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 Fiona Smith. Fiona works in Marketing and has a 7 year old son. Currently adjusting to the joys of home working and attempting to be a school teacher. Her love of art, fashion and makeup are helping to get through the weeks of lockdown.
1) Can you describe your personal style before lockdown?
This is a difficult question but I’ll try. Fashion conscious without following specific trends. Colourful, groomed, figure flattering, shoes (pointed, heels, colours), jeans (skinny, flared, boyfriend), colourful knits, shirts, designer pieces that aren’t seasonal. Handbags, always thinking about accessories. Make up; often red / bright lipstick, always a manicure in bright colours and black liquid eye liner.
2) How would you describe your style now?
Day to day more urban. Tracksuit bottoms and leggings (although still designer so I don’t feel like a total scruff). Leggings, vest tops, soft comfy knits. More neutral colours. Nike Air, flip flops. Make up and hair similar, but no bright lippy. Still manicured nails. On weekend evenings the polar opposite, dresses (which I rarely wear normally) full glam, maybe with a theme to break up the boredom and mainly to post on Instagram. I didn’t dress for other people specifically before lockdown, but thinking about it I suppose I liked the fact people would often comment on my clothes and now home alone I kind of miss that. I haven’t worn jeans since quarantine started! (and I have missed them, but they aren’t comfy for sitting and eating all day!!)
3) What were the social situations you found yourself in before lockdown and how did you dress for them?
Meals or drinks out with my friends or boyfriend, work with colleagues, shopping with friends, trips to galleries or museums. As above for pre lockdown, always slightly more striking make up and heels for nights out, but mostly revolved around jeans. The right pair can make me feel fantastic (I own 22 pairs) combined with the right shoes, bag and a red lip and I feel like me.
Social situations in lockdown; Teams video calls or Houseparty app with mum friends! Not the same need for effort and in fact over effort has led to comments from both about making them feel bad because ‘I look so glam’ and they haven’t bothered.
4) What’s your shoe situation at home and how does this effect your sense of self?
It’s depressing, I’m either in trainers or slippers. So on Saturdays I’ve taken to wearing my heels round the house. Doesn’t feel like me in trainers all the time and I kind of feel frumpy without my shoes.
5) Is there anything you feel you can wear now that you couldn’t in ‘normal’ times? Why? And is there anything you miss wearing? (and why do you not wear it)?
I have worn more dresses, 70’s influenced sparkly halter dress, tight velvet cut away dress. I haven’t worn them in normal times, because I may have put them on, but felt over dressed or that they might be too revealing. It’s been like playing dress up for someone slightly younger or more confident in their body and I’ve enjoyed that. I haven’t worn jeans, as above they aren’t the most comfortable to drink endless tea and go to the loo and sit on a lap top. Also handbags, people often don’t think about ‘wearing’ them, but I think if them as an extension of my outfit and change mine to suit a look. I have only used one since lockdown… the one that goes with trackies!
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.