OPINION

OPINION | Winter 2020 collection - it's trackies and a jumper on repeat

Office clothes, party clothes, going-out-for-coffee clothes, family gathering clothes, church clothes, wedding clothes and, in fact, any kind of making-an-effort clothes - what do they all have in common?

They're all more or less redundant these days.

There they are, filling up maybe 90 per cent of my wardrobe, and I haven't touched them in months.

While we're not technically in lockdown where I am, practically speaking, we don't get out much.

I've been working from home since March and almost every other activity I'm involved in has been substantially altered, being either in limbo or online for the bulk of the time.

Meaning, my clothing has been reduced to just a few items.

To wit, three pairs of trackies (which I rotate every couple of days because I'm not a complete slob), a handful of t-shirts and a few jumpers.

Now and then I throw on a scarf for a burst of colour (and to cover up the coffee stains).

I don't think I'm alone in this.

My colleagues who began this season in life putting on lippy and proper clothes - even if it was just for Zoom meetings - have been getting more haggard every day.

Now there are two who regularly turn up in dressing gowns.

No one's had a hair cut in months.

I believe there are some people still wearing jeans, but all I can say to that is - they're doing isolation wrong.

I believe there are some people still wearing jeans, but all I can say to that is - they're doing isolation wrong.

In fact, if you're wearing jeans in iso, you're a straight-out masochist.

Haven't you heard of elastic waistbands?

It won't be long now before we'll look at our dusty wardrobes, where we store such strange-seeming items as 'dresses', and 'make-up' and 'uncomfortable underwear', and wonder why we ever used them at all.

They will take on the air of a box of your grandmother's old clothes - pretty, but largely impractical.

How, we will ask, can you curl up on the couch with your laptop to write a report wearing tailored pants?

And high heels? What on earth were we thinking?

My new winter collection (the aforementioned trackies and so on) has made me wonder what aspects of past cultures were shaped by viruses and the like.

Could it be that those societies that appear to us somewhat stiff and cold - where they greeted each other with a curtsey, or a bow, or a salute; where no one would dream of hugging a stranger, and possibly not even their own family members - were actually just avoiding death by bubonic plague?

Were those giant hoop skirts a way of keeping germy people out of their personal space?

Were those giant hoop skirts a way of keeping germy people out of their personal space?

And how will our own culture start to absorb and reflect these months (possibly years) of social distancing?

The elbow bump began sardonically, but I've found quite a few people who are now offering it in greeting without irony.

The dreaded close-talker will be an actual social pariah, and you'll have a legal reason to chase off those people who survey a semi-empty beach or train carriage and then plonk themselves right next to you.

Ditto new acquaintances who think for some reason that they're now 'kissing friends', and expect you to offer your cheek every time you see them.

So, if this continues for much longer, the typical post-iso human will be an unaffectionate comfort-dresser who doesn't do social occasions. But that may well be because they threw out all their nice clothes.