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LAURA CRAIK IS UPFRONT

Laura Craik laments another summer of sweatpants, the failings of rapid Covid tests — but takes comfort in new must-see TV

You would think, after a zillion months in lockdown, padding around our prisons in whatever’s vaguely clean, that summer would have been a prime time for peacockery. But no: The Great Summer Dress-Up never happened.

Heels, sequins, tailoring and anything that could be described as fancy stayed in the wardrobe, crying bitter tears of abandonment as more time swooshed by without their owners wanting to wear them. Turns out we like looking loafish. Turns out the long-lost chance to party, day trip and holiday isn’t enough to shake us out of our sweats. Which begs the question: what is?

Nowhere is this new predilection for dressing down (and out) more prevalent than on holiday. Remember when you packed your best clothes? Your new dress? Your smart shorts? The OOO 2021 look is best encapsulated by Harry Styles, jogging in Rome in scabby shorts, an old vest and a baseball cap that doesn’t say Balenciaga.

Or Dua Lipa, sunbathing in Albania in a trucker hat and a hot dog T-shirt. Or Romeo Beckham, sightseeing in Miami in an oversized T-shirt and yellow Crocs. Unquestionably, unfathomably, Crocs are the shoe of the summer, worn by fans as disparate as Kendall Jenner, Heidi Klum, Nicki Minaj and Love Island’s Teddy and Faye.

“Turns out the long-lost chance to party, day-trip and holiday isn’t enough to shake us out of our sweats”

The company purveying these cloven plastic hooves estimates that sales will rise by 60 per cent this year. Not even the sight of Matt Hancock, holidaying in Cornwall in navy Crocs and looking cheerier than he ought to, will be enough to kill the trend stone dead. And if he can’t sound its death knell, nobody can.

Crocs shouldn’t be this popular now. This isn’t February, when we barely had the energy to grab the nearest shoe to take the bins out. Where is the glamour? Where is the effort? Where is the pride? Must we really wait until the Christmas party season for style to rear its swan-like head again? We could be dead by then. Dress for the life you have, and the freedom to have it.

Croc shocka: Heidi Klum puts her foot in it

Failing grade

Covid is still running riot among school-age Londoners as though the vaccine never happened — namely because it didn’t, those most affected being too young to have had one. More worrying still is that schools’ main defence policy, the lateral flow test, has been proved almost useless in its inaccuracy.

This summer, countless teenagers tested negative via LFT, socialising until a positive PCR test eventually made them quarantine. They might feel performatively responsible, but are LFTs actually fit for purpose? Perhaps if the private sector stopped charging prohibitively high rates for PCR tests (the highest in Europe) more people would be able to use them.

Lotusland

Just when you think nothing will fill the Schitt’s Creek-shaped hole in your heart, along comes The White Lotus, a show particularly piquant for those lucky to have just been on holiday.

I couldn’t help but wonder: am I as grotesque as those guests? Are all hotel guests viewed as vile and entitled, just by being there? Character of the year is Armond, the White Lotus’s manager who urges staff to treat guests ‘like the special chosen baby child’, followed by Olivia, whose shallow, phone-obsessed Gen-Z entitlement will send shivers of recognition down many parents’ spines. You have six hours of malevolent bliss ahead — maybe save it for the next lockdown.

HOT:
Kristen
McMenamy

London’s answer to Paulina Porizkova,
and your new favourite Instagram account.

NOT:
Midriff flossing

We get it. You’ve got great abs. But wrapping ties around your tummy will never not be too try-hard
to be cool.