By Geena Provenzano
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to change many aspects of their lives—one being style. As lockdowns progressed, people started adopting a more casual wardrobe.
Sweatpants became the new normal, as Zoom meetings and classes were conducted from the waist up. Stores that once specialized in formalwear, began selling loungewear. With nowhere to go, there wasn’t much of a reason to get dressed up.
But now things are starting to reopen, and that leaves one question: What is the upcoming future of fashion?
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer and fashion expert, Sarah Bauknecht says pieces that blend comfort with style are wardrobe necessities for this Spring and Summer. As restrictions lift, people will have more opportunities to actually dress up. Some will be eager to go all out, while others will continue to seek comfort.
“I know some people who are very excited to get all dressed up and go out and about and celebrate getting back outside and living something that is a little bit more of a pre-pandemic life,” Bauknecht said. “However, for others, such as myself, I’ve really started to embrace the comfiness.”
As more people started to embrace a comfier style, retailers had to follow. Kelly Vigliotti opened the Strip District’s Hazel Grey Boutique in November 2020. She had a vision of her store being filled with day dresses and denim. But as the pandemic dragged on, she turned to selling loungewear.
“You have to go with the flow,” Vigliotti said. “You have to often go in a different direction than you intended to, to make things work.”
Today, Vigliotti’s vision is finally coming together, as dresses now fill most of her store. She says they appeal to both those who want to dress up and those who want to stay casual. There are midis and minis, each made with different fabrics like cotton, linen, and silk. There are body cons and a-lines, and plenty of puffed sleeves and ruching. For those not wanting to let go of the lounge trend just yet, many of these dresses would also pair well with sneakers.
Another trend popping up for Spring is color—and a lot of it. It isn’t uncommon for vibrant shades to emerge as the weather gets warmer. But this season just seems to be different. Perhaps because people have mostly been wearing a rotation of black or grey sweatpants for the last year.
Sara Bauknecht believes colorful accessories will be very popular throughout the Spring and Summer. A colorful necklace or pair of earrings can dress up a Zoom look or brighten up an outfit for a night out.
“I think we can still all use some of that these days,” Bauknecht said.
Apricot Lane Boutique, located in Shadyside, is offering an array of colors this season. Blues, oranges, and purples make up casual tops, dresses and jumpsuits. And for those who aren’t ready to ditch the sweats, a line of loungewear is available in hot pink and neon green.
“I think everyone’s kind of pivoted a little bit,” said Apricot Lane owner Taylor Lasher. “I think fashion is going to be very vibrant and exciting in the next couple of months.”
Even designer brands are hopping on these trends, as evident from the Spring 2021 ready-to-wear shows. Fashion weeks have obviously been very different this year. A majority of the shows lacked an audience and were streamed virtually. But that hasn’t stopped designers from putting out breathtaking collections.
Bottega Veneta, one of the hottest brands prior to the pandemic, was a show filled with color. Even the floor and backdrop emitted shades of blue, orange, and green. The collection was monochromatic, but drenched with vibrant hues from head to toe, like a red jacket complimenting a red mini skirt. Bottega’s accessories, including the coveted pouches and sandals, are also available in these colors.
Miuccia Prada expressed both comfort and style in her Spring 2021 ready-to-wear collection for Miu Miu. She added a little bit of a preppy aesthetic but still kept it very elegant. Classic polo shirts were accompanied by miniskirts encrusted with crystal flowers. A green silk dress with a bow at the waist was combined with a green track jacket. The collection also exhibited a vibrant color trend, with reds, yellows, and blues mixed throughout.