we on the verge of a whole new world of attention-grabbing eye makeup and hairstyles?

Face masks at RetroStar

Perhaps our clothing will become our smiles, with a surge in Nirvana-style smileys or slogan T-shirts, to give the first impression that our expressions no longer can.

As we navigate new norms of face coverings and distancing, how will we use fashion to express ourselves and the relationship we want to have with our world?

Say it loud (if a bit muffled through your mask), at RetroStar

Are you emerging from iso with a whole new image because you've made a commitment to comfort that you're not going to break?

Stay comfy, cats. Sweater from RetroStar
Oh this old thing?

Are you desperate for a reason to dress up again and throw glitter in the face of adversity? Or will you take on the 'new normal' in your favourite sweater?


Created with images by TheVirtualDenise - "converse classic retro" • Pexels - "casual clothes cute" • NeONBRAND - "pls no." • GESPHOTOSS - "FOTOGRAFIA.GES" • Victoria_Borodinova - "evening dress ball ball gown"