I find myself gazing repeatedly at this photograph of a corona party (cue eye-roll), a WhatsApp forward I’m weirdly unwilling to delete. What I’m looking at is this pretty young thing in a canary-colored miniskirt dancing madly, her Goth-black nails on defiant display. Now I can’t carry off minis, I’m not sure canary is quite my colour and I definitely don’t do corona parties. But stuck at home and trying to put a brave face on it, I envy that unknown pretty young thing, her sense of style.
The weeks of social distancing, now officially label-changed to physical distancing, seem to stretch on and on and on. We are by turns, getting anxious, annoyed, resigned, pragmatic, depressed, apprehensive.
And a lot of us have officially turned into slobs. We’ve fallen deeply in love with our jammies; WFH means pulling an Anand Mahindra, i.e. the smart shirt on top can be seen but not the lungi or tatty track pants below. We skin-starve our faces, we grow beards, our hair is styled in the manner it was when we were five years old.
This goes for a lot of us but not all of us, mind you. Influencers are posting away, clad in nifty jammies or in the case of Shobhaa De, colorful caftans. Deepika Padukone is giving us home-gym goals, Malaika Arora is showing off in the kitchen, Katrina Kaif, Saif and Kareena are being exemplars of house-cleaning. Significantly, TBT pics are all over social media, reminding us that the virus will settle eventually but the style will endure.
Of course, that visual vocabulary was so much more effective in the normal course of life, aka pre-Covid times. Filmstars delivered hits or flops, but did it with swag. Writers launched their books with as much fanfare as they could muster, duly attired in a sartorial combine of serious/ muted/gorgeous. Artists held exhibitions, exhibiting both their art and their deliberately calibrated, sometimes OTT, sense of style. People held classes on making scented soap or sourdough panini, Yoga Hiit, read out their flash poetry, and other people came to watch, learn, listen. But, and here’s the thing, everyone dressed up for the occasion. Maybe not to the nines, which concept anyway differs from individual to individual, but we did dress up.
Which we aren’t doing now, for obvious reasons. But if we fall deeply into the slob pit, whatever is going to happen to us once the pandemic passes? Because the harsh truth is: once you fall into that velvet-lined pit, it’s hard as hell to get out. So, while I’m not advocating clicking madly and buying equally madly, I am recommending that you maintain your inherent style through these difficult times. The coronavirus is trending right now. But like all trends, this too will pass. Personal style, that’s forever.