While the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over, the mass roll-out of vaccines and easing of global lockdown restrictions has us looking optimistically toward a return to “normality”—whatever the hell that means. The more superficially-minded among us (guilty as charged) are taking this moment to turn our attention toward the really pressing questions. Questions such as “What will everyone wear when this is all over?” and “What will I wear when this is all over?”
Anxiety about returning to the real world after 13 months spent indoors is totally valid. As is anxiety about fashion, after 13 months spent exclusively wearing trousers with elasticated waistbands and ‘house slippers’. Though logic dictates that we should all be thrilled to embrace six-inch heels and miniskirts again, the reality feels a little more… tentative. We need inspiration, and we need it now.
Enter stage right: Our sartorial north star, Rihanna. Over the last week, Rih has been photographed in a rotation of truly fantastic looks, encapsulating a term we’ll coin ‘aspirational post-pandemic dressing’. Want to wear sweatpants outside? No problem, just pair them with Attico slingbacks and a mini Goyard purse. Doing the banal groceries run? Spruce it up in a silk Hawaiian shirt from Celine’s collaboration with visual artist Tyson Reeder, and wrap-around sandals by Amina Muaddi.
The idea is, essentially, to make getting dressed up feel fun again. Trying to look overly chic after a year as tumultuous and anxiety-inducing as 2020 feels like an unfair ask—just another stick with which women can self-flagulate. But using clothing to try and enjoy these awkward, in-between stages of post-lockdown life? That feels like something worth aspiring to.
The enduring appeal of Rihanna lies not in the clothes she wears, though they are always brilliant, and recently have been littered with rare archive pieces from the 80s and 90s. Her appeal is the attitude with which she wears them. She is the living embodiment of the maxim “she could wear a sack and still look great”, because she radiates a confidence in her own aesthetic that is almost unparalleled.
So let’s approach the next six months with the ethos WWRD—What Would Rihanna Do? The joy of spontaneous social interactions, of physically touching friends we haven’t seen in a year, of boozy nights out on the town, of all the things we’ve so desperately missed, they all deserve a truly ostentatious wardrobe to match. Wallflowers need not apply.