Self-Expression in Self-Isolation


Why lockdown is the best time to experiment with your fashion.

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By Amelia Davidson

Many people wear clothes which reflect their mood. In some ways, I am surprised that this quarantine period hasn’t led to a rise in sales of black t-shirts.

Nevertheless, with lockdown underway, I did notice my fashion sense changing. My adherence to fashion ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ has most definitely gone out of the window. With no one around to judge me, I have adopted the technique of donning whatever I pull out of my wardrobe first. This has led to some unusual combinations. Wearing Hawaiian print shorts with a striped top and wellie boots is undoubtedly eye-catching.

Vogue here I come.

While my parents have laughed at my clothing choices, I have found something very special in experimenting with my fashion. In the beginning, I would cringe at the desynchronised mesh of patterns plastered across my body, but as the isolating nature of lockdown has set in, wearing unheard of clothing combinations has brought me a sense of liberation.
I began this new ‘trend’ feeling I was letting myself go, but as I continue to reconstruct my style, I have realised that lockdown is enabling me to experiment in a way that I would lack the confidence to in normal times.

This has even extended to my make up. In normal times, I occasionally wear mascara and a bit of foundation but am generally modest in my application. This is, of course, a stark contrast to my recent attempts at full face makeup.

Trying things out is all well and good until you are in the garden looking like you belong in New Orleans’ Mardis Gras only to see a neighbour over the fence. Let’s just say they looked dismayed as they stared uncomfortably at the vampire fangs drawn over my lipstick. Nevertheless, perhaps my new style has a practical function of frightening away anyone who dares to step within my social distancing bubble.

Benjamin Simmenauer, professor at Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) once said that “Fashion is an interpretation of the moment” and I suppose that this is true. Perhaps my new discordant style is merely a canvas displaying the turbulence of life as it stands. We can see the pandemic altering our fashion in many ways whether that be in the creeping of protective gloves and masks into our wardrobes or simply the wearing of odd clothes.

Perhaps this pandemic will rework what is considered ‘fashionable’. Major events do tend to alter what we wear. Notably, during WW1 women’s fashion took a more practical note. Cumbersome skirts were ditched for plainer, shorter ones. Unique to this pandemic however is the sense that fashion has been set loose. We are homebound yet simultaneously we are released from public scrutiny over what we wear.

We might all emerge from lockdown with a fresh look reflective of the time. You never know, new clothing items might have built-in hand sanitizer dispensers. Whatever weird and wonderful fashion emerges from lockdown, I think it important to focus on the fashion of the present. Whilst black t-shirts might best reflect the general public mood over quarantine, wearing wacky clothes most definitely lifts the mood.

In all honesty, I doubt that I will end up wearing my purposefully unfashionable combinations in public after lockdown, but the recent erasure of fashion rules is something I have thrived on. I really recommend everyone to ‘let themselves go’ in terms of fashion because this is a unique time to experiment with your appearance!