Demand for occasionwear has plummeted during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving rental services struggling and stock of red carpet dresses piled high in stores and warehouses.

With events canceled around the globe and strict social distancing measures enforced, the need for gowns and high octane glamour has been made obsolete.

Since March, our collective wardrobe needs have changed to that of comfortwear. The home office look is defined by how we appear on Zoom: business on top, comfy on bottom. As Simon Wolfson, Next Chief Executive told the BBC, “people do not buy a new outfit to stay at home.”

Formalwear has suffered too. Office attire and suiting are clothing categories that have seen great losses during the pandemic. Swimwear, too, has seen plummeting demand, as holidays are canceled, borders closed, and a travel industry remains fighting for survival. Who wants to travel to a country that enforces a 14 day quarantine? And who wants to dress up for their daily supermarket shop or walking the dog in the park?

How will we dress in future?

Of course crises come and go, the pandemic will end, the return to a new normal is inevitable. But what will that new normal look like? Certainly not attired in sweatpants. Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort says the time will come when we will want to dance again, to dress up and to socialise. After World War II, when the fashion houses re-opened, new designs were developed and a novel feminity emerged. Just think of Dior’s New Look: soft shoulders, cinched waist, billowing skirts.

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After the pandemic we will want to express ourselves again through fashion, there will be a new romance and need for design, albeit in an era of feeling safe, economically secure and sustainability. Sweeping social, political and economic changes have always impacted how people dress. Soon we will know how this reflects on the post-Covid-19 period.

Image courtesy of Dior