Too true, agrees LGBTQ+ writer and editor Jamie Windust. “I feel like I’m actually doing something with the day if I’m throwing on an outfit,” they say – and they don’t mean a suit. “If I’m staying in, I’ll dress as if I’m going out. Or if I’m just going to the shops, I’ll dress as if I’m going out proper. I’ve always loved doing that with fashion so I don’t see why we should stop, even if our trips have become more menial.”
Sadie Clayton agrees – wholeheartedly. The artist and fashion-course director at the London College of Contemporary Arts keeps students engaged with her kaleidoscopic Afro, fire-engine red lips and trademark dots painted beneath her eyes. “For me, it’s such a big part of who I am,” she laughs. “Without that, there’s no Sadie Clayton.” She’s taken up a new hobby: roller dancing. “A lot of the time, I’ll put on a funky pair of leggings and some tunes – and feel like I’m in the 1980s!” What’s especially thrilling is the spirit of defiance underlying all these costume choices
Of course, fashion has mileage here. At the tail end of World War One and the flu pandemic of 1918, fashion responded with flapper dresses and a lot of make-up. The wide skirts of Dior’s New Look in 1947 were precisely-aimed kickbacks against the privations of the Depression. Disco followed the social and economic turmoil of the mid 1970s. Perhaps it’s not surprising that it’s back: in new work by disco queen Kylie Minogue; in the Disco collection of shoemaker Terry de Havilland and, of course, in Ellis-Bextor’s kitchen, from where her soirées have birthed an album.