We Really Took Getting Dressed Up For Granted, Didn't We?
It's always the best part. Freshly showered, skin a similar shade to the pale pinot blush you've mainlined all afternoon by the pool, and soon to be soothed under the cool envelope of a silky, mildly silly shirt that sparks equal parts laughter and commendation from fellow diners. Getting dressed up like this is part of the nightly holiday ritual. Because being abroad, away from the monotony of Excel and 'all staffs', is a highlight in itself. This is a treat. So you dress accordingly, like all the other happy and exciting times in which you drink and dance and act raucously. It's the uniform for the living of the best life, as Twitter likes to say.
Oh, how it is missed. Coronavirus, as it has done to almost every industry other than grocery delivery, has upended the fashion world. In fact, it was one of the first to fall, when Milan became an unfortunate hotbed of the novel virus. Fashion has rightly turned its attention to the fightback, with the likes of Giorgio Armani, Gucci, and Burberry switching production to the noble (and much-needed) task of creating face masks and single-use aprons. But the making of actual clothes? That's on the back burner. So is the actual act of wearing them.
No silly fashion fun for you lot this year, sorry.
In all those WhatsApp selfies and Houseparty appearances, friends appear in identikit 'comfies': tracksuit bottoms, baggy sweatshirts, an old 'RowSoc' T-shirt from Bristol University. Fine, for lazy days. But these days are now every day. Students are now confirming the once-false stereotype of pajamas for Early Florentine Art History modules en masse via webinars. The reliance upon hangoverwear (or loungewear, if you spend the cash on it) places one in a perpetual state of sofadom. If you're not dressed to leave the house, you don't feel like leaving the house. And, if coronavirus has revealed anything, it's that humans are still truly and deeply and intrinsically built to leave the house.
Though rather than counter it, we're sinking into the elasticated waistbands imposed by self-isolation. We're letting it win. There's to be no men's fashion week. Even the industry's most comical and sacred of ceremonies, the Met Gala, has been canceled. If they're not bothering, why should you? Because, my friends, we must retain some sense of normality. Tomorrow morning, put your best suit on. Or maybe not the best, but one of the nicer ones hanging in dry cleaning plastic. It's what many are doing during perma-WFH, like the head office staffers at a leading luxury brand—who are housebound just like you—and a particularly well-dressed friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend on Instagram. Enjoy the luxury of loafing around in your finest.
This is why clothes are so important. We're all aware of 'self-expression', and how they 'tell the world who you really are'—or so said any fashion film ever made—but at root, they make you feel good. It's easy to forget that. When you spend time ironing shirts, and trousers, and going for a haircut, and buying cologne, and tying up a tie to only tie it up once more because it's not quite perfect, getting ready can be seen as a chore. But like so many things, you get out what you put in. Good clothes that make you feel good are a luxury. And of late, we've lost all our mirth.
Build your own Studio 54: an Amazon disco light, a Pritt stick, nice tailoring, and you’re flying.
Make like the friends who insist Friday is still for getting dressed up. Dust off the old favorites. Try out new things. Transform your back garden into a private bistro for two and kit up appropriately. Or, alternatively, build a time machine with housemates to send your lounge to Studio 54 (in retrospect, all those glittery fringed door hangings were rather homemade-looking anyway). Doing so will make you feel good. It will make these days and nights feel something like a weekend. It'll also make them feel special.
Know that these days will end, too. And when they do, there's a silky, mildly silly shirt ready and waiting in your wardrobe. Your friends will both laugh and commend. They'll smile, too, as will you. Because as you drunkenly dance around a table at a villa somewhere in the middle of Côte du Nôwhere in your finest, greatest gear, everything, finally, will be as it always was. The best part.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.