In Search of Lost Style
Is anyone else experiencing the whiplash of the world “opening back up,” as they say?
I am fully vaccinated now. And I know that’s far from true for millions of people across the globe. But it doesn’t change the fact that now that I’m able to imagine a future again, I am totally lost.
Admittedly, talking about losing my style is about as superficial as it gets. But it’s something I’ve been thinking about because it has real consequences when it comes to my consumption practices. And, judging from Instagram, I don’t think I’m the only one suffering from a forced sartorial awakening.
I guess anyone could have predicted it, but fashion is very different than it was before the pandemic began. In 2019, it was all flowy neutrals. In 2020, it was sweatpants. And now, things have taken a turn to the psychedelic: checkerboard, cow print, bright florals, mismatched patterns, platforms. Everything that was out a year and a half ago is now in. All at the same time.
I used to dress like the influencers are dressing now, back when I was in high school. But, though I love a good print and a bright pop of color, I don’t really want to go back to pattern mixing and clashing colors.
I’ll be 33 this year. I’ve been working in professional internships for a year. And within another year, I’ll (hopefully) have a full-time job to look forward to. I know that there is work to be done in democratizing what counts as professional wear, but for myself, I find the practice of coordinating disparate pieces into an outfit utterly exhausting.
I’m just not into it in the way I used to be. I have things to do and places to be. And I’m happy with that.
But what it has meant is that I am fighting – really fighting – against the urge to adapt to the trends of this brave new fashion world when I know it’s not what I actually want. I keep doing wardrobe assessments because I know that without them, I’ll succumb to the whims of the internet. Somehow it’s worse this time than it has been in previous years. I think it’s because my energy stores are low, I’m still longing for restored community, and I’m giddy with the possibilities for living.
I keep window shopping on the internet. I keep adding things to my cart and then regretting it. I go back and forth, back and forth, on what I want and what I need. Significant body changes and the lingering aftermath of last year’s sprain have necessitated more wardrobe purchases than normal, which honestly hasn’t helped.
So, I’m just a little bit lost.
And I think the best thing to do is chill out. Wardrobes aren’t built in a day. I can’t just change my clothes and pretend that the pandemic never happened, or that I am a brand new, squeaky clean, mentally well person.
We are still sitting in the tatters of our grieving and broken selves, and maybe it’s ok to stay here a bit longer.
For now, I am clinging desperately to the reminder that I have clothes, even if they’re not the most ideal, most stylish ones. We’ll all get where we need to be in time.