The Fashion Conspiracy

Felicia Ann Ryan

It’s Like You Never Left


I get it, it’s hard. Swiping through fashionable looks and ootd’s while sitting in our sweats, cramped on the couch.

Heck, it’s hard to even look at someone who has put a comb through their hair at times.

These aren’t words spoken from the mouth (fingers?) of someone trying to empathize.

I feel it too. 

Working in fashion doesn’t absolve me of my style sins.  

Or protect me from the cocktail of feelings I down every time I get dressed, adrift in my own cozy conundrum, reaching for my tried and trues, guiltily diverting my eyes from the structured sections. Avoiding eye contact with any garment that may have a closure, collar or general purpose other than ensuring I’m not naked.  

I really shouldn’t use the term reach. Reaching implies that I’m selecting my look du jour from the fine options treasured enough to hang; precisely placed on matching hangers, divided into discernible sections. 

Nope. Most of my looks come straight from dresser drawers these days. The knit section mainly, anything with a not so subtle Lycra content, usually some cotton but rarely denim. 

And that’s ok.

I’ve embraced it, made it a “lewk”, became one with the coordinated knits and chunky socks. Actually, I’ve transformed my look around it, (or perhaps it around me?) ‘it’ being the current circumstances you may know a thing or two about yourself. And as I welcome this utilitarian version of my closet, I can’t help but think, that’s exactly what fashion is, ever evolving, it’s a reflection of a moment in time, history looking back at us, even if that time, our current time, epitomizes what would usually be seen as a general lack of style, the world of sweat pants and slide ons, the fringe of fashion. 

Personally, I love this paradox.   

The absolute definition of what fashion is, a reflection of a moment in time, the headline, “Fashion Faux Pas’ Makes History”.

And it makes me think of the many who say that fashion is on hold, interpreting this period of life as being put on pause. The “If there’s no reason to get dressed up, there’s no reason to really care” mentality. That there is this long stretch of just waiting and nothing else. Waiting for fashion to come back, for a reason to dress up again. A reason for personal expression. Waiting for when others will see, assembles paused until it’s ‘worth’ it once more.

But I have always been under the impression that fashion was for ourselves first, for the eyes of others second. And although we may be missing the second part, we all still have a reason. 

For the ‘Feeling’, not just for the ‘Looking’.  

This is the most that I have ‘felt’ my fashion in a long time, my choices one hundred percent based on how they make me feel, as my clothes support me through my every move from morning to night.


The feeling of it, as fashion picks me up, still possessing the power to change my mood just as fast as any friend can, an antidote to the toneless drone that at times can permeate the day.

It’s still there for me. Fashion never left. 

It transformed, so accommodating, fashion became what we needed it to be.

Donning daily sweatsuits in the place of formal ones  isn’t a lack of fashion, it is the solution fashion gave us to deal with the cards we’ve been dealt.

It’s the fashion of right now. 

Fashion becomes what we need it to be in the moment: it’s an outfit for an event, a uniform for work, or an extended transformation during a period in history, living as long as it’s needed, put to rest and reborn with a new era; but I predict the fashion of now will linger longer than the moment will. When we realize, after all these months, dressing for ourselves made us more comfortable, not just in our rotation of awkward work from home sitting positions but in ourselves; the lack of eyes promoting a new form of expression. Finally seeing fashion for the tool that it is

When the moment changes, so will fashion, and so will we and what we need it to be.

And for that I cannot wait. 

But I’m not waiting for you, fashion.

You’ve been here this entire time.

It’s like you never left.