Sarah Buitendach Contributing editor at FM
A brassiere fence in New Zealand. Picture: UPSPLASH/PABLO HEIMPLATZ
A brassiere fence in New Zealand. Picture: UPSPLASH/PABLO HEIMPLATZ

Cast your mind back, dear reader, to the follies of yore, those once essential items that you used to navigate daily life. The pressed suit, the high heel, the cabin baggage, the smoky eye. All now relegated to a pile of irrelevant, modern memento mori.

Remember the bra? I barely do. In lockdown, they’ve been scuppered. This sudden freedom and lack of constraints has lifted my spirits, though not my breasts. Once I loved Agent Provocateur beyond all measure. Yesterday I put on a brassiere to acclimatise. It kept chafing a patch on my back. It was excruciating. I removed it.

If you’re tut-tutting at me for letting myself go, you’re probably right. My regrowth has me back at mouse brown, my toenails are naked. But, you will be pleased to note, I waxed my own legs, over two days, with strips ordered from Takealot while I was on business calls. Perhaps I was talking to you – think about that. The professionals who do the job in nanoseconds are greatly missed.

Underwear makers must be worried; this mammary revolution could take them from double D to RIP.

I noticed, for example, that the share price of La Perla, maker of the really high-end lingerie, has fallen 14% this year in Paris, where it is listed. Now, this may just be a reflection of general pandemic retail because, apparently, there is another camp: ladies rocking their sexiest lingerie in lockdown. These women reckon it makes them feel good about themselves, and who are any of us to argue with that?

To keep, um, abreast of the topic, read this piece on The Telegraph. Here, a buyer for UK department store Selfridges says they’ve seen a spike of up to 70% in sales on some of their bras during the lockdown. Lacy ones included. I don’t buy it.

But this reimagining of the rules of fashion and living does not just apply to our bosoms.

Last week fashion writer Grace Cook tackled the subject of how London is dressing during the pandemic. In her Financial Times article, she described what she and her friends call “bin chic” – what you wear to take the bins out. The keyword all round: comfort. And the real winner in all of this mess is the Birkenstock. Yup – the centuries-old orthopaedic shoe is the clothing item of the moment. Worn with socks, they are unimaginably practical and fashionable as all hell. (I write this while smugly and snugly wearing mine).

It’s not just us plebs who’ve defaulted to couch casual. Fash pack HRH Anna Wintour (editor-in-chief of Vogue since 1988) was also recently snapped in her track pants in an Instagram post for her magazine. That picture, more than anything else, prompted many to proclaim it was the definite sign that the apocalypse must be nigh. To clock it yourself and read about the state of tracksuit pants State-side, read this MarketWatch piece. For inspiration of how to throw on yours with panache, look to Vogue.

Finally, all this must be leading somewhere – life after corona, hopefully. Harper’s Bazaar has taken a stab at how fashion could manifest in a post-pandemic world. It’s a bit of an “everything will be in style” read, but a thought-provoking one nevertheless. And, I’m happy to report, there is not a single bra mentioned at all.

*Buitendach is the FM's Life editor and editor of Wanted magazine.

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