Lockdown Clothing: Darren’s story

Today’s interview in the ‘Lockdown Fashion’ project is with Darren Reynolds. Darren describes himself as “Male, 53, occasionally creative, works in the cycling industry.”

1) Can you describe what your personal style was like before lockdown?

My style is monochrome (almost entirely black) and pared back. I prefer comfortable items such as smart sportswear, fitted t-shirts, simple tops and trainers, and have multiples of lots of items. There is an overlap between my everyday wear and my work wear. For work I will wear the same t-shirts, trainers and baseball cap, and sometimes bottoms too, but these are teamed with work-specific outerwear for cycling: fitted jacket, cycling leggings, overshorts, gloves, snood (worn round my neck), and cycling socks. I rarely wear any of these items outside of work. When I get home from work I remove my work clothes and don my everyday gear. I lounge about in leggings. If I go out I’ll replace these with bottoms, or wear the bottoms as a second layer. This plain, everyday wear usually suffices for social occasions, though I will occasionally wear ‘statement’ items to parties, etc. These include a choice of rings that I only ever wear on what I feel are special occasions. Wearing one of these rings is me dressing up.

2) How would you describe your style now?

As I’m not working and am at home most of the time I simply wear leggings, t shirts and plain tops, which isn’t any different from what I’d normally be wearing. The lockdown has also coincided with me being unwell, so much of my time has been spent in bed, wearing the same leggings and t-shirts as bed wear, plus a jumper and a dark grey scarf to help keep warm. For short strolls outside I wear extra layers of my usual wardrobe: bottoms, a plain woolly zipper top, padded jacket, and my cap.

3) What is your daily routine for getting dressed to remain at home? If you don’t have one, why is that?

I’m changing my clothes a lot less regularly than I normally would. This is because I’m not going out and working and also because I’ve been unwell. I will just throw on the same clothes I wore the day before, or just sleep in them and remain in them the next day, and so on.

4) Has your approach to fashion and style changed as a result of the current situation?

My approach is very much a comfort-first one and if anything the lockdown has emphasised the validity of that for me. There is a pleasure to be had in lying around in crumpled, lived-in clothes, a sense of well-being and comfort to be gleaned from it. I’ve allowed my clothes to cling to the contours of my body and hug me, to help preserve my sense of self. Changing clothes potentially disrupts this. Regularly wearing the same (or very similar) outfit gives a sense of definition and stability.

5) What are the social situations you find yourself in now (even if remotely), and how do you dress for them?

Social situations have been limited to short strolls round my local neighbourhood and occasional group Zoom sessions online. I will simply wear my usual everyday gear, but for the latter I can omit the outer layer and just lounge around in my leggings because my laptop camera reveals only my face and upper body. I may or may not trim my beard before Zoom meetings, depending on how I’m feeling, but am generally unshaven at the moment, and I can always switch the camera off if I choose to.

If you’d like to take part in the project yourself, you can find all the information you need in the blog post entitled ‘Lockdown Clothing: a project documenting how we dress at home‘ dated 17th May 2020.

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