Fashion editor Freya Drohan reports on an emerging trend she's seeing amongst New York's well-heeled and newly vaccinated – the 'comfy party' ensemble.
Traditional dress codes? In a post-Covid world, forget ‘em. Gone will be the days of fretting over what actually constitutes a cocktail frock or whether you need to iron a blouse for your upcoming work dinner. We might soon be swearing off tie-dye sweats for the foreseeable, but the shift towards comfort is irrevocable.
And so, when trend forecasting network WGSN shared insights into consumer habits and prophesied that we’ll all lean into what they’ve defined as ‘comfy party’ for the rest of the year, I was intrigued not just by the cute little name, but by what that actually entails and looks like.
By now, reading articles about “how we’ll dress like it’s the roaring ‘20s 2.0” are probably doing your nut in – even if you do have your modern-day version of a sequin flapper dress raring to go. In New York, where things have been considerably “open”, with respect to current health and safety guidelines, for the last few months, it’s still far from fashion with a capital F that we’re seeing on display. On the subway, where everyone is spaced out but grateful to get a seat because what does rush hour even mean anymore, it’s drab and dull basics. On the streets in Brooklyn, flats and Mom jeans reign supreme, and in the kinda-busy downtown hotspots on a Saturday night, it’s worlds away from the Great Gatsby vibes that people are speculating. Likely because it’s jarring to wear anything deemed too celebratory when plastic partitions between tables, masks and mandatory temperature checks, and sombre news headlines remain the norm.
Yet! There’s no doubt that we’re yearning for the enjoyment of getting dolled up again, and comfy-meets-party feels like an invitation that actually fits the bill. While the world remains shook to its core after the past year, comfort — both in literal tactile terms and emotionally speaking— mixed with a tasteful, tactful dose of hedonism and joie de vivre seems more like the order of the day. On the runways, it’s making me think of how Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton paired a sculptural sweet-heart ballgown with a cropped knit jumper, the marabou-trim cuff bodysuits at Saint Laurent, and how even the most dreamy dresses at Dior, Etro, and Alberta Ferretti came teamed with casual headscarves and Grecian sandals.
And so, with that high-low juxtaposition in mind, here’s what can be on the proverbial moodboard for the upcoming comfy parties in your life. Are you in? Répondez, s’il vous plaît!
Pretty dresses with creeper boots
High waisted trousers with voluminous blouses
Silky dresses with matching headscarves
Smocked linen dresses with a sensible heel
Peekaboo lingerie and floral frocks
A tutu and a knit