Lockdown Fashion: Bianca’s story

Today’s ‘Lockdown Fashion’ interview is with Bianca Petri. Bianca is a Specialist Registrar in Gastroenterology and General Internal Medicine in Southeast London. “I am living zero waste and am convinced that ethical and sustainable choices are feasible even when living a busy modern lifestyle. I write about my experience on IG @myzerowastenook, and have a passion for vintage books especially Russian classics and Victorian literature.”

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

The bulk of my wardrobe consists of preloved clothes with some pieces from ethical companies and oldies that I have been wearing for years.

At work you will always see me in a dress. I don’t know what it is about dresses but they give me a feeling of empowerment and professionalism. Since I come into close contact with people from various backgrounds, my style errs on the side of conservative – knee length hems, elbow length sleeves, no cleavage and minimal jewellery. I offset this with bright colours such as emerald or cobalt blue which has the additional advantage (or disadvantage when you crave a much needed break) that I am easily visible in the department.

In my private time I usually wear tailored trousers and an oversized sweater or men’s shirt with flats in neutral colours such as black, white, navy and beige.

2) Thinking back through what you have worn since you’ve been staying at home, what has been your favourite item of clothing and why?

A cashmere sweater or a silk dressing gown. Both are ideal for spending some relaxing time in the evening on the sofa with a good book.

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

Not really, no. I choose only natural fibres such as wool, silk, linen and cotton and by only secondhand or reuse clothes from beloved ones. Some of my favourite pieces are my father’s shirts and his suede leather trousers from the 70’s. I miss rummaging through secondhand shops and finding little treasures like a grey MaxMara wool coat I stumbled across in Venice last year. Having said that, I have found some great preloved pieces online lately that I will cherish for many years. Every piece in my wardrobe was chosen intentionally and I take great care to make them last as long as possible. So I spend regular time mending my clothes or caring for leather goods. In times of reduced social activities I have more opportunities to create space for these activities and found this very therapeutic.

4) Is there anything you feel you can wear now that you couldn’t in ‘normal’ times? Why? And is there anything you miss wearing (and why do you not wear it)?

That would have to be hats – in both cases, actually. Since I currently spend my free time off work mainly in the garden (weather permitting) I had so many more opportunities to wear my straw hats. On the other hand I miss wearing a hat when going out – I have some lovely vintage hats from pillboxes to Fedoras. My favourite is a grey men’s Fedora that is more than 40 years old. I send it to my hatter once a year to get it groomed and looked after and wear it whenever I want to channel my inner Humphrey Bogart.

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 Fashion: an exploration of dressing at home in 2020‘ dated 9th April 2020.

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