The pandemic has changed the clothes we buy


It was Memorial Day weekend, and Krysti Carlson-Goering needed new clothes. She works in IT at Wichita State University in Kansas, and the office was about to reopen. So she went to the store, grabbed some pants and walked over to the dressing room.

“I purposely chose a size above that I normally thought I would wear, and even it was too tight,” she said. “And it was a little depressing at first.”

Like many people, Carlson-Goering gained weight during the pandemic – and being in that locker room sparked feelings.

“It’s just, regardless of the peer pressure, that you have to be a certain height, you know, to be really accepted,” she said.

Then she went to another store, where a saleswoman just brought her things to her and insisted on saying: Don’t look at the label.

“It was like, ‘Well, try them on. Yeah, they might be that size, but we were told they were a little loose, you know, or they were a little tight,” Carlson-Goering said.

“And so I tried a huge range of sizes, and I didn’t feel bad,” she said. “And I think that’s because this associate at that store made me feel like no matter the size, that’s what looked good. And what felt good.

It turns out that what felt good was different from before. First of all, it was comfortable. She had grown used to wearing leggings and loose shirts while working from home.

“I just felt better and I was just more relaxed. I didn’t feel that stressed, ”she said. “I guess you don’t realize how tight wearing clothes is like how uncomfortable it really is.”

Clothing sales increased recently. But that’s not all. The type of clothing that many people want to buy and wear has changed due to the pandemic.

At that point at the store, Carlson-Goering decided to ignore any judgments that came to his mind about her height or whether that shiny gold blouse or those Converse shoes were right for her age.

“Because yeah, I might be 56, but, you know, I can dress that way if I want to,” she said. “It’s comfortable, and I don’t care what anyone thinks.”

The pandemic has been a wake-up call, a reminder that “life is truly precious,” she said. “Do what you want to do, wear what you want to wear, be comfortable in who you are.”

The long periods of isolation over the past year have given many people time to understand this and explore.

Rahil Rojiani remembers a moment from last year: “I remember going to a very open patio last summer for my birthday and wearing this black and white long skirt for the first time since. , like, two years old but hadn’t really worn yet.

Rojiani is fluid between the sexes and has long worn clothing generally considered masculine, such as button-down shirts and pants.

But during the pandemic, they had time to think about what they wanted to wear, what looked right to them.

So that day on the terrace, at first, Rojiani was afraid of being judged.

“It took the process of being in public with that to, like, having this really magical moment after letting go of some of the layers of discomfort to be like, ‘Oh my God, this is so liberating. I could do this all the time. What would it be like to be free? ‘ “

This question seems more urgent now.

Rojiani is a resident of a public hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

“I think COVID, and especially for me, being on the front lines, has really brought our collective to the fore, you know, it’s kind of like that, how do we want to live?” they said.

For Rojiani, in the context of clothing, it means finding a new style. Since that day on the patio, they’ve been doing some second-hand shopping and got a few outfits from their partner, like a mustard yellow jumpsuit and a brown ankle-length skirt, both loose and flowing.

Because the other thing Rojiani realized after last year is that they want to be comfortable.


About Renee Williams

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