The year face masks became fashion accessories and leisurewear become the only ‘wear’

the year we went back to basics

Let’s be real for a moment: no one quite saw 2020 coming. If anyone had said that fashion trends for 2020 would include loungewear and masks, you would have thought that person to be completely bonkers! But the lockdown that came along with COVID meant that fashion had to redesign itself. Terms like “day pjs” and “leisurewear” became the norm. “Home couture” trends saw many folk recreating runway and red-carpet looks… From the pillow challenge to the duvet-dress challenge, we saw it all.

Lounging in leisurewear

With people confined to their homes, we also saw a shift towards e-commerce and online shopping – particularly for leisurewear and loungewear. Basically, if it was elasticised, soft and cosy, it was going in the virtual shopping basket. Double points if you managed to find something tie-dyed – sporting a matching tie-dye tracksuit was all the rage!

To gain some insight into how the lockdown affected consumer-buying trends, we spoke to a fashion buyer for Pick n Pay Clothing, who confirmed that sales in loungewear and slippers surged during the lockdown while fashionable item stock stood still. As a response, orders for fashionable items, such as coats, boots and sneakers, were cancelled or put on the backburner, while orders for loungewear, leisurewear and slippers were increased to meet growing consumer demands.

Lipstick off and masks on

Face masks, arguably the most memorable fashion feature from 2020, were something we all had to get used to. The use of face masks in public places was mandatory, but not just any mask (or bandana) would do. With surgical masks in short supply, information on proper mask-wearing regulations was contradictory at the start of the worldwide pandemic. Eventually, however, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that even fabric masks offered more protection than not wearing a covering at all, and masks became the new bra: confining, uncomfortable and worn only in public! Whether you opted for a plain mask or a DIY tie-dyed one to match your leisurewear, the WHO had very specific regulations when it came to fabric masks. Masks had to cover the nose, mouth and chin while being secured with elastic loops or ties, and it was recommended that they consist of multiple layers, be washable and reusable. The only thing left to ponder was whether your mask should indeed match your leisurewear outfit in public or not…

face mask

Only time will tell if face masks along with a relaxed approach to what is fashionable will be the new normal for the foreseeable future, but for now we’ll enjoy the loungewear and slipper period bestowed upon us.

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