Trendy Sweatsuits and Other Attire Suggestions for Year Two of the Pandemic

By Patricia PuentesLast Updated Mar 4, 2021 7:12:45 PM ET
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Photo Courtesy: NBC

The Daily Social Distancing Show’s Trevor Noah encompasses chic pandemic attire better than most. Pre-COVID, he had on a perfectly bespoke dark suit with a white shirt and tie every night. He was clean-shaven and his hair was short. He switched that uniform to color-block hoodies and let his hair grow as soon as he started doing the show from home.

Jason Sudeikis’ tie-dye hoodie and Jodie Foster and her wife’s — photographer Alexandra Hedison — set of luxe pajamas at the Golden Globes’ 2021 ceremony also inform the moment of history we’re living. The dress code for the Globes seemed to almost be: "as long as you’re dressed, it should work." This explains Sudeikis’ casual look, Foster’s effort to be elegant yet comfortable at the same time, and Sarah Paulson’s more classic haute couture look in a Prada gown, complete with a lavender Prada cast for her injured arm.

Unlike TV hosts, we don’t necessarily need to adhere to the whole uniform while working from home. And, unlike celebrities, we might not have that many opportunities for socially distanced parties that are televised and where formal attire is optional.

We’re celebrating our first anniversary of being stuck at home and, even though things are starting to look a bit brighter, there might still be some months left of Zoom book clubs and work meetings. Is it time to reconsider the whole mantra of business on the top, casual comfort on the bottom? Should we be rethinking the appropriateness of sweatshirts and T-shirts for work environments? And how much are people changing the way they’re buying clothes?

Color and Texture for the Camera

If we’ve learned anything from celebrities during the pandemic, it’s how to look good in a videoconference environment. They’ve proven the importance of a staged background and how to get extra points with a well-stocked bookshelf. They’ve established that lighting is one of the most important things to consider when you’re trying to look decent on camera — not for nothing everyone from teachers to tech workers have invested in ring lights that simulate a professional lighting setup. And they’ve reminded us less is more when it comes to makeup: we should be aiming for the fresh-faced natural look.

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Photo Courtesy: Getty Images for the HFPA

Cardigans, cashmere and the ubiquitous hoodies have been favored instead of blazers and button-down shirts. The whole focus of the ensemble has moved to the top. That’s where texture — like a knitted chunky sweater or layering a vest on top of a t-shirt — can help you stand out on camera and also have that "dressed-up" feeling without looking like you’re trying too hard. The same goes for color. Sadly my well-curated collection of black tops has been mostly unworn this winter because on Zoom it looks like I’m wearing the same thing no matter which one I choose.

And, of course, accessories can help. Opt for a pair of big hoop earrings, some sparkling necklace or even a brooch. You can always add headwear to the equation with a cozy woolen hat, especially when it’s still cold. And don’t shy away from colorful headbands and scrunchies — Golden Globe-winner Andra Day is rocking one in the picture above — that can make your whole look pop.

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Comfort Is Also a Must When We Leave the House

It’s unclear for how long trendy sweatsuits are going to be the-thing-to-wear inside and outside. They have two main things going for them: They’re undeniably comfy and 2020 showed us they can be dressed down but also most definitely up.

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Photo Courtesy: Edward Berthelot/Getty Images

Rigid skinny jeans, oppressive tight-fitted dresses, vertiginous high heels… those are some of the things mentioned by the editors at Who What Wear for an article on things we won’t want to wear again after quarantine. After months of elastic waistbands and going barefoot — or putting on some sneakers at most — that sounds perfectly reasonable while we transition back to "normal" life.

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Leggings might be here to stay indefinitely. Celebrities are even wearing them with booties and proving a fresh-out-of-yoga look can be easily upgraded to business casual with the right leather jacket or power coat.

At the end of the day, wear something that makes you feel good and that you like. And yes, it’s perfectly fine to have fun and employ the stylist in you. No judgment if you decide to dress up just to run to Walgreens or grab a coffee. It’s not like there are other occasions that will allow you to finally break in those platform sneakers that are all the rave.

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