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Life From the Waist Up

Fashion is supposed to be a fun way for people to express themselves. Today, this global pandemic is changing the purpose of fashion and introducing more comfort into our lives. 

Our clothes and presentation communicate volumes about who we are. The question is not whether you care about fashion. It’s more about what you’re projecting intentionally or unconsciously through your choices. However, that only happens when you’re around other people. So what happens during the time of COVID-19, when we are social distancing at home? 

Zoom has been a popular platform for helping adults and kids to continue their work over video calls. When zooming, people are only capturing videos of themselves from their waist up. Because of this, it’s causing people to indulge in pajama bottoms, sweat pants, and shorts from the waist down. When no one can ever see you, the purpose of fashion changes, and we revert to an easier, more care-free image.

Clothing can make us feel like we are the best version of ourselves. By introducing more comfort into our lives, we allow for more self-confidence. We can be able to do what we want without worrying about how we look or how we should move. Additionally, dressing from the waist up can also lead to an increase in productivity because people are comfortable with what they’re wearing. Those choices allow us to focus on more tasks with more attention, rather than dealing with distractions of teetering on heels or managing a skirt.

There are many examples where harsh dress codes have been used to restrict expression. The Swiss bank UBS, multinational investment bank and financial services company, published a 44-page dress code, detailing everything from the color and size of suits to dietary tips and the length of toenails. Although this dress code detailed everything from the sensible to the downright invasive, UBS got one thing right: every detail about your presentation communicates something. When we’re free to communicate those things to ourselves, the feeling of liberation and independence can change our entire attitude.

The formality of clothing not only influences the way others perceive us, and how people perceive themselves, but it also influences decision making in important ways. Over the next few weeks (or more), we will continue to manage our personal style choices from home, where we are rarely seen or only seen partially. When you get to choose which parts are seen and which ones are not, choose wisely. Let your better half shine.

The M Staff Illustrator Coco Morgan ’24