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Dressing up is an ECQ coping mechanism for young creatives

We all get some kind of anxiety whenever we head to work. Traffic, workload, and at times, our supervisors’ mood-swings can greatly affect our entire day. But apart from these stress-inducing factors, we counter negativity in different ways.

There’s stress eating, working out, drinking out, and of course, for those into fashion—fixing up a nasty outfit. I, for one, use the latter as my corporate coping mechanism.

I found myself doing the same thing when working from home due to the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). Yes, there was a shift from button-downs and jeans to sandos and sweatpants. But for some of us, we still make the effort to dress like our usual work selves. It’s not that we want to flex in times like these. This time around, it became my pandemic coping mechanism. Retaining the usual routine meant that we can also retain the level of productivity.

It’s not that we want to flex in times like these. This time around, it became my pandemic coping mechanism.

For us keeping up with a WFH sched, most of us dress not just to look presentable, but because this is our own little way of adjusting to the new normal. Feeling good gets me in the mood to do just anything. And at a time where everything’s upside down, we hold on to the little things that give us some form of balance.

Have an awkward meeting at eight in the morning? “Okay, G At least I feel good about myself.” Sent an email saying “please see the attached file” while forgetting to actually attach the file? “Okay, G. At least I feel good about myself.” Is the uncertainty of this pandemic giving you more anxiety? Say it with me now: “Okay, G. At least I have my look going for me.”

The thought of dressing up just to stay inside your room might be completely bonkers for others, but if you think sporting a ’fit is the motivation that you’d be needing to finish the day, then might as well go ham on that outfit, bruv.

There’s stress eating, working out, drinking out, and of course, for those into fashion—fixing up a nasty outfit. I, for one, use the latter as my corporate coping mechanism.

Dressing up has become our self-care routine in handling whatever daily bullshit we have to endure. And if you think about it, you might even have certain clothes that get you in that work mindset.

So, if you’re looking to get yourself mentally prepared for your next Zoom meeting, our friends shared why they think dressing up can give you a hand in coping with the new normal. Who knows? This might help you in finding whatever sizzles your bacon.

In the end, we just have to remember that while being confined inside our house/room might feel limiting, it never really is. Happy Labor Day, folks. Rest, but never stop working, or in this case, werqing.

Maj Veloso, creative director

Is dressing up for work more liberating for you now?
Yes. Times are changing and companies are adapting to a modern perspective.

Do you think there’s a new “work from home” culture emerging right now?
It’s more on keeping up. Too much of everything kills, hence, staying home for too long. I feel like it’s what the world needs right now, but not for the long run.

Do you dress up for yourself or for your workmates?
I’ve always dressed up for myself. Never do it for anyone’s sake or pleasure. You are what you wear.

Is this your form of adjusting to the new normal?
It’s part of it. I mean, I miss the outside world. Dressing up at home won’t really kill you so why not try on a few fits haha!

How has the ECQ affected your hustle?
As someone who’s always been out on a daily basis, it’s pretty difficult. Most operations outside are suspended and so far the ECQ gives us very limited ways to make sh*t happen.

“At this point, I’m slowly accepting that most of my plans for this year aren’t going to happen and I’m learning to be okay with that.”

Jana Silao, stylist

Is dressing up for work more liberating for you now?
As a freelance stylist, I don’t actually have work right now but I still dress up and try experimenting with the clothes and accessories I have at home so that I could still practice my creative mind.

Do you think there’s a new “work from home” culture emerging right now?
I am not really sure about this because in the meantime this WFH culture is just something that is required and I have been asking my friends about what they think about WFH, they said they actually like working better at the office. So if this lockdown would extend, yes it could create a new culture but if it’s lifted anytime soon, people would immediately break the WFH habits and go out for work again.

Is this your form of adjusting to the new normal?
Yes, I dress up even when I am at home to condition myself that I have to work. If I wear my lounge clothes, it would make me feel lazy so I try my best to still dress up at home as if I am going out.

How has the ECQ affected your hustle?
I have no work at all this ECQ, I’ve been creative in thinking of ways to earn as a stylist when the only tool I have right now is the internet. There’s this thing called “virtual styling,” but I have yet to figure out how that would fully work in the situation that we have now.

Sef Loseo, digital creator

Is dressing up for work more liberating for you now?
Definitely! And I didn’t know that it actually contributes a lot to my sanity.

Do you think there’s a new “work from home” culture emerging right now?
I love working from home! Before ECQ, I always request to work from home ’cause I get to be more productive and focused. This new normal that we’re facing comes with this new work from home culture that I definitely support, since it lets you step back and breathe from a fast-paced work routine while still being productive. It also saves you so much time from being stuck in traffic and helps you avoid being in crowded places too, which is very timely and it’s exactly what we need to do moving forward even after ECQ.

Is this your form of adjusting to the new normal?
I’m not exactly good with sudden changes and dressing up definitely has helped me in situations that I need to adjust. Just like staying at home for more than a month.

How has the ECQ affected your hustle?
I look forward to summertime, ’cause it’s usually when I get more clients and get busy. And I didn’t realize how huge COVID-19 is going to be until the first week of March. before ECQ, all of my out of town projects got canceled. I also have a small online vegan food business that I just started last February and the pandemic totally affected it. Sourcing ingredients and the delivery became harder, so I had to control the orders. I was also working on my own brand. In order for me to do that, I need to be outside sourcing fabrics. At this point, I’m slowly accepting that most of my plans for this year aren’t going to happen and I’m learning to be okay with that.

“I have no work at all this ECQ, I’ve been creative in thinking of ways to earn as a stylist when the only tool I have right now is the internet.”

Ena Cui, designer

Is dressing up for work more liberating for you now?
Fortunately, most of the “work” I do only requires me a space enough where I can think— construct ideas for future projects, and designs. Some days I make garments and all can be done at home which I’m really grateful for so I’ve pretty much become accustomed to working at home in my pambahay/ pj’s.

Do you think there’s a new “work from home” culture emerging right now?
People who work outside their homes already have their accustomed routine for their “workdays” and considering what happened and with all the things happening right now, they’re taking their time to adjust. I think people are just trying to stay sane in this current situation we are in.

How are you adjusting to our new normal?
I’m lucky to have been used to working at home even before the ecq/lockdown happened but of course I miss going out for errands too. I just wish this would all pass soon, so that we can all go back to our usual routine without having to worry for our loved ones’ health and safety.

Read more: Express yourself: Three young queer creatives on style and identity

How has the ECQ affected your hustle?
When it comes to designing clothes, fabric sourcing really helps me know what kind of fabric I wanna design and work with— but since the lockdown I haven’t been outside so I’m just tryna work with what I already have; same goes for photoshoots and other work that I do that require me sunlight/meeting with people.

Read more:
We found these stylish kids on Instagram, and we can’t get enough
Davao-based brand REVERE’s latest drop is all about introspection
7 fresh clothing brands we’re digging right now

Written by Kyle Cayabyab
Art by Tine Paz

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