You don’t need somewhere to go to get all dressed up


Photo credit: Ren Rader

When I think of the expression “all dressed up with nowhere to go,” it implies that there was an anticipated occasion that didn’t take place. Does there have to be an occasion for us to dress up and look our best, though? Is it not enough for us to simply wear our favorite outfits, makeup looks, and accessories for ourselves? I simply don’t think so.

Following social distancing orders across the nation, the topic of self-care habits has been hotly contested as people stay inside longer and adapt to a new norm. Whether it be by cooking, spending time with your pets, scrolling through TikTok, or distracting yourself from the impending doom of the pandemic, there are many ways to care for yourself while being holed up inside. Whatever it is, generally speaking, clothes, makeup, and accessories are important—they can empower us, make us feel safe in our own skin, and help us present ourselves however we want, wherever we are. Whether that be by sporting your favorite clothes, perfecting an eyeshadow look, styling a mask, or any activity that allows you to explore your style, there are so many options.

As I’m sure many of us have seen, however, clothing and other aspects of dress and style have largely been used as a way to affirm people’s social media feeds. I’m not against the practice—in fact, what each of us posts on social media is intensely personal and curated in a way that allows you to share what makes you happy with others. However, you don’t need an audience outside of yourself to reaffirm why you’re dressing up in the first place. If it causes any pressure for you to produce the most perfect selfie, mirror pic, or combination of the two for your feed, I would try out just getting ready for yourself.

Getting ready by myself was, and definitely still is, one of the only things that kept me afloat during two hard semesters, a full-time research job, and the terror of COVID-19 while social distancing. Moving to San Antonio wasn’t an easy shift for me. I found it hard to adjust to being away from not only my family, but my community, best friend, and notably, my room; a safe space where I could easily find time alone. I found it extremely helpful to take time for myself in between zoom classes and Summer research meetings as it gave me the opportunity to enter a headspace completely clear of outside stress. Whether it was trying on the uniforms I wore in high school, cutting up old Trinity T-shirts, changing my hairstyle around, or following along to makeup tutorials on YouTube, there was always something I could do with myself that enriched my spirit.

It’s vital for each of us to practice some form of mindfulness every day due to the fact that our routines are drastically different than before the pandemic hit. That doesn’t have to change the relationship between you and fashion, though! While we are dressing in a different circumstance, the ways in which we dress allow ourselves to relate to not only our sense of styles but to our bodies and presentation of self. While in your own company, there is no pressure to dress ‘appropriately.’ There are no barriers to how one should be able to express themselves, and allowing yourself the space to do so on your own can help you realize that sooner. What we choose to wear during a time like this may seem entirely trivial to some—for me, it’s this time that has only shown me how powerful, political, and revolutionary our styles truly are.