What’s YOUR lockdown style? Experts coin new names for pandemic dressing trends

With millions of us still working from home, many Britons have adopted a completely new work-play wardrobe.

While our suits and party dresses gather dust at the back of the closet, our active and leisure-wear drawers have never seen so much action.

Last week two new phrases emerged to describe our newfound attitude to fashion, both of which convey the stressful factor of lockdown and the inevitable boredom it fosters – born largely out of the fact we can barely leave the house other than to exercise or pop down the supermarket and are banned from socialising.

The first, coined by the New York Times‘ Reyhan Harmanci, is ‘hate-wear’ – which refers to clothes deemed ‘neither stylish nor particularly comfortable, yet constantly in rotation’.

Public figures appear to have adopted the 'hate-wear' trend; Health Minister Matt Hancock's zip-up gilet top, worn regularly for televised public visits to frontline services, is a credible contender for an item of hate-wear associated with 'stress and sadness'

Public figures appear to have adopted the 'hate-wear' trend; Health Minister Matt Hancock's zip-up gilet top, worn regularly for televised public visits to frontline services, is a credible contender for an item of hate-wear associated with 'stress and sadness'

Public figures appear to have adopted the ‘hate-wear’ trend; Health Minister Matt Hancock’s zip-up gilet top, worn regularly for televised public visits to frontline services, is a credible contender for an item of hate-wear associated with ‘stress and sadness’

‘Not knowing how to dress is the least of anyone’s problems, but we still do have to put on clothes. For those of us who now work from home, that has resulted in some weird choices,’ the article explains.

‘A hate-wear is when you put on the clothing even though — because? — it makes you feel bad.’

Carly Chalmers, 32, a marketing manager in Toronto, wrote on Twitter that her wool blend sweater which she wore ‘basically every day of spring lockdown suddenly became a symbol of stress and sadness’. 

The New York Times piece cites examples of hate-wear which include ill-fitting tracksuit bottoms and hole-ridden tops which do little to boost one’s mood.

Another sartorial example could be the dress US House speaker Nancy Pelosi wore for both of Donald Trump's impeachments

Another sartorial example could be the dress US House speaker Nancy Pelosi wore for both of Donald Trump's impeachments

Another sartorial example could be the dress US House speaker Nancy Pelosi wore for both of Donald Trump's impeachments

Another sartorial example could be the dress US House speaker Nancy Pelosi wore for both of Donald Trump's impeachments

Another sartorial example could be the dress US House speaker Nancy Pelosi wore for both of Donald Trump’s impeachments (pictured left in January and right in December)

Even public figures appear to have adopted the trend; Health Minister Matt Hancock’s zip-up gilet top, worn regularly for televised public visits to frontline services, is a credible contender for an item of hate-wear associated with ‘stress and sadness’.

Another sartorial example could be the dress US House speaker Nancy Pelosi wore for both of Donald Trump’s impeachments.

The other term to emerge to describe our lockdown fashion sense is ‘sadwear’, which has a decidedly more cheerful definition than its name suggests.

Coined by Esquire magazine’s style director Charlie Teasdale, it can be used to characterise clothes that ‘make us feel better when we’re sad, specifically born out of the existential ennui of lockdown’.

Little Mix's Perrie Edwards in her cosy casuals

Little Mix's Perrie Edwards in her cosy casuals

Jade Thirlwall in her cosy casuals

Jade Thirlwall in her cosy casuals

Coined by Esquire magazine’s style director Charlie Teasdale, it can be used to characterise clothes that ‘make us feel better when we’re sad, specifically born out of the existential ennui of lockdown’. Pictured: Little Mix’s Perrie Edwards, left, and Jade Thirlwall, right, in their cosy casuals

Singer Justin Bieber appears to have embodied sadwear - in his case, a loose-fitting 'laughably unflattering' hooded top

Singer Justin Bieber appears to have embodied sadwear - in his case, a loose-fitting 'laughably unflattering' hooded top

Singer Justin Bieber appears to have embodied sadwear – in his case, a loose-fitting ‘laughably unflattering’ hooded top 

Harry Styles appeared in a video interview with Amanda and Jamie Theakston on Heart Radio wearing a snug dressing gown

Harry Styles appeared in a video interview with Amanda and Jamie Theakston on Heart Radio wearing a snug dressing gown

Harry Styles appeared in a video interview with Amanda and Jamie Theakston on Heart Radio wearing a snug dressing gown

Harry Styles appeared in a video interview with Amanda and Jamie Theakston on Heart Radio wearing a snug dressing gown

Harry Styles appeared in a video interview with Amanda and Jamie Theakston on Heart Radio wearing a snug dressing gown in October

‘It might be a stupid hat or novelty jumper or even a pair of joggers that feel great but are laughably unflattering,’ Teasdale writes. 

It cites cosy ‘comfort blanket’ clothing, such as pyjamas, tracksuit bottoms, snug sweatshirts, woolly hats and hooded tops.

But equally ‘sadwear’ it could be something more luxurious, such as a ‘silk home suit’ (aka fancy PJs), provided it makes the wearer feel good.

Amanda Holden jumps to mind as someone who has embraced ‘sadwear’; the Britain’s Got Talent judge keeps her spirits up during lockdown by wearing glamorous evening gowns for mundane tasks like putting out the bins. 

Amanda Holden jumps to mind as someone who has embraced 'sadwear'; the Britain's Got Talent judge keeps her spirits up during lockdown by wearing glamorous evening gowns for mundane tasks like putting out the bins

Amanda Holden jumps to mind as someone who has embraced 'sadwear'; the Britain's Got Talent judge keeps her spirits up during lockdown by wearing glamorous evening gowns for mundane tasks like putting out the bins

Amanda Holden jumps to mind as someone who has embraced ‘sadwear’; the Britain’s Got Talent judge keeps her spirits up during lockdown by wearing glamorous evening gowns for mundane tasks like putting out the bins

Meanwhile the likes of Harry Styles, who appeared in a video interview with Amanda and Jamie Theakston on Heart Radio wearing a snug purple dressing gown in October, Little Mix stars Jade Thirlwall and Perrie Edwards, and Justin Bieber have adopted cosy casuals to boost their spirits.

While many fashion retailers have struggled since the pandemic, Marks and Spencer has reported a fivefold increase in nightwear sales.

But Teasdale acknowledges that, while sadwear is akin to a ‘sartorial sticking plaster’ that people can ’employ to alleviate the gloom’, it can ‘never compete with the succour of a night at the pub’. 

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