It’s been 4,233 days since we were free to shop at the slightest whim or at least that is how long it feels since shelter-in-place was first announced. Before the lockdown we could easily distract ourselves with shopping for a new trinket. We could breeze into a salon for a manicure, buy a new blouse, and make an appointment to have our hair styled but that was 4,233 days ago.
We can no longer soothe ourselves by getting a pedicure, slipping on a pair of sandals, and delighting at how great our feet look. Something else has shifted since the first week of lockdown and that is our need for something new. In the good old days our clothing choices revolved around going places—a cotton dress for the hot days of summer or a pair of kitten heels for an evening cocktail party. For some, dressing during Covid is a license to dress like a slob. For others, these are confusing times because we are only dressing for a party of one, maybe two, and sometimes three.
The future of fashion is anyone’s guess but if history repeats itself we are in for a rerun of profound change. The Influenza Pandemic of 1918 ushered in the era of the Flapper. Fashion trends dramatically shifted from socially and sartorially uptight to fluid and relaxed, liberating women from their suffocating corsets. It is no accident that the flapper style immediately followed the emancipation of women.
The 60s were no different than the 20s. The standard for style that preceded the 60s reflected a rigidity similar to the 1900s. The hippies of the 60s turned heads and inflamed the establishment with their radical bohemian style, unisex dressing, and free love. This dynamic movement remained strong for decades and was the positive change we needed at the time. We are overdue for another profound change.
No one can foresee fashion’s future with any certainty but here’s my best guess. We will liberate ourselves from the confinement of uniform dressing and, our appetite for newness will be substituted by a craving for uniqueness. We will still purchase new clothing but not nearly as much. Buying recycled clothing will have its moment in the sun. And our favorite sweater will no longer be tossed out, like a day old newspaper, when a hole appears. Instead, we will turn our attention to patching, mending, and repurposing our favorite pieces, creating a new style for a new era.
Get out your needle and thread because patches are going to be the next big trend.
Be well, wash your hands a lot, and stay safe!