How are people dressing when in lockdown and isolation situations? How is this different to the way they dressed before? Has it affected their sense of self? This project aims to shine a light on those changes and reveal some of the many and varied personal stories relating to fashion and dress in 2020. Today’s interview is with Celina McGinnis. Celina is a stay at home mom in St. Louis, MO. She retired this year after 10 years of coaching robotics with FIRST, and likes making things out of fabric, paper, and string. She has degree in Anthropology, with a minor in Textile & Fashion.
1) Can you describe what your personal style was like before lockdown?
I have a “uniform.” During winter I wear white t-shirts or woven shirts with jeans or soft pants, with another layer on top, a vest or a jacket. Most of my clothes are blue, white, or grey, with some black. I make a lot of my jackets & vests, from my stash of patterns, mostly Issey Miyake. I normally use discrete fabrics for them, but am adding some louder things now that I am older. I have a set of winter shoes and several pairs of flats for summer. I don’t wear shoes inside my home. During the summer I wear dresses, made from one pattern, or t-shirts with capris. My pyjamas are made from the same dress pattern I use for summer, only longer and made with flannel for winter. I make and wear fancy hats for conventions I go to, this year I was going to make a tricorn hat with leaves sewn to it, but that’s on pause for now.
2) What is your daily routine for getting dressed to remain at home? If you don’t have one, why is that?
Normally I wait for everyone else to leave the house before I shower & get dressed, they are all gone by 7am and we only have one bathroom. Now I’m one of the first to get ready, to help move the day along, get people up for their remote learning, etc. I normally drink coffee in bed while I wait, now I drink it while wandering around the house.
3) Has your approach to fashion and style changed as a result of the current situation?
Not really. I have strong preferences for comfortable clothing, and I don’t work. I was in the midst of moving another colour into my wardrobe, a peacock or teal, and so have a stash of fabric ready. I have not started on it yet, I’m working on an embroidered vest of grey linen that I started just as lockdown approached. I felt I needed something whimsical, and this is perhaps the most over-the-top garment I’ve made. I am not wearing makeup at all, before I wore minimal eye makeup to leave the house. I have put make up on for a few online video things.
4) Thinking back through what you have worn since you’ve been staying at home, what has been your favourite item of clothing and why?
A men’s grey cashmere sweater that I cut the ribbing off of at the beginning of winter. It is soft, warm, and cozy, I am very fond of it. Since I bought it at a garage sale, I do not feel that it is precious. It is starting to get a few holes I need to fix.
5) What were the social situations that you routinely found yourself in before the quarantine? And how did you dress for them?
I have a breakfast club, a knitting club, and movie nights with friends. I didn’t have to modify my clothing choices for them. Many of them work, when we are meeting they are dressing down.
If you’d like to take part in the project yourself, you can find all the information you need in the blog post entitled ‘Lockdown Fashion: an exploration of dressing at home in 2020‘ dated 9th April 2020.