This month’s guest post: ‘The Year That Changed Fashion’ comes from budding fashion writer and stylist Sophie Leigh.
The week before our lives changed, March 2020 I was getting ready to go out, I has Lizzo’s ‘good as hell’ playing whilst pulling out combo’s of potential clothing for the night ahead, little did I or anyone else know that it would be the last time of such normality, for a long time!
I have lovely loungewear, the kind that makes you want to get up on a Sunday morning or more recently every morning! Unbelievably I only discovered loungewear in the past year. Of course, I’d heard of it, seen it, but joggers would never cut if for me, oh no! If I was forced to stay home every day, I was going to do it in some kind of style, so I opened my wardrobe to luxe loungewear; Teddy fleece trousers with matching tops and cardigans. Or Polly matching sets (seriously, check those out.) Yes, I fell in love with not getting dressed. This year has undoubtedly changed fashion, the way we dress and think about ourselves has taken a U-turn for the good and bad – thinking you need to lose those lockdown pounds to wear your favourite clothes again or buy new ones for spring – bad, you do not. The good aspects have been that we have never had so much time to actually look in our wardrobes and update/change/ continue to love our own style and with the only outing allowed being the trip to the supermarket getting your weekly shops has never been a better excuse to dressed up. (Yes, I see you in the dress and heels and I salute you!)
But what about if you don’t want to get dressed ever? What if you lose some identity in the routine of getting dressed?
Motivation and confidence or rather lack of it has hit us all hard over the past year and I find myself some days wondering where the hell I’m going, as someone who is very passionate i.e., obsessed with how clothes make me feel I have found these 12+ months unsettling to say the least. Though my mother and friends say too many (c’mon that’s not possible!) I have a decent amount of clothes and I base a lot of my identity on how I dress and how I feel, it’s not about labels, it’s not even about style – style is personal and therefore it can’t essentially be judged, as what are we comparing it too? (but hey that’s another topic). So, when that identity is essentially taken away through lockdowns and shattered self-confidence I am left with a somewhat empty feeling.
I’ve seen some argue that fashion is one of the least things to care about during this time but surely, it’s one of the most important things. We need something to hold onto and surely our sense of self and sense of comfort is found in all forms including how we choose to present ourselves to the world? And ultimately how we choose to see ourselves, express ourselves, love ourselves.
Now as I start to think of the prospect of getting dressed again, I’m strike with how much it feels like starting over, like something I’m not so much trying to forget and start over but rather starting with what once was, and what was once there was coffee dates with friends, hugs and kisses, nights out, weekends away, shopping on the high-street for something other than groceries, it was life. And fashion and the clothes we choose to wear is so intertwined with our lives, with how we live, that our wardrobes suddenly feel alien, something from the past because life or at least life as we knew it was a year ago this very month. (whaaaat!?)
Some days I will sit on my bed, shoe boxes in front of me just admiring the utter beauty of them – if you don’t look at new shoes in their boxes in aww a couple of times a week (day?) do you even have new shoes? – when the realization hit me ‘what am I waiting for?’ yes a day out, a meal with friends but also what is stopping me enjoying them right now? Whether going for a walk, going to the shops or just hoovering (maybe just me). It seems that though I respect the world stopping and staying safe indoors I’ve also stopped enjoying one of my favorite pastimes/ loves – fashion and dressing up – which doesn’t have to be saved for nights out and ‘normality’ to return. If anything, we must try and weave our loves into our lives, whatever that may look like right now.
I’m under no illusion that things can change on a turn and I’m not wearing my best thinking I’ll be allowed out on a night ‘out out’ soon but I’ve decided to wear my favorites simply because it makes me feel good and sometimes those small things can equate to a massive self confidence boost as well as just feeling bloody normal! Yes 2020 was the year that changed fashion in more ways than one, it changed how we look at it, how we relate to it – it most certainly is not only fabric deep (get it!?). So, as I try on, yet another item of clothing long hung up in the wardrobe, I play Lizzo’s ‘good as hell’ full blast and ask myself ‘baby how you feelin’? the answer? Well…on goes the pencil skirt and tailored blouse, heading to a supermarket near you.