Fashion and Style During Quarantine: Bold or Boring?

[dropcap]A[/dropcap] fashion statement becomes trendy, popular, à la mode once a lot of people start to partake in it. You’d think wearing the same clothes or makeup that everyone else is wearing would drown out the style, but trends become trends because they are appealing to people. But what if the immense boredom of quarantine has changed what it means for a style to be in demand? When people were finally granted the opportunity to socialize again, did fashion statements become more bold? 

In the earlier stages of quarantine, I realized how much I took for granted in my day-to-day life—coffee with friends, sitting inside any establishment, exchanging maskless smiles with a stranger. Something that really stuck out to me was how much I missed getting dressed up to see people.

I’m not alone when I say quarantine glorified such simple opportunities to leave the house, like going to the grocery store or the day’s second Dunkin’ run. Whenever I was on such outings, I noticed people wearing a wide range of styles—some had clearly just changed from one pair of sweats into a different pair, some were wearing the classic pieces that “fit” the current trends, but a significant amount of people were trying on the unique, eccentric tops they ordered out of boredom—the tops that nobody else was wearing. 

The more people were able to go out, the more this range expanded, as some people began to take more risks with their fashion while others valued their comfy quarantine fit. So the question arises—how has quarantine affected BC students’ willingness to be bold and daring with their fashion choices? How did the pandemic have a say in how people express themselves?

Like the outfits that people wore outside of the house, the answers to these compelling questions come in a wide range. When I asked some Eagles to describe the way they wanted to style themselves upon getting to see people again after returning to Chestnut Hill and how much attention they gave to their fashion choices, some expressed a desire to look nicer for these interactions, while others thought less about this than they did pre-quarantine. 

Lauren Landry, MCAS ’23, said she feels like stepping up her game now that she gets to see people on campus after not seeing many people for so long.

“I feel like I need to dress a little more cute,” she said. “I can’t just wear leggings and a t-shirt everywhere.” 

Her friend Matt Demencuk, MCAS ’22, feels the opposite. 

“I feel like now I’m more laid back, if I have to say, because I didn’t wear anything dress-up for six months,” he said. 

Matigan Simpson, MCAS ’22, touched on both of these ideas when asked how her style changed after having been stuck at home for so long, if at all. She said the experience has ultimately made her care less about what others think of her appearance, because she learned that it will not change anyone’s perception of her—the world will go on.

“I don’t mind not wearing makeup out, and I don’t mind just wearing a t-shirt out, and I’m not going to feel self conscious about it,” she said. “But on the flip side, I also don’t mind wearing what I want to wear and being more bold with my choices.”

When asked the same question, Landry also said she’s less self-conscious about her choices and finds herself wearing things she would have been more apprehensive about in previous years.

Another influence on style may be celebrities’ presence on social media before and during lockdown. Desiree Lewis, MCAS ’22, said that the extra time she’s had since March prompted her to browse through fashion social media pages for fun. These influencers and their fashion choices, which are bolder than the average pedestrian’s, made Lewis realize it doesn’t matter how people choose to dress. 

“I’m not worried about what other people think, so I don’t consider it bold if I want to wear it,” she said. “I’ll just wear it and not really think twice about it.” 

For Lewis, social media influence changed her definition of daring. Clothing choices she would’ve considered outlandish before have become more normalized.

A common theme that can be drawn is certainly that the increased amount of time at home has taught people to care much less about what others think of them. Whether that means they don’t mind going out in loungewear as much, or they want to wear the piece that causes heads to turn, students are for sure more carefree. This new attitude stems from a combination of lessons learned in quarantine—that we should appreciate the little things in life, and take advantage of the present because so much can change in an instant. The latest fall 2020 trend is ultimately to not give a shit. Wear whatever you want—you spent too long quarantined in your house not to.

Sofia Fauza

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