by Aidan McGinty / Multimedia Director
Americans have officially passed over one year of various lockdowns as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson’s vaccines approved — and more pending approvals currently — many assume that the light at the end of the tunnel is within view. However, where has all of the year gone? Many people who, bombarded with social media fashion, took the time to reinvent their style.
“Before quarantine, I would say my style was pretty simple yet somewhat trendy at the time, at least in my suburb. I always wanted to be comfortable so when I did dress up, I would dress really basic and amp up my looks with sneakers and jewelry,” said freshman psychology major, Sophia Peters. “My style is so much better now, compared to pre-COVID. I learned a lot about my own style finally and started to try new things and shop at new stores.”
In 2020, US adults spent on average seven hours and fifty minutes a day consuming digital media, according to Emarketer’s 2020 survey on the topic. This is up 15% from 2019, when adults consumed six hours and forty-nine minutes a day.
“My use of social media has increased so much over quarantine, “ said Peters. “I resorted to Instagram more than the others because I knew that people showed the best part of their lives on Instagram and gave me some inspiration during the start of COVID. I really enjoyed seeing how others would spend their time at home and how they’d dress, especially influencers.”
The potentially new amount of free time people experienced during the pandemic could have played a role. Did people spend quarantine focusing on their style? “I had so much time so I really could change up my whole look and attitude however I pleased,” said Peters. “I took what I saw from some of my favorite influencers and youtubers and created my own twist on it with my style.”
Peters is not the only one switching things up post-COVID. Freshman English major Jiaonny Jenkins described their own transformation. “I usually dressed in super tight jeans, crop tops and whatever shoes were the most expensive in my closet. [Today} my style has shifted to a more adrogynous style that is definitely closer to my desired gender expression.”
“It felt like I was able to explore things without fear of being perceived negatively by my peers,” said Jenkins. “I was in high school at the time and there was an immense amount of classist rhetoric that was ingrained in me.”
Style is not exclusive to students either. Roosevelt’s staff also had their professional worlds shaken up by the pandemic, as well as their fashion sense.
“I actually dress up more than I ever did because I don’t have to wear heels/uncomfortable shoes. I wear a dress for every class with pink and orange Crocs. It’s been kind of nice going through all the dresses I would never wear because I took the Blue Line from the suburbs and walked a lot and wanted to feel comfortable,” said Shonda Dudlicek, Professor of Communications at Roosevelt.
Several people stated that they will continue to be more experimental and creative with their style post-pandemic as well. “I think some of these habits will stick. I like dressing up for class, whether it’s a cardigan and pants or a springtime dress,” Dudlicek said.
As people begin to get vaccinated and society slowly starts to populate again, it is unclear much style experimentation will continue. But one thing is clear, some may find their personal style looking different after the pandemic.