It is when noise and activity are removed that we are able to clearly see the essence of things. It is mostly a good and desired circumstance when life does not call for our layers to be forcefully peeled away, but when it does, it is an opportunity to be thoughtful in how we view life and the things that comprise it.
Take the remarkable collection this spring from Louis Vuitton: a precise, inventive spinning together of the Belle Epoque and Studio 54 eras. Although it is no less beautiful now than before the time where the general public knew the exact acronyms of diseases, our viewing lens has changed dramatically, and so our perspective is also transformed. The pouf taffeta-sleeve blouse in microplaid under a patchwork belted leather jacket seemed ecstatic and ambitious, and now one may look at the collection with a feeling of excess or irrelevance at first glance. And yet as thoughts linger, escapist and even nostalgic attitudes arise. The decades upon which designer Nicolas Ghesquiere built the collection come back to us as innocent and peaceable compared to the emotionally and physically hyperbolic state that we find ourselves in now. And at the time of writing, people are continuing to hoard paper products and clutch to their children, so what can fashion mean for us now? Is it possible to reach a point where it becomes worthless?
No one has ever needed a $3,000 belted lambskin jacket to survive. But that is the privilege, the pleasure and the Faustian bargain that we have struck up with life; the truth is that people are not on the earth just to exist day to day. To be human means that at all times, we have the inborn ability to be creative, to look beyond, to wish for things and to become someone entirely different from where life seemed to point us. And that’s the lovely thing about fashion is that it offers people a chance to maintain a little dignity, no matter how difficult, restrictive or imprudent life becomes. Maybe we created fashion because we needed it.
And in that vein, a few points to stay fresh and buoyant, even as we are removed from our normal routines. Shower and get dressed every day. It is tempting to binge on Netflix or to allow yourself to be overcome by the down-filled Belgian linen covered cushions, but the lack of schedule can create a lack of will and purpose. Even if you change from your pajamas to a pair of slim twill joggers and a fresh T-shirt, you will find your mood, level of motivation and purpose gaining momentum.
Change your clothes as activities require. If you are going outside, try wearing this spring’s high-waisted straight-leg canvas pant with a cropped, short-sleeve sweatshirt. Staying in for the day? Try a cotton caftan, hair scraped back into a neat ponytail and a pair of pretty, soft-soled slip-ons. Even when you are cooking, try a new apron and coordinate it with a cotton romper. The rule of thumb here is that you have to be dressed in a way that you can answer the door with your head up and a smile on your face. Lastly, pick up a few new things like a pair of white jeans or a gauze-y cotton top. These things all create a sense of normalcy, and looking forward to wearing something is an emotional salve which cannot be underestimated. I’m not saying that fashion will save us, but it might just help us. W