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Rediscovering Joy in Fashion (Zoom School Edition)

I used to be one of those people who lived for fashion. I actually loved mornings because I got to pick out an outfit and wear it to class. Every day was a new opportunity to wear something fun, and though it might sound a bit ridiculous, that optimism and joy for fashion extended to my life: a great outfit was a harbinger of a great day. 

When the pandemic struck, that changed. There was nowhere to go, so what was the point of putting together an outfit? Like everyone else, I fell into the routine of wearing loungewear 24/7. If I had a particularly important Zoom call, I would throw on a cute top as if I wasn’t wearing ancient Target sweatpants out of the frame. As soon as I clicked “leave call,” I would slap back on my oversized t-shirt and call it a day. A sad, dreary, unexciting day. 

I miss that silly rush of joy and excitement I felt at the opportunity to express my mood through fashion. I miss hunting through thrift stores to find that unique piece that only I would have. I even miss struggling to walk the half mile trek to class in my fabulous (yet painful) heeled boots.

Over the past few months, I’ve decided to make a change. Through trial and error, I’ve found ways to bring back my love for looking the way I want to— even if I’m only seen from the shoulders up on a video call. Here we go:

1. Take outfit of the day photos

Remember the sweet, sweet era of #ootd videos on YouTube? Bring it back— if only for yourself. While fashion may seem fleeting, capturing your favorite looks on camera can remind you of how awesome you are and provide inspiration for future ~lewk~ designing. Even if you don’t post the photos on Instagram, I’ve found that just having proof of an outfit makes the whole process of dressing up feel more worth it. 

2. Experiment with makeup 

Makeup isn’t everyone’s thing, and that’s totally okay! However, if you’re a person who enjoys wearing it, switching up your routine or learning a new technique is a creative way to bring back some variety into your life. Over the past few months, my favorite trend has been colorful winged eyeliner. If you’re going to be staring at yourself on Zoom for 8 hours a day, sparkly purple eyelids might bring a little bit of joy into a not-so-joyful experience. 

3. Treat your daily excursions as a runway show

Going to the post office? There’s an outfit for that! Heading to the dining hall? Pretend you’re going out to dinner in Paris. Taking a jog? Take the leisure out of athleisure. Even the shortest trips out and about can be a chance to change out of your comfy clothes and feel a little bit normal. Wow, remember what normal felt like? Me neither. But wearing jeans brings me pretty close. 

4. Treat yourself to some loungewear that makes you feel great about yourself 

Comfortable doesn’t have to equal “I hate the way I look in this.” Comfortable clothes should make you feel awesome both physically and mentally. If you’re not loving your current selection of loungewear, consider making an upgrade if you think it would help you feel better. 

5. Do a clothing swap with your friends

Chances are, both you and your friends are getting a little tired of a few pieces in your closets. Because a lot of people don’t feel comfortable heading to the store right now, a clothing swap with your circle is a way to refresh your wardrobe in a safe and environmentally/financially sustainable way. 

While fashion is, of course, not the most important thing at the moment, it makes me happy. And we deserve to be happy. 


Shannon Linder is a senior English major at Yale University from the Pacific Northwest. On campus, you’ll find her performing and choreographing for a campus dance group, singing karaoke with friends, or planning her next outdoor adventure.
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