Will COVID-19 change fashion the way it’s changing everything else?

Well, friends, it’s been one insane year so far and regular life as we knew it seems a distant dream today. Literally everything about our daily lives is changing, from how we interact to where we work to what our greatest fears are.

A small but not insignificant thing that’s changing is fashion: we make decisions daily on what to wear based on what we’ll encounter that day, so it makes sense that those choices evolve too. And while clothes are a minute detail compared to life’s other current biggest worries, we can’t spend 24 hours a day worrying about the bigger public health, geopolitical and socioeconomic issues, so sometimes it’s a welcome release to think small for awhile.

I know my fashion choices are changing: I froze my Rent the Runway membership almost immediately after the stay-at-home order began, because who’s going to see my fabulous tea-length Derek Lam in the living room? (I’m not bitter, I promise.)

A friend the other day said “I don’t know how we’ll ever go back to wearing ‘hard pants’,” and the whole event’s got me thinking, will we really return to business (casual) as usual when we finally return to the office? After all, it’s not just girding our loins that’s gotten more informal, but coworker relationships too: something about seeing my teammates in their hoodies, laundry on the floor, cats lounging and kids crying in the background, and familiar looks of uncertainty on their faces when we discuss the state of the world that’s made our relationships more… relaxed. No one can pretend anymore.

Practically speaking, will this truly change the way we dress post-COVID? I’ve been living much of life in some cool pieces that streetwear brand KORELIMITED shared with me, and I can’t say my coworkers haven’t seen them on Zoom/WebEx/Teams a time or two – and even outdoors, we’re all sporting the OH so sexy mask accessory (at least, those of us who are being socially responsible). So isn’t the jig up? Do we really have to return to the formal facade of our pre-pandemic lives?

What a beautiful place to be socially distant. Top: KORELIMITED Taeguk Barcode Crewneck – Azalea in Large

As strange as it sounds, I do think we’ll ease back into business casual life, with a nebulous standard as coworkers trickle back in. Some will start off with a bang in pencil skirts and some will attempt “being the change” in yoga pants. I must admit, if there’s one good thing arising from this other than a reduction in pollution, it’s that it’s forcing old-fashioned employers to embrace more flexibility.

What else that’s good could arise from corona? Positivity of any kind feels almost inappropriate right now, but every word can’t bemoan our current state, so why not? Another benefit could be a deeper appreciation of the outdoors. More and more people seem to be seeing a connection with nature itself as a great way to get back into the sun without interacting with others or breaking social distancing guidelines. Some of us, myself included, have ventured out minimally when the Vitamin D levels reach scary lows to find remote corners of the natural world to enjoy. And while playing by yourself can have some depressive connotations, it’s ultimately therapeutic and a welcome break from staring at the same four walls.

The new face of sports. Hat, KORELIMITED Worldwide Dad Hat in Forest Green

What do you guys think will change for a little while, forever, for better, or for worse?

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