One of the many things the pandemic pushed pause on was style. Some of us embraced this, but others were reluctant about it. And we all heard about Zoom calls and the “business on top, yoga pants on the bottom” look.
At the same time, our inboxes were inundated with endless elastic-waistband, work-from-home fashion—all of which seemed to be sold out in my size. (I guess you now know which camp I was in!)
But no matter: now it’s time to dress for an occasion, again. For a bit of inspiration, we asked four of Sarasota’s social swans how quarantine changed their style and what they're most looking forward to when it comes to their wardrobes and event dressing.
"When quarantine began, it was quickly apparent that social functions were grinding to a halt. My friends and I weren’t sure when we would get together publicly again.
"I remember looking into my closet with such an empty feeling because I had purchased some really nice attire for upcoming 2020 events. I went from heels and platforms, fancy dresses and luxurious jewelry, to bandanas, masks, sweats and flip flops for the majority of the pandemic.
"Plus, my nails and feet were in desperate need of a mani/pedi. Once I realized I couldn’t get a pedicure, I switched from flip flops to sneakers or any closed-toe shoes. As a matter of fact, I saw people I knew during the pandemic, and they didn’t recognize me—that’s when I knew I was in trouble!
"I had a flip flop and sweats donation ritual last week; Goodwill received all my clothes. Now, I’m back with a vengeance to kill Sarasota with fashion and strut my stuff with my friends and family.
"Since things are slowly coming together again, I am looking forward to wearing some cute summer dresses, along with comfortable platforms and my sleek crossover handbags, which give me a hands-free option while on the go. Additionally, I’ve fallen in love with jean shorts and white shirts for a sportier look, which I can dress up or down for the summertime. Since the pandemic, I’ve realized that life is too short, so if you have some clothes that you’re saving to wear for a special occasion, I suggest you wear them now. This pandemic has validated the idea that life can change in a blink of an eye. Look your best every day!"
"The week prior to our pandemic shutdown, I was in full force as I co-chaired the Humane Society of Sarasota County Paws on the Catwalk Luncheon, The Easter Seals Abilities Shining Luncheon, and the Asolo Reperatory Gala—all within seven days of each other. The latter was March 7, 2020, and I recall the pandemic announcement that brought us all to a screeching halt was a day or two afterward.
"Overnight, I went from cocktail dresses, gala gowns and stilettos to yoga pants, bathing suits, flip flops and running shoes. And of course, face masks! A fun side distraction for me was online shopping for vintage clothing. I’m particularly loving anything crocheted from the '70s.
"Coming out on the other side, I feel my attire reflects the laid-back and relaxed pace that I’ve grown accustomed to—and I'm not willing to fully part ways with it, either. Even though I am slowing down between obligations from 2020 rescheduled events coupled with new commitments, I’ll still be out and about and dressing for the occasion. But most likely I’ll be found in high-waisted slacks or dress shorts, paired with a lightweight silk blouse or bustier. I will also be easing up on hair and makeup—I’m going low-maintenance. I’ve even ditched eyelash extensions!"
"During the pandemic, I tossed my jeans and leaned heavily into neutrals, especially in the athleisurewear category. I literally do not own a pair of blue denim jeans, but it’s now on my 2021 wish list.
"What I found interesting was that in the midst of the 24-hour news cycle vortex that I found almost paralyzing, I pulled out a giant tote bag of fabric and carpet swatches. As a former interior designer, I have collected (OK, hoarded) them over the last 17 years. They're a mash up of yummy textures, insane patterns, vibrant colors, all shouting 'be happy!'"
"This collection, for me, is an instant spirit-lifter. I lost track of time as I arranged them in different configurations across the floor. Thinking about it now, it was a coping strategy, a way to self-soothe by embracing the familiar and safely being creative because every combination in that magic tote was a vetted winner.
"I am giddy with anticipation to dress up again. Like, super-charged ready! Bring on the color, pattern, texture and shine! Maybe not all in one outfit, but then again, maybe. Why not?
"P.S., this photo is a recent selfie. Why, yes, that is gold glitter on my eyelids, an overload of pattern, and an absurd number of disco balls in plastic totes. Yes, world, I am back!"
Deborah J. Blue
"As a family law litigator, the pandemic resulted in a hiatus from court appearances. Every motion hearing and/or trial was heard over Zoom. Instead of the courtroom 'stage,' the Zoom screen—and the above-the-waist limited visibility—motivated and afforded me the freedom to be more creative in court appearance attire.
"I stopped wearing suits and my clothing became more light-hearted and colorful. I found a great selection of 1970s silk jersey dresses at Canned Ham Vintage that are elegant but comfortable during Zoom hearings. On non-Zoom days, phone conferences and desk work, my Aviator Nation sweatsuits were my go-to work attire. There is something very liberating about wearing a Pepto-pink sweatsuit with an Aladdin Sane lightning bolt to work!
"My fashion purchases also became bolder during the pandemic, such as Christopher John Rogers dresses from the Target capsule collection. So much fabric, fashion and fun for a great price! Receiving packages of new fashion, delivered to the door, was a stimulating event and helped me put the pandemic in perspective. And it gave me hope. In times of uncertainty during the pandemic, the ability to express oneself through fashion continued to be a joy."