Something for the Weekend: What to Wear in a Pandemic?

In this week’s column, Ian Morris explores a domestic side effect of working from home in the pandemic…

The days of no trousers…

I seem to own an inordinate amount of trousers. I realised this fact as I organised my wardrobe following some fairly significant reorganisation of Mrs Morris’ side of the wardrobe. 

I wondered at what point I had fallen into this flagrant over-procurement in the trouser department. I own five pairs of jeans, not including the really nice ones I am too porky for but didn’t have the heart to throw away. There are smart trousers, the kind of nondescript ones you have to own for work to be coupled with a shirt, and I seem to have plenty of these as well. Really, a lot. 

Then it struck me.

I have not sported a pair of trousers or a shirt that needed ironing since March. Usually many of these items would be in the eternal washing supply chain. In my house, this seems to be as eternal as the circle of life. There is always a  wash that needs to go on, be hung up or be put away. My children – much as I love them – contribute to this cycle by opting to wear the big thick hoodie just once, because it was a bit chilly in the garden between 19.14 and 20.05 and then it gets flung onto a bedroom floor, one arm neatly as God intended and the other either the wrong way out or clumped into a ball. It’s a piece of art Tracy Emin would be proud of. I always laugh as I pull it out of the washing machine, as I love hoodies. It’s not that they are really thick, heavy and take an age to dry. 

As part of the major wardrobe realignment program we invited – nay insisted – that our youths also complied with this directive. It means as well as having a trouser mountain, we now have so many cups and glasses that the cupboard in the kitchen is insufficient to store our wealth of beakery. We have a box stored in the garage with the overflow. It would seem that the ‘No’ we received in answer to ‘Have you got any cups or glasses up there?’ may have been a lie. 

As the weeks have gone on, all of the trousers have made it through the wash and I now live exclusively in shorts. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those pillocks that turns up to watch rugby in January sporting shorts and Crocs and insisting it isn’t cold. I have had nowhere to be, not dressed up with nowhere to go, if you will. 

If you had asked me ‘How many pairs of jeans do you own?’ I might have confessed to three, the ones I am wearing, the ones in the wash and I am sure I have some smart stone coloured ones. But since starting this column, two more pairs have materialised. I own seven pairs of jeans. This is ridiculous.

It builds on the strange times of working from home, the idea of ‘work clothes’. Back in the day, I worked for an organisation that believed its managers should wear a collar and tie. I am not sure that my spreadsheet skills were any better because I had a strip of cloth knotted around my neck. I know Phil in accounts was nowhere near as cool or wacky as he hoped he was with his ‘hilarious’ collection of  cartoon-based ties. 

So I ask, will I ever wear trousers again? Or will these be another relic of the pandemic that future generations have to explain away?

‘Ah yes, trousers. Let me explain.’


Something for the Weekend will be back next Friday, tackling national issues from a local perspective. In the meantime, you can check out all of Ian’s writing for S&C, here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay.

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