Do Your Socks Have to Match in Quarantine?

Who cares, right? Does it really matter?

I have seen a lot of funny memes about the way people are dressing now that they are stuck at home and are not going out for others to see them. I think a lot of people are happy to be able to slouch around in their most comfortable clothes. Usually, that means the rattiest thing we own.

That’s great! These are the clothes that make us feel hugged. That’s why we usually wore them on the weekends before, because by Friday we needed a hug. Now we are living in a hug all week long.

I reached in the drawer this morning and tried to find a pair of socks that matched what I have on. Then I thought, who cares? No one is going to see me anyway. “You’re right” I said to myself and grabbed the first pair my hand landed on. Matching socks in the face of the greatest crisis any of us have ever faced do not seem a priority.

But then I started thinking about why we dress differently when we go out and when we are at home. When we go out, we want to impress others with our ability to put ourselves together. Or, if we don’t care about that, we are following social mores that say we should not show up at work in our pajamas. We also dress differently when we go out because it makes us feel better about ourselves and it expresses our individuality.

I like to look at the fashions from the 40’s. Clothes were tailored, craftsmanship was important and even though people didn’t have as many clothes as we do, they took care of them and they lasted. If I could dress in any era, this would be the one.

The difference between previous eras of dress and our present day sartorial sensibilities is that we are far more casual than in the past. Before the lockdown, you could go to any store, restaurant, airport or college campus and see people in their pajamas. That never would have happened even 20 years ago. Now, people are not shy about showing up in their slouchiest clothes to places that before we would have never dreamed of appearing less than put together.

I remember air travel in the 70’s, when I was a kid. People dressed up to fly, ascribing to that event the reverence that most people felt for the privilege of air travel. It was special. Just like you don’t show up to church or temple or synagogue in your paint spattered sweats and flip flops, you didn’t fly that way either.

I am not saying that things should go back to the zipped-up, prim and proper ways of the past. But I do think that the way we dress has an impact on the way we feel about ourselves. And our clothes project that for others to see. It also speaks to how we feel about the importance of the events in our lives. We would not wear the same thing to run to the store for milk that we would wear to a wedding or a funeral. Most of us know the difference and we show our respect by the way we dress.

This brings me back around to quarantine.

If we live for weeks on end in our worst clothing, no matter how comfortable, how does that affect our psyche? What are we telling ourselves about how important we are, not to others, but to ourselves?

Think about how you feel when you dress for an occasion, carefully choosing your clothes, showering, styling your hair and applying makeup, shining your shoes, spritzing on some cologne, and stepping out the door feeling like a million bucks.

I think we have slouched around at home long enough. I am not saying we have to dress in our stiffest clothes, or even as if we are going to work. But maybe it’s time to choose something that looks a little better, as if someone may come to your door. The appeal of pj’s or ratty old home clothes has run its course and I am ready for something that makes me feel good about the competent adult human being I am.

That means showering, brushing my hair, dabbing on a bit of face powder and a spritz of perfume, and going back and finding a pair of matching socks. No, no one else will see my socks, but I will. It’s time to bring some sense of normalcy to this life we have been handed. I know socks are not that important, but at this time, it is one thing I can control when there is so much else I can’t change.

At least when my husband walks through the door he will see a wife that looks somewhat like the one he remembers, instead of like a college student who has just rolled out of bed and is stumbling across campus to a class she is late for. He deserves that. He is getting up and getting dressed every day to go to work. The least I can do is wear something that doesn’t look like it came from the rag bag.

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there.

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