Has Covid-19 Changed Barlow Student Fashion?

Over the past year, the normal way of life changed for Joel Barlow High School students in countless ways. Teenagers’ personal fashion styles since the Covid-19 lockdowns were among the transformations.

The at-home classroom created a causal way of life for high school students. The past year has truly shown how every aspect of life can drastically change.   

“Personally, I would say my style has become much more relaxed from what it was a year ago,” Barlow senior Eva Boyce said. “I used to wear jeans every day, with high-heeled boots and dresses on occasions.”

Male and female styles have been drawn to the same changes. 

“I feel much more lethargic, so I’ve simplified my style to be more comfort-based,” senior Kyle Murray said. “However, I’ve also been drawn to a preppier style—specifically wearing collars through sweatshirts. Moreover, I’m drawn to patches, specifically patches for denim jackets as I look toward diversifying my wardrobe.”

Remote learning gives students a cozy classroom from their home. “I opted for comfort over style during online classes, cycling through sweatshirts and hoodies,” Murray said. “For more formal calls I, like many people, opt for the business look from the waist up and pajamas from the waist down.”

Sign of the times — Barlow students Leyli Ghavami and Kyle Murray have adapted to the new normal of mask wearing since returning to in-person learning. – Rick Falco Photo

Beyond Barlow, a Vogue article, “Loungewear Is Suddenly All-Day-Wear—And Lunya Was Ready for It” by Emily Farra, discusses whether lounge wear is considered fashion. Considering almost everyone has turned to “athleisure” for the everyday look the debate is real.

“There’s a reason we’ve never connected loungewear with fashion or considered it part of our actual style,” said Farra. “For most of us pre-Covid, leggings and sweatpants were merely the soft clothes we changed into after work, the worn-out or baggy things we’d never dream of wearing in the ‘real world.”

The meaning of loungewear changed along with its look. The expensive sweat suits have hit the market which developed the call for loungewear fashion. “As technology gets more advanced, our clothes become less so: They’re comfier, simpler in design, less public-facing,” Farra said. “That isn’t to say we’re going to devolve into ribbed-knit cocoons; loungewear should be as cleverly designed as our ‘outside’ clothes.”

At home or in school, students wanted to stay casual. The loungewear attire from the remote classes still continued during in-person classes for some students. “There has definitely been an increase in the everyday workout clothing trend: yoga pants and leggings for the girls and basketball shorts and sweats for the guys,” said  Boyce. 

Although comfortable “athleisurewear” became the new look for most, it was not for all. Wearing the same clothes every day during lockdown has also made people appreciate getting dressed up to go to school. Beginning in 2021, new high school styles became highly rated.  

“Different hairstyles have become very popular,” Murray said. “Students have (self-cut) bangs or dyed their hair. A few opted for more dramatic and alternative makeup looks. Layering has become more common where collars or turtlenecks are styled beneath sweatshirts or tank tops. Over the summer,  the growth of ‘cottagecore’ led a few to opt for ‘prairie-like fashion.’ At the same time, an obsession with dark academia (a darker preppy style) was popularized. And some moved toward bohemian fashions.”  

According to junior Anya Gorder, “One of the biggest trends at Barlow is large pants with a small top. I’m pretty sure almost every girl in the school has worn this at some point.”

Sacred Heart University students have adapted to lounge wear apparel. — Chris Restaino Photo

Baggy jeans and oversized sweatpants have taken popularity in the past year. The trend is cute but comfortable, according to Gorder. It comes as no surprise that this would be a fan favorite. The relaxed look has taken charge in almost every trend in 2020 into 2021.  

“Another thing that has changed a lot are the colors that are trending,” Gorder said. “Last year, we saw a lot of navy and white. Even a bit of light pink. Now, the two most popular colors are brown and green.” 

Although various behaviors and styles have changed since the beginning of 2020, some things remained constant.  

“’90s fashion trends have remained constant before and throughout last year,” Murray said. “People search for nice vintage or bright streetwear. I think the layering and alternative trends were introduced pre-pandemic and became much more popular as people explored them under the privacy of their own homes.”

Sacred Heart University senior Katie Russelman displays the monochromic sweatsuit trend with a mask to add a pop of color.

The face mask became the new ordinary way of life for all people. Outside the house, the colorful cloth mask to the blue N95 masks all became a part of fashion. Society had no choice but to take part in this trend that saves lives. 

The facial covering took a part of high school students’ personality. “It feels like the majority of individuals have lost the ability to identify with the clothing they wear. Especially with our faces covered, I believe it’s difficult for students to maintain that means of self-expression,” said Boyce. 

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