Home Fashion Apparently, Some Of You Never Learned About “Inside Clothes”

Apparently, Some Of You Never Learned About “Inside Clothes”

Apparently, Some Of You Never Learned About “Inside Clothes” 1

When I visited Seoul for the first time, everyone told me that
the shopping there would be unlike anywhere else, full of
compliment catchers and look-at-me statement pieces. And it was!
But the best thing I bought was something I never planned on
wearing outside my house: a strange and special pair of sort-of
sweatpants, quilted and slightly stiff, like a three-foot-tall oven
mitt.

I bought the pants in an outdoor market at a store that looked
like it mostly catered to retired ajummas. They were hung alongside
flannel turtlenecks adorned with teddy bears and fisherman-style
vests made of fleece and felt. I instantly recognized what kind of
store this was: an outfitter of “inside clothes,” my absolute
favorite fashion category. Inside clothes are not pajamas,
they’re not athleisure, and they’re certainly not lingerie.
They are what you wear when you actively live your life indoors,
and their very existence is one that I’ve found to be curiously
divisive.

“Are you staying in your depression clothes the whole time?”
my husband asked me this morning. We’ve both been working from
home after our offices closed in order to practice social
distancing as COVID-19 sweeps across our city. Whereas he’s still
dressing for the office in a nice shirt and stiff jeans with a
belt, I am wearing my quilted pants, a tie-dyed shirt I picked up
at a promotional event for The Cobrasnake in 2009, and a slouchy
sweatshirt that’s become so smooth and soft over the years, it
feels like wearing a top made of Greek yogurt.

View this post on Instagram

QUILTING AND POWER CLASHING FROM QUEEN @conconwang

A post shared by
Working From Home Fits (@wfhfits) on Mar 13, 2020 at 2:25pm
PDT

As much as I love my inside clothes, I do understand why some
people might think they’re depressing. Inside clothes are what
protagonists wear during the three-quarters mark in romantic
comedies about personal growth, after they’ve lost their job or
relationship, and are ignoring their dogs and eating too much ice
cream. These are clothes that have been as neglected as their
wearer’s lives: utilized because they’re there, done because
it’s low-effort. The garments themselves are stained and dirty,
and the outfits they create are both chaotic and boring, thrown
together without thought, consideration, or optimism. They are, in
a word, depressing — but those are not the kind of inside clothes
I’m talking about.

Inside clothes are something to be worn with care and
exuberance. I buy them more often than I buy outside clothes, and I
aggressively cull and curate them, because my standard are very
high. They must be incredibly functional, with deep pockets,
just-right necklines, and sleeves that will stay pushed up but are
also long and roomy enough to bunch around my hands and hold tight
from the inside, turning my arms into fabric hot dogs (I do not
know the scientific reason why this posture helps with severe
writer’s block, but it does). They can neither pinch nor pull nor
gape nor pill nor shed nor itch. They must spark at least joy, if
not pure rapture. These are clothes that work three times as hard
as anything else in my closet.

Inside clothes offer additional peace of mind because they’re
more hygienic — they’ve never been on the subway, or in a
movie theater. They give me the feeling that I have control over my
environment, which is no small thing even in the best of times, but
particularly worthwhile right now.

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#WFH Day 4 ??‍?— what does your work station look like
right now? I’ve also been using this time to appreciate various
radio stations thank you @npr @iheartradio @wnyc for bringing daily
joys to my life. A good time to slow down, reset and declutter (for
me — my wardrobe thanks to @depop @ebay and cleaning out the
downloads folder on my computer) Wishing everyone safety and health
during these times ❤️?? ? @downtownlover

A post shared by
GIA KUAN (ɔ◔‿◔)ɔ 關歆 (@giakuan) on Mar 17, 2020 at
10:15am PDT

Part of my feeling about this is cultural. I grew up learning to
leave my shoes in the garage, to transfer into house slippers in
the mudroom, and to go straight into my bedroom — no detours to
the kitchen or, god forbid, the sofa — to immediately strip out
of my outside clothes and get straight into my inside clothes. On
the occasions that I’d trespass this sacred threshold — say,
plopping onto the love-seat in my jeans to watch the last five
minutes of Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman, or sneaking out to get the
mail wearing my inside sweats — I’d be told that my
indiscretion meant the house would be forever unclean. Ai-yah! My
mom would rush in, holding a Clorox spray bottle at arm’s length
as she wiped down the leather couch. Dirty girl!

It used to mortify me when my friends would come over and my
Chinese parents were both walking around at 2 p.m. on a Saturday
dressed like a cozy flu-season Kleenex commercial: fleece bottoms,
flannel sweatshirts, plush house slippers. for what it’s worth,
fellow immigrant friends, no matter which countries they came from,
all seemed to be familiar with the concept. But my American
friends, who didn’t think twice about wearing shoes on their
beds, were baffled. Were they sick? They wanted to know. Or were
they just…unwell? 

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It’s understandable that one might associate inside clothes
with a kind of ailment or defeatism, a sign that you’ve given up
on ever going outside again. An introvert’s badge of honor.
Conversely, wearing your street clothes at home feels like a
headstart on life, like you’re always up for anything at a
moment’s notice. If outside clothes are an opportunity to express
your best self, an embodiment of your most optimistic plans, then
inside clothes are seen as an admission of your worst inclinations
and your dashed desires.

There’s probably some truth in that for some, but it’s
certainly not true about my inside clothes. I’m more inclined
than ever to believe that inside clothes are our one shot at
understanding the pleasure that comes from really dressing for
yourself. No matter how comfortable you are with your own style,
when you’re dressing for the outside world, you’re still
adhering to codes and expectations. Not so with inside clothes. In
my oven-mitt Korean sweatpants and souvenir T-shirts, I am fully
dressed for my own eyes, actions, and plans. It’s not something I
would have appreciated when I was younger, but I cherish it now.
Last year, GQ’s Rachel
Tashjian wrote that people should always take off their street
clothes as soon as they get home “no matter how beautiful they
are or how few subway or taxi seats they touched.” It’s not
just a cleanliness issue, or even a coziness one, she argues.
Inside clothes give her an easy way to relax, something she
deserves.

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IT IS THE NEW @dawniemarie OF A NEW DAY AND THIS FIT IS THE
LIGHT

A post shared by
Working From Home Fits (@wfhfits) on Mar 17, 2020 at 1:11pm
PDT

Besides, if I need to leave the house, I do. I just — gasp!
— change first. Now that we’re in quarantine, my inside
clothes are a reminder that I’m doing my part, and that I should
enjoy the inertia.

For the foreseeable future, we’re living our lives inside in
order to be mindful of one another’s health and security, our
collective well-being and peace of mind. Inside clothes are a way
to practice that, while also being kind to ourselves.

Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness,
right here?

Closeness In The Age Of Coronavirus

What It Means To Wear A Face Mask In America

There’s No Such Thing As Work-From-Home Style

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