The concept of ‘getting dressed’ is in a worrying state of flux. We all – apart from a bold, perpetually chilly few – still put clothes on every morning. And we pick them out from an extensive spectrum of colours, textures, fits etc., but in this newly anaemic landscape, what does a blue T-shirt offer that a red one does not? After months of pandemical lethargy, dissonance and existential confusion, it all seems a bit otiose.
But fret not. I would argue that all the unsettling news and housebound ennui actually serves as the perfect backdrop to the wearing of nice clothes. If anything, it’s better than normal. The handbrake is off: you can wear whatever you want and no one will bat an eyelid. There is no office to go to, no fellow wedding guests to impress, no commuters to dazzle with your dove-grey Mackintosh. Spend a day wearing in those new Chelsea boots; spend a week! Dazzle your co-shoppers at the offy with a Loewe tote. Astound the dog with your new Vitale Barberis Canonico flannel. He will be dumbstruck with jealousy.
The point I’m labouring over is that this spooky time offers the opportunity to push the boundaries a bit, and in doing so, normalise the seemingly abnormal things in your wardrobe. To remove the tradition of keeping things for ‘best’. There is no time like the present. So start with your feet – start with all the shoes you normally assign to a certain dress code or event and realise that you can wear any of them, any time.
Swap tattered slippers for unlined loafers, they’ll be just as comfy but ten-times more stylish. The Camden, C&J’s tassel(less) loafer is just the thing. And recognise the simple power of black lace-ups. I prefer mine on the chunkier side – evident in C&J’s Lanark III, a shoe I also helped adapt for our Esquire Edit – and I would say that those with a wide, cleated rubber sole offer more all-day comfort, and look good with almost any pair of trousers. But that’s not to say something sleeker and more classic, such as the Norwich derby, should be kept in the wardrobe. Try wearing them with a suit for a day’s ‘WFH’ and see how much more you get done.
Think of the last weeks of lockdown as pre-season training. Reacquaint yourself with your clobber and remind yourself why you bought it in the first place. Good clothes and shoes make you stand taller; carry yourself with more confidence. But also see it as an opportunity to take your style to a new, more assured level of continuity. In this post-pandemic landscape, we can all be at our ‘best’, all the time.