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The Financial Express

Fashion in times of pandemic: How the new normal has changed the way we dress


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Fashion industry has not been immune from the effects of the pandemic. The global industry that has been racking up billions in profits, accounted for billions of losses instead. In an endeavor to survive the crisis, the industry went through major structural changes such as turning canceled fashion weeks into cyberspace catwalk shows.

When we open our closets, we realise it’s not the fashion industry only that has changed. Our clothing choices as consumers went through changes as well. Since many of us have spent most of the time quarantined at home, gone were the days of formal attire for office and flamboyant outfits for nights out. We started prioritising comfort over style, eschewing trendy clothes for comfier, around-the-house alternatives.

The great fashion editor Diana Vreeland once said, “Fashion is part of the daily air and it changes all the time, with all the events.”

But how much of the pandemic-afflicted reality has been reflected in our clothes? To find out, we’ve rounded up 3 of the most popular style trends that were born from quarantine.

1. Off-the-rack comfort wear has been in vogue lately

People have tended to veer more toward an androgynous style of comfortable at-home attire, which can serve multiple purposes from lounging around the house to fulfilling the need to run some errands.

They are opting for fashion pieces that are easy, versatile, and cozy to wear—while keeping a style quotient in their minds. T-shirts,button-ups, shorts, joggers, and pajamas have become the staples in stay-home wardrobe. Styles like polka dots, flowy silhouettes, and print-on-print are also making a strong comeback.

2. Remote work has transformed the notions of work attire

The new working-from-home routine has changed the way people dress for work. Sure, comfort wear is great, but it isn’t exactly great for professionals who have video meetings with their boss and coworkers. The dress code for professionals has been finding something that’s polished yet comfortable.

Zoom-friendly shirts, polos, light blazers, tops, and kurtas have given professionals the right top-of-the-table look; paired with trousers, baggy pants, denims, and skirts, making for comfortable underneath. However, clothes aren’t the only things that have become more casual during the pandemic—so have the shoes. Professionals traded in their heels and loafers for fuzzy socks and cozy slippers due to the extended period of remote work.

3. Face mask has become the ultimate, essential fashion accessory

No ensemble of pandemic fashion would be complete without face masks. We’ve seen how fashion designers and brands are adopting this new accessory in their product lines with fanciful designs. And of course, wearing a mask nowadays is not just for health reasons anymore. It has become an everyday item in our fashion lexicon.

Even in the choice of masks, those with ‘classic’ personalities only wear black or blue, more laidback personalities prefer neutral colors, ‘romantics’ want to wear masks that will match their dresses and ‘dramatic’ personalities want bright, whimsical prints on their masks. Designers are already creating fashionable, reusable fabric facial coverings that go along with their signature pieces. Actress AzmeriHaqueBadhon, star of ‘Rehana Maryam Noor,’ showed that mask can be a fashion statement when she wore a stunning jamdani saree along with a matching mask to the Cannes Festival.

Will the changes still persist in the post-Covidfashion industry?

The entire fashion industry has been impacted by the pandemic—which has spun off some unique trends. But it’s difficult to say whether these trends will continue long into the future. As Japanese fashion designer Kenzo Takada says, “Fashion is like eating, you shouldn’t stick to the same menu.” Perhaps consumers will be very resistant to pre-Coviduncomfortable clothes after being accustomed to comfort wear. But it’s also possible when we can return to social activities like parties and in-person meetings, consumers will want to reinvent their style again, propelling renewed demand for fancy fashion.

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