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I’m a Fashion Editor & In the Past Month, I’ve Thrown All My Style Rules Out the Window

Since I work in fashion, you could rightly assume that I love shopping, find great joy in getting dressed and can list facts about clothing or designers on demand. (Did you know that Yves Saint Laurent's career began at Christian Dior? Or that Diane von Furstenberg didn't actually invent the wrap dress?) I’ve also been known to set up personal style challenges for myself (for fun) and have embarked on vacations purely for checking out the local shopping scene. But all of that has fallen to the wayside since mid-March when I hunkered down in quarantine in my comfiest pairs of leggings, a sweatshirt and...Crocs. Yes, Crocs.

Less than two months ago, I was frantically figuring out which summer trends I wanted to test out (shorts suit or waistcoats?), which strappy sandals I’d invest in and which too-small handbags I’d rock them with. But now, my only focus when it comes to getting dressed is comfort. 

In fact, putting on a crisp pair of jeans sounds like torture—and that’s not only because I’ve added a daily chocolate chip cookie to my diet. I have no interest in trying on that cute oversized eyelet blouse I just got. Hell, I don’t even want to wear a sexy tank for a FaceTime first date. All I want is to wear are soft fabrics that are woven with forgiving stretch, and don’t you dare get me started on buttons and zippers.

We can all agree that the world feels like a scary place right now. Thousands of people are falling ill and dying due to an invisible virus, millions are out of work and a speedy return to normalcy (whatever that might mean to you) is an impractical dream. So for me, everyday fashion has become less about making a statement, and more about the small things that have the power to make me feel good. Yes, even if that includes embarrassing Crocs that are surprisingly supportive while working from a standing desk.

Because here’s the thing: Fashion is more psychological than it might seem. Think about the way you walk confidently into a meeting with your boss when you’ve got your favorite pair of heels on. Or how slipping on that floral sundress can instantly deliver you back to sharing a bottle of rosé with the girls. Clothing can be used as a tool to shape our feelings, to carve out a niche (dress for the job you want, anyone?) or to quite simply lift our mood.

And as I’ve started limiting my New York Times consumption and committing to a daily meditation routine, it’s become clear that I’m now seeking nuggets of reassurance wherever I can get it. After all, even if I can’t control the world around me, I can at least have a wardrobe that doubles as a security blanket. That might explain why I’ve eschewed underwire bras for bralettes, or why I’ve found myself rotating between the same three oversized sweaters. Everything else may be falling apart, but my stretchy clothes will always be there for me.

A lot of people have been asking me how I think fashion will be changed post-COVID. My answer? I think we’re going to see even more casual but comfy looks worn outside the house. Think sweats (but slightly dressed up) to the office and no more shame around running to the grocery store in a ratty old sweatshirt. But I also think we’re going to be beyond excited to have an excuse to wear the items that are currently sitting neglected in our closets. That means pulling out a fancy dress for cocktails (how excited will you be the first time a bartender pours you a glass of red?) or rocking a power blazer at the next big meeting.

In a way, my sense of style has changed immeasurably. Before this, none of my coworkers had ever seen me in athleisure—now, they all have. But in other ways, I’ve remained true to myself. I’ve always treated fashion as a weathervane for my feelings and, in the weirdest way, my not-so-stylish sweats are sparking much more joy than a pair of new trousers ever could. Bottom line: They make me feel like…me.