Quarantine Fancy

Friends, there are a lot of ways to deal with the stress of isolation as a single person during this social-distancing shindig. There’s prayer, work, regular calls with family and friends. There’s getting enough sleep and going for a daily long walk with the dog. These are laudable and healthy coping mechanisms.

And then there’s the probably-not-as-healthy-but-inexplicably more fun ones: stress-baking, Netflix-bingeing, and the one of which I wish to tell you today: little black wool dress dance parties.

It all started innocently enough: with a targeted ad on Facebook that hit me right in the weak spot I didn’t know I had: capsule wardrobes, sustainable fashion, and best of all: gamification. The ad was for a company that makes wool dresses, and they had a challenge: wear one of their dresses for 100 days, and they would give you a second dress for free.

I lasted about two weeks before caving in to the challenge…in my own special way. I didn’t love the designs of the dresses available through the aforementioned company, nor could I quite justify the expenditure. (Y’all: wool is apparently some kind of miracle fiber–sheep know what’s up–and therefore expensive.)

So I went on an online thrift/consignment store and found a wool dress made by a company that works with ethical factories and practices radical transparency, and whose style I liked a lot better, and I bought it for a third of the price of the cheapest dress available through the Facebook-adverstised company.

(Aside: I went through a whole debate with myself a few years ago about whether purchasing sustainable fashion through thrift stores mitigates the impact of that choice. My thinking currently stands thusly: thrift/consignment stores are great avenues for reducing the societal, economic, and environmental impact of the fashion industry, and purchasing sustainable fashion through them sends the message to both the seller and the thrift store that those items have a high resale potential, which hopefully encourages both of those parties to continue that buying preference.)

Long story short, that little black wool dress has become my quarantine uniform. Along the way, I’ve reaped four big benefits I hadn’t foreseen:

  1. It makes me dress like a functioning human being every day. And it turns out that the question of whether or not I am a functioning human being is less likely to come up if I’m dressed like one for video calls!
  2. It has decreased my laundry pile! Turns out you don’t need to wash wool as often. (“This is what we’re been saying,” yell the sheep.) The sweaters and scarves that I layer on top don’t need to be washed with each wear either.
  3. It’s fun to figure out a new way to style the dress every day. (And I’m rediscovering my scarf collection! They’re so pretty! Where have they been?!) Committing to wearing this dress daily except when the tasks at hand demand a different uniform has reintroduced me to all of the benefits of a capsule wardrobe, but without the hassle of going through my whole closet and paring it down. If a capsule wardrobe is something you’ve been thinking about but aren’t sure you want to commit to, this kind of exercise could be clarifying for you!
  4. Most importantly, a few days into this adventure, I started taking photos of myself wearing the dress because looking at other people’s photos of how THEY were doing the 100-day challenge was so. much. fun. But I hate posed pictures. So I put on a favorite song in the background, set up my camera with a timer, and started dancing. And you know what? My apartment is now host to a daily 5-minute dance party. I cannot recommend this practice highly enough, even if it does confuse the dog. (“Why is there all this activity and yet no one seems to be going OUTSIDE?”)

And now I’d like to share direct evidence of the joy with you. Without further ado, please enjoy this installment of Quarantine Fancy:

IMG_20200412_155715425_MPLook #1: “It’s Easter Afternoon and I’m Tired.”
Function: needs to be able to go from lying on the couch binge-watching “30 Rock” to…that’s it. That’s all that’s happening on Easter afternoon when you’re a pastor and have just survived an entire pandemic-motivated overhaul of Holy Week.
Features: cozy oversized sweater (thrift store), comfy UGG boots (Ebay), and fuzzy socks with llamas on them (my mama who knows and loves me).
Soundtrack: “The Dog Days are Over” by Florence + the Machine.






#2: “I No Longer Listen to White House News Briefings”
Function: to try out what I imagine to be Canadian daywear because our president just said something unbelievable during a coronavirus press briefing and I’m fantasizing about moving as soon as the borders reopen.
Features: silver aspen leaf necklace (Philadelphia flower show!) and buffalo-check flannel (standard issue distributed to all humans residing north of the Mason-Dixon line).
Soundtrack: “Should I Stay or Should I Go?” by Jools Holland and Kylie Minogue.




#3: “Secret Belt Tuck Fashion Ninja”
to see if that trick I saw another woman do where she tucked her sweater up into a belt that she was wearing under that same sweater worked for this dress. It does, and I am now literally a black belt in fashion ninja-ing.
Features: a belt that you don’t even know is there.
Soundtrack: “Clap Your Hands” by Galactic, featuring Miss Charm Taylor.





#4: “On Wednesdays We Wear Pink.”
needs to be able to get through five cumulative hours of Zoom meetings while channeling the indomitable peppiness of Regina George. That’s right. I said it. She has admirable qualities.
pink woolish sweater (thrift shop), fuzzy pink socks (mama), UGG boots (Ebay), girl power (double X chromosomes  gender identity).
Soundtrack: “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce






#5: “Everything’s Copacetic”
Function: to tempt fate by edging perilously close to spring weather wear even though it’s still April in Massachusetts. It will snow the day after this.
Features: pink ballet flats (DSW years ago), floral scarf that always makes me think happily of the friend I found it with in some New Haven store.
Soundtrack: “Jump in the Line” by Harry Belafonte.





#6: “I’m Cold.”
The weather can’t decide if it’s supposed to be sixty degrees and sunny or snow five inches, so it decides to do both in one 24-hour period.
Features: Wool sweater (thrifted), kitenge scarf (Ten Thousand Villages), tall boots, and the hope that one day, warm weather will come and stay.
Soundtrack: “Havana” by Camila Cabello.





IMG_20200422_180543800__exported_1302_1587593258702#7: “I’m Still Cold”
Hoping only gets you so far. The high today will be in the thirties.
Features: Identical to yesterday, but add another sweater and thicker socks.
Soundtrack: “Shake It Off” from the “Sing” soundtrack, because the German pig makes me happy.





#8: “Peak New England”
Function: I am actively resisting my homesickness for my family, friends, and familiar stomping grounds in Pennsylvania by rocking all my N.E. accoutrements and looking amazing doing it.
Features: Buffalo check shirt, L.L. Bean duck boots, thick socks, puffy down vest, dropping all ‘r’s from the middle and ends of words.
Soundtrack: “No Roots,” by Alice Merton.






#9: “Do Denim Jackets Count as Loungewear?”
I have been waiting all spring to wear this jacket outside. The time for it has not yet come. So I can totally just wear it inside and pretend that’s what I meant to do all along, right?
Features: Denim jacket with sleeves that FIT! Such rejoicing!
Soundtrack: “Keep It Groovin'” by Extreme Music.


And in case you need to go ahead and have a dance party of your own, here’s a Spotify playlist.

C’mon, peeps! Tell me about your quarantine-fancy threads! What are you pulling out to wear right now that makes you happy, whether sweatpants for formalwear? What songs get you up and dancing around?


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