Have you been struggling with your shelter in place wardrobe? Something about that sentence sounds like the opening line of a TV ad spoken by a fast-talking fella hawking a must-have product, and there’s an 800 number flashing at the bottom of the screen.
A couple of weeks ago, I wouldn’t have conceived of starting a blog post with that sentence. A shelter in place wardrobe would have been the silliest thing, something we don’t need like that product on the screen with the 800 number.
But the inconceivable is here.
You may have experienced a shelter in place wardrobe without realizing it.
A shelter in place wardrobe is the items you choose to adorn yourself in while not leaving the house. Let’s also throw in the grooming habits (or lack thereof) while staying home. It’s how we’re put together when no one outside of our family is looking.
I wouldn’t have called it this, but my shelter in place wardrobe could happen naturally one to three times a month. I love a weekend day where I’m puttering around the house. I’m creating tabletop arrangements or sorting through papers in the office. I’m doing laundry, watching an old movie on TCM, the Turner Classic Movie channel, and maybe taking a nap. At some point, I’m covering my cowlicks with a baseball cap and taking a walk in the neighborhood. I add sunglasses and lipstick, but don’t wear any other makeup.
We stay in for dinner and watch something together on TV.
I love a day like that. Would I enjoy days and days of that, weeks and weeks of it? No, never. That would be a horror movie in my book.
But here we are, doing our part. We’re not going out, we’re staying in while managing the emotions of living in the unknown.
Here’s how one person is dressing and grooming herself in this pandemic.
I got a text from a friend. She said, “I have been channeling my mother and been inspired by you during these challenging times. I’ve been wearing a favorite pair of pants with a sweater I like because of the color or texture or look–not fancy, just a feel-good piece. I add a little makeup and earrings even though I’m not going anywhere.”
Another text came from a friend who said, “I never thought about it before, but I realize how interactive clothing is with the rest of the world.” With her world confined to her home, she’s wondering how to not fall into a “why bother?” rut.
Does it matter what you wear when no one sees you?
You may think no one sees you, but someone does. Every day. It’s you. You see you every time you pass a mirror in your house: your bathroom mirror, the mirror in your bedroom, a decorative mirror in your living room. You may not be looking at yourself directly, but you see yourself out of the corner of your eye.
Your response to that brief moment will give you feedback about how to dress during this period of staying put.
Here’s my question to you, be honest: In that brief moment, seeing your reflection, do you feel uplifted by your image? Are your spirits raised? Or do your spirits fade or sink?
How I looked in my house
In the first few days of shelter in place, I was in shock. I did get dressed when I went to the grocery store and told you how that went. (Well.)
With nowhere to go for the rest of the week, I delayed getting dressed in the morning. That probably changed after day three or four. To feel a sense of control in my life, I started getting dressed the minute I got out of bed.
Before this, I’d get up, make coffee, do my writing, make breakfast, take a shower, and then get dressed and go to work.
Getting dressed in real clothes that I quite like has a stabilizing effect.
Watching my grooming habits slip
Two things can get out of control if I’m not paying attention: my hair and my nails. I have cowlicks galore, and they need taming every day before I leave the house.
For a few days, I let the cowlicks get the best of me. But then there was that moment when I caught my reflection and said, Come on, Brenda. Pull yourself together. This won’t do.
Same with the nails. I realized I could go with chipped nail polish a lot longer when no one was seeing me than when they were. But is that good for me?
Making adjustments and feeling better.
The same day I battled the cowlicks and won was the same day I gave myself a manicure. I went even further and wore a necklace. A beautiful necklace all day long. I felt like a new person.
It’s amazing how taking control of the things I can–even in the smallest ways–can help me face the things I can’t.
What’s on your essential list?
We’re only going out for essentials, right? I think we need to create an essentials list of what we’re doing while staying in.
What’s essential for you to feel good or pleasantly surprised when you catch your reflection in the mirror. Is it wearing makeup? A pretty accessory? A color you love? What would be on that list for you?
Wear what you love.
Maybe more than any other time, it’s important to wear what you love. It’s good medicine to be buoyed by your reflection in the mirror rather than dulled by it.
I’m planning to wear the good stuff. Why not? Some things on my list are:
My vintage Chanel sweater
My lace pants
A patterned silk blouse
Pretty necklaces, including this pearl necklace by Angela Clark
My formula for feeling better
I want to feel good. Looking at least a bit north of half-way decent needs to be my bottom line. If I slip south of half-way decent for more than a day or two, I’ll feel defeated. And damn it, I don’t want to feel defeated.
What are you doing about your wardrobe and grooming during this shelter in place period? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Can you dress to feel better? What does that look like? Are you getting by with the minimum and doing okay? Does what you wear and how you look affect your mood? What’s going on where you live?
Sending hugs and air kisses your way!