All of the Post-Pandemic Fashion Predictions are Wrong.

And they should be.

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Reading the 2021 “Post-Pandemic” Fashion Trend Reports, one could swear that very soon we are all going to be trading our worn-out slippers for stilettos, yoga pants for party dresses and we’ll be buying all the makeup at the counter.

They would have you believe we will be rushing to salons to get back the pre-pandemic hairstyles that took at least 45 minutes to do in the morning and nails that need tending every week.

Athleisure, the Fashion Industry’s thorn in its paw, will finally be dead! We will all be so ready to “feel feminine” again after quarantine, we’ll be clamoring for anything other than a sweatshirt and sneakers!

Speaking of shoes! How much do we all miss high heels and short skirts to dance the night away! And, oh how we can’t wait to wear lipstick in public again!

The Forecasters assure us that in a burst of post-pandemic urgency, we’ll be storming department stores shopping for low-cut over-the-top outfits for all the social gatherings we definitely won’t have enough time to go to.

That starting this year, we will be catapulted into a 21st century reboot of the glorious Roaring 20’s, signaling a New Renaissance for Fashion!

But we’re not and we all know it.

The most obvious reason being we’re still in the middle of the Pandemic. We’re likely headed into the bleakest hours before that elusive dawn and experts say we won’t fully be out of it until this time next year.

In 2021, we will still be working from home with our party on top, pajamas on bottom Zoom outfits for the foreseeable future. We will still be scouring Etsy for the best masks that coordinate with our best grocery store outfits. We will buy new slippers and call them “house shoes” to feel fancy.

Let’s be real, new running tights and luxury loungewear will be our splurges in 2021.

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WFH Life 2.0

I’m not denying the inevitable result of a raging pandemic, the feeling of coming out of a drastic political war and the undeniable desire to party surrounded by throngs of people. The Roaring 20’s did have a glorious Fashion Revolution filled with parties, jazz and champagne.

What our 21st century Fashion Forecasters are forgetting is that the dreamy, frothy, flapper aesthetic was a direct reflection and response to the Social Revolution that had been unfolding for years.

For the duration of WW1 and as the Spanish Flu raged across the globe, our sister-fledgeling-flappers flocked to the cities to go to work. In factories, they handcrafted bullets, sewed uniforms and astonishingly wore pants for the first time ever.

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Women Munition Workers 1917

Like all women in all wars, they kept the country running, the children fed and their neighbors from dying.

Once the war was over and the pandemic had passed, women did not want to go back to their country parlors to play bridge. They had been making the bombs after all and finally convinced enough powerful men that women had earned a place in the modern world.

In 1920, Women’s Suffrage passed after almost a century of protest and the tenacious First Wave of Feminism had already begun.

Women cut their hair and raised their hemlines, a visual rebuke to the generation whose restrictive ethos they were trying to shed. Drop waist dresses replaced the hourglass and flowy pants (gasp!) deemed acceptable.

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“What a menace to health those long skirts were.”

The corset was deftly discarded, a dusty relic with no place in the new world our sisters were forging.

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Ladies Undergarments 1907–1926

A Social Revolution was also underway and fiercely blossomed in the Roaring 20’s, changing our course forever.

Writers, philosophers and poets were openly (and loudly) challenging societal norms of the Victorian Era which had led to the Great War, economic disparity and moral famine.

The Harlem Renaissance allowed black musicians, photographers and play-writes to be recognized and flourish. In turn, that allowed the new generation to call out the blatant racism in the arts and inequality of social justice and labor practices in America.

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UNIA (Universal Negro Improvement Association) parade in Harlem, 1920

Sounds familiar doesn’t it?

The centurion parallels are undeniable and history might actually be repeating itself. Or at the very least, it is rhyming.

In 2021, we too are just starting to crawl out of a global pandemic. We are also turning the corner on horrific political discord, all while intense societal reckonings are playing out. Social norms are being challenged and there is an overwhelming call for change as the ruling generation is, at last, starting to retire.

And, just like our sisters from 100 years ago, I don’t think we will be in a rush to embrace the trappings of beauty and fashion as they were.

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Fabulous Liberated Ladies-1920

My darling Fashion Forecasters, we are different women than we were in 2019.

We have grown to know our faces without makeup and found lipstick stains the inside of our masks we might still be wearing after this is over.

Our natural hair is healthier when it’s air-dried and our new greys represent a stunning badge of honor for surviving this horrific time.

We’ve learned that we don’t need to pour ourselves into a body-con dress to feel feminine - likely the opposite will do the trick. Our post-pandemic bodies will demand loose and flowy not restrictive and cinched.

After a year of wearing Ugg boots, our feet have grown used to comfort. I predict on future dance floors, high heels will be the pariahs and sneakers will reign.

Eventually, the Fashion Revolution will come as will the invitations to endless parties and gatherings. So too the desire to dance all night and sweat freely with friends.

We will celebrate, we will definitely dance and maybe even wear lipstick again. But, our dear Forecasters are ignoring the loudest cue from our Roaring 20’s sisters.

This upcoming Fashion Revolution will look different because it has to.

If there is to be a New Renaissance for fashion, it will not be a glittering return to pre-pandemic norms. If anything, it will be an embrace of un-restriction, strength and confidence to finally move this new world forward.

The enduring lesson of the Roaring 20’s is that once we took the corset off, it was our liberation to never have to wear one again.

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Seeker of Beauty, Truth and Lover of Cats.

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