Who’s buying clothes during a pandemic?
This is the multi-billion dollar question on everyone’s lips from CEOs to customers. What use do new clothes have for 'lockdown life'? Clothing functions secondary to our personalities — it amplifies who we are and what we have to say about ourselves. If the number of people we’re seeing is dramatically reduced, as it looks to be with Ireland in a six-week Level 5 lockdown, what use do your fineries have?
However, there is a case to be made for self-expression and all that comes with it, especially in tough times like this. Perhaps it is those sweatpants that will provide comfort, or that cashmere sweater. Or, maybe, it’s an opportunity to stop shopping altogether in light of fashion’s environmental impact.
The Irish Examiner asked Ireland’s most stylish men if they’re buying anything this winter. The results are mixed: many are wearing Irish, pledging a local allegiance in times of strife for small business, while some are repurposing what they’ve already bought in seasons past, others are opting for high-end finds. One thing is for certain: everybody buys with a sense of purpose, a reflection of an ongoing commitment to better buying habits.
“My one key item for this winter is a hoodie. I don’t usually wear hoodies or casualwear but every time winter comes around I find myself looking for one. They’re great for layering under a long coat or jacket and can elevate an outfit when used correctly. I just bought a hoodie from [hip-hop artist] A$AP Nast’s ‘Designer Boi’ merch drop and that’ll be the one I’ll use for the coming winter.”
“When it comes to my wardrobe this winter, I don’t see too much changing from previous years gone by.
My style is quite timeless, I won’t go anywhere without my ilk ‘Jocelyn’ jacket. I’m an advocate of layering, mixing a lot of different textures and tones.
“I have invested in two beautiful merino scarves from Fiadh at Brown Thomas’ CREATE showcase to supplement my winter wardrobe.
I also bought a handwoven jacket from [Irish label] Magee 1886. My policy of investing in quality pieces over the years means I don’t really need to buy too much this season.”
“I decided to invest in a good quality crossbody bag from & Other Stories this winter.
“In terms of fashion winter buying, I’ve placed a lot of my focus on products with a sense of permanence to ensure versatility;
high-quality knitwear made from fabrics like alpaca and merino wool from Norse Projects, pleated wide trousers worn formally or casually from A Kind Of Guise, and timeless and durable footwear from Paraboot.”
"With an imminent lockdown, I'm focusing on refining my wardrobe for the coming season. My 'one in, two out' rule helps put manners on my spending and makes sure whatever I buy fits and flows with what I already own. All that said, my big planned purchases this year will be an oversized wool mac with a belt back, cashmere fisherman's beanies and adding to my growing vintage denim collection.”
“After spending the spring months in loungewear, I feel energised to get back to dressing like myself this winter. Dressing gives me confidence and a sense of self so when everything in the world is unsettled I think it is more important now more than ever to do what makes you feel happy and personally wearing great pieces gives me joy! Last season, I invested in a great oversized black Calvin Klein wool coat: it is the apple of my eye and I know I will have it for seasons to come, so I plan on wearing it as the colder days come in.”
“On the contemporary side of things, I love making purchases that can add to both my weekend and work wardrobe. I’ll probably pick up another pair of Common Projects. I like them as they are subtle enough to be worn on a more edgy business casual day (as long it's not an in-person interview).”