How the way we dress has changed – The Irish Times

The post-Covid summer is in full swing. Weddings, race meetings, festivals and other social occasions are back in full force, with the need to dress up for them. After nearly two years of comfortable homewear and sartorial limitations, leggings and hoodies have finally been pushed to the back of the wardrobe.

But has the prolonged hibernation during the pandemic affected our style on a fundamental level? We spoke to style advisors, shoppers, and women of different ages who love clothes about what they’re wearing now. All agreed that the pandemic has changed the way they dress and that there has been a mood shift when it comes to style, even as our social lives resume and workplaces continue to open up.

“During the pandemic, all people wanted was joggers, jeans, cashmere and sneakers, but there are more events now and a lot of demand for dresses again,” says the buyer Clodagh Shorten from Samui in Cork, who turns 21 in business this year. .

“People dress differently, don’t wear formal suits, don’t look so formal, and maybe wear a blazer with chinos to work instead,” she says, and high heels” are reserved for occasions, because the coach always wins”.

She thinks people have become more playful – “short skirts sell, and not all to young people” – and overall looks are more relaxed, even for special occasions like weddings.

“Even the mother of the bride is looking for something she can wear again, looking for investment pieces,” she says.

As offices begin to slowly reopen, dressing for work is “a tripwire” for many people, says Clara Halpin, assistant manager of private and personal shopping at Kildare Village.

“Since you spend a lot of time at work, it’s important to feel good and confident – many women have lost confidence at home.”

Hybrid work – sometimes in the office, sometimes at home – also has its own clothing challenges. “People really struggle with the concept,” she says.

Many office workers still have their suits in stock, but “a nice blazer, well-tailored pants and a nice top are [still] very important, especially on Zoom where block colors work well,” suggests Halpin. “Blue is a color I always recommend.”

Texture has become more important to customers, she says, “because people have gotten used to enjoying comfort and pampering, now they’re really drawn to luxurious fabrics.”

As owner of The Style Bob consultancy, Aoife Dunican has recently spent much of her time giving talks to corporate clients titled, What am I wearing now and does it matter?

Smart casual is the new dress code at work, she says, even for law firms. “It’s definitely more relaxed and there’s more self-expression; diversity and inclusion are now important in business. Where a pinstripe suit was once the rule, now it’s a navy dress with statement jewelry,” she says.

“People are dressing up again, but comfort is going nowhere. I certainly never thought I would have a sneaker collection.

Buyers and designers are responding to this desire for more casual and comfortable workwear. Deborah Veale, who has a lot of experience designing women’s corporate clothing, admits that she too is “struggling to get rid of elasticated waists”, but “we’re slowly getting back into tailoring because it’s so stimulating.”

Its new diffusion line mixes suit and jersey, more relaxed and fluid. She’s working on a project updating familiar basics like biker jackets and trench coats with details like leather trim and buckles. “It’s work clothes, not casual,” she says.

According to color consultant Maria Macklin, reducing consumption and shopping consciously are other lessons learned during lockdown. “Always buy clothes that you will wear again and again and every time you buy something new, remove an item. Stop buying things you already have. Try to go a month without buying anything and become more resourceful by creating new outfits with what you already have,” she says.

Knowing which colors work for you and how they coordinate with everything else in your wardrobe is a skill worth developing and will help you get the most out of the clothes you already own, she says.

If your style has fundamentally changed and you now have a wardrobe full of clothes you no longer wear, how can you change it? Professional weeder Tara Crowley gives private lessons, helping people identify the clothes they wear regularly versus those they don’t, often kept on even if they don’t fit, as an incentive to lose weight . One of his standard rules is that if something hasn’t been worn for six months, it disappears.

“A wardrobe is a very emotional place,” she says. “Many complain about having nothing to wear and open a bulging wardrobe. When they open their wardrobe, they open their hearts.

Her three-hour sessions cover color analysis and advice on what suits particular body shapes and proportions. What clever advice can she share? Busty women need tailored jackets; a pinched jacket can create a waistline; you can go down a dress size with the right size bra; do not cover problem areas with volume; and high-waisted jeans lengthen the leg.

When it comes to dressing to look good on screen, where so many business meetings still take place, the advice is that color blocking looks modern while making you look taller and leaner. . It’s also easier than putting together an entire outfit in different shades. A blouse or top with a bit of sheen will reflect the light well. Another trick is to use asymmetrical cuts that add curve to a straight line, or to mold the curves.

Conventional wisdom holds that larger prints are suitable for larger frames, conversely smaller prints, smaller frames. Wrap-around dresses that gape should be avoided, and oversized suits that parade down the catwalk can actually make the wearer look like children in adult clothes. Fit and flare dresses can be universally flattering.

For those with unworn suits languishing in the wardrobes, the Dunican style consultant advises dressing them up with loafers or livening them up with a brightly colored crew-neck top or blouse. And the power of a good blazer can’t be overstated, she says. “It will take you anywhere and instantly spruce up an outfit. A little stitching adds a finished look to an outfit.

Dunican encourages its customers to purchase good quality items. Your wardrobe should be “60% basic, 40% fun”, she says, with “good denim – dark denim being more acceptable to brighten things up, although traditional blue is a great shade for summer “.

According to her, the right clothes can make us feel confident and excited to return to the world.

“We have gone through difficult times at different levels. Women want to look modern and relevant. It’s an exciting time now. And if you dress in a way that makes you feel good, that’s important. So be your own version of fabulous.

My style …

Catherine Grehan (19 years old): “Now we don’t care a little less”

For Catherine Grehan, a 19-year-old student at Trinity, going out during the pandemic “was such a novelty that you wanted to make every outing special, because in my freshman year at college, everything was online. I had so much time to plot and plan what I would wear on the rare occasions we went out, I knew exactly what I was wearing before the event. Now we care a little less”.

“I love the color blue and dressing things up with jewelry, so an all-black outfit with blue jewelry is my go-to. I wear cowboy boots much more often now and long coats, mostly my mom’s everything I own belongs to her. Many of my friends wear their mother’s clothes.

Vanisha Finlay (25): “I don’t want to part with large sums of money”

Vanisha Finlay, who works as a paralegal for a law firm in Dublin, admits that before Covid she would save for an expensive bag or jacket. Not anymore. “Now I look at this and see that as a financial expense, it’s not a good idea, and I’m not ready to part with large sums of money.”

The way people present themselves on social media has become more transparent during the pandemic, she believes, and there is now less pressure to conform to fashion trends. “The days are over when everyone wanted the same thing.”

His workplace is much more laid back now than it was before the pandemic. “My co-workers are more laid back, wear flats, and there’s more acceptance of outfits that make you feel comfortable. But I always dress smart for work and love putting outfits together.

Edith Dodd (27): “Don’t even mention the heels”

For Edith Dodd, who works in brand marketing in the food industry, suits are dead “and let’s not even talk about heels. I don’t want to know,” she said. “I work from home and my everyday clothes are leggings and sweaters. We all wear hoodies on Zoom and I’m less aware of the presentation of myself on screen than the background.

When she goes out with friends, “we are no longer as disguised as before the Covid”.

She and her friends often use online clothing rental services through sites such as greens are good for you, a service set up by her friend last year. “[It] really took off — mostly beautiful dresses that none of us would want to buy anymore, preferring to rent for a night.

When shopping for new clothes, she’s “an online shopper through and through, mostly Zara, Other Stories and Mango. I hate going to stores because it’s so crowded.

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