Thoughts on Online Shopping, Wardrobe, and Productivity during Quarantine
by: Isabelle Herndon of Qatch
It’s hardly news that the COVID-19 pandemic has revolutionized practically everything, and the fashion industry is no exception. Generally speaking, stay-at-home orders and the mass transition to working from home have caused changes in consumer spending with regard to fashion across the globe. Loungewear sales have spiked and the trend of “over the keyboard dressing” (clothing items that are visible from the chest up over digital platforms like Zoom) continues to drive sales of tops and dresses across the industry.
Personally, being quarantined has had a mixture of effects on my wardrobe. First and foremost, the lack of social engagements, paired with lots of time at home, have afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the evolution of my personal style and purge my closet of ill-fitting pieces and styles I’ve grown out of. I’ve found this to be a great way to regroup and rebuild a wardrobe I truly love to eliminate that ‘I have nothing to wear’ feeling. On the negative side, being confined to my home has only intensified my preexisting urge to shop online. I attribute this desire both to the widespread boredom that we are experiencing in quarantine and the excitement to style these new purchases once stay-at-home orders are lifted.
For most of us, quarantine has meant a lot more scrolling and swiping across various social media platforms. As a result of increased screen time, influencers are benefitting from heightened exposure - causing consumers with a love of fashion like myself to be exposed to more cute clothing, discover more cute brands, and be tempted by more discount codes than ever. Despite the hole I’ve burned in my wallet, my favorite bloggers have excelled in providing engaging content and a plethora of style tips for future reference. More time on my phone has also led me to check out new social media like TikTok - a surprisingly helpful resource for fashion inspiration. TikTok has allowed me access to these same creatives and new ones, but with totally different content, such as career advice for the industry, DIY clothing tutorials, and clothing hauls of every variety. Despite the deluge of inspo and information I’ve been able to absorb, quarantine has brought my favorite hobby, thrifting, to a screeching halt. The temporary closing of thrift stores signaled the end of a very convenient and cost-effective way to shop sustainably. To compensate for the deficit of one-of-a-kind pieces I love to hunt for, I’ve found myself buying more online and unfortunately contributing to the fast-fashion conundrum that plagues the industry.
Quarantine has also attached various emotions to different pieces in my wardrobe. When I pass the jeans in my closet, I’m hit with nostalgia. My jeans – my favorite part of my wardrobe – have been neglected for most of quarantine. The rare occasion where I’ve needed to put on a bra, I now associate with the feeling of dread. The past couple of months have made me realize the extent to which an outfit can affect my mood and productivity. My mixed feelings about quarantine have come in waves. As luxurious as lounging all day in pajamas sounded (and, let’s be real, was for a few weeks), I noticed a trend in sluggishness and a lack of productivity that was, without a doubt, connected to my pajama uniform. That’s not to say that I’ve changed my ways and curate outfits for each day of quarantine, but now I’m at the point where I feel the best on days that involve completing projects or crossing a few items off of my to-do list. With these accomplishments usually comes some type of elevated outfit that doesn’t consist of pajamas. When I feel put-together even in a casual, comfortable way, I’m in a better headspace to do just about anything. Wearing something more fitted and straying away from my oversized ‘pajama looks’ can trick my brain into achieving the productivity that I would expect from myself if I wasn’t working or learning from home. Even a cute workout outfit helps me to feel more motivated to tackle my day, even if that doesn’t involve leaving the house. Think of it as looking your best for an interview – you’re not only dressing to impress the interviewer, but also so that you feel your most confident. I try to apply this same logic to feel my best when staring down my daily to-do list. Of course, this doesn’t happen every day. It’s okay (and necessary) to let ourselves rest and allow for some leeway amidst this craziness; however, dressing for success is a mood-booster for those days when your to-do list is longer or more imperative. Like most things in life, managing productivity during quarantine boils down to balance. Too much Netflix and pajamas can lead to goals that aren’t being met, while working nonstop can mean missing out on slowing down and appreciating the current stillness of our lives during this time.
Written by Isabelle Herndon of Qatch