Clothing Personal work

Winter Texture

Covid-19 Lockdown continues in the United Kingdom, and continues to reveal some painful truths about my choice of wardrobe:
1. I definitely wear fun shirts for other people and not for myself,
2. I do not love all of my jeans equally,
3. Overshirts are my favourite outer layer.

Comfort has been the name of the game for months now, and this is even more true as winter rolls around. A startling amount of the outfits I’ve been wearing can be slotted into the same template of shirt, overshirt, and jeans, with an optional sweater for especially cold days. This isn’t an uncommon conclusion to reach, of course, and in this work-from-home, zoom-call era, it’s no wonder that everyone’s started dressing like software developers. They had the comfort-oriented uniform down to a science years before the rest of us.

A lot of my preference comes down to the materials and fabrics that the winter season and I share an affinity for. Fabrics that don’t need to be handled too delicately, and are easy to throw together without looking too incoherent. Cotton and wool are the two mainstays in all of my outfits, and they have a great versatility. When it comes to cotton, jeans and chambray shirts can be beaten and crumpled and hold up great to sustained wear. Wool sweaters in natural tones will also pair fantastically with denim, making them an easy slip-on layer for warmth and comfort. Thick sweaters are also pretty darn crumple-proof, meaning you can throw them around without too much concern for their well-being. In the absence of vibrant colour, sweaters have ample texture to give some visual variety to an outfit. Wearing a plain lower half such as jeans allows for more detail in the upper half with a chunky knit.

The two workhorses of my winter wardrobe are my Levi’s 501 jeans (the ones previously covered here) and a thrifted plaid overshirt. I call it an overshirt because it’s massive on my frame. There’s no size tag, but I can only guess it’s somewhere near an XL. That means it looks terrible when it’s buttoned up, but fantastic when left open, as the excess fabric leaves plenty of room for it to drape. The jeans have racked up a few more repairs since I last wrote about them, and the overshirt has a small denim patch on the right sleeve. The colour combination of the shirts plaid should be hideous, but there’s something about it I love.

In an ideal world I would add in a few different pairs of jeans or trousers into my rotation, but in practise I’ve naturally gravitated towards the most comfortable pair in my wardrobe. My Levi’s are by far the most broken in, making the denim a lot softer than my other pairs, as well as the straight cut giving my legs plenty of room. I used to wear nothing but skinny jeans, but in just a few years I’ve almost completely phased them out in favour of tapered and straight cuts. This is in part due to other cuts giving you more options for your silhouette, and partly because I just find baggier jeans more liberating. There’s a lot less worry about splitting knees open from bending down a little too far.

I’ve caught myself thinking a lot less about fashion and clothes in general as the lockdown has continued. The motive to ‘dress up’ is a lot weaker than it was before. The obvious answer is that there’s now nobody to dress up for, but then, was that what it was always about? It’s hard to say. I certainly still care about dressing well, and wearing clothes that I care about, but the pool of clothes that those stipulations apply to has been shrinking and shrinking. This isn’t inherently a bad thing; having a ‘uniform’ takes a lot of the hassle out of deciding what to wear day-to-day by eliminating decision fatigue, but it’s hard not to feel like something’s been lost. I guess time will tell if the wardrobe starts to open back up when the world does.

By William

A third year Graphic Design & Illustration student currently studying at De Montfort University. I enjoy creating both physical and digital design and dabble in various creative outlets in my spare time.

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