Lockdown has either made or broken relationships. For me, a longstanding and meaningful partnership has sadly come to an end: I’ve fallen out of love with my “comfy clothes”. It was a gradual thing, really. But after months of being cooped up together at home, day in, day out, the resentment and boredom began to creep in. I started to crave the pinch of a slightly too tight pair of jeans, the caress of a silk shirt. I even missed the burning feeling on the balls of my feet after wearing heels at a party for slightly longer than intended.
Turns out, I’m not alone. After more than a year of tracksuits, leggings and fluffy socks, the world is ready to put on a collective look. In March, Refinery 29 commented that people were dressing up to get their COVID vaccine (I applaud them). A month later, it was reported by WWD that luxury sales were booming again, with Hermes’ revenue up 44 per cent, Dior, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs and Celine, 32 per cent, and Gucci, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga by 25.8 per cent.
And, whilst online retail has thrived during the pandemic, the allure of the bricks-and-mortar luxury store experience has never felt stronger. Stepping into Selfridges recently for the first time in over 12 months, and seeing pieces from the SS21 collections up close and personal was, for a self-professed fashion nerd, a joyous occasion. A summer sales boom is predicted in fashion retail, too, as the date on everyone’s lips beckons: 21st June. With the government planning to lift all legal limits on social interactions, dressing up for life’s many catwalks (read: occasions) is now more than just a mere fantasy.
In the spirit of sustainability, I’ll also be reevaluating my existing wardrobe and trying to enjoy a larger percentage of it. Pre-COVID, I had fallen into a pattern of wearing the same outfits on repeat. But now, I’m excited to try styling pieces I’ve severely neglected, experimenting with make-up (a glitter smokey eye in the middle of the day? Why the eff not?) and even dashes of bright colour.
But what are other incredibly stylish people planning on wearing? I spoke to five of them, each with a different idea of what it is they’ll be putting on come 21st June. From platform Rick Owens boots to 1990s Blumarine, one thing is clear: glamour is back. Sorry, comfy clothes. It’s not you, it’s us.
Dominic Cadogan, writer and editor
“I feel like when lockdown first hit, I tried to keep dressing up, because at work that was my big thing. When we were doing Zoom calls for the bigger work meetings, I was still making an effort, putting on some makeup, wearing a Proenza Schouler shirt… But very quickly the novelty wore off. After a while, all I wore was tracksuits, which is very unlike me! With work being so intense and everything being very hard, dressing up was the last thing I could think about.
But recently, I’ve gone back to wearing a look. I think when the government announced we’re on the road to 21st June I was like, ‘Things will be happening, I’ll be going out!’ So, I started looking for bits and bobs online. I never really gave a fuck about what people thought of what I was wearing, but now I feel that way more. When I was out, people used to stare at me, or take pictures of me, or laugh at me, but now I don’t care. We’ve been inside for the longest time. It’s been so awful. I just want to feel joyful! I want to be very celebratory, glam and happy with my clothing.”
Harry Lambert, stylist
“I’m excited to put on some formal trousers! I’ve never been a suit person – I’m a statement shirt kind of guy. I’m excited about going into my ‘archives’ and bringing out some statement shirts I haven’t worn in a while. Throughout lockdown, I didn’t do too much spending, but last week, I got paid and went on a shopping spree, which was very exciting. I felt the urge to splurge. It’s quite exciting getting dressed up head-to-toe again. I bought a new pair of brown Converse and a pair of brown, tweedy, loose-fitting Marni trousers. I went to a press event and wore them both with a new tailored coat.
“For me, shoes really do make the outfit, so I was pleased for people to see my new Converse in particular. I’ve been styling a lot of people for Zoom calls. Every time it’s, ‘Earrings! What can we get?’ Let’s now give shoes a time to shine again. I’ve got two weekends out booked so far: the theatre to see a Drag Show called Death Drop and then, the following weekend, a drag cabaret at a place called Touché. I really want to pay back into the queer community and go to as many events as possible. I’m excited to get dressed up, be a bit silly and camp.”
Zaina Miuccia, model and actor
“At the beginning of quarantine, I was like, ‘Fuck fashion… With a PH!’ Everyone was going through a spiritual awakening and so was I. I was buying plants left, right and centre, and I stopped buying clothes. This meant that I could dig through my old stuff and find pieces I hadn’t worn in ages, which was great.
“Recently, I’ve been wearing a lot of stripes, knitwear and pieces from the late 1990s and early 2000s. I’m buying lots of Blumarine – dresses, pants and sweaters – and last night for dinner I wore a Miu Miu tartan dress. I recently also got a Miu Miu skirt. I’ve also been wearing heels every day, not just for going out. I’m staying at my parents’ house at the moment and my mother doesn’t like sharing her clothes, but she has some Yves Saint Laurent shoes in her closet and I’ve been wearing them all the time. My mum just wears whatever she wants to, all the time, and it’s rubbing off on me. My attitude now is very much: ‘If I want to wear a crazy dress on a Wednesday afternoon, then let’s do it!’”
“I’m really not into pubs – they’re just not for me! I love a bar where I can drink a delicious margarita. I want it on a gorgeous coaster and to be handed a napkin, with some big green Italian olives. I’m looking forward to wearing my Dilara Findikoglu corset and I’ve had my eye on an Ottolinger three-piece denim suit. I’d wear that with a mini bag, one of my bonnets and a high stiletto – a pair of dental floss-thin heels, that are so hard to walk in! I’ve also got my eye on a really fab Charlotte Knowles dress. I love the feeling of going to a party and thinking you’re overdressed, but you get there and everyone is like, ‘Oh my God!’ I haven’t had that feeling for ages and can’t wait for it.”
Tom/Crystal Rasmussen, writer and performer
“During lockdown, I tried to dress as comfortably as possible. I wore a lot of Issey Miyake Pleats Please and a lot of oversized Raf Simons shirts. Then, for Crystal, I did a lot of virtual performances where I would be in a full look, but just on top. I work with a designer called Mx Fearon, so [there was] a lot of that with an UGG slipper, for example. Coming out of lockdown, I recently bought these archive Raf Simons flared leather pants, which are a brand new shape for me.
“I’ve been thinking about what stylish means recently and I’ve decided that ‘stylish’ and ‘chic’ mean committing to a choice. Post-lockdown, if I’m doing a sleazy leather daddy look, I don’t want to just do a leather jacket. I want to go full-on. I’m thinking a lot about what I’m going to wear on stage, too. I’ve decided one of the looks is going to be completely naked, with a really nice shoe. Either the Harris Reed H boot or the pink Rick Owens platform boots from the S/S21 collection. I felt for a while that it was shallow to enjoy dressing up, but A) it’s important to my community and B) it’s really important to me.”