November 30, 2020

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AfricaTopForum – News Around Africa

Dressing down: How lockdown changed the face of fashion and beauty

3 min read

When the world battened down the hatches to fight the coronavirus pandemic and we all settled down to months of being at home, many aspects of life changed, and fashion was one of them.

Gone was the need to suit up for work, don high heels for a night on the town or put on that power piece to make a statement in a meeting. Jeans were replaced by dressing gowns; bras were given the heave-ho, and pyjama pants stayed for those all-important and now virtual meetings. 

lockdown fashion
Many women confess they might stay in their PJs all day. Image: Adobe Stock

But, as measures begin to ease and the world slowly begins to return to some semblance of “normality”, will our pandemic fashion habits follow suit?

Will we go back to power suits and pencil skirts, or stick with the pandemic-inflected sense of style that calls for comfort? Some things may never see the fashion light of day again…

Every day is Casual Friday

lockdown fashion
Even women who still make an effort to dress for work are increasingly choosing comfortable flats or boots over hectic heels. Image: Adobe Stock

As business moved from the office to the home, expensively tailored suits, shift dresses and blazers were replaced by tracksuits, t-shirts and flats.

Furloughed staff and work-from-home employees have swopped corporate dress codes for comfort, donning tracksuit pants and casual tops for a typical working day.

According to The Guardian, many said lockdown had given them time to think about what they enjoyed wearing and they now chose comfort over style and, given a choice, would continue to dress this way into the future. 

Goodbye skinny jeans? 

lockdown fashion
Lockdown fashion is all about comfort. Mom jeans are now much more desirable than skinnies. Image: Adobe Stock

Denim may be one of the casualties of COVID as jeans were replaced by leggings, tracksuit pants and long, loose dresses.

After months of comfort, is there any appeal to go back to tight-fitting clothes in rigid materials? Fashion-lovers are saying no. 

Niamh Egleston, a 25-year-old student in the UK, said she switched to long, floaty skirts during the lockdown and the thought of vacuum-packing her stomach into a pair of high-waisted skinny jeans made her ill.

Editor Liz Jones swopped her jeans for her partner’s old jeans, which were flattering and more comfortable.

For many, skinny jeans may be banished for good. The popularity of the once wardrobe staple now seems to be waning as comfort takes precedence over trends. 

The new rules of beauty

lockdown beauty
There is a clear trend towards less made-up, more natural faces and brows. Image: Adobe Stock

Fashion is not the only thing to have done an about-turn during these unprecedented times. Hair and makeup routines have also changed.

With hairdressers being forced to close shop, people were forced to self-colour and cut, or simply let their hair grow. Some said this was a blessing in disguise. 

“I’ve really enjoyed not spending ridiculous amounts on haircuts and salon hair colour,” Lucy Matthews, 42, said. “I have only really missed not getting my eyebrows shaped … neat eyebrows seem even more important with face masks now!”

For some, not having to put on makeup every day was also a blessing and they relished the opportunity to go barefaced.

“I’m loving being so comfortable and skipping makeup – I’ve only worn it three times since mid-March,” Heena, a 35-year-old nurse, told The Guardian.

“I feel I’ve broken the tyrannical shackles of the patriarchy and some changes are permanent. I’m done with waxing or otherwise grooming my eyebrows. I was born with a perfect pair, and the world has to accept them.”