This year’s National Magazine Awards in June was one of the many Virtual Girls of 2021. But with enrollment in my pocket and a sense of sudden optimism in the air as vaccination rates plummeted, I decided it was time to return to old Odessa. After 16 months of holiday clothing haze and a lockdown-induced depression, I will emerge full of excitement and joy, in all my outwardly graceful glory.
It didn’t take long to decide what I would wear that evening. Hidden in my closet, I had an outrageously beautiful and already worn top by London designer Richard Quinn. I bought it prependemic to wear at Smash, a fundraiser for Toronto’s Gardiner Museum of Ceramics, which I co-chaired in 2020. Its swaths of polka dot fabric drape down its sleeve like the wings of a glamorous bat.
Of course, the Gardiner program went digital last August and included an audience participation activity that included working with fresh clay. getting my hands dirty felt so weird a fashion Clothing and so it sat on a hanger out of sight, but never forgotten.
As the fall and the pandemic worsened, I retreated further into existential despair. Increased helplessness, anger, and disconnection largely overwhelm the usually self-assured and outgoing person I’ve always been. I exchanged wildly patterned, rainbow-hued ensembles for the most exciting sweatsuits. They were a metaphor for the comfort I was seeking during such dark times, while still trying to maintain a little joy of living My specific sartorial expression will be complete.
That all changed on magazine awards evening. As my husband zipped up Quinn’s silk blouse at my bewildered request (a tender pre-outing ritual I didn’t realize I had missed), a sense of relief washed over me, and not just because it Fits after months of gastronomic and intoxicating self-soothing. It felt great to be doing something fussy. I may have just worn it to our dining room, but I still felt powerful and like I didn’t feel like I didn’t after several months.
New York Times street style photographer Bill Cunningham once said that “fashion is an escape from the reality of everyday life.” If this is true, then out-and-out attire should be considered the secret to victory. It signifies that you have defeated all the doom and gloom that surrounds you in order to gather the spirit needed to enjoy in conversation with others.
I yearn for a complete return to the days when I could enter a room wearing a stunning floor-length vintage frock or my bespoke suit outfitted with luxurious brocades from France. These pieces not only make me feel empowered, they also attract the attention of others to be noticed. They get the conversation flowing in a way that loungewear can never be. There’s a unique take on the mutual love of 1960s fit-and-flare dresses, a unique delight from making a new friend or just hearing someone say, “You look great.”
Appreciation is a gesture that we have taken lightly for too long. Especially when you consider how receiving can release dopamine, the neurotransmitter dubbed the “feel good” hormone. As with other customs that surround dressing – steaming some thoughtfully; brushing your hair delicately; Flexing your creative muscles by testing out the right jewellery, handbags and shoes – it all results in a form of self-care that we often overlook.
That’s because we’ve been told that thinking too much about how we dress is a measure of a self-absorbed, empty character. But now more than ever, that script must be flipped so that we can find joy everywhere. The good news is, you don’t need a gala—virtual or a good, real party—to gossip. Any outing can be a special occasion if you dress like this.
Sign up Head to The Granthshala’s arts and lifestyle newsletters for more news, columns and advice in your inbox.