Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Back to real clothes

Friday, August 28, 2020
Graphic by Nicolette Baker

I love getting ready in the morning.

It’s the routine of things: queuing up a killer playlist, deciding on the day’s makeup look and of course, finding something to wear.

The global pandemic, well, changed things a bit.

Quarantining at home is essential to slowing the spread of COVID-19 — and saving lives — but has altered a few ways of life, including fashion.

Last week, I emerged from a months-long loungewear marathon to find myself standing in front of my closet, grasping for any creative outfit to start the day. My closet hasn’t seen anything outside of a rotation of outfits for grocery store trips and professional ensembles for working from home.

For me, fashion has operated in the abstract the past couple months — think outfits I’d imagined when I clicked “add to cart” but have barely seen the light of day since the online shopping packages hit my doorstep. My style has existed in the digital walls of wishful thinking on Pinterest boards and Instagram scrolling.

Back to campus means back to a daily routine and the opportunity to debut fun, new outfits for class and other essential, socially-distanced events. If you’re puzzled on how to start the school year fashion-forward after months of staying at home, I’ve dropped a few tips below:

>>> One of my favorite ways to curate my own style — or try on a new one — is by creating vision boards. Dust off that old Pinterest account and type in a few search terms that describe your goals for this year. The images on your board don’t have to be clothing-related — quotes, photographs or anything that inspires you can help better ground the aesthetic of your fashion vision for the year.

>>> To stay budget-conscious, try looking for trendy accessories (i.e., cute pearl hair barrettes or neon eyeliner) rather than investing in clothing items that might be out of style in a few months.

>>> Shop online! There’s a million times better diversity in products, sizings, representation and brands on the world wide web, plus you’ll be protecting yourself and others by skipping an unnecessary trip to the store. Careful, though: sizing — especially in jeans — varies greatly from store to store. Knowing your waist and hip measurements rather than numbered sizing can make a world of difference when you can’t try before you buy.

>>> The past couple months, social media has exploded with new, experimental ways to dress — DIY tie dye sets, prairie-themed dresses and many, many colorful ensembles. That should translate to IRL, too! This fall, step out of your comfort zone with something you wouldn’t have worn pre-pandemic. If you’re a bit shy, try starting small — a basic jeans-and-white-tee combo pairs well with some wild makeup.

>>> Speaking of the pandemic: You’ll def be wearing masks this fall (or you should be!) I recommend a classic, solid black mask to match any look, but if your outfit is more basic, let a patterned one shine! If you wear makeup, you already know your foundation is going to transfer — to stop this, spray the inside of your mask with a mattifying setting spray. I recommend e.l.f.’s clay Matte Blotting Mist, but you can use whichever is your favorite. Also, don’t forget to choose a foundation with SPF or apply sunscreen daily — you don’t want mask tan lines!

Did I forget anything? Feel free to reach out at @nbakerARROW on Twitter!