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Leaving The Quarantine Uniform And Getting Dressed Again

I walked into the kitchen yesterday and my 22-year-old daughter looked at me quizzically and asked, “Why are you so dressed up?” My quarantine uniform was slightly elevated—I had on a pair of jeans, a tank top, and a pair of real sandals (instead of my ratty old flip flops.) I had on a little bit of blush and mascara too. A few months ago, this would have been my typical attire for running errands.

Then again, 2020 has been anything but typical. Like most people I know, I spent most of this spring predominantly wearing pajamas. By summer, I had graduated to wearing sweatpants and workout leggings. I didn’t feel compelled to “get dressed” since I wasn’t seeing anyone but my family.

But I’m a firm believer that changing your clothes can change your attitude.

Priya Virmani, stylist and owner of Privee by Priya, says, “I am a huge supporter of getting dressed—pandemic era or not. It is important to create a start to the day. And getting out of PJs is an important marker. It’s also a mood lifter.” I have to agree. Just putting on “real pants” made me feel better and more normal than I have in weeks.

If it’s been a while since you have put on makeup or worn something other than PJs, here are some suggestions for getting dressed again:

A Quarantine Uniform Doesn’t Have To Be Sloppy

It’s time to toss your favorite clothing that is permanently stained, torn, or ill-fitting. Find your inner Maria Kondo, thank these items for their service (especially during this stressful time), and eliminate these items from your closet. Odds are, you will feel better.

Elevate your Athleisure Wear

Virmani is a big fan of “loungewear” or “non-athletic joggers” as an alternative to typical baggy sweatpants. She explains, “Essentially, stretchy fabric with elastic waistbands are perfect for spending all day in.” Check out our guide to head-to-toe athleisure and the best stylish athleisure for women over 50.

Don’t Let the “Quarantine 15” Get You Down

If your regular jeans seem snug, you are not alone. Many people have put on weight during the pandemic. Contrary to popular belief, baggy clothes are not the answer to hiding weight gain. And besides, as Virmani says, “Bodies need to be appreciated, not hidden.”

To feel more confident with a few added pounds, create a beautiful silhouette by wearing a V-neck shirt and defining your waist. Virmani explains, “When wearing pants, cinch at the waist with a full or half tuck of your top into your pants. When wearing an oversized dress, wear a belt to create a break at the waist.

Find a New Daily Quarantine Uniform

The new “normal” may need re-thinking your wardrobe needs.

Going to a neighbor’s for a drink outside? “Given the bugs in most backyards, I’d say a maxi dress or jeans, “ says Virmani.

Dinner at an outdoor restaurant? She suggests a nicer top with jeans, jumpsuits or rompers, or a summer dress. “It’s essential to wear lovely jewelry here. Because at the table it’s only waist up that matters. Stay away from black in the summer,” she says.

Running errands? Try loungewear that is comfy but not too baggy and doesn’t look like you walked outside your pajamas. Instead of sneakers, elevate your look with luxurious velvet loafers or slip-on shoes.

If you are sick of your clothes and want to buy something new, Virmani suggests investing in an oversized chunky sweater for the fall season. She says, “A sweater is perfect for lounging and for a Zoom meeting. Make it in color with a little pattern on it so you can use it in multiple ways.”

Put on a Happy Face

Having not put on makeup for many months, I was definitely out of practice. What I felt was a light sweeping of blush on my cheek made me look like a clown in the mirror. Lucy Chambers, makeup artist says, “its normal to feel rusty when it comes to applying makeup. We need to establish a routine.” This is especially true if you have been doing the same makeup since your 20’s. Chambers says, “Our faces change as we age so we need to apply our makeup differently. For example, our cheeks aren’t as full so we need to apply blush a little higher, more toward the cheekbone, and avoid the nose which can be redder as we get older.”

It’s All About the Eyes

With many of us in masks throughout the day, there is no need for sticky lip gloss. Instead, the focus should be on the eyes. Chambers says, “Apply an eyeliner, brown usually works best for most skin tones and is less harsh than black, at the top lash line and then use a brush to smudge it out. Then add a medium tone shadow ( camel works well on fair skin, expresso on darker complexions) and some mascara.” If you want to bump it up at night, Chambers suggests adding a slight shimmer shadow at the center of the eyelid.

Less is More

In general, you don’t need a lot of makeup to look put together. Chambers explains, “There was already a trend toward a more natural loom, especially for daytime, and the pandemic has accelerated that trend.” The only time more make up is beneficial for photography (including Zoom meetings) where Chambers suggests bumping it up about 30%, making sure to define the eyes and apply lip color.

Focusing on these steps will not only elevate your quarantine uniform, but it will also help make this “getting dressed” transition much easier after COVID is finally gone.

Did you know there are four ways to age? Check out the four ageotypes and learn more about your own! 

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