Dear lockdown survivor,
You made it through the lockdowns. Maybe through extra isolation periods too. Whichever way, you’ve spent a LOT of time at home over the past year and a half. At home, in your comfy gear, letting your hair grow. Quite frankly, choosing ‘the right’ clothes in the morning has not been a priority.
Now the world is slowly opening up again, and, suddenly, you hear a very unfamiliar question… ‘Do you want to go to the pub on Saturday night?’. WHAT?! The pub?! With other people? Inside?! That, in itself, might be enough to riddle you with anxiety. It’s been so long, what will it be like? Will I be able to talk to people in real life? And then it dawns on you… what will I wear?!
And it’s not just going to the pub either. It’s going round to friends’ houses for a meal, it’s business meetings… it’s even just the everyday comings and goings of life now that everyone is out and about a bit more. During lockdown, there was a mutual understanding that everyone looked a bit rubbish. You’d be forgiven for going to the shops in your slouchy trousers or appearing on Zoom with slightly dishevelled hair or a bit more stubble than usual. We were all in it together.
But now… now we’re reaching into that wardrobe and finding that we have no idea what we should wear. And what makes it worse? We cleared out said wardrobe about six times in lockdown because we were so bored… so now, there are hardly any clothes in it anyway!
Of course, some people will be acing this. They’ll have kept their glad rags stored, ready for this moment when they can reappear into the world like a beautiful butterfly. But, for the majority of us, we’re emerging in a much less dramatic fashion… more like creatures waking from a long hibernation.
This is creating some comedy moments. Pubs are full of people dressed from every department of a clothes shop… party wear, casual wear, sports wear. Some people have clearly just missed the mark completely… attempted to ‘dress up’ but looked like they should be on stage giving a keynote speech at a trade conference. Others totter around on high heels – it’s been so long since they’ve worn them, it’s like being a teenager again and learning that very specific skill. At the other end of the spectrum, some find themselves within a ‘fancy’ gang wearing their ‘knocking about’ trainers and the same t-shirt they’ve been wearing all day. Face-to-face business meetings see people sitting rather awkwardly in their smart clothes that appear to have shrunk since they were last used, being very careful not to bend down in case a seam bursts!
But joking aside, it’s things like this that cause social anxiety to rise. And many people are feeling this at the moment. Not just about clothes, but about re-emerging into the world in general. Suddenly, the couch that you so longed not to sit on every evening during lockdown becomes really rather appealing. Instead of feeling excited about going out, maybe you find yourself wishing you could just collapse into its comfiness and turn on Netflix. It’s safe. It’s secure. It’s our comfort zone.
But, like with everything else, it can be good to push ourselves out of the comfort zone, and do the thing. While it might take us a while to be able to truly relax in public again (and to figure out what to wear!), we’ll get there. And, like during lockdown, we’re still all in this together. We’re all trying to figure it out.
And what’s interesting is to see where it leads. Being suited and booted for business meetings or being dressed up to the nines to go out on the weekend might become a thing of the past. Maybe people who turn up in anything less won’t be seen as not having made an effort, but simply as them – someone who prefers to dress more casually. And wouldn’t that be wonderful? Where we don’t have to feel that we have to dress for a situation, but that we can dress for who we are?
Life has changed so much, and continues to do so. It’s discombobulating to say the least. But it’s guaranteed that, however you’re feeling about it all, you won’t be alone. So, once again, we urge you to share and to help each other, and from that will come solidarity.
Write back to us and share your fashion faux pas! Or even just your thoughts. Would you like to see the world embrace more originality so people can be themselves? Do you think this will help reduce social anxiety and boost mental health in general?
We look forward to hearing from you!
Individually dressed Makin’ Monsters