Do We Really Want Fashion To “Get Back To Normal”?

Do We Really Want Fashion To Get Back To Normal

You don’t really need to be a fashion expert to understand that its pendulum always swings between extremes – sartorial silhouettes range from bandages to bags and backs, and as soon as a trend hits its saturation, you’ll bet his opposite is waiting backstage to deliver his solo. This has never been clearer than in recent months, as a body-conscious dressing with more cuts than a slice of Swiss cheese has began, replacing the all-comfort, permanent established oreder. From Jacquemus to KNWLS to Nensi Dojaka, Queen of Cling of London, the fashion industry is betting on anything bare-skinned as a mood booster and life jacket all in one.
And I want to be excited about it. As a fashion lover and follower of all of the above designers, I request to everyone involved. But the pressure to get what society sees as the “ideal” re-emergence look, and the invisible work that often seems to require, is confusing for those of us who were used to clothes that wrap, rather than show off. As the lockdowns start here in the United States, those of us fortunate enough to work remotely quickly found that the tickling belts, underwired bras, and shoes that weren’t at least the best cousins distant from a slipper were starting to resemble relics of a less enlightened era. When I thought about the number of days I spent locked in the irritating agony of tights or strapped to high waisted pants, it was like hearing about life in the 1800s: did people live like this?
While the before and after times aren’t really as duplicate as they once thought, it has become a fashion and media concern to imagine dressing for the after and all the anticipation and fear that that implies. Amanda Mull questioned in The Atlantic, “What do you wear to fit into society?” and provide answers drawn from how last pandemics have shaped fashion, while Talia Lavin pushed back the pressure to have a Hot Vaxxed Girl Summer with a directly appealing alternative: Blob Girl Summer. Obviously, the extent to which you wish to dress remains a personal choice. Many people are motivated to use clothing as a lift. But for the remaining folks, there’s an external pressure of follow-up from the Joneses that seems like a combination of the first day back to school, a college reunion, and the world’s most awkward mixer turns up. When I hear people worrying about looking perfect for the approaching summer, I doubt myself. (Should I even have jumped into Invisalign or invested during a Platoon when I was just focused on survival?)
What happened to go easy on ourselves? Last year, the fashion firm refocusing on physical comfort – something that was in fashion long before the pandemic, with high-quality sneakers and tracksuits becoming the norm – seemed to be a benchmark of sorts. It was free to not believe how I looked at others or where I might fail, to let go of the idea that, especially as someone who identified with a woman, I needed to appear to a certain way and just achieve a certain level of dressing. (If athletics prepared me, then the sweatpants radicalized me.) I was hoping that, in the same way that we reconsider the way we do so many other things – commute, structure our days, work – we could demand a drastic change rather than a return to an imperfect version of “normal”.
Instead, things feel like they are moving at lightning speed, with fashion and beauty standards only being accelerated more than they were before the lockdown. For the record, I constantly hear about four-figure purchases or obscure plastic surgery procedures from people who were unknown with both practices previously. When it comes to fashion, the unsuitable (in many ways) expectation that we will invest money to keep up with the latest trends has returned, and the idea of post-pandemic ‘revenge shopping’, while understandable, has returned which seems contrary to one of the biggest lessons we have learned over the past year. Namely, we really only need a lot.

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