Despite the restless millennials on TikTok defending their side parts and skinny jeans against perceived slurs, skinny jeans remain a best-selling style. The concept that anyone should wear something other than what they are comfortable with represents the last breath of an old system that is losing its relevance.
We’ve come to a place where a new season doesn’t herald a new silhouette that comes with it. Instead, the dominant way of consuming fashion is now through niche aesthetics like cottagecore, none superior to any other. Among the possible postpandemic identities one can assume are the early 2000s nostalgic in ironic Juicy Couture sweatshirts, the slow granola fashion influencer wearing nubby cardigans and clogs, the streetwear hypebae and the Fashion Nova fan worshiping at the altar of all things Kardashian.
“Historically, in these times of disruption, there is a lot of confusion in the fashion world,” said Justine De Young, professor of art and fashion history at the Fashion Institute of Technology. “We’ve all been through this, and no one knows exactly what people want, not just from the consumer but also from the designer.”
Dr De Young said that at times like this, brands try out several different styles to see what consumers react to. The fast fashion emporium and Gen Z favorite Shein, for example, sells everything from crochet crop tops to grungy oversized flannels.
Now is the time to explore different styles and experiment with items that you may have always wanted to try but never had the courage to do. Determine which items in your pre-pandemic wardrobe still resonate with the person you have become; otherwise, start from scratch. Take this moment to figure out exactly what you like to wear, because no one else will make that decision for you.
“After the calamity there is often a turn to a celebration of exuberance,” said Dr. De Young. “Deprivation and loss make you want to celebrate life. “
After the Black Death in the 14th century, which wiped out 60% of Europe’s population, she said, clothes became much more crisp and tight. Likewise, in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War, emerging fashions were called the padded look, due to a preponderance of ribbons and other picky details. “My students call it the YOLO moment,” said Dr. De Young.