How the Pandemic Changed Fashion

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UNC student Cinthia Cortez models her usual outfit of a tank top and skirt. Photo by Cinthia Cortez.

Fashion is so much more than just clothing. It is a form of self expression, a piece of our personality that is always displayed and what we feel most comfortable in. 

The pandemic has changed everything around us, including our fashion choices. 

Through lockdown, many people stopped dressing up. In a world where the only form of communication was through Zoom, you only had to be acceptable from the waist-up. Sweatpants became acceptable to wear to work, as work was happening in your bedroom. 

Caleb Swiech-Olney, a third-year student at the University of Northern Colorado, said that after restrictions were lifted, he now tries to follow trends. During the pandemic, Swiech-Olney said that all he wore was pajamas, sweats and hoodies.

Now that classes are back to in-person, Swiech-Olney said he is trying to expand his horizons and dress up more. 

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Omega Martinez, a third-year student at UNC, is the opposite. She said that after being comfortable in sweats and pajamas during lockdown, she would like to continue being comfortable. 

“My tolerance for skinny jeans and tight clothing in general is just so much lower,” Martinez said. 

Martinez said that before the pandemic she would put more thought into what she was wearing, but now she wants to remain comfortable. She said that she prefers comfort, but still remains stylish. 

Cinthia Cortez, a third-year journalism student at UNC, said that she dresses the same. Cortez said that even during the pandemic, she felt she needed to keep a routine to stay motivated. She said that during lockdown and classes happening over Zoom, she did not like the idea of not getting ready, so she would get dressed regardless. Cortez said that she did expand her horizons nonetheless. She said that she used to not like clothing with an open back, but that has now become common in her wardrobe. 

Kelsey O’Hara, a third-year journalism student, said that she has experimented more. She said lockdown provided a place where she could experiment with fashion, without the fear of public judgement. 

“I wasn’t as worried about people seeing me if I was wearing something that I would end up not liking,” O’Hara said. 

She said that the pandemic gave her space to figure out how she wants to dress herself in a controlled environment. She said that not having in-person classes for a semester meant that O’Hara could experiment in the safety of her home. 

Ashley Hajek, a senior at UNC, said that she has toned down her wardrobe, but she was never afraid to express herself through her fashion choices. She said that she is trying to dress more professionally to present herself as employable. 

“I have started to grow a more mature sense of fashion, and I think that is due to the fact that I am going to be graduating soon,” Hajek said.

She said that because of the way the corporate world operates, she has toned down her bold fashion choices. However, she said that she wants to bring back those fun aspects of her fashion into her more professional wardrobe. 

Whether people are dressing up or down, the pandemic has not left one aspect of our daily lives untouched.

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