Staying in Touch With My Personal Style After 150 Days of Sweatpants

The shoes sitting pretty at the top of my closet have started collecting dust. So really, I guess they’re not sitting so pretty anymore. One by one, I have actually heard them shimmy loose from the spots I positioned them in on the shoe rack five months ago, falling with a thud to the floor. But I don’t do anything about it — I’m kind of enjoying being lazy right now, and I don’t have any use for my neon kitten heels or white leather boots.

But that also sounds pretty sad, especially since styling outfits is so much a part of who I am. Even if I’ve experienced momentary bursts of fashion enthusiasm throughout lockdown, they were short-lived. I styled a beach outfit to go sit on the sand and meditate for awhile, social distancing from everyone around me. I styled outfits for work photo shoots, even putting on a little bit of makeup, just to take it all off after I snapped some selfies and hung my clothes back up on the rack. Sometimes I put on accessories for Zoom calls, but knowing that I’m generally more comfortable typing without bracelets and rings on, I usually just end up taking them off too.

Here I am, feeling almost guilty because I haven’t been using much of my wardrobe at all. I’ve been living out of three drawers: the sweats drawer, the workout clothes drawer, and the swimsuit-slash-cover-up drawer. Yes, this is partly my fault, because I could have spent more time in house dresses and ribbed matching sets, but I’m sure that I’m not alone in thinking that working in pajamas is pretty relaxing. Now I have to ask myself if I even remember how to get dressed. But more importantly, I wonder if I’ve held onto my personal style through all of this. Has my style changed, and how do I know that it has?

I look back at this old photo of myself and remember creating the outfit so vividly. I just knew that, for me, this silk Self-Portrait robe called for a ’70s moment with wide-leg jeans, and that I’d take a walk on the wild side in a ribbed, cropped tank that reminds me of the early 2000s. Not everyone would style these pieces that way, but at the time I was so sure that it was the right look for me. I guess that’s the feeling I realize is now missing from my life: the feeling of being sure.

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