After a Year of Pandemic Fashion, Gelato Mama Reevaluates Her Style

Out of the closet.

  • Category
  • Written by
    Emily Tecklenburg
  • Illustrated by
    Nikki Smith

A few days ago, my Facebook memory from a year ago popped up that said, “Going for a drive. Putting on mascara and jeans. It’s about to get crazy.” 

Flooded immediately with overwhelming relief of not being in such a dark pandemic chapter, I was also catapulted back into that numb, panicked headspace that dominated the first few weeks, months of COVID-19. Those first few weeks where leggings ruled, makeup drooled and my hairdryer formed a nice layer of dust. 

My earring collection sat lonely, and that cute sweater I had just bought mocked me from its hanger. “Don’t even bother with me,” it shrugged. “Like you’re going anywhere except your sofa and sad walks with the dog.”

A year later, I’m happy to report that my earrings are back in regular rotation, my jeans still kinda-sorta fit, and I finally got to show off that sweater. But there’s no denying that COVID-19 has changed our style choices, for better or for worse. 

When I recently decided to do a closet purge, I was seriously confused as to what to do with many items. No, I haven’t worn this in a long time because I haven’t worn anything in a long time. I want to wear this, but … where am I wearing it? And why would I ever don these heels again when they make me want to saw my feet off, and apparently we only wear tennis shoes with … everything … now? 

My head was spinning, my eyes bouncing back and forth from the Save Pile to the Donate Pile. I felt defeated, staring at all the abandoned articles. Sure, I had given in to the “all leggings, all the time” lifestyle that dominates our Beach Cities. But I hated it. I only did it because COVID-19 made me. I don’t like wearing athleisure wear, OK? I don’t get it. There. I said it. It feels really good to release that.

I glanced down at my designated piles again and rearranged my decisions. I’m not ready to give up on those heels yet. I want to curse their name once again! And one day I will need every single one of these maxi dresses for a vacation to someplace I can’t drive to! And if I’m going to Target, I am going to look cute as hell while I’m there. I spent a year feeling unwelcome in the COVID-19 universe of elastic waistbands, and I will no longer obey! 

This pandemic stole from me my sanity, any semblance of personal time and thousands of dollars in alcohol consumption, but it cannot steal the one rule of fashion I adhere to: When you look better, you feel better. And I believe that when you feel better, you do better. So let’s all wear what makes us feel better. We deserve it.

Except pajama pants. I’m going to need to stop seeing pajama pants in public. Even if it makes you feel better. We have to draw the line somewhere, people.