Fashion

Lockdown Has Taught Me Some Truths About How Men Get Dressed

What self-isolation has told us about our wardrobes
IMAGE THE BIG LEBOWSKI
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Slides are actually good

Traditionally, I’ve poo-pooed slippers, or any shoe designed for domestic use. It always seemed a bit pedestrian. To me, buying shoes for the house was admitting that you would be home a lot, and no one wants to admit that. (Even if staying home is great. Just do it in socks.)

But oh mama, how wrong I was. I’ve been loafing about in my Birkenstock Arizonas (EVA plastic, for added give), and don’t it feel great. I thought slides and socks was the reserve of footballers and Scandinavian graphic designers, but it is, hands down, the comfiest foot combo ever conceived. I wouldn’t wear it to work, but I know people who do (a Scandinavian graphic designer), and for them, I have newfound respect.

Birkenstock Arizona EVA Slides, birkenstock.com

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The Suit makes sense. Kind of

It is true that a well-tailored suit won’t snag or pinch or generally restrict in any way. But those dudes that bang on about good tailoring being as comfortable as sweats are having a laugh. When you come home from work you don’t slip into a three-piece chalk stripe, do you?

However, I miss getting dressed up. I’m not at my house, so I don’t have access to my full clobber arsenal – or anything with any kind of structure, really – and all the denim and jersey is wafting me toward a deep, indulgent malaise. Normally, I lament the days when I have to wear a tie, but I long for all the casualness to be punctuated by some formality. The same goes for watches – I put one on in the morning, but god knows why because I never look at it and time no longer has a meaning. I wish I had somewhere to be; I wish I was running late.

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Prada Slim-Fit Micro-Checked Virgin Wool Blazer, mrporter.com

Your face is a canvas

On Zoom, I saw that this website's deputy editor Nick Pope, had used part of his lockdown time to grow a magnificent mustache, and I decided to copy him. Nick is very handsome and so his mustache lends him a debonair, screen-idol energy, whereas my bushy attempt only serves to illustrate the lack of conviction with which my facial hair grows.

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Still, it’s fun, and not permanent, and that’s a good lesson to learn. When it comes to self-care, the lockdown can work as a testbed for potentially ill-advised goatees, sideburns, and brow reconfigurations. You can dabble in make-up, too (the men’s side of the business is booming!) and no one will judge you. They shouldn’t judge you anyway, but you know what people are like. Remember people? They’re the worst.

Acqua di Parma Barbiere shaving oil 30ml, selfridges.com

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Saving stuff for best is meaningless

This is odd, but I have a pair of Uniqlo socks that I love so much that I ration their wearing. That is to say, normally, I’ll only put them on if I’m going to take full advantage of their power and pair them with a lewk of complete clarity and clout.

But in lockdown, the idea of clothes being saved for best is weird. And actually, I have found profound liberation in the wearing of said holy socks with the aforementioned Birkenstocks and jeans. Really knocking them down a peg or two. In a way, it’s a form of exposure therapy (bear with me). Many people, me included, attach special worth to certain garments, such as a pair of shoes or a blazer, and don’t wear them as much as they could because they’re on a pedestal, and that seems silly. Don’t trash expensive stuff (or £3 socks) by wearing them too much, but don’t deny yourself (and your adoring public) the pleasure of wearing them.

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Have I gone pretentiously mad in isolation? Yes, clearly.

Prada Camp-Collar Printed Cotton Shirt, mrporter.com

Life actually is a catwalk

Imagine when this all blows over and someone other than your cat or your parents will see how totally bodacious you are. On that first day, you can step out of the house, fully suited and appropriately booted and waggle your fine-self down to the bus stop and people will be like, “ermagerrd look at that guy”.

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As it transpires, like an Avengers movie or a Kardashian, clothes lose their meaning when they don’t have an audience. The @WFHFits Instagram account is demonstrating that people are still getting dressed up at home—and rightly so, issa laff—but the fact that the account came to prominence kind of shows that people need people to see their clothes, even when they can’t leave the house.

Like when you have a cold and you lament all the time you spent not appreciating the luxury of clear nostrils, we’re suddenly rueing all the missed opportunities to glow-up. But now you know, and the time to preen and posture is just around the corner. Maybe. So, when the lockdown does eventually lift, carpe the diem, bebe!

Versace I Love Baroque logo-jacquard cotton bathrobe, Matchesfashion.com

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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Charlie Teasdale
Esquire Deputy Style Editor
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