When the pandemic first hit, I, like many people, tried my best to focus on the positives. I would simply wait out this scary, uncertain thing from home, save the money I'd usually spend on commuting, and wear my pajamas all day.
God, I really used to look forward to wearing pajamas all day.
But time eventually showed me that there really can be too much of a good thing — which, in my case, came in the form of stretchy, oversized clothing. Now, nearly two years into what seems like a never-ending nightmare, I've got to say: if one more pair of sweatpants enters my wardrobe, I'm going to scream.
Prior to COVID, I used to look forward to getting dressed. As a fashion editor, it was essentially a personality trait, a pastime, and kind of part of my job. I'd carefully plan out statement-making combinations each morning, styling elaborate puff sleeves with stiff jeans and big earrings. I'd discover new trends and experiment, or spend hours at local vintage shops, trying on cardigans and printed '70s dresses. Of course, part of me always kept comfort in mind — my early 20s taught me that tugging at straps and shivering all night is rarely worth it — but that was never the deciding factor when picking out a look. I dressed for fun and considered it a hobby.
But working from home each day, with no real motivation to "get ready," fashion became just another thing on my To Do List. Change your clothes, right after you brush your teeth and feed the dog.
Even weekends would send me into a small spiral. If I had plans, I'd debate between taking things to the extreme — makeup, hair, a cutout Y2K ensemble — because it felt like my only chance, or just wearing athleisure, because, technically, Saturday and Sunday are days off and meant for relaxing.
Almost a thousand years ago, back in April of 2020, I read countless stories about how people were still wearing work clothes or accessorizing around the house. And while I appreciated the effort, I'd politely think to myself, "No, thanks." Loungewear all day, every day still felt like a luxury — a nice thing I normally wouldn't get to do. Plus, it made me feel better to be comfy and cozy with so much chaos in the world.
But when the Omicron variant really hit at the start of 2022, something inside of me switched and I decided enough was really enough. All these months later, it now felt exhausting and draining to spend the whole day in the same thing I wore the night before. I was also tired of writing about trends, loving them from afar, but never following through. I needed to get back to the things I enjoyed, to get up, get moving — to get dressed — even if was only for myself.
Obviously, we're only a few weeks into the year at this point, but I've made it a point to give myself enough time each morning to do my hair and makeup. I pick out an outfit that feels like the happy medium for looking cute while being home: leopard flares instead of pajama bottoms, a chunky sweater instead of a hoodie, a ribbed cardigan set, or even a sweet cotton dress. And then — here's the important part — I document it. I take a selfie or make a TikTok. People love to bash social media (and I know from personal experience it can be a real time suck), but right now, I'm using it as an accountability tool and it's working.
Getting dressed has even had somewhat of a ripple effect on the rest of my life. Skipping the loungewear in favor of something that actually matches or has embellishments has shifted my mood entirely, and weirdly enough, gives me the burst of energy required to tackle daily tasks. It makes me feel more professional and serious, like someone who plans out their meals and works out regularly — two things I've started doing again, too. Like I tell my mom on the phone, my ultimate goal is just to feel more like a human and less like an unmotivated blob.
Having spent a decade working in fashion in some way, shape, or form, I've had moments where I've almost felt embarrassed about how silly and trivial this industry can seem. Like, who cares about how an A-lister styled her white sneakers when there are so many other important things to worry about? However, I've come to learn that these things aren't mutually exclusive. For me, fashion has always been a creative outlet, a way of expressing myself, and something that makes me feel like me. And, hey, at some point we're going to actually have to get dressed, so having some good ideas about how to do that can't hurt!
So, if the everyday sweats are no longer bringing you joy, dare yourself to ditch them in favor of a stiff pair of jeans, a dress, or a jumpsuit that feels exciting, daring, and maybe slightly less comfortable. The small switch may make all the difference.
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