Whilst sales of alcohol have rocketed by 22% during lockdown in the UK, sales of clothing have plummeted by 34%. As more of us spend time at home, the need and desire for new clothes has fallen. There’s no real incentive anymore to buy the fun going-out outfit, smart formal workwear, or ‘barely there’ summer dress for the beach holiday abroad.
Loungewear, on the other hand, has become the preferred choice; with sales increasing by 433%, between March 24 and April 7; followed by hoodies, sweatshirts and joggers. At this time of year, it’s unusual to see such a demand when the sun is shining outside, when inside activity (well, if you can call cosying up on the sofa as an ‘activity’) usually diminishes. The demand for exercise clothing is seeing people take more control of their fitness, with home exercise routines becoming the new norm, now that gyms are temporarily closed. Even Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue, has been photographed in joggers!
When it comes to working from home, “waist-up video conferencing”, the new way for colleagues to interact at home via video streaming services, has seen sales of top-half clothing rise by 167%, becoming the preferred new clothing items over bottom-halves. And whilst you might have noticed that many online companies are displaying products online without models, at Zara, their models are working from home too, modelling new lines from the comfort of their homes.
But none of this means that dressing-up has completely gone out of fashion. Say goodbye to the days when we all looked forward excitedly to ‘dress-down Friday’, as an opportunity to wear more or less what you would on a weekend, rather than stiff collars and high heels. Instead, Brand Ambassadors, a London agency representing womenswear brands, has started the hashtag #dressupfriday online, encouraging everyone to reinvent their Friday by wearing their best and most fabulous outfit in their wardrobe. Hilary Barry, New Zealand TV personality, also started the hashtag #formalfriday by wearing a formal gold ball gown whilst working from home, before adding a tiara the following week. Celebrities have also been joining this trend, with Amanda Holden choosing to mow the lawn in none other than her wedding dress!
None of us wants to see the further demise of the high street, with even more people losing their jobs after this unprecedented time ends, but let’s take some positivity from the re-wearing of our clothing. Sustainability is a key word in fashion right now. Resisting the urge to bulk-buy we are doing our bit for the environment, and, in the process, rediscovering previously loved garments.
The safety net created by spending time indoors gives you chance to explore your style and wear those clothes that you might not have been brave enough to wear on a daily basis. Your choice might be bold, colourful dresses or bright patterned trousers. But it’s also about giving yourself the excuse to wear your most sparkly dress with towering high heels that’s been worn only once at a Christmas party. And why not discover the joys of repairing and upcycling your clothes, or learn a new skill with DIY fashion from home. Learning how to patchwork, crochet or knit, is not only fun, but is a productive and satisfying way to make the hours pass quickly by.
Whilst all events are cancelled and all outings on hold, you don’t really need an excuse to dress-up. Instead, dressing-up and showing off your wardrobe can be a perfect way to while away some time indoors. But don’t limit this to Fridays. Wear something special every day and ensure those fabulous outfits, worn once for a special occasion and then confined to the wardrobe, are worn again and again. And, have fun with fashion!
About Our Author: Katie Calvert's background is in fashion and textiles with a first class honours degree in Fashion Communication and Promotion and experience in trend, PR and events. She decided to take the plunge back into education in 2015 to complete a Master of Arts in Multimedia Journalism. Using these newfound skills and her love of fashion and culture, Katie has been freelance writing for over a year.