Lockdown Clothing: following up with Karen

It’s been over six months since the start of the Lockdown Clothing project, and everyone’s lives have changed considerably since we first began collecting stories of how people are dressing under lockdown and quarantine. Karen Hall answered the original questions back in April 2020 and this is what she told us when we checked back in.

1) Can you describe how your daily routine and/or social life has changed in recent months?

In August I started work again (as a university tutor) and in September term started, so lots and lots of meetings and student contact time. Lockdown eased and we went out for some walks with friends, and had a four day holiday in the north in August; and in the last month we have bravely eaten out a few times. The vast majority of our social life remains on zoom. It is colder now, and the new lockdown starts in two days, albeit with schools remaining open.

2) Has your approach to clothing changed since you submitted your story to us?

Yes and no, in that last time I wrote, it was spring. I must admit to enjoying four months of hot summer furlough in shorts and a vest and bare feet, but those days are over now and I’m back in Only Just Not Pyjamas, and washing my hair less often than I should. While it was warm we had a weekly ‘date night’ in our home-pub which was the conservatory with extra bunting and some beer mats. I dressed up for that at first, but then it got colder and colder in there at night, until we were both going on our date in our dressing gowns. We probably just need much fancier nightwear that we can wear all the time without feeling like we’ve basically given up on the whole thing.

3) If you feel that your personal style and/or self-perception has changed since lockdown, can you describe how?

I have an increasing sense of pride and pleasure in my own body. I’ve been doing daily yoga since April, driven by a desire to do anything other than go running, and lockdown boredom, and I’m impressed by how strong I am getting. I don’t feel I need to cover up my curves with something floaty when I do leave the house.

4) Is there anything that you wear now that you didn’t wear when you submitted your story? If so, why?

Masks! Masks have become a delightful accessory, they cover up my rosacea so I don’t need to put make up on when I go out (only for zoom), and I can ring the seasonal changes or express my mood.

5) Has your approach to purchasing clothing changed as a result of lockdown? How so?

At the start of 2020 I made the pledge not to buy any new clothing for a year. It has been absolutely no trouble to stick to this pledge, though I have bought a few bits and pieces of second-hand clothing, and a hat. I’ve cleared out more clothing than I have acquired, and donated it all to The Cowshed.

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