It’s fair to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has been the toughest event our generation has had to go through. We’ve had to watch as the number of fatalities rose, people we loved got sick, and the world shut down.
However, in spite of the conspiracy theories, people throughout the country are getting vaccinated and we may soon see an end to most, if not all, restrictions. This gives us the opportunity to look back at some of the ways the world may have changed for the better during the pandemic.
One of the things changed by the pandemic has been our approach to fashion. This is not necessarily because of any changes or missteps on the part of the fashion industry. Rather, since we were unable to go anywhere for months at a time, everyone got used to wearing comfortable tracksuits or pajamas all day.
While fashion outlets are struggling to adapt, these changes can work to the benefit of society. Here’s how.
Perhaps the biggest societal problem with fashion is that it is far from egalitarian. Money and social status provide access, and certain body types are favored. For the lucky few, this means an abundance of clothing options. For everyone else, it means you have to try and adapt somehow, by dieting and exercising, by hiding behind shapeless clothing, or by searching endlessly for the clothes that you will feel good in.
However, during the pandemic, comfort became the primary purpose of clothing. With many people working from home, sweatpants became viable work attire. With things getting back to normal, it looks like people don’t want to go back to the old ways.
This does not mean fashion will give way to clothes that only provide comfort. But it does mean that people prioritize comfortable options. The fashion industry needs to adapt to provide this. In the meantime, the way people dress when they go out is changing. Those who did not have the best fashion available in the past feel more comfortable going out wearing what they have, because everyone else is doing it.
As a real world example, companies like Calypsa, which provides plus size swimwear in Canada, meld comfort and aesthetics. Their swimsuits cater to people of all different body types, never sacrificing a person’s comfort in who they are for the sake of outdated beauty standards. Their clothing is designed to help women feel good in their bodies, both in a physical sense and an emotional sense.
I’m not the only one who, after months staying home, looked in a wardrobe, found very little, and simply shrugged. People are not going back to the way we lived before the pandemic. We go out less – feeling less of a need to be out of the house all the time – and don’t bother getting dressed up except for big nights out and specific occasions.
For this reason, people are buying quality outfits. These will last, not only because they are made from good materials but because they are not being worn day in and day out. The idea of having an endless choice before us is no longer desirable. Why have a bunch of skirts you don’t wear if you can have a few skirts you love?
This benefits the environment, especially in a world that is struggling from the impact of fast fashion. Fast fashion has helped make fashion more egalitarian, but it is simply unsustainable.
The pandemic may have changed fashion for the better. We don’t obsess nearly as much over what we wear, and no longer waste quite like we used to.