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Laura Craik on the sadwear trend that’s bringing her down, trying to fathom the sea shanty craze and how couture is embracing real life

In the Nineties, there was grunge. In the Noughties, there was boho. In the Tens, there was normcore. Which trend has the Twenties spawned so far? Sadwear. Why, of course it has.

When I first heard about sadwear, I felt seen. Finally, there was a name for the tragic ensembles of meh I’d been living in since 19 December, when the Government told us to put away our party dresses and heels before we’d had much chance to wear them. But according to Esquire, which coined the term, sadwear has a more dynamic definition than the one I’d first assumed.

It describes it as ‘clothes to quell your lockdown blues’: joggers in seasonably fashionable hues, sweatshirts with witty words upon them, pyjamas by chic Nordic brands that have rebranded them as ‘home suits’.

I was about to protest, on the basis that there is little more foolish than spending money on clothes to wear nowhere, and do nothing in. And then I remembered I’d spent money on clothes to wear nowhere, and do nothing in. At some indeterminate point in this shitshow, I’d thought it a good idea to lavish £49 on a pair of charcoal grey Hush sweatpants. Do they make me feel like a chic lockdown legend in control of her life, her home and her destiny? No, they do not.

“Do my charcoal grey sweatpants make me feel like a chic lockdown legend in control of her life? No, they do not”

They go saggy at the knees and make my arse look huge, just like all my other sweatpants. When I wear them, my sadness isn’t quelled: it’s heightened. I just think, ‘I could’ve bought three Deliveroos with these.’

If buying clothes to wear within the confines of your own four walls is something that puts a spring in
your step, then don that new lockdown wardrobe with pride. For me, alas, sadwear will always be more passive and less effortful. My sadwear is what’s left when pride has exited the building; the misshapen, colourless garb that skulks in the dying embers, stained and unkempt. God, I need something to dress up for. We all do.

Happy sadwear: Harry Styles in his ‘home suit’

Shanty social behaviour

Despite his best efforts, there are days when even Fat Tony can’t keep the memes coming fast enough. For those days, there are TikTok’s sea shanty videos. The seashanty hashtag currently has 2.2bn views and counting: where to begin?

Maybe with The Backstreet Boys’ AJ McLean singing a shanty version of I Want It That Way. Or Gary Barlow and Ronan Keating duetting on Soon May The Wellerman Come. I asked my 10-year-old to explain why sea shanties were a thing. ‘It’s just lame people thinking they’re cool for being retro,’ she said, with a giant eyeroll. So now you know.

Pure and pimple fashion

It’s fair to say a £50,000 couture gown is pretty low down on the list of anyone’s priorities right now, and yet the Paris couture shows went ahead — digitally — having kicked off on Monday.

Hottest ticket of the week? Kim Jones’ couture debut at Fendi. That one of the teaser images featured Lila Moss, devoid of digital retouching, a couple of tiny pimples visible on her skin, speaks volumes about the new mood in fashion and at Fendi, and sounds the death knell for the stale, icy perfection with which the fashion industry has been associated for too long. Fendi’s future customers have spots, too: this is the best way to appeal to them.

amanda gorman

Poet and headband wearer extraordinaire.

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