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 meetup—which wasn´t that often, anyway.
So basically, any sense of normality went out of the window in about five minutes.
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?
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 was—trapped 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.
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 level—guilty 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?
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 others—what 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.