What to Wear to a Pandemic

Despite the devastation of the pandemic, we are all, always, looking for the silver linings.   Yes, there is illness and death and mind-boggling economic dislocation – but look how many people have discovered the joys of baking with sourdough!! 

Here is another silver lining:  after 55 years of hopeless frumpiness, I am finally having my fashion moment. 

I just read an article in the New York Times Magazine entitled Sweatpants Forever, about how the fashion industry is collapsing and everyone, with nowhere to go and therefore no reason to dress up, is buying sweatpants and little else.   It’s all about comfort and expanding waistlines.   Even the high-end, high-concept designers are adding “softer fabrics and relaxed silhouettes” in their fall collections. 

Let me just say:  I have ALWAYS been all about “softer fabrics and relaxed silhouettes.”  I do not need to buy sweatpants for the pandemic, because I have always bought all of my clothing 1-2 sizes too large, as a matter of course.   I am no longer a frumpy middle-aged woman!   I am, rather, a visionary who embraced the 2020 aesthetic decades ahead of my time. 

I strut down the sidewalk, proudly displaying my cutting-edge, ill-fitting clothes.   Of course, in my mask, I am also traveling incognito, as are we all.   How sad not to be recognized for the fashion genius I have finally become.

In the summer I am usually self-conscious about my toenails, because I like to wear polish when wearing sandals but I am not very good at applying it.   Two years ago, when I had shoulder surgery and got stuck in a large sling that limited hand-to-toenail access, I discovered that I could pay someone else to polish my toenails, and that person would do a way better job than I ever could.   A revelation!    For the ensuing year I became an avid pedicure consumer.   Still, the polish chipped, and my nails grew out.  I was forever sneaking sidelong glances at other people’s feet in a sad effort to reassure myself that my toenails were up to some general standard. 

I have not had a pedicure in a year, and I’m guessing it will be another year before I venture into a nail salon, if there are any left by then.   Moreoever, I have worn the same pair of sandals every single day for the last two months:  the treads are long since worn out, and the stitching has started to unravel in a few places.   But this year, I can say with confidence, that my feet are not a fashion liability.HOT FASHION TIP:   Nobody gives a shit about your feet this year.  They are too busy checking to make sure your mask is pulled up over your nose, and praying that you don’t sneeze on them.

I have a weakness for sweaters, and I have a lovely stack in different colors that are just right for this time of year.    At the moment I often wear this one: 

But sometimes, when I’m in just the right mood, I wear this one: 

It’s not so much that this gray cotton sack goes with everything; it’s more that it doesn’t quite clash with anything.    

The $20 cotton sweater from Uniqlo’s 2017 collection:  THE fashion must-have of 2020!   I should know.

A few weeks ago my older daughter and I were texting about our pandemic coping strategies.   Knitting and dark chocolate peanut butter cups were high on both of our lists.

I recently found a clever way to combine these two passions by inadvertently grinding a small chunk of dark chocolate peanut butter cup into my latest knitting project, which happens to be white: 

Visionary that I am, I predict that the next, greatest fashion trend will combine soft fabrics, relaxed silhouettes, and stains from comfort foods. 

You heard it here first.