Waist up fashion: From home to runway


For some time, fashion has been trending toward ‘waist up’ clothing – a detailed and elegant top half of an outfit, complemented with a relaxed and elasticated bottom half.

This trend has been profoundly exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic, bringing home the reality of this fashion, aligned with current online working and soon, online university education. Many designers have been inspired by this new and challenging way of working, with a vibrant top and a relaxed trouser being prominent at both London and Milan
Fashion Weeks.

Alexandra Fullerton of Glamour Magazine noted that Roksanda heavily focused on tops and had their models “lounging” in their collection which was presented in a Kings Cross apartment. Prada also acknowledged the pandemic and the integral part that technology has played in our working lives by moving the logo to a place it has never been before, the collars of the collections tops.

In March this year, many found that they were displaced to now be working at home, having to be in meetings over Zoom and Teams. No longer were millions of people selecting cohesive outfits to impress their professionalism upon the wider world but were dressing from the waist up, disregarding anything out of the view of their webcam.

Especially in 2020, with the ongoing climate crisis that the fashion industry has been criticised of contributing to, and then the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for the industry and the subjectivity of style and expression has come into question. It is now, for what seems like the first time, that what we are doing at home or what is happing in society is having a greater influence on the fashion industry.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), UK clothing sales collapsed by 34% in March, as a national lockdown depleted the need for new clothing. Workers traded in high-end suits in favour of convenient loungewear. This saw a rise in profits for fast fashion brands such as Boohoo as their sales boomed with thanks to the sale of joggers.

UK clothing sales collapsed by 34% in March

Now, as Durham University takes a blended approach to learning, most of
us find in-person teaching reduced and Zoom calls substituted in. Whilst some might say that you don’t need to think about what trousers you wear now, what you wear on your bottom half should become your top priority to ensure your comfort and style. When it comes to finding brands that
are ethical and inclusive, yet affordable, it isn’t always easy or realistic to check all three boxes. However, there are some great items available that meet most of these requirements.

H&M offers a good range of affordable options having many different styles and fits for all body types. The women’s section provides different colours from pastels to basics, as well as joggers that are at different price points from £8.99 to £79.99. Although the men’s section has less colour, it still has a great variety of style and pattern. The Black and White Checked slim fit joggers, priced at £24.99, are a stand-out pair as they could be styled up or down if leaving the house for an in-person tutorial.

For men and women alike, the size of the jogging bottoms varies from XS –XXL, equivalent to a size 6 to a size 26. H&M has taken steps to become more environmentally and ethically sustainable by having a conscious range, as well as being transparent with their production suppliers, albeit a brand that arguably still indulges in fast fashion with new arrivals occurring regularly, intensifying the need to consume.

Perhaps not the first place to try, Marks and Spencer’s offer the Cosy Lounge Cuff Jogger in short, regular and long sizes, from size 6-22 in all categories. For those not wanting to buy first-hand, Depop also offers a range of second-hand joggers, for which you can personalise a
price range.

All students can express themselves in whatever way they choose from the waist up, but it is the loungewear from the waist down that will become a staple in everybody’s wardrobe for the foreseeable

Image: charlesdeluvio via Unsplash

One thought on “Waist up fashion: From home to runway

  • I have realised after reading the article that I pay attention to tops when I have to attend webinars and zoom sessions, but the bottom sometimes are my pijamas!
    Also, I am becoming fussy about expecting my trousers to be extremely comfortable and warm.
    On the other hand, the fact is that because of the pandemic I cannot emigrate to Latin America after Christmas as I have been doing since I retired 5 years ago… so I am in need again of thermal underwear (so divine!).
    An interesting article that has made me reflect on a rather superficial aspect of the pandemic. How we dressed at home. How we dress for ourselves. How we dress for the “window’ of webinars.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.