How many times have you actually got dressed up or wore something that was remotely formal instead of your usual T-shirt and sweatpants/leggings combo while in lockdown? Less than 10 times? Don’t worry, we are all the same.
The coronavirus pandemic may be hitting our economies hard and uprooting education as we know it, but it is impossible to disregard the profound effects it is having on industries such as fashion either.
Though there has been an undeniable drop in purchasing power and a change in buying habits, perhaps the most visible change the coronavirus has triggered in fashion has been in the form of trends and new movements.
Now that we are almost exclusively spending time at home and have embraced the home office life, it is easy to say sitting at your desk in a restricting suit or belly-cutting jeans has been abandoned for all things comfy. Clearly aware of this preference, fashion and retail brands have been bringing out collection after collection, all catered to our new way of life.
Owing to the rise of videoconferencing and Zoom calls, we have been seeing a mullet-like approach in our daily outfits. Instead of “business in the front, party in the back,” we are seeing business on the top and PJ party on the bottom. This new movement has been coined “top dressing” where you wear something smart and formal from the waist-up while anything goes underneath. Even Anna Wintour is working in sweatpants during the pandemic, for goodness' sake!
This could be the end of the world as we know it. Anna Wintour is seen in sweatpants for the first time ever. pic.twitter.com/L1UxbVclm8
— Mike Sington (@MikeSington) April 13, 2020
From budget-friendly Turkish brands like LCWaikiki and DeFacto to high street brands like Koton as well as fashion giants like H&M, Zara and Mango on the international scene, we have seen strong reflections of this trend. In fact, it has been loungewear sets galore ever since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. To make the looks more cohesive, many brands have introduced co-ords – a clothing set of matching separates – in monochrome colors and designs.
Similar pairings and pajama-like outfits are not exactly new to the fashion world though. On the Turkish front, designer Cengiz Abazoğlu has, too, created and showcased such looks that incorporate more homely and relaxed bottoms in his collections in the past.
Speaking to Demirören News Agency (DHA) in recent weeks, he said: “Wearing loungewear or PJs on the bottom with blazers and more formal wear on top is not that far-fetched for women’s fashion; we have already been seeing such looks for the past few seasons especially in streetwear.”
Acknowledging that fashion was, indeed, heading in a new direction, Abazoğlu said this trend could also mean “a relaxation” in menswear as well, taking on a more creative and comfortable approach – though, he warns, only while working from home.
“The things we thought would never happen are happening, although, like millions of people, I wish everything would just revert back to normal,” he said.
'Zoom' in on earrings
The era of bags and blazers, high heels and shoes of any kind for that matter seems to be gone, and instead, it is all about “home fashun".
Turkish designer Oktay Seven, who took his foray into the fashion world under the guidance and training of famed designer Cemil İpekçi, says he gets a lot of questions regarding how to dress while working from home.
He says he'd recommend people jazz up their look and make themselves feel a bit more put together by accessorizing.
"I see a lot of people working in the private sector and the banking industry wear shirts on the top. They can wear brooches or wear more fun shirts. ... Women can also wear stylish necklaces with their blouses," he said. Instead of the usual crew neck shirt and blouses, they can opt for V-neck ones to switch things up, he added.
As we have seen from designs so far this fall-winter, as well as spring-summer seasons, balloon sleeves, puffed shoulders, chiffons and organza, are also going nowhere. Seven says these looks are great for home workers as it puts emphasis on the top half of the body.
Evidently, jewelry may also be making a comeback in the coming months. We are slowly seeing a rollout of bolder and bigger pieces of jewelry, especially chunkier chain necklaces or statement earrings which are all close to the face and can brighten up the complexion if chosen right. Bracelets, anklets and rings also seem to be taking a backseat.
Masks, the new 'it' accessory
Nonmedical decorated face masks may also soon become de rigueur. Seven says he has been getting a lot of requests for colorful and bejeweled face masks, such as those covered with Swarovski crystals.
It's only natural to see such a trend rise. Not only are they essential for preventing the further spread of the virus, but they also take up half of our faces, so people would probably prefer something more aesthetic.
We have been seeing influencers like Brittany Xavier and Instagram's "rich mom" Chriselle Lim sport either home-made fabric masks or designer ones. Zara reportedly has some in the making, while DeFacto has gone all out already, rolling out several designs with slogans, including one with #StayHome.
Chriselle Lim YOUR RICH MOM (@chrisellelim)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi (30 Nis, 2020, 12:54ös PDT)
Coronavirus couture is on course to become a thing, too. A few luxury brands are bringing out reusable designer face masks after seeing demand skyrocket. Off-White is selling simple logo face masks while luxury fashion house Louis Vuitton is also in the process of producing nonsurgical cloth face masks after employing its perfume factories to create sanitizer for health care personnel. Fendi had already hopped on the mask train in Asia with its anti-pollution mask while Givenchy had its cap and mask combo, so it's only a matter of time until the others chime in. On a more eco-friendly note, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) is turning ocean waste into face masks.
Collina Strada (@collinastrada)'in paylaştığı bir gönderi (16 Nis, 2020, 12:06ös PDT)
Although this trend risks mitigating the importance of safety and the masks' intended use, it could also be a good thing for medical professionals. If people do not panic-buy the heavy-duty face masks and respirators, then those on the frontline will actually be able to get a hold of them.
Lastly, a word of caution: Don't compromise safety for the sake of fashion and listen to official guidance. If permitted and if you are into DIY, read some instructions for a three-layer mask and have fun while making your own.