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The subtle ways the coronavirus crisis may change how we dress

A woman wearing a protective face mask walks past the closed Dior shop on the Champs Elysees Avenue in Paris
Reuters/Gonzalo Fuentes
It was after the hard years of World War II that Christian Dior introduced the extravagant "new look" that made him famous.
  • Marc Bain
By Marc Bain

Fashion reporter

Published Last updated on

The way we dress is closely pegged to how we live. As Covid-19 alters day-to-day life for millions, it may also leave its mark on the clothes we wear.

The biggest shifts in fashion have historically not come from runway trends but followed events such as wars that disrupt society on a huge scale, says Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell, a fashion historian and author of Worn on This Day: The Clothes That Made History. Their effects ripple through supply chains, the economy, social behavior, and daily life, often accelerating and normalizing changes already underway.

Chrisman-Campbell points to examples such as hoop petticoats dwindling following the French Revolution, as women avoided symbols of aristocracy, and women wearing pants more regularly after World War II hurried them into the workforce. “Having done it by necessity, they began to do it by choice,” she says.

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