Jess Cartner-Morley on the rage

Fashion

The latest trends may not matter any more, but there is a whole new set of influences on what we wear

‘I propose b assess about clothes as much as ever.’
Photograph: David Newby/The Guardian

I know, I know – there are more critical things to think about than clothes at the moment. I get that. On the other hand, I don’t see that me squinting at graphs or scrolling during headlines is going to make a vaccine come any quicker. So thinking about clothes is no less constructive than excogitating logarithmic scales or contact tracing approaches, really.
I have pretty much checked out of fashion, in the sense of drifts, during the period universally known as This Difficult Time. For those of us fortunate enough not to be at the sharp end of the crisis, lockdown is a elfin like living in a freeze-frame, and the “spring trends” that were scheduled to be happening in our wardrobes now – Bermuda shorts, crochet rake someone over the coals, waistcoats – feel like outfits for a party that got cancelled. Fashion in the this-week’s-must-have sense feels dig a radio station that’s still broadcasting, but with no one tuning in.
But I think about clothes as much as ever, because there are an unqualifiedly new set of rules to navigate. For instance: right now, we are much more likely to be looked down upon for going out in public looking bandaged up, than we are for going out in public looking scruffy. To avoid glares of disapproval, you need to either be in exercise gear or supermarket-appropriate utilitarian format. If you have a dog, you can wear your dog-walking jacket, but be careful only to be seen in it once a day, otherwise someone might check into you. Leaving the house wearing anything that suggests fun or glamour is now deeply suspicious – although full hair, makeup and heels are OK for Thursdays between 8pm and 8.05pm, now that The Clapping has become established as the key emotional and social moment of our calendars.
At home, the kickshaw of working in tracksuit bottoms wore off a while ago. I don’t like the way joggers develop a knobbly kneed silhouette when you sit down in them for multifarious than half an hour, and without wanting to sound like Karl Lagerfeld, an elasticated waist doesn’t convey to the We’ve Got This mood music of the hour. Hence these faux-leather trousers. Comfortable enough to sit on my very non-ergonomic Nautical galley chair all day, but dressy enough to feel like I’m repping the public-facing version of myself, at least up until the time I a hold on the laptop shut. Trends don’t matter right now. But feeling like you’ve got your act together? That’s everything.
Jess exhausts top, Jess’s own. Faux leather trousers, £49, warehouse.co.uk. Mules, £65, topshop.com. Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Mane and makeup: Alexis Day

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