What I Learned About Style (And Self-Love) During The Pandemic

I am going to tell you something nuts—a few weeks ago, I found myself screaming at my yoga pants. If this was an American comedy (a film entitled The Honest Crazy Fashionista Diaries, if you please) it would be that in media res moment when we see the main character making something weird and hilarious just before we are told the story from the beginning. Let me explain how I got to that point.

Nine months ago, in the few first weeks of the lockdown, I was sent home to work remotely. Like virtually everybody else, I set my best intentions: waking up as usual, investing the extra time in a relaxing morning routine which would include yoga, morning shower, and healthy breakfast, and then dressing up as I would usually do for the office.

At this point, you probably know where this is going, right? Three weeks afterwards, I was wearing comfy pants 24/7, eating chocolate cake for breakfast, and dressing up from the waist upward for the occasional Zoom meetupwhich wasn´t that often, anyway.

So basically, any sense of normality went out of the window in about five minutes.

autumnland2

I was struggling to sleep as usual, eat healthily, and having the necessary amount of daily exercise (I already wrote about that period over here) so, dressing up was the very last of my concerns. Indeed, the only moment I would open the closet was when picking some clean comfy trousers. Then, I´d look at my clothes and think how sad it was not to have anywhere to go… In other words, wild party over here guys.

As events unfolded though, it was crystal-clear this wasn´t one of those situations that would fix themselves in a few weeks´ time. Quite the contrary, Sebastian and I found ourselves cancelling any travelling plans (we said our farewells to my birthday city-break in Paris, as well as our yearly beach retreat family visit) and I didn´t even see the point in shopping any cute summer outfits because who in the world cared, really?

cutehouseavictoriapark

Victoriapark

And then, the unexpected happened and we were allowed to go outside again, even if it was in a socially distanced way. I remember the first Saturday morning we ventured outside. It felt surreal and exciting, even if it was just about going for a walk to the city centre. Every step outdoors was a bit like walking on the moon: it felt that strange.

But one of the strangest aspects was opening my wardrobe and looking for real clothes. Not yoga pants, or my university hoodie but actual, grown-up, outdoors clothes. And guys, that was a trip.

I hadn´t been more surprised even if an army of Oompa Loompas had paraded out of my closet singing. It was THAT weird. On the one hand, I felt super excited about the prospect of dressing up but, on the other hand, I couldn´t help but feeling dressing to the nines would be a bit inappropriate. Still, I missed the sense of normality linked with dressing in nice clothes. So there I wastrapped on a dilemma of my own creation. Thank you very much, you stupid brain.

So, I did what felt right and found a middle ground: I dressed up a bit without going over-the-top and called it a day.

victoriaparknovember2020

As we walked through Bloomsbury, I came to realize most people had chosen a similar plan of action. You could feel many people were making a bit of an effort (probably because, just like me, they were missing the chance to wear real clothes) but at the same time, trying to tone it down a bit. So, I went home thinking I wasn´t that crazy, after all.

Then, as summer progressed, I started getting used to normal clothes again and that new casual-chic-thing I was trying felt more and more natural up to an extent, I perceived it as the only acceptable way of dressing.

By the time my birthday arrived in mid-August, I was so used to it that dressing a bit fancier felt unnatural. And as much as I enjoyed the day in general, wearing my Chloé dream dress for high tea was strange. But the part that hit me like a bullet was the fact I was feeling slightly ashamed. I knew it was a special occasion when we were going to celebrate at some fancy place, and still, I felt guilty about it. I felt guilty to wear something nice, guilty to enjoy myself, and—on a deeper levelguilty to be perfectly healthy to enjoy a day that was nothing but perfect when many other people were struggling out there.

As stupid as this might sound, that guilt made me going back to my yoga pants for a little while. I felt I didn´t deserve anything nicer in the short-term. How could I be thinking about clothing, anyway?

autumnstylelessons

I returned to the comfiest clothes I could find on working days and toned it down even more on the weekends. In my head, that would make me invisible to any judgement coming from otherswhat I was reaching for was being invisible to my own judgement, though. And guys, I am Judge Judy´s severe sister when it comes to myself.

At some point and during one of my Skype chats with my sister, we talked about it, and something she said stuck with me: “Girl,” she told me, “this crap ain´t nobody´s fault and punishing yourself for doing whatever makes you cope won´t fix it. You know that, right?” And guys, I didn´t.

That was some food for thought, certainly. I began to realize every time I picked up my yoga pants, I was saying sorry, somehow: Sorry for being young, sorry for being healthy, sorry for having a job while others are being made redundant, sorry for laughing…sorry for being alive. It was time to let it go.

So, on a cold autumn morning, I found myself yelling at my yoga pants. Letting all the compressed rage go out. And you know what? I felt better immediately.

Because in the end, it wasn´t about clothing or style, really. It was more about self-love and acceptance and forgiveness. And that guys is something to remember.

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14 thoughts on “What I Learned About Style (And Self-Love) During The Pandemic

  1. LOL i can relate with the yoga pants story! except mine was a long sleeve tee that i had been wearing atleast 4 times a week ! great story x

    1. I know what you mean, it’s been easy to get trapped in a certain routine, wearing same bclothr over and over… I don’t think I willever look at yoga pants the same way…

  2. Even though we’ve had no lockdown here in NZ for a long time, I do work from home so the temptations to stay in my baggy old maxi dresses (my own personal equivalent of yoga pants – house dresses are going to be the Next Big Thing, trust me) are considerable. 2 motivations stop me: the possibility that my husband might drop home for a forgotten wallet, or that the postman might knock with a parcel. Perish the thought, either of them might assume I’d just got out of bed and think I was one of the idle rich (or just idle in my husband’s case). The potential shame is enough to get me up and dressed in reasonably smart casual. Should we go into lockdown again however, I might well end up swearing at my maxis…

    1. I never knew New Zeland has no lockdown. I guess it’s a good thing you don’t need one, really. And yes, I always feek a bit guilty too about the comfy clothes when the postman pops up…

  3. I love this post- and I definitely have learned a lot about self-love during the pandemic. I’ve had lots of time to reflect and work on my hobbies, especially while job-hunting, and I think this post really shows how the pandemic has affected style, self-love, and confidence x

  4. I clicked with that amazing quote from your sister! Little things like the way we dress and our attitude to wearing something nice really reflect our state of mind, especially since much of the little things we do are unconscious.

    I love that you have learned from this pandemic and are continuing to learn. Your sister is right; depriving and guilting ourselves is a very poor way to empathize with the world.

    Thank you for sharing this!

  5. I love this post. We have all gone through so many strange things since this Covid mess started. This definitely highlights that it is okay to be not yourself. To muse on your thoughts, feelings, and to re-consider things and find normal again either as it was before, or in a new way. Thank you.

    1. Thank you Giulia, you put it together wonderfully. As you said, it’s mostly about re.descovering normal. I think most of us have some scars from this year and working to heal them now will help to avoid more future consequences. Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts on the subject!

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