• Susan Padron

COVID-19: The Evolution of Style

Personal stylist Susan Padron shares how the pandemic has changed the way we view our closets and ourselves.

How do we transition our personal style from “quarantine comfortable” to “social distance chic”?

Here we are, slowly re-emerging from our homes, after being stuck inside for months. Our lives aren’t even close to what they were prior to March, but I don’t think we’re ready to call this our “new normal” just yet. No matter how you dressed before the “shelter in place” mandates, I think it’s safe to say that your personal style has changed over the last few months. We’re just not wearing the same kinds of clothes, and a big reason behind that is because our lives have changed.

In the Beginning

When the quarantine began, we weren’t allowed to leave our homes, so everyone wore their favorite pajamas and sweatpants on repeat. I’m not even sure that I got dressed on some days. If I did, I got changed out of the pajamas I slept in, and put on a different outfit of loungewear. I wear slippers around the house all the time, so that wasn’t anything new for my feet.

Zoom Style

Then, whether you were using zoom to catch up with family or friends, or for work, you at least had to elevate the top part of your outfit. For a video call, you might put on some jewelry if you were feeling fancy, and wear a little bit of makeup to cover your stress induced sleep deprived dark circles.

Quarantine style meant loungewear and nothing else.

The Zoom outfit is kind of like a mullet (business in the front, party in the back), except it’s business on the top, casual/sleepy on the bottom. As soon as your time in front of the webcam was over, it was back to comfy clothes asap.

Sick of Everything

And then quarantine continued. March went into April, then to May, June, and now it’s July. Sometime around May, I wanted to throw away all of the clothes I had been wearing on repeat. The sweatpants, the joggers, t-shirts, slippers, athleisure, all of it, I didn’t even want to look at it anymore, let alone wear it. But, at the same time, there was so much in my closet that just didn’t apply to my life right now.

Comfortable Clothes Only

Bra? Nope. Shoes? Ew, what’s the point. Jeans or pants that button? ABSOLUTELY NOT HOW COULD YOU SUGGEST SUCH A THING.

I wanted to continue to wear clothes that felt soft and comfortable, without having to only wear sweats or pajamas. Some of my dresses, pants, and shorts had the same comfort level as my comfy clothes, and that’s what I wanted to wear. I had to buy some new clothes to supplement my wardrobe, but for the most part, I was able to wear what I had. I learned that I no longer had patience for clothes that were even a little bit itchy or scratchy. I felt hyper sensitive to the fabric of my clothing, since I got so “spoiled” from my quarantine clothes.

When you're starting to see people either on zoom or social distancing, wear clothes that are still comfortable, but also make you feel good! Prints and colors definitely help!

If my clothes felt too tight or restricted my movement, I wanted them immediately removed from my body. I don’t want to compromise anymore, when it comes to how my body feels in the clothes I wear. If I’m uncomfortable, I’m not wearing it.

Now that we’re venturing out into the world, I’m figuring out what it looks like to be comfortable but still feel like my stylish self. Here are my favorite tips to help you feel good about yourself while getting dressed during these new times that we’re navigating.

Tips for Feeling “Normal-ish” with Your Style

  1. Create outfits around clothes that you feel comfortable wearing. Are you sitting at your desk on zoom calls all day? Make sure your pants are comfortable while you’re sitting! You don’t want to be on an important work call, and fidgeting with your waistband, because it’s cutting into your belly. Are you running around with your little one outside? Choose clothes that allow you to move freely!

  2. Invest in clothes that you’ll wear now, and that make you feel good. If you’re buying new clothes, buy them based on the size that your body is now. If it changed during the last few months, that’s ok, buy clothes in the size that your current body needs.

  3. Stop being hard on yourself for any changes that are reflected in your body shape, size, or weight. We’re all working through a global trauma, something that no one has ever experienced.

  4. Choose at least one thing in your outfit to wear that makes you smile every day - it can be a color, a specific clothing item, jewelry, an accessory, a pattern, really anything that you can adorn on your body that makes you happy. Happiness doesn’t happen every day for everyone, so choose something small that is a little guaranteed smile.

Once you begin to help yourself feel good, a little bit every day, you'll start to have fun getting dressed again.

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