Issues

Spring 2020 Ready-To-Wear: Quarantine Edition

With COVID-19’s hold on society right now, I was curious to see how dress has changed for people. With most people stuck at home and only essential workers still going to work, there are not many opportunities to leave the house (aside from grocery runs and a jog in the park). Due to this, it can feel hard to express oneself.

There have been so many changes in such a short span of time. For some, dress is a way to deal with these changes, something they can still control. Others choose to invite the change into their wardrobe, too. While attending class on Zoom, I’ve seen students show up in anything ranging from pajamas to completely dressed to the nines. Knowing these students from when we had class together, I noticed a lot of them are dressing differently in Zoom than they had for in-person classes, but others not so much.

I wanted to reach out to fellow students and learn, not only their thoughts on dress during quarantine, but also what life is like for them during this quarantine era. Everyone comes from a different background, so no two experiences are alike; there are international students, graduating seniors, essential employees, and people who are now out of work, making each of these interviews unique.

These interviews were conducted through email; they have been edited for clarity.

Anna Takano, Fontbonne University junior, international student, business administration major

Photo of Anna Takano
Photo courtesy of Anna Takano

How would you describe the way you are dressing during this quarantine period? (i.e., Do you still get ready every day, still go to work so have to dress for work, lazy pajamas, etc.?)

I still dress up and do make up normally every day. This is because I still meet some people at Ryan Hall to get some food, and I work there, too.

Why do you choose to dress this way?

I need to dress up normally because I need to motivate myself. If I wear pajamas all day everyday, I get lazy and don’t feel like I want to do anything. Also, now I have more time so I want to take more time to do some makeup to find and try out new makeup styles that look good on me.

Do you feel like you can still express yourself through dress during this time? If so, how are you managing to do that?

Yes, I do. I mean, I have to. This is because I can only do limited things such as homework, workout, work, watch Youtube and Netflix, and call my friends. Moreover, I don’t really meet and talk to people in person so I need to find a way to express myself. Dressing up and doing makeup are ways to express myself and relieve stress.

I choose my outfits and makeup depending on the weather and how I feel. If I’m not in a good mood, I tend to choose darker colors. If it’s nice out, I want to pick up warmer colors and clothes to work out in.

What are your dress essentials during this time?

Socks. This is because I’m usually staying in my room, and my room is really cold all the time.

How has the virus affected you personally?

To be honest, this whole thing stresses me out a lot. There’s a lot of reasons. First, I can’t see my friends so I don’t really have anyone to hang out with, talk to, or reason to go out. Second, I’m stuck in my room because of the quarantine. Third, no one is on campus so it’s hard to find a place to study, meet faculty, and ask questions in person. Finally, I can’t go back home so it makes me more worried about my family.

What positive message would you like to share with others during this time?

We all are having a hard time, but I know we are going to get over this. Now, we need to be careful to protect ourselves and the people around us. Let’s stay at home and defeat coronavirus!

John Hadley, Fontbonne University senior, fashion merchandising major

Photo of John Hadley
Photo courtesy of John Hadley

How would you describe the way you are dressing during this quarantine period? (i.e., Do you still get ready every day, still go to work so have to dress for work, lazy pajamas, etc.?)

I would say that I am dressing rather lazy. My day usually consists of my sweatpants, a comfy t-shirt, and my robe. If I am going to walk my dogs or have to get groceries, I put on a pair of jeans, but otherwise I am sticking to my sweatpants.

Why do you choose to dress this way?

For those who know me, I tend to dress up even when I have no real reason to. Now that I am quarantined and don’t have anywhere to go, I am taking this time to dress down and wear more relaxing clothing. What I am wearing is something I would never wear out, but I am starting to see why people wear sweatpants out. I choose to dress this way because I feel that it is relaxing and comfortable. I am not going anywhere, so no point in dressing up.

Do you feel like you can still express yourself through dress during this time? If so, how are you managing to do that?

I am definitely not expressing myself like I usually would. I like to pair outfits and dress up, so changing sweatpants and t-shirts is not exactly scratching that itch for me. However, I am enjoying being super comfortable in my clothes. It is surprising how uncomfortable jeans seem to be now.

What are your dress essentials during this time?

The main essentials are my sweatpants, comfy t-shirts, and my robe. If I need to go out, then jeans and my tennis shoes, but otherwise those are the main things that have helped me get through this time.

How has the virus affected you personally?

It has been quite stressful. I have been quarantined since March 15 and tested negative for it at the end of March. I am trying to plan for after I graduate, but a lot of the world is on hold right now. I am back home, and I am just trying to focus on finishing up my last month of school and taking the proper precautions until things start to calm down.

What positive message would you like to share with others during this time?

I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy. Facetime or call any friends and family if you are feeling lonely or need some human interaction. Try to stay positive and just know that the world will get through this together.

Mari Torres, Fontbonne University senior, Communications Studies major

Photo courtesy of Mari Torres

How would you describe the way you are dressing during this quarantine period? (i.e., Do you still get ready every day, still go to work so have to dress for work, lazy pajamas, etc.?)

I usually wear sweatshirts and sweatpants during this quarantine period! I don’t have many classes that require me to be on a video conference. I have actually been enjoying just wearing comfy clothes to do my work in.

Why do you choose to dress this way?

I’ve been dressing this way because I would usually put together outfits for in person classes. Now, when I don’t have anywhere I need to be physically, I just throw something on. While being in quarantine, I’ve been trying to do more exercise. Sometimes I go on walks around my neighborhood or I will find a workout video online! When I was on campus, I would find myself changing throughout the day from my outfit to my workout clothes. This has been pretty practical for me!

Do you feel like you can still express yourself through dress during this time? If so, how are you managing to do that?

Not really, to be honest. I haven’t been expressing myself through dress, but more so with makeup. Even though I wasn’t wearing makeup in my quarantine selfie, I still put on makeup every few days or so. Wearing makeup was a part of my routine at school, so it feels familiar. Sometimes I just wear concealer and mascara. Other days, I straighten my hair and put on some B.B. cream. Every so often, I will just let my skin breathe without makeup. I guess it just depends on my mood!

What are your dress essentials during this time?

I’ve recently discovered that athleisure is probably going to be my signature quarantine style! One of my essentials are my leggings for working out. They aren’t quite sweatpants but they are still very comfortable. I don’t know why, but wearing my leggings makes me motivated to do some exercise. I find that if I put them on in the morning, I’m more inclined to do something physical in the afternoon.

My second essential are my tennis shoes. When I first started in quarantine, I would just wear my fuzzy socks to do homework in. I saw my friend on Facebook explain that wearing shoes (even if you’re just working from home) makes her more motivated and productive for homework. I was suspicious, but I found myself WAY more productive wearing tennis shoes and working! The science is a mystery for sure.

How has the virus affected you personally?

Honestly, the virus has definitely had a negative impact on me. People in my family have suffered unexpected layoffs. The virus has been a source of stress for me and my family. On the other hand, I’m a senior and I feel that my year was cut way too short. I feel like I didn’t have an opportunity to say goodbye to most of my friends, supervisors, and professors. I’m also really disappointed about commencement being postponed.

As a senior, commencement was one of those events I always fantasized about. I would honestly picture myself and my closest friends walking across that stage and feeling really proud of ourselves. While I completely understand why the quarantine is needed, I think that a lot of seniors are grieving right now. I think that my feelings, along with many other seniors, are valid even during a pandemic.

What positive message would you like to share with others during this time?

I listened to this story on NPR through my mom’s recommendation. The story discusses how some Navajo and Hopi tribes believe that the coronavirus is occurring right now so that Mother Earth can heal herself. Due to everyone being inside, there isn’t as much pollution occurring. As much as this pandemic is scary at times, there is some comfort in knowing that maybe this is happening to better our environment. This story has kept me positive when I feel anxious or overwhelmed!

Madison Lodde, Fontbonne University junior, fashion merchandising major

Photo courtesy of Madison Lodde

How would you describe the way you are dressing during this quarantine period? (i.e., Do you still get ready every day, still go to work so have to dress for work, lazy pajamas, etc.?)

I usually wake up around 11-12 and get dressed into some jeans and a t-shirt everyday. Even though I stay inside without any human connection, I still put on some mascara and eyeliner to boost my confidence. On the days where I have to go grocery shopping or pick up some essentials, I get dressed up in my favorite casual outfit since it’s the only time I have a reason to wear it out.

Why do you choose to dress this way?

I dress this way because it makes me feel like I have started my day and I’m ready to complete more tasks. Even though, most of the tasks have to do with being inside.

Do you feel like you can still express yourself through dress during this time? If so, how are you managing to do that?

I feel like the only way I’m able to express myself through dress during this time is through social media. When I put on a cute outfit that I feel good in, I usually take a pic of myself for Snapchat or instagram. Cheesy, right?

What are your dress essentials during this time?

My essentials right now are jeans, cropped t-shirts, cardigans or zip up jackets and my Nike Air Force ones.

How has the virus affected you personally?

Sometimes it’s hard to remain positive, and often I feel like I’ve lost motivation in almost everything I used to love doing. Without the company of my family and my two bunnies, I don’t know how I’d get by.

What positive message would you like to share with others during this time?

I hope everyone keeps staying positive during this time. I know life seems weird and out of the ordinary, but I know this will end soon. Hang in there!


Fashion Merchandising student at Fontbonne University.

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