What Clothes Will I Need After the Pandemic?

As I contemplate the end of the current COVID shutdown in Ontario, I wonder what clothes I will need after the pandemic when everything opens up. Some businesses have re-opened already, although with strict capacity limits; groups of up to 10 people can gather outdoors;  restaurants and bars can offer outdoor services with tables limited to 4 people.

Everyone expects Phase 2 of re-opening in the next week or two as numbers are down. Over 70% of the population has had one dose of vaccine and over 20% are fully vaccinated. Phase 2 will allow hair salons to open (hurrah! for hair cuts) and gyms to welcome members so long as capacity limits are followed.

I’m beginning to feel more joy and optimism especially as my husband and I had our second vaccine dose of Pfizer vaccine. I’m ready to express my happy feelings with colourful summer clothes!

But, what shall I wear?  Do I need a wardrobe refresh?

Since March 2020, I have worn the clothes already in my closet.  Except for grocery runs and a few curbside pick-up trips, I’ve stayed at home.  None of these activities required more than jeans, yoga pants, tee-shirts and comfortable sweaters. Last summer, my husband and I lived at the cottage where I wore my cottage clothes — bathing suits, coverups,  shorts, and loose sundresses.

Fewer restrictions in Ontario mean there will be freedom to re-connect with others.  Dare I hope for some type of social life that might include lunch dates, book club meetings, dates for coffee, or outings for drinks on a patio?  If all goes well, my husband and I might attend a summer theatre performance at Stratford where the famous festival theatre is opening two large tents for outdoor performances!

I am optimistic that I will have a new lifestyle in After Covid (AC) times. I’m ready to dress up for social events. After spending so much time quarantined at home, I’m ready for a new look. Just like getting new clothes when starting a new job, I’m thinking it’s time for new clothes for new possibilities!

What Clothes will I Wear After the Pandemic? — photo courtesy of Becca McHaffie on Unsplash

Clothes for Re-connecting

What should I wear to reunions with friends who I’ve seen only as a small zoom square?

How do I dress for a life that is different? My routines have changed and it’s time to consider my wardrobe. What will I wear to face the outside world?

Before the pandemic, I dressed up in decent pants, tops or dresses when I met friends for bridge games, lunches, or other activities.  I tried to look my best at weekly family dinners.  Theatre nights usually meant dinner with a group of friends before the theatre; therefore, I gave thought and attention to choosing an outfit.

The problem with what to wear for re-connecting may not be the clothes so much as not being used to wearing clothes suitable for a social occasion.  I’m accustomed to dressing for a Zoon call from my desk or from the couch.

Online Fashion

Since malls with their selection of clothing stores are not yet open, going shopping for new clothes means limiting oneself to stores that have a direct entry from a sidewalk.  Except for a few large department stores, I’m left with online fashion selections.

Scrolling through retail sites is interesting although it precipitates a surge of advertisements regardless of what I’m doing on my computer.  Why did I look at those shoes or that bathing suit?  Why does the picture of that skirt keep interrupting any search?

The internet allows me to check out fashion ideas but how do I try on clothes to determine what suits my body and lifestyle? I’m ready for dressier garments but don’t want to give up on comfort nor style.

Before the pandemic, I frequently saw women wearing leggings, yoga pants, and sweats as streetwear.  I always considered these outfits suitable for the gym.  During the pandemic, such clothing was re-labelled ‘athleisure wear’.  Upscale tracksuits,  styled hoodies, and pretty leggings trended on every online clothing site,  Through the past year, many women lived in such clothes as well as loungewear when working at home. I resisted the trend.

Fashion sites online offer many beautiful options.  Unfortunately, most clothes make me think of my daughter-in-law as they are suitable for younger women who are tall and thin.

Masks made to match the garment are featured with many of the outfits.  Masks have definitely become the ultimate fashion accessory as one can’t leave home without a mask. Will I need a wardrobe of fashionable masks?

Shoes are another conundrum. Stillettos and strappy high-heeled sandals are beautiful fashion items but definitely a non-starter for me.  I don’t need to teeter around — give me solid footing, please!

woman wearing stiletto shoes
What clothes will I wear after the pandemic? — photo courtesy of Amanda Vick on Unsplash

After Kamala Harris was photographed in high-top sneakers, I notice many sites offering similar styles.  I love my sneakers but I don’t see myself in high-tops! Is the new trend to wear sneakers with every outfit and for every occasion?

What about buying local?  Should I focus on clothes that are made in Canada to support jobs here? Is it time for evaluating how clothes are made and how workers are treated in clothing factories offshore?

Where do I find clothes that are appropriate for a mature woman without looking dowdy? I want clothes that fit with my self-image and complement how I present myself.

Shopping in my Closet

After spending too many hours online and not finding clothes that tempted me to ‘add to my cart’ and pull out my credit card,  I decided to take a fresh look at the clothes I own.  On a cool and rainy afternoon last week, I tried on pants, skirts, jeans, blazers, blouses, dresses and tee-shirts.  I checked accessories including fun costume jewellery, scarves, handbags, and shoes. It was more fun than the online quest.

Many years ago, I learned how to shop for clothes in classic styles rather than following fashion trends. These clothes have stood the test of time. Thankfully, most of the clothes fit as I have maintained a stable weight over the years — give or take 2 or 3 pounds!

As I looked through my closets, I realized again that I own more clothes than I wear regularly. One blogger suggests organizing clothes by type and by colour. When I did this, I saw that I have more clothes than I need in almost every colour.

That afternoon I decided that After COVID (AC) I would present my best self using classic clothes that I owned.  I’ll wear things that are comfortable yet make me feel good. Once in-person shopping is safe, I may do some shopping — but, more as a diversion than a necessity!

Life is short — I’ll wear what I want to wear — what makes me feel good — what complements my mood. I’ll focus on savouring re-connections with friends and enjoying activities without worry about the clothes I’m wearing!

4 Replies to “What Clothes Will I Need After the Pandemic?”

  1. I don’t know whether it’s a product of a pandemic but everything I’ve browsed for from curtains to a summer dress are all plain, dull, grunge-like colours when I’m looking for bright patterns. Unless or until the fashion changes, I’m just making do as a result.

    1. Making do is also what I’m doing. Thank goodness for a large stash of clothing that looks and feels right. Summer is the time when we need bright colours especially when the sun helps us look healthy! I’m sure that when the weather turns cooler, I’ll be happy to wear all the sweaters that stayed in drawers during the pandemic.
      Be well,

  2. Your conundrum is interesting Jeanette. A few months ago the same questions occurred to me as I packed for a new life on Salt Spring Island BC, where most people seem to be ultra casual. Not my style at all. However, I pared down my wardrobe and realized all my conservative clothes would be new on the island, so would purchase only a few homespun tops at the markets on the island, where most people are do-it-yourselfers. Also have a large store of fabrics purchased over the years from which to make some loose fitting garments suitable for a warmer climate. We’re all looking forward to the end of restrictions and being able to meet the neighbours and make new friends. Enjoy your summer in your classic, yet beautiful styles.

    1. Moving to Salt Spring Island is a big change for you. Starting a new phase of life in a new environment will bring opportunities to wear the beautiful clothes you have. I’m sure that your wardrobe choices will continue to reflect the sense of style you have always demonstrated. Casual won’t mean sloppy when worn by the Joy I know!
      Be well,

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