screen time

It’s Time to Play Adult Dress-Up Again

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Emilia Petrarca

Now more than ever, people are experiencing fashion through their phones. In “Screen Time,” fashion writer Emilia Petrarca shares all the screenshots, double taps, and swipes she made this week.

It’s been almost one year since the beginning of lockdown in New York City, and I’m trying to fight off a general feeling of exhaustion by channeling the energy I had in the very, very early days of quarantine.

Because I attended Milan Fashion Week last year, my office asked me to quarantine in late February, a few weeks before the city shut down. It was the beginning of Paris Fashion Week, and I remember watching livestreams on my computer and scrolling through the Vogue Runway app on my phone, feeling hopelessly far away. I wanted to find a way to bring the fantasy and glamour of it all into my own bedroom, so I started to play dress-up. I would turn on some music at the end of each day — at the time, I was going through a manic Charli XCX phase — and try to recreate whatever I saw on the runway using whatever I had around me, including my comforter (which happened to look a lot like a Rick Owens cape). I even tucked a tie into my sweatpants because Miuccia Prada made it look cool.

Of course, I wasn’t alone. Over the next few months, others did the same, sharing their “wfh ‘fits” on Instagram, or their pillow dresses on TikTok. It felt like everyone had tapped into their childhood sense of play again, and the resulting looks and images were amazing. So much better than the algorithmically generated “fit-pics” we’d become so used to seeing on our feeds! I’d even go as far as saying that we witnessed a ‘fit-pic Renaissance.

And then, for a lot of reasons, this energy kind of faded. Now that it’s cold again, though, and terrifying new variants of the virus are keeping more people at home, it might be time to start channeling Edie Beale again, and start playing adult dress-up.

Below, my week in scrolling for inspiration.

A Great Place to Start

The Row always inspires me to play dress-up because the looks are made of very simple parts: A black turtleneck dress, a white button-up shirt, black boots. My first reaction whenever I see a new collection is always: God, I would do anything to be able to afford these pieces. And then my second thought is always: Wait, I actually already have the cheap version in my closet.

Looking at the collection then becomes a study in layering. It’s like reading a recipe: I have all the ingredients at my disposal, but with Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s direction, I can discover new ways to mix them together that I never would have thought of on my own. (Until I win the lottery and can just buy the real thing.) For example, the fall 2021 collection included a look that, from top to bottom, is as follows: Sweater vest + white button-up + wool dress (or skirt) + black boots. Okay, we got this!!! I pulled out my padded vest from Cos and my Uniqlo basics, et voila: a Row dupe. For another look, I even used a weighted blanket as an oversize scarf, and, really, no one could tell the difference. [Wink.]

Some Unexpected Props

Let the latest J.W. Anderson lookbook inspire you go rummaging through your fridge for some ‘fit pic props. Just make sure you put the squash back afterwards so that your roommate doesn’t ask any questions. And if you’re out of groceries, consider holding a houseplant!

From left: Photo: Juergen Teller/JW AndersonPhoto: Juergen Teller/JW Anderson
From left: Photo: Juergen Teller/JW AndersonPhoto: Juergen Teller/JW Anderson

A Few Helpful Styling Tips

The new pre-fall look book from Louis Vuitton requires your laser focus. I’ve gone over it with a metaphorical magnifying glass about 100 times already, and every time I do, I see a new styling trick that I want to try. For example: A dress OVER sweatpants with a fanny pack as a belt? Brilliant! Basketball shorts and knee-high boots? Sign me up! A mini-skirt and puffy lace-up slippers? Check, and check.

From left: Photo: Louis VuittonPhoto: Louis Vuitton
From left: Photo: Louis VuittonPhoto: Louis Vuitton
From left: Photo: Louis VuittonPhoto: Louis Vuitton
From left: Photo: Louis VuittonPhoto: Louis Vuitton

An Inspiring Show to Watch

My roommate and I binged all eight episodes of Veneno on HBO Max this week, and it’s fantastic. The limited series is based on the life of Cristina Ortiz Rodríguez, also known as “La Veneno,” who became one of the most famous trans women in Spain. She was fierce and fabulous, and sometimes stretched the truth a bit for the sake of a good story. But you want to live in the fantasy with her.

An Inspiring T-Shirt I Purchased

I haven’t thought about the hippie T-shirt brand Online Ceramics in a minute, but this shirt gave me a good LOL, and I bought it immediately.

Photo: Ssense

A Tweet That Made Me Laugh

A TikTok That Killed Me

Average Daily Screen Time This Week: 3h 15m

Down 9 percent from last week. Maybe because I spent so much time looking in the mirror.

It’s Time to Play Adult Dress-Up Again