The Downtime Guide to: Quarantine Outfits

The Downtime Guide to: Quarantine Outfits

Dayna Evans

We're at home more, but that doesn't mean fits aren't happening. Here's how to get them off.

As is my prerogative, once the weather turned chilly this week, I immediately bought a pair of puke-colored corduroy pants. Nothing says the changing of the seasons like a pair of cords—thick or thin barrel, in burnt orange or chocolate brown, hung low like in middle school or flared like in high school—and I have been programmed to want to wear them in the fall as if I’m going back to school myself, even though I am approximately three hundred years distant from my last biology class.

When the cords arrived, I gleefully tried them on with a pair of fresh white sneakers I had ordered during fall sales and a new chore coat I had bought in the spring and hardly worn, and thought, Damn, wait until they see me now.

The “they” here, I guess, were the students and that one cute teacher at my imaginary school for adults; friends at bars, parties, and restaurants; and colleagues at my workplace in our theoretical office, all of whom I would not actually be seeing at all this fall. They would not, in fact, be seeing me now. Given the dire state of the world and the omnipresent shade of the virus, it dawned on me as I flexed in the mirror that hardly anyone would get to see my corduroys or my white sneakers or my chore coat because there was simply nowhere to go, no school nor dive bar nor birthday party nor office. My opportunities to unveil my new fall clothes were depressingly but necessarily limited.

If sixteen years of education has taught me anything, though, it’s that seasonal clothing transitions do not stop for anyone or anything, and fall means means stunting on all your pals. Did I buy these cords in the dreaded year of 2020 for nothing? Not quite.

With fewer opportunities to flex and more temptation to risk it all, there still remain ways that we can show off our new fall ‘fits without throwing house parties, or worse, pretending that everything is normal. Get new looks this fall that you wanna show off to the masses? Here’s how you still can, even when there’s nowhere to go.


Hear me out. Nothing on Gaia’s green earth is more powerful than opting out when people think you’re going to opt in. What do you mean you aren’t coming to the group outing to the Mets game that you planned? How could you not show up to your brother’s college graduation? Weren’t you supposed to be at work today? The surprise alone is enough to pique interest about what you might be hiding. Tell your friends that you aren’t leaving the house at all this fall and they’ll naturally begin to think that you have invested in some truly sick outfits, so much so that it would become frankly impolite to be around them. Don’t even give a whiff of what your closet has on offer this fall and the curiosity alone will inspire jealousy enough to last until next year.

I’ve been to quite a few CVS Pharmacies in my short years on this planet and have always respected the comical length of both their receipts and the Shining-esque length of their aisles. You could forget what you had even come to CVS to buy before reaching the end of a CVS aisle—I know because it’s happened to me several times. Take this opportunity to debut your fiercest catwalk in your newest fall looks. Say you need to swing by the CVS for some Pepcid AC. Wear whatever cool clothes you have recently acquired and strut down the heartburn aisle with the steely confidence of Naomi Campbell. When a pharmacy employee inevitably asks what you’re doing, gesture wildly to your attire and keep walking. Bonus points: bring a bluetooth speaker and stream Hennessy Youngman’s CVS Bangers to really set the vibe.


If your friends decide to have an outdoor Halloween get-together (with fewer than ten people, please) or your little punk cousins need an additional chaperone on their Halloween trick-or-treating affair (whatever that is going to look like this year), show up stacked head to toe in your new looks. When they ask why you didn’t bother doing the bare minimum and applying eyeliner whiskers to your face, you can use it as an opportunity to say something like, “Hm, a cat costume just didn’t go with my outfit.” Do the suggestive eyeball thing to draw their attention downwards and—fa’bam—you’ll be met only with astounded faces. How could you stunt so hard on a tiny child’s holiday for babies? How cold are you?


There’s nothing I love more than when Past Me gives Future Me a present. Sometimes that means that Past Me puts my important valuables in a place where Future Me will actually be able to find them, or Past Me stocks up on Gatorade and bagels the night before drinking two point five beers. This year, Past Me is considering putting all the new things that I’ve ordered online with nowhere to go and sealing them into vacuum bags to store under my bed for next year. Imagine how excited Future Me will be to discover an entire closet’s worth of sick clothes in 2021, never worn and ready to show off. The wait is hard but the payoff will be worth it.


The wizards over at Blackbird Spyplane HQ wrote thoughtfully on the issue of wearing “dope fits” at protests, rallies, and community-oriented volunteer events so we don’t have to. But in a time when being propelled into action is more important than sitting on your couch and feeling sorry that you don’t get to go to happy hour anymore, there is no harm in looking good while you’re out there fighting back. Let’s leave it to the experts: “Bear in mind that yr dope fit is merely an extra touch of beauty u r contributing to the much more beautiful and important spectacle at hand, i.e. mass solidarity against evil s**t,” Blackbird Spyplane writes. “Also, remember that pairing protests with a strike, job-walk-off, or other organized threat of withheld labor is a time-tested way to give demands even more power no matter what u r rocking when u do it.” Get out there and do the right thing. If you happen to look good doing it, it’s a win-win.


Most people will tell you that your pets love you unconditionally and that in their eyes, you can do no wrong, but even animals have standards. Has quarantine brought out the dormant eccentric slob in you? Still wearing that T-shirt you inherited after working one summer shift at the crab shack, the one with the Old Bay stains? If no one else can see you, it’d be natural to assume that only you care, but even your dog is at least a little bit invested in cold ‘fits. You gotta show him some of those new goods. Throw on a new look every day and do a little spin before taking Fido for a walk. I guarantee he’s going to respect you more, which, isn’t that all we ever want from our animals?


I don’t know if this will really help you feel like your new fall looks are getting the attention they deserve but diarying is proven to be very good for one’s mental wellbeing. So, hey, why not try it? You’re not doing anything else.

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