‘It looks terrible and it’s going in the bin’: the lockdown outfits readers won’t miss

Guardian readers
·5-min read

My Adidas Stan Smith trainers.

They are size 3, white, although now cracked and muddy, with brownish laces. They feel soft and moulded to my feet. I’ve worn them every day since the beginning of lockdown, a week after I found out I was pregnant. They’ve steadied me on my once-a-day lockdown walks when nausea threatened to knock me over. They’ve been stretched and sweated through during the warmer, heavier months. They’ve been laced and unlaced by my boyfriend when I could no longer reach them.

In the confusion of new parenthood, they were packed and taken home before I left the hospital, so I had to borrow two pairs of labour ward non-slip socks and navigate Lewisham Hospital with my new baby wishing I had them with me. They now carry me and my son, walking socially distanced with his new friends and relatives, walking to show him the world, walking him to sleep.

A few days ago I wore a pair of running trainers bought in January 2020, unworn since then. The way they held my feet felt so new and confusing that I fell on a steep path. So, today, I’m back in the Stan Smiths with plasters on my knees. I won’t miss them. But I’ll find it hard to put them away.
Helen Keen, currently on maternity leave, London

Sad grey jumper

I love knitwear: jumpers, cardigans, twin sets … I have several woollen tops by Bella Freud, Sezane and Rixo. But the one I wear the most is this overly stretchy guy that cost £7 from the New Look sale rail when I was cold last March. It just stoically gets on with it. It is entirely unremarkable and forgettable and yet I reach for it again and again, pairing it with this pair of cheap jeans that are forgiving enough to sit in for thousands of hours. If my wardrobe could talk, there would be a number of Ganni dresses quietly resenting this outfit for its many outings while they hang there and feel sorry for themselves. I am looking forward to real clothes very soon …
Carly Flood, lead development manager for an exam board, London

‘The bad boys’

It’s been absolutely freezing for about six months. Even with the heating on full blast, our house is like the arctic. So my husband bought me “the bad boys” for Christmas. The what now? “The bad boys”: alpaca trousers from Arket. They have elevated my jogging bottoms, basically wrapping me in wool. God bless them. Now I can answer the door to the postie, and put the bins out without feeling ashamed of my lounge wear. Coronavirus 100, Lounge Wear, 1.
Kim Dargan, dental hygienist, Canterbury

Gym shorts

I often find myself having to do zoom calls immediately after an online pilates session. So I’m regularly in gym shorts with a smart shirt on top!
Adam Leaf, part-time consultant, Hertford

My giant grey fleece

I can’t stress how much I am looking forward to seeing the back of my giant grey fleece. I bought it a few years ago as a practical, stylish-in-its-own-way item, but I’ve worn it every day for the past six months. It fits over about three jumpers, which has been needed in my draughty terrace house over the winter. Getting rid of it signals the start of warmer weather and putting more effort into wearing something that looks and feels nice, rather than just being practical.
Sarah Roller, editorial for a startup, London

My late mother’s cashmere cardigans

Every day, I wear one of two of my late mother’s long navy cashmere cardigans. They have a lot of moth holes in them, but are very cosy and comforting. I look forward to embracing some bright colours, but I might not be able to actually get rid of them.
Lucy, London

An old grey stripy Zara tank top

I started wearing this old tank top a year ago when I was able to dress myself again after returning from hospital. I’d had a very rare event in the middle of the first Covid wave resulting in emergency neurosurgery. I started wearing the tank top because it was warm and left my arms a bit free. I also thought I looked cool and vintage! I bought it in the late 90s and I tend to hang on to my clothes. It actually looks terrible and it’s going in the bin.
Sarah White, doctor (on sick leave), West Midlands

My Christmas socks

Like many people, I have been working entirely from home since March 2020. I have spent the past year in a selection of mismatched, stretchy and often ramshackle outfits. Sometimes, I have spent the entire working day clad in my pink dressing gown. In the summer, I worked in just a bikini. But the particular item I am looking forward to not wearing to “work” any more are my Christmas socks. Yes, they are warm. Yes, they are cosy. But as you can see from the photo, they are in a pretty disgraceful state. I will, however, be continuing to wear the rather fabulous cardigan / crazy leggings combo.
Deborah Hale, IT professional, Worthing

My pink, fluffy M&S pyjamas

After a successful IVF cycle in August, I found myself pregnant with twins. By mid-October, my go-to yoga pants were getting tighter as the days progressed, so I switched to pyjamas while working from home and have been wearing them ever since (with the camera on my laptop firmly switched off). My super soft companions are so comfortable and have coped tremendously with my ever expanding bump. Now, however, with less than four weeks until the babies are due, I am fairly sick of the trusty garments that have kept me so free and easy over the past few months. With summer just around the corner, it may be time to give them (and their elastic) a well-deserved rest at the bottom of the drawers.
Suzanne Vernon-Madden, works in finance, Cork, Ireland