One of the small perks of not seeing anyone over the course of the pandemic has been that I no longer care what I look like. Rather: I no longer care what other people think about what I look like—specifically, my choice of clothing. For the first time in my adult life, I’ve started dressing only for me.
I’m far from alone. The coronavirus pandemic has dramatically shifted the day-to-day wardrobe of office workers. Sales of the sartorial trappings of the modern professional like high heels, men’s suits, and bras with underwires are suffering. Comfort is being found in the form of sweatpants, athleisure, and Crocs. The shift in work environments has provided us the opportunity to ask ourselves what clothes actually feel good. But why not take it a step further, and use this as an opportunity to discover how our clothes can be a source of joy, too?
“I think a lot about things that we can do in our space so we can experience that moment of joy,” says Ingrid Fetell Lee, author of Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness. According to Lee, joy and happiness are often conflated: Happiness isn’t a singular feeling, but rather a state that results from feeling content and secure. Joy, meanwhile, “is much simpler and more immediate. It’s defined as an intense momentary experience of positive emotion.”