“Every action must be due to one or other of seven causes: chance, nature, compulsion, habit, reasoning, anger, or appetite” – Aristotle
The weather is warming and we can finally taste freedom on the tip of our tongue. As darkness and suppression is waning, a new life awaits us. Reminiscent of the initial chords of the Summer movement of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, the suspenseful sounds of life blooming into the unknown are playing in the distance as we are re-opening our doors in anticipation and dusting off our summertime apparel. Finally, we can head out into the sunshine after months confined by drab weather and stay-at-home orders. The fashionistas among us, who study the art of dressing as a science, are starting to question: how will you now dress? To this point in time, with no-where particularly special to go and facing ongoing repression by lockdowns and icy temperatures, most of us have been distinctly underdressed. Our overly-relaxed tracksuits, desperately comfortable leggings and tiresome kicks were the protagonists in our fashion forecast for 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. But with this new world on the horizon, both mysterious and frightening, we are feeling motivated and electrified as it invitingly offers an exoneration from the last fifteen months of extreme subjugation. All the world’s a stage, as Shakespeare once said, but the pressing question is: which character will you play going in to the next chapter? Will you ironically stay in the shackles of comfort-dress, or will you reinvent yourself and step into radical extremism? Alternatively, you may be among those unable to fully venture from one side to the other and teeter somewhere in between until more certain.
“To find yourself, think for yourself” – Socrates
In the midst of this era of great change, my sole advice from a fashion stance is simply this: wear whatever your heart desires. There is only one you in the most singular of formats, with one unique fingerprint, and you carry your own personal sense of style. Pay heed to your inner sanctum: the deep part within you where you sit alone with your most profound thoughts and feelings. In that realm, there are no rules: one faction is not better than the other. Your best choice is the one that suits you. Bring those insights into your outside world and you will truly express your best self from the inside out. Today you may feel like siding with what will soon become the good ole’ days of dressing down, donning your ragged sweatpants, and that’s perfectly acceptable. Tomorrow you may vouch for the golden hour of dressing up in heels and your favourite unconventional bag. And who will say you’re wrong or right? While it’s advisably posh to be in the know of what’s current in fashion, it is equally important to adopt your own subjective style in the midst of chaos and an over-load of data in this mad information-driven epoch. This is the essence of true style: knowing the principles and applying them in a way that makes sense for you in the context of your day, mood, means, and environment.
“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
Throughout time, every momentous historical event has ignited new fashion benchmarks: a neoteric way of dressing that is construed by the very foundations of evolution. As we recall, in the movie “The Devil Wears Prada”, Miranda Priestly in her cerulean monologue most passionately describes how Andrea Sachs’ “lumpy blue sweater” was a result of curation. In the fashion world, curation is a creative choice that results from culture and environment. Every decade throughout history is defined by a distinct article of fashion. In the 1940s, for example, with the onset of WWII and women taking over previously male-dominated industrial jobs, we saw the rise of the iconic boiler suit, which would change the development of womenswear over the next several decades. Every article of clothing has a story, and nothing in the world of fashion is by coincidence.
“If your choices are beautiful, so too will you be”. – Epictetus
As history repeats itself, so too will the fashion choices we make in 2021 be inevitably shaped by our ominous pandemic experience.
How will you be dressing this year? Never in the history of our time prior to 03/2020, have we lent this much thought to the clothes we wear. In the early stages of the onset of Covid-19, plenty of us spent our time at home sorting through the wardrobe we accumulated over the years, wondering if we really needed thirteen pairs of blue jeans.
As we explore trends in fashion for 2021, simultaneously deciding whether we will cling to the comfort of our athleisure and casual wear, or alternatively enter the impending new normal with a sense of rebellious eccentricity and overly-dramatic dress, issues we cannot run away from are the growing importance of sustainable fashion and shopping locally. More than ever, we are questioning our choices and educating ourselves on how they are affecting our planet and the fabric of our communities.
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