“Oh, I am SO sorry,” the handsome young man gasped, looking down. “I guess they haven’t been out in a long time,” he laughed with obvious embarrassment. I’d just met a fellow attendee at an event on top of a downtown skyscraper. He’d just noticed that his quite proper tie shoes were very dusty. What folks were wearing turned out to be a fun topic for some of us.

“Working from home for nearly two years has me demanding comfort,” shared a woman having overheard our dusty shoe chuckle. “I didn’t consider for a second wearing high heels to this,” she emphasized. Indeed, ties knotted smartly at perfectly starched collars seem ancient relics of business attire. Are they destined to be relegated to one of those coffee table books on ‘The History of Clothing?’

Walking through any of the department stores leaves one with the impression they have evolved to become the apparel section of a sporting goods store. Pants for the Peloton, comfy cotton tops and zip-up knits, and the ubiquitous leggings in designs suitable for an exhibit at the contemporary art museum.

Now shoe departments are almost completely stocked with tennis shoes.  Nary a strappy sequin pair to be found. At my local Marshalls, there are no regular street or business clothes, only sweaters. Seriously. Racks and racks of sweaters. I guess it’s what they gathered from all the 2020 sweaters that went unsold at the Covid-shuttered Macys.

Be kind to yourselves. We’ve all been through a lot, some a very lot. Everyone will understand if you want to slide gradually back into social gatherings with both apparel and demeanor. Don’t try to force zippered pants that you wore before lockdown. It’s depressing. Reach for the next size up or elastic. Just keep the conversations positive and have fun.

Flip-flops? Nah. Find those leather slip-ons and give them a quick dusting. Or better yet, finger write Dust Me! on them.

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