As someone who is slightly ashamed to list shopping as a lifelong hobby, I can fully confirm that the ongoing pandemic hasn’t been kind to the fashion conscious. Like most people stuck in lockdown, I’ve largely been living it up in cosy sweaters and maybe jeans when my joggers need a wash, longing for the day when I finally have an excuse to hit the outdoors in something more stylish. Of course, I’ve not got the time, the energy, the money or the tumble dryer to keep trekking to Tesco looking like I’m hitting the town, but alas, I live for the occasion (and the nice compliments as well), so when opportunities to dress up are scarce, I’ll be making the most of what little choice I’ve got.
So rather than gushing over the dazzling celebrity looks sported by those whose lives and livelihoods have been largely untouched by the pandemic, my new style icons are the stuck-at-home bunch; the slackers, the stay-indoors, the sort of people who get all dressed up just to go downstairs to make a cup of tea and maybe watch a bit of telly. As I sit here, trying my best not to break the bank on Black Friday sale swag I probably won’t be wearing until next academic year, I’ll instead turn my attention to the fashion killas who recycled old trends, kept it casual and made their everyday look their absolute best.
Robert Pattinson in the kitchen in a tracksuit:
Having captured the hearts of hormonal millennials with his performance as Swarovski-skinned teen vampire Edward Cullen more than 10 years ago, the now-serious actor R-Patz has also sparked the obsession of the wannabe memelord Gen Z, thanks to his pure chaotic energy and iconic lockdown image. While his DIY couture looks and insightful dietary tips for GQ Magazine manifested in the ultimate slacker manifesto, it was this image of the star, lurking gormlessly in the kitchen, dressed head-to-toe in a brown Adidas tracksuit that inspired hundreds of Halloween costumes, Twilight-themed TikToks and a comforting sense of assurance that the staple look of lockdown – the tracksuit – is in fact, cool.
Joe Exotic in the Here Kitty Kitty music video:
As a lover of leopard print, florals and walking around with a man on a leash, I nearly gave Carole Baskin a spot on this list. But since her style’s being channelled left, right and centre by queens and lowly peasants alike, I think it’s time we took a moment to discuss one of the unsung outfits of Netflix’s Tiger King that really captured the zeitgeist at the height of lockdown; namely her arch nemesis’ ensemble for his Here Kitty Kittymusic video. Consistency is what cements Joe Exotic as an icon of the ages.
Sure, he certainly invested much time and money in looking ever so slightly ridiculous, but isn’t that the whole point of having your own brand? Either way, this look in particular leaves much to be discussed. Can one really commit to being a vicar and a cowboy at the same time? Is this some Troy Bolton-style internal struggle of having to decide between both sides of your personality manifesting on screen? Whatever it is, it’s stripped-down, yet messy, confusing, thrown-together and therefore, a lockdown mood for sure. Not to mention, so hot he even wore the hat to his husband’s funeral.
Shea Coulée’s Top 3 Runway Look:
While Season 12 of RuPaul’s Drag Race and the first ever season of Canada’s Drag Race helped me through a sad summer stuck indoors, it was Shea Coulée’s All Stars Season 5 that had me screaming at the TV in awe. While I’m willing to admit that, as a very successful drag queen and a contestant on a show with a catwalk, Shea doesn’t exactly embody the same scungy spirit as R-Patz and the Captivity King, I beg you to hear me out on this one.
Dressed head-to-toe in delicious baby pink, glossy-faced to match and a beehive of Winehousian glory, Shea slayed the series finale with her nod to the sixties. Without having to go off on a ‘this-made-me-want-to-go-back-to-a-simpler-time-when-covid-wasn’t-a-thing’ cliché, this look does stand as a testament to the art of outfit repeating, reworking and revamping. Something which I’ll certainly keep in mind next time I find myself wondering whether to drop all my dollar on a new dress when I could just dig out an old one I barely wore during lockdown.
Gillian Anderson as Dr. Jean Milburn:
Picking a character from Sex Education to star on this list was not going to be an easy task. But all entries cast and considered, it’s Gillian Anderson’s divine and honourable Dr Jean Milburn who ends up taking the top spot. Casually swishing about the house in the sort of jumpsuit most people would reserve for a photo-shoot or a formal, Jean Milburn is exactly the kind of woman I want to be. Minimal, yet oh so stylish, even her pyjamas make her look like she’s made an effort. I reckon if she found herself working from home in that gorgeous gaff, she’d still dress just as well. Because guess what everyone – that’s exactly what she does! So stop complaining about not having the chance to wear your nice clothes and stick the damn things on. #BeMoreJean.
Rico Nasty in the OHFR video:
As an ex-emo, doing my best to dress more like a grownup, this look is exactly the kind of inspiration I don’t need. An assault of accessories championed by all the subcultures I know I should be staying away from, the longer I look at Rico Nasty’s OHFR getup, the more I want to rock up to my next Zoom seminar dressed like a steampunk engineer, a Siouxie Sioux tryhard, a Tik Tok E-Girl and a Berghain regular all at once. While the overall look may be a bit much for some, for me it’s a friendly reminder that no matter what look I want to pursue once lockdown ends, at least I’ve got plenty of options.
Dorian Electra in the F the World video:
Christian Girl Autumn done right. No wordy explanation or tentative link to the overall theme of the list needed. If you haven’t seen the video, you should.
Illustration: Verity Laycock