We’re living in such weird times. As Chris Rock said during his opening monologue on SNL last weekend, “COVID has ruined our plans.” Since the pandemic, I have helped a mother-of-the-bride and a bride get ready for weddings that looked nothing like how they were intended to look, I got an invitation for a baby shower that will be held on Zoom instead of in-person and when I considered making plans to get away for the weekend with my husband to celebrate our 13th anniversary, it wasn’t long before I realized going anywhere was unrealistic.
We’re living in this world that makes the need to get dressed beyond the bare essentials completely unnecessary. Dressing up in any meaningful way is more a matter of wanting to instead of needing to. We’ve been on this comfort train for months and while few are complaining about endless elastic waists, dressing this way can start to feel monotonous after a while, just as eating the same thing for too long can evoke the same feelings. It’s no longer novel to just coast. It’s actually sort of depressing.
HOW TO ADD POPS TO YOUR BASIC COVID LOOKS
So now what? We’re stuck in this casual limbo with no end in sight. Wearing masks is here for the long haul, big plans are canceled, and we’ve got nowhere to go. We have to figure out how to find excitement about what we wear in this new world so we don’t drive ourselves mad with boredom. Below I have put together five COVID looks that capture the wardrobe needs of today while still making them look interesting.
Outfit #1- Face Masks
Nobody knows for sure when we’ll stop regularly wearing masks. Even after the pandemic subsides, many believe that mask-wearing will become commonplace during times a person is contagious with any illness. This has been a commonplace and smart practice in Asia for years.
While they can be uncomfortable to wear, masks offer a great accessorizing opportunity in a time when we’re not accessorizing as we used to, not to mention that masks save lives. Having a few styles and using them as a pop in your looks is a great way to make your basic casual COVID looks appear more interesting.
I styled this blush pink cable knit sweater from Mango and jeans from J. Crew with a pair of comfortable burgundy flats from Lucky Brand and an antibacterial mask from Brixton in a beautiful teal and blush print.
Outfit #2- Fun Casual Shoes
In these times, nobody is adding anything to a look that is extraneous or unnecessary, which is a lot of the reason we’re so bored with our looks. Therefore, if you’re going to add pops to your looks, think in terms of adding pops to your COVID looks in things you have to wear, like shoes. In this outfit, this pair of casual printed slip-on Vans give the outfit a pop and adds nothing extraneous to the look. In an outfit like this, you are still dressed for the world we are living in but now it’s more exciting, and with just a small tweak. I styled these sneakers with a pair of stretch-cotton joggers from Wit & Wisdom and a basic white long sleeve t-shirt from Splendid.
Outfit #3- Earrings
With my last tip to be not to add pops trough things that are extraneous, it may seem like I am contradicting myself by giving the tip of wearing earrings. Yes, earrings do fall into the extraneous category but they are also forgettable. You put them on and you can forget about them vs. a fussy necklace or scarf you don’t need. Plus, they’re perfect for Zoom meetings and being on camera. Given the state of the world, many women have told me that they have gotten bolder and bigger with their earrings.
Outfit #4- Interesting color combinations
Earlier this year, I wrote a post all about creating effortless yet interesting looks and shared photos of a client and myself wearing pieces that were incredibly basic and how it was the color combinations of that made the outfits interesting. This can be such a key game-changer, especially during these times when we are living such basic and casual lives.
The outfit above is a perfect example of this strategy. It’s not the pieces that are exciting, it’s the colors I styled together that make them such. You don’t need to look like a clown to pull this off, even the pop of a fun colored shoe or a bold color under a basic black cardigan can achieve this. You can examples of this in the link I shared. Above, I have styled a yellow t-shirt from Eileen Fisher with a teal cardigan from Leith, a pair of relaxed jeans from Everlane and rusty orange loafer flats from Yosi Samra.
Outfit #5- Novelty Basics
Novelty basic is a term I coined years ago when I identified wardrobe pieces that look like a novelty item but can function in a wardrobe like a basic. As I say in that blog post, novelty basics are pieces that look like novelty items but function as basics in the wardrobe, like hybrid pieces (like if a basic married a novelty and they produced a child) that have both the function of a basic but the interest of a novelty. These are great pieces to own because you get the best of both worlds, you look updated and trendy while getting a lot of mileage, value, and use from them. Novelty basics are perfect for creating interesting casual COVID looks.
The sweater above from Cos is an example of a novelty basic as it can function like a basic because it can be worn with lots of different things while still adding interest to a basic look. I styled it with a pair of grey elastic waist pants and basic easy sneakers from Everlane.
Additional Ideas for Adding Pops to Your COVID Looks
- Fun socks. I did a whole post about this.
- Casual hairstyles that are easy to pull off and make your unwashed hair look good. I’ve become a big fan of the bun for looking sleek when I’m actually not
- Keep those brows in line. Nobody is wearing lipstick, making brows and eyelashes key focal points of the face
How have you been keeping your looks interesting and realistic during these strange times? I’d love to hear!