There is a famous photo of a woman standing before the ruins of a bombed-out building in London during World War 2. However, you don't notice the building (at first) - it is the woman that you notice. She's dressed lavishly for such an occasion, wearing a chic suit ensemble with a matching envelope clutch, her hair expertly done and peeking out from beneath a stylish hat. The photo symbolized that, even during wartime, fashion was still moving on and ever-evolving as the needs of the people changed. While it may seem silly to care about fashion during such strenuous times, fashion can actually take us out of our reality for a moment and make us become someone else or take us to a different time period all together.
For example, take the costumes in films of the 30s. During the Great Depression, people escaped to the movies to leave behind the troubles of the outside world and experience the lives of Hollywood's most glamorous stars. For 25 cents, people could watch stars like Joan Crawford and Jean Harlow strut about in a beautiful gown by costume designers like Adrian and Edith Head. But why display such ostentatious luxuries while so many are going without? Why have actresses dripped in jewels when ladies' necks were bare? It was because Hollywood knew that people wanted a return to glamorous fashion, and so they gave it to them. When we look at 30's films with a modern eye, we don't think of the poverty, we think of the glamorous gowns and the women who wore them.
This tradition of fashionable glamour would continue on into the 40s' and the war years, when fabric and stockings were being rationed for the boys in the army. They wanted to boost the morale of the people back home, to have something to look back on that didn't remind them of a time where everything had to be rationed.
I think this brings me to my larger point: fashion will continue to do the same thing for us even during the Coronavirus. I know you're probably reading this while wearing your favorite pair of sweatpants, but hear me out: doesn't it feel "normal" when you wear your favorite outfit? It does, doesn't it? This is what I'm saying: fashion is what tethers us to the "normal" way of life.
I remember getting my April issue of "Vogue" when COVID-19 began its reign of terror in the middle of March. When I got that magazine, I felt this weird sort of comfort envelope me. It reminded me that the world will continue on even when it seems it has stopped. Even after I lost my job, I still continued to get ready and get dressed as if I were going to work (though, much later in the morning, of course). Fashion acts as my own sort of comfort food if you will - warming me and filling me with good memories when things were open, and I still had a regular paycheck.
Fashion will continue on. Designers will still release their spring/summer collections and online stores will still stock their newest arrivals. And for that, I will always be grateful to fashion.