How to Dress for Our Post-Pandemic Life/Style: Think Hot Girl Summer, Halston, and the New Luxury

Writer Sheri Radel Rosenberg muses on post-pandemic fashion and, holding tightly to comfort, sees scope for added color and bling

I am someone who has always dressed for myself. I have never subscribed to rules or norms about what to wear. Call me a fashion free spirit. And since I spent most of my career in ad agencies, where I was free to wear anything, I felt fortunate to work in a creative field where corporate dress was wear what you like.

The pandemic showed us so many things about what’s important and what matters. And with many of us indefinitely working from home, dressing for work will look very different in the future while also providing relief from long commutes, windowless office energy and, of course, outfit planning anxiety. And although anxiety was running high around getting Covid and fear of loved ones and friends getting sick, I thoroughly enjoyed dressing (and living) without wardrobe anxiety or expectation.

I thoroughly enjoyed dressing (and living) without wardrobe anxiety or expectation

Like dressing for a big meeting. Dinner with friends after work. Or a birthday party somewhere too cool for school. For me, all the above would result in piles of clothes on the floor and a sweaty brow. The pandemic allowed me to get dressed solely for what feels good and comfortable and effortless because there was no particular place to go. So as I spent more time at home and took stock of my life and my wardrobe, I purged; as did many people I know. Whether you’re more a Marie Kondo or maximalist, it was liberating to get rid of clothes that no longer served. Because nothing is sexier than a woman who is simply comfortable in her skin; take that, Hot Girl Summer.

The great purge saw me bidding farewell to many of my frilly boho dresses which felt too fussy for my current obsession with simple, modern takes on workwear. I love a great chore jacket or a jumpsuit. For those with corporate gigs, that meant an audit of all those boxy jackets and sheath dresses, which speaks to something more than a well-edited closet. Because COVID-19 had us all taking a long, hard look at what makes us happy, and if the past year or so has shown us anything, it’s that doing what makes you happy has never felt more important. And that dressing for that manifestation is undoubtedly part of the deal.

Because there is great freedom in personal style, unfettered by expectation or rules, if I’m in an outsized Black Crane caftan one day or a nipped-in boilersuit with my beloved Vans the next (Alex Mill is my everything), then so be it. Fashion is genuinely getting up close and personal. So as I venture back into life, what will I be wearing? Is there life after the nap dress (the half nightgown/half day frock made famous during the pandemic)?

Is there life after the nap dress?

Right now, I’m drawn to bright colors, which is weird for someone who wears shades of dirt sprinkled with navy. I’m loving Bill Cunningham blue. Craving a shade of Indian fuchsia more akin to a sari but fabulous in a Horses Atelier jumpsuit or a Zara cape dress. And loving my new APC tomato red, jacquard silk midi dress bought on significant sale, which breaks the old rule of redheads not being able to wear red. Yes, we can.

There’s also the whole sunny ’90s vibe that feels great coming out of a year of gloom. The WSJ story featuring Shalom, Amber, and Carolyn Murphy gave me life. Plus, the recent In Style cover of Kate Hudson in a smiley face tee was deee-liteful. And Klements London is doing rave-worthy dresses I could twirl around in forever. In the words of the Happy Mondays (and many others), “Hallelujah.”

I’m keeping comfort front and center but adding a heaping helping of bling

I’m keeping comfort front and center but adding a heaping helping of bling.  Over dinner the other night with a good friend, we noted that sweatpants and casual cool will still rule, but they may be a bit more bedazzled. Take the Jil Sander encrusted flat I posted on Instagram the other day. Comfortable for everyday jaunts but also suited for rentrée soirees. Cue the new definition of luxury.

Rachel Comey dress for that Halston feel.

And with the premiere of Ryan Murphy’s “Halston” (Get it sassy may very well be the catchphrase of the summer), a renewed interest in his seamless brand of chic could not be more serendipitous. His slinky jersey pieces were and still are the epitome of effortless American chic. As Ewan McGregor as Halston (he’s come a long way from “Trainspotting”) said about the Halston mystique in the form of an Ultrasuede shirt dress: “it’s sexy, it’s comfort, it’s freedom.” All of that forever, please. Because I’m all about wearing what I want. And I’m all about comfort.

I will be keeping that sense of what feels good to wear close as I get back in a New York groove. Because maybe, just maybe, wearing what makes us happy and fulfilled will resonate with the rest of life, too. A girl can only hope. XO


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Sheri Radel Rosenberghttp://sherimavenblog.com/
Sheri Radel Rosenberg has spent a life in advertising. Currently she's a freelance writer focusing on women at midlife and the power of reinvention. She regularly writes on her own blog and also works with brands to develop content in the areas of women's health, wellness, fashion, and beauty .She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and a ten pound ball of doggie fluff called Khan.


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