Pandemic Fashion

Pandemic Fashion

Content warning: this post discusses weight loss, body image and mental health

What I wore today (today and everyday) Pandemic Edition. I drew this over the weekend. I’ve been thinking a lot about style and uniforms. For those of you who think the cozy, comfy clothes are reserved for those who have been working from home only, think

I made this piece in January 2021, but shared it again recently on my instagram again.

It started halfway through 2020, the same point when everyone was getting into the sweatsuit trend. If you have to stay home everyday, all day, might as well get comfy. Though, I didn’t ever get to stay home. I still had to go to work, bitterly “essential”, and wore a mask, 2 actually, and I was the only one doing that. When everyone else in the country seemed to be having the same pandemic experience, I felt alone, and so I dug into comfort as well.

Side note: I went into a Kohl’s the other day and noticed the section for teen clothing, and the whole thing was sweats. The section previously reserved for tight, sheer, short, and maybe a touch racy threads, was filled with tie-dyed, full coverage, sweatsuits. We are heading into our junior year of Covid and this trend is still going strong, apparently.

Anyway, back to 2020. I’m a person who usually loves color, but I dug deep into all black, it felt good and right at the time. I even painting my nails black. I wondered if color would come back, or if this was just the new me forever. I had two black soft flowy, swing, stretchy old navy dresses that I realized were on heavy rotation. Then, I found very similar, but POCKETED dresses, cheap at walmart and bought a couple. It coincided with finding some solid black leggings that were every bit as buttery soft as lularoe leggings, only a fraction of the cost, also walmart. When I realized I was fully into this look, and at $15 (sometimes even as low as $9) I couldn’t stop myself from buying. I kept going back and ordering more and more.

Fast forward a few months to December 2020 and I came across an article about the Wool& dress challenge. A slow fashion, and sustainability fashion challenge, the company invites people to wear the same dress for 100 days in a row, and they will give them a gift certificate of $100 towards their next dress. I liked the idea, and I always remember an article I read (and wish I had bookmarked and saved) about artists wearing a “uniform”. It’s part encompassing your style into one look, and part not needing to waste brain energy on what to wear everyday. What are you comfortable in, feel your best and most confident in, at the same time as not feeling distracted or uncomfortable. I was in! I was already essentially doing this, only with a rotation of dresses. The Rowena dress looks just like the other dresses I have, so I ordered one. It was back ordered, probably because of the popularity of the challenge, and wasn’t going to arrive for a couple months. I joined the facebook group for the dress challenge and it is such a great, supportive community. Sadly, the delivery date kept getting pushed back and back. By the time it finally arrived in April or May 2021, I looked 100 days into the future and the idea of wearing the same long sleeved, wool, black dress in 100º weather was anything but appealing. The dress ended up going into regular rotation.

It’s now winter 2022 and in general my all-black-look has loosened up. I’m wearing a bit more color, but more days than not still wearing a black dress and leggings underneath. I have my annual physical coming up this month and have been having a lot of anxiety because of how much weight I’ve packed on during the pandemic. In general I’m happy and doing well in life, but I am mostly worried about what my blood tests will reveal (blood sugar, cholesterol, etc.) These clothes have been very forgiving (fit wise, perhaps not to the human gaze, lol) but I feel so many unwelcome results from the extra weight and know I need to lose weight to feel my most optimal (agility, joints, fitness levels, temperature… this added insulation is noticeable!, even mental health like anxiety).

As a person who has gone up and down in weight so many times in my life that I’ve lost count, it is interesting to think about fashion and how my weight changes with that. I think these loose and flowy clothes are so comfortable that I’d want to wear them regardless of my weight, but then I know when I’ve been down in weight I continually find myself wearing more structured, tailored and fitted clothing. I saw a post online recently where a man who is in the process of losing weight was talking about having a hard time finding clothes that fit and the mental anguish and dysphoria that can accompany the “size” branding and the human body, and beating oneself up about not fitting what one thinks they should. A person chimes in and says “Last time I checked, clothes are made to fit YOU, not the other way around” and wow, that really hit me. How is such a huge percentage of our population beating themselves up because they can’t fit into a specific size number, and how is that our businesses are based on making clothes that are only fitting a portion of the people? Seems like bad business, right?

robayre

Hi, I'm Robyn and I was Hatched from a Kinder Surprise Egg. Graphic Designer by day, Maker of things by night. I have worked as a graphic artist professionally since I was 16 years old. Went on to get my Bachelors of Art from NIU. I like to share my Artwork online at flickr.com/photos/robayre and on my own personal website http://www.robayre.com. I also have an online shop http://www.robayre.etsy.com where you can find more of my "crafty" sorts of things, as well as a random piece of artwork here and there. Oh, and I'm also an occasional contributor to Artomat (artomat.org).

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