I started photographing my outfits during the precautionary work-from-home period implemented by BMDi, which we all thought was temporary (this was before Colorado’s official Stay at Home order). I named my outfits funny things like “Garth’s LBD” or “Don’t Flatter Yourself.” I dressed up as my friend Jaynie for her birthday. It was silly and self-aware, something to laugh about and entertain myself.
When it became apparent that this wasn’t temporary, I faltered on whether to continue. Knowing how serious the situation has become for so many, I decided to stop making light of working remotely and started thinking of how to spread positivity to the people I know.
“Getting dressed” isn’t something I usually name. I tend to wear clothes that allow for a bike commute or that easily fit in my swim bag. Except for a few statement pieces (ahem, a sequined sweatshirt), I don’t have clothing that I “never wear.” My wardrobe is a sort of “lenient capsule,” each piece is curated, but functions in a one-in-one-out closet, lending to quick decisions in the morning.
A lot of my friends and colleagues have been joking about how they’re only wearing yoga clothes, changing their shirts for Zoom calls…or not.
And that’s totally fine. If it works for you, work it.
But this is problematic for me. The athleisure section of my wardrobe is nominal. I only own one pair of sweats and one pair of actual leggings. I counted for this post: I have nine tee shirts, three of which have some sort of skull or skeleton decal. I think I’m going through a phase.
Even if I had more athleisure options, these clothes don’t make me feel like working. I wouldn’t wear them in a professional setting “before all of this” so I’ve reasoned that I’m not going to start.
I’ve been thinking a lot about that – what clothing does, how it makes us feel, and the function of plumage when no one’s around. If we’re going to tout the adage that we dress up to feel confident or claim that we don makeup “for ourselves,” why wouldn’t we continue to do it when it’s truly only for ourselves?
Through the last month, I’ve found that clothing has become a way to connect with myself and the people I care about. It’s a little shred of normalcy, a way for my parents to see what I’m up to, something in which my friends can participate. I’ve started to view these posts as a meditation on what isolation looks like during a time when women need visibility more than ever.
Each week’s posts for me have become a series where I conceptualize and arrange the pieces in my wardrobe for effect. The “Strong Women” series was a way to honor women who’ve inspired me.
A few friends joined in, sharing quotes and images that paid homage to their favorite inspiring women. Messages started pouring in from women in my life that said “please keep going” or “I need more content like this.”
And in turn, these messages gave me a little strength.
I hope to return to a time where I can stuff a few pieces in my bag and scurry into the office at 9:01, hair still wet from the pool, hoping my boss doesn’t notice or care.
In the meantime, while we’re still isolated from one another, I hope you find something in your day that makes things feel a little more normal.
As for me, I’ll keep posting what I’m wearing.