It’s a new year and we’re asking new questions. Is this the end of Spanx, high heels and tailored pants? Should I become a DIY pro at color, mani-pedis and facials, and forget going to salons? If I work from home should I donate my old work clothes? I don’t have a crystal ball, but as a longtime beauty and fashion editor, my instincts say the pandemic of 2020 will influence what we wear and how we look way into 2021 and beyond. Here are 10 things that may be the “new normal” for us all.
1. Rethinking how and where we shop
No more strolling through department stores, leisurely trying on shoes and testing makeup. The pandemic has turned online shopping into a lifestyle essential as malls close, brands file for bankruptcy and retailers shift their business from brick-and-mortar shops to websites — permanently. Listen, it’s a good thing — and for so many reasons. Shopping online is fast; the “stores” are open 24/7; and you don’t have to get in line to pay, hunt for a salesperson or find a parking spot. And there’s no need to social distance or wear a mask. You can shop for a bra at 2 a.m. in your pjs, read reviews of those Sweaty Betty leggings before splurging, and find your favorite jeans on sale. We’ve learned to love the daily avalanche of sales, markdowns and discount codes.
2. Opting for relaxed clothes
Our idea of basic clothing has changed, too. After months at home in sweats, anything too structured (like a tailored pencil skirt or sheath dress) seems off. We’ve learned to mix tailored pants with sporty tops, as well as silky tops with joggers and cargos for a new polished and pulled-together style that feels right in 2021. So, if you haven’t added leather-look leggings, performance-fabric ankle pants, drop-shoulder sweaters, long cardigans and stylish sweatshirts to your closet, what are you waiting for? Hang on to your pantsuits and blazers. Worn with relaxed tees and sneakers, they’re all you need to dress up or look businesslike. And let’s not forget our new number 1 accessory: masks! Collect those in colors, designs and prints to perk up your face and accent our style in public. They’re here to stay.
3. Accepting our bodies as they are
Good news: Living in elastic waistbands means we no longer stand in front of the mirror and “suck it in.” We’ve lowered our expectations a little and raised our body positivity a lot this year. This is what allowed us to binge guilt-free on banana bread and balance it all out with sit-ups and Pilates in front of the TV. We’re not so terribly size conscious and are sort of glad that XS-S-M-L-XL-XXL has for the most part replaced more specific numbers on the tags that used to drive us crazy. We’ve accepted a more fluid way of dressing in looser, freer clothes so every bump, bulge and ripple is not a big deal. Oddly enough, while healthy eating and exercise are now even higher on our to-do list, we’re not so tough on ourselves. Nice, right?