Lockdown Style #2

Clothing is important. Even if we hardly meet anyone on the street and social exchange is inevitably reduced to a minimum.

By Jeroen van Rooijen

That was to be expected, but thanks anyway to everyone who got upset after the release of the first Alferano lockdown episode and wrote to me: In these challenging times there are probably more important things than the outfit and the styling. On Facebook, someone ranted that I should go to hell with my suede moccasins and cashmere jogging pants, but in the home office he wouldn't let the style police talk him into it.

Well, firstly, we don't talk to anyone, and we don't control like the police - what we offer is help, encouragement, inspiration and some entertainment. Anyone who doesn't have the necessary humor for this has probably really hit the hardest in times of Corona. Secondly, clothing is not irrelevant. Not even in times of crisis. In this regard, we hardly move a millimeter from our convictions.

Clothing can support and build you up in challenging times. Wearing a freshly ironed shirt is a different act of civil courage than pulling a shirt out of the tumble dryer. Apropos: You now have enough time for steam ironing, a meditative activity that also cares for the respiratory tract. We say again: no one will sit down at their laptop at home in a suit and tie. But there are people – we are one of them, and certainly many of our customers too – for whom clothing helps them to find their way around in life and to feel at ease.

So let's pull ourselves together. Let's take care of ourselves. Let's shave. Let's wear fresh clothes. Clothing builds us up. Every soldier knows: there must be order, even on the battlefield. "In a crisis, order matters, including forms of order that are purely symbolic," style columnist Robert Armstrong recently wrote in the Financial Times. Armstrong thus ties in with the Parisian couturier Christian Dior, who saw “simplicity, grooming and good taste” as the keys to a good life – “They cannot be bought, but they can be learned, by rich and poor alike”.

Would you like more bon mots? Please, here is Adolf Loos, the great apostle of the contemporary way of life: "The fact that many of its residents make use of the freedom of good clothing can serve as an indicator of the culture of a state." Loos wrote this in 1920, a hundred years ago. At that time, the Spanish flu had just visited. And fifty years ago, the great English tailor and royalist Hardy Amies added: "Civilization means respect for law and order, appreciation of invention and beauty, seeking love and friendship."

So, on behalf of civilization and its seemingly imminent continued existence, I urge you all to dress up RIGHT NOW. As a sign of hope. Please allow me to quote one of the great authors one last time: "If indecent behavior, which occurs always and everywhere, (...) is constantly rewarded in a society, then fewer and fewer people will feel the need to be decent be." You can read about it with Axel Hacke, in his booklet, which is so topical right now, "About decency in difficult times and the question of how we treat each other."

Jeroen van Rooijen is a style critic and co-founder of the Alferano concept store in 2014.