You remember the opening montage of “The Devil Wears Prada”, when all the “clackers” are dressed to work in luxury lingerie and hosiery, sample size runway looks, heels? of designers and accessories galore? And they strut out of their posh Manhattan apartments with perfect makeup and waxed hair and hail taxis to take them to their low-paying fashion writing jobs?
Ugh, I yearn for this experience. I wish him like a star-eyed college boy with big city dreams and growing debt – or at least some semblance of that. The difference now is that I’m decades older, and although I have this fashion writing job it plays out on Zoom and Slack and unanswered emails because 22 months later, we are still in a pandemic.
While I can’t say I’ve ever been linked to clackers – Annie’s waistcoat and bagel are more my speed – both deliver the same energy. It’s that sense of transformation that happens when you get up in the morning, pick an outfit that makes you feel like the best version of yourself, and step out into the world.
This is one of the more minor inconveniences and difficulties caused by the pandemic, but remote working did away with a ritual that until 2020 didn’t really realize how much I enjoyed and on which I counted to conquer the day. Ahead of the vacation, my employer announced that it would postpone the mandatory “back to office” date set before Omicron dominated the daily headlines. It was the appropriate decision to make as New York City sees new daily records of confirmed Covid cases (and hospitalizations here just surpassed 10,000 for the first time in 20 months!), And it reflects the way whose company has protected its employees and their families throughout the pandemic.
But behind the screen, I felt discreetly deflated and alone in my disappointment. The new dresses, tops and tights that I happily acquired in anticipation of my return to work would continue to pile up on my overflowing bedroom chair.
Of course, commuting can be strenuous, especially in New York City where subway crime is gradually reaching pre-pandemic levels. I also save money by telecommuting because I don’t buy $ 6 cafes or let myself be tempted by the stores I go to, but I admit that I love working in an office. . I wish I could join the choir of voices proclaiming how “WFH” made time for new hobbies, exercise routines and rest, but it turns out I thrive in the curious world of theater. office, including making a concerted effort to dress the role each day.
I work for a fashion media company after all. It is more than likely that everyone who works here appreciates the fashion and style even after they are done with the day. Maybe they even feed on it, like me.
It’s not like the stereotypical posh, label-obsessed desks depicted in the movies, but the clothes people wear to work have the power to reveal glimmers of their personality – information that isn’t as easy to glean. from a distance. Veterans can be identified by their classic, timeless style and unique accessories collected over the years. You can spot millennials who have been influenced by brands and aesthetics born on Instagram, while recent college graduates have an enviable youthful knack for mixing used yarns with streetwear or whatever they like.
Although attendance is not mandatory, the office has reopened for employees wishing to enter, and more recently they have been encouraged to re-acclimatize to the environment, like a bagged goldfish adjusting to the temperature of the l water in a new bowl. I jumped at the chance to return to work, commuting to the office almost every day since September 2020.
A group of “regulars” formed from different brands and departments, forming bonds around a common taste for traditional work settings and responsibilities, such as photoshoots and attending events, which we force them to leave our homes. As a result, the office now feels like our territory; individual offices and cabins our own plots of land. The new arrivals, who almost always wander in bewilderment telling everyone they haven’t returned since March 2020, are viewed with caution and suspicion.
But this desolate land of few occupants has a laid-back Summer Friday-like vibe compared to the pre-pandemic office, which doesn’t require dry-cleaned clothes or even ironing, for that matter. There just weren’t enough people in attendance to appreciate a pair of sparkly heels or a feather-trimmed blouse, much to my disappointment.
I often wonder if the same people who are now “regulars” were also the kids who were looking forward to the first day of school. I know I was, carefully planning my outfits in advance to the point of having socks tucked into shoes and a week of clothes laid out. It’s the same experience today as it was back then. Like most kids, I was craving a summer vacation, but after laying down in T-shirts and shorts, I was ready to step back into matching clothes, preferably with buttons and buttons. zippers.
Granted, I took advantage of the perks of working remotely, including working in my pajamas, which quickly lost its appeal in the first couple of weeks. I did, however, have invaluable time with my family and our pets as we all crouched down at my parents’ house in Florida during the darkest days of 2020. These moments are made even more precious as our good- beloved 18 year old chihuahua brought us all came home before he crossed the rainbow bridge a year ago. As an adult I had the opportunity to create new rituals with my family – things I haven’t had the chance to do since I was a kid – like watching vampire shows with my brother. (if you’re not watching “What we do in the shadows” you’re missing out), walks with my mom on a nearby trail, and our daily midday coffee break.
By working remotely, I finally had the opportunity to help with home projects that I normally never have time for on my typical blitz visits. I was also in a better position to help with expenses when my dad was unemployed like millions of other Americans in 2020.
I am painfully aware of how lucky and privileged I am to not only be allowed to work remotely and earn a salary for a job I am passionate about (in media, however), but also to do so without the loss. and the grief of millions of people. lived because of covid. I am sometimes paralyzed by luck, anxiously waiting for the other shoe to fall. It doesn’t suit me that some of us, just by a twist of fate, find moments of pleasure in a situation that has turned the lives of so many around the world upside down.
I don’t think I’m the only one who felt an indescribable emotional cocktail of relief, guilt, gratitude and hope when I received my first and second shots, and now a booster. Relief that fewer people would die, guilt for the nearly 5.5 million people worldwide who have already done so, gratitude for the vaccines, and hope for a return to normalcy – just basic, ho-hum normalcy. . Because it’s not really about fashion or peacock envy in the office. It’s about missing out on the nuances and everyday routines, like dressing for work, that make life normal, or at least normal.
The office will finally reopen. And when that does, I’m sure I’ll miss being able to mute some colleagues. There are bound to be days when I wish I could cocoon myself in bed with my laptop, my phone and nothing more. But this is not life and the pandemic did not happen so that we can sit faceless and speechless and increasingly detached behind a screen for more than 8 hours a day. Getting up and getting dressed for work is just the first step towards a good seat on the subway, the baristas at Starbucks remembering my order, making plans after work and that wonderful feeling of contentment when you finally get home. at home after a long day at work and can relax in your pajamas.
For some, it took a global pandemic to take stock of what we have and find joy in the small moments and simple pleasures that make up one day.