Many of us have been ‘revenge dressing’ these last few months, maybe without even realizing it. I first heard the term while I was on a trip to NYC for Fashion Week, and it piqued my interest, so I did a little research. Turns out, revenge dressing is nothing new.
What is ‘revenge dressing’?
Today, revenge dressing is showing up in the way we are approaching style after the pandemic … COVID revenge. Our outfits are the outward expression of feelings shaped by experiences we’ve missed this past year-and-a-half. It’s dressing intentionally with outfits that are bold, extravagant, expressive, and definitely colorful. It’s dressing just a little ‘extra’ and ‘finished.’
Women are going out in style after staying inside and wearing loungewear or business casual from the waist up for the past 18 months. We are enjoying getting ready, looking forward to dressing for events, and pulling ourselves together in a big way.
Once I became aware of the concept, I realized many of us are revenge dressing, whether we intend to or not! We’re making up for lost time with our daywear, workwear, and dressy outfits. We’re celebrating the return of events and the opportunity to come out from behind our masks. As a result, fashion is bursting at the seams!
How It Started
The term ‘revenge dress’ first emerged in 1994 after Diana, Princess of Wales, first wore a stunning, low-cut black dress to a dinner at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. (You know the one! Diana emerging from the back of a vehicle wearing said dress will forever be an iconic moment in fashion.) The dress has been interpreted as having been worn “in revenge” for the televised admission of adultery by her husband Charles that very evening.
Fast forward to 2021, and revenge dressing has emerged as a fashion statement. But, instead of sticking it to Prince Charles, women are dressing to the nines to make up for lost time.
How It’s Showing Up
Lots of Color, Texture, and Self-Expression!
Many women are taking more fashion risks, determined to have a little fun with their choices — whether they’re trying colors they never would have worn pre-pandemic, or pulling out all the stops with high-end pieces they’d previously reserved only for special occasions.
Dresses and High Heels
Google defines pandemic revenge dressing as ‘melodrama and excess,’ and this is actually backed by financial data on ‘revenge shopping’ habits. Global fashion search platform Lyst recorded a 197% increase in online searches for high heels and a 176% increase in online searches for dresses in 2021.
Dressing up is BACK!
Over-the-top statement accessories are showing up in current trends, and these are a few favorites I’ve seen lately. They are definitely a little excessive — but fabulously so. Major revenge!
Revenge dressing embraces our feelings of joy, hope, and confidence through fashion. We’ve missed a lot, and revenge dressing is a trend we are embracing — even if merely by accident. It feels great to get out, live life, and make a bold statement with our style. Embrace it!
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