• Mouse Wong

queer thoughts on fashion, from quarantine

hi everyone!

you might already notice something different about this blog post, which is the fact that it’s written in mainly lower case. unprofessional? sure. bad for future job apps? possibly. but this is a blog run by a quarantined queer born in 1998 so please, let it slide.

i’ve been thinking a lot about fashion magazines here in quarantine–mainly, how little interest i have in them now. previously, fashion was always on my mind. days were spent scrolling through instagrams, falling into outfit rabbit holes. my job was writing articles for a japanese fashion magazine. i read every kind of listicle and article there was about spring trends, new restaurants, glitters: anything fun and glamorous and exciting. even my senior history thesis (on nyc’s lesbian bars!) focused on clothes as self-expression. and then, of course, covid-19 hit.

suddenly, everything turned upside down. we were now in a pandemic–an official, surreal, intense pandemic that brought the end of so many things. no more school, no more graduation, no more friends. i quickly returned to my studio apartment in dc alone and in a haze. i’d spent the next four months there, dealing with everything.

as usual in times of crisis, i tried to turn to fashion to cheer me up. but this time, it seemed to be mocking me: the pictures of a world i could no longer be in, outfits that could not be worn, a place that no longer existed. ads for “chic” masks seemed like a sci-fi movie prop. the cheery tone of magazines which had always helped pull me into a fantasy now seemed to be strikingly out of place as this new fear loomed over us. suddenly, hospitals were being filled with patients. everyone over the age of 60–including my father–seemed to be at a new risk. new york and connecticut, where the bulk of my family and friends are, were overrun with cases.

trying to write cheerful articles suddenly became impossible. i could no longer work for my magazine, although i still truly appreciate the work they have been managing to put out during this. i could not read articles either. instagram was deleted. so was twitter.

it didn’t seem relevant anymore, to focus on fashion. not when so much had changed. and it surely didn’t feel ethical to buy anything, forcing workers into large warehouses notorious for their lax health policies and enforcement.

slowly, as quarantine and my self-isolation continued, i began to tentatively reapproach fashion. i missed her, after all. i played a lot with makeup and hair, trying to do things i had always wanted to but never thought i had the time or place for. i practiced my drag (still needs work). i gave myself haircuts in the bathroom at all odd hours. i did all the emo looks my middle school heart desired, inspired by the one app i didn’t delete, tiktok. i put glitter on literally everything. everything became less polished, but a lot more fun. a quick escape from my isolation, a costume to put on for myself before dealing with the reality of the new world we lived in, done with a touch of chaos that seemed to be very fitting for the times.

i recognise i’m incredibly lucky and privileged to even have the chance to do this–i did not fall sick, and neither did my family nor friends. i had the financial ability to stay home instead of finding a new job. i believe that this privilege of isolating at home was the best thing i could do to try and prevent the spread of this disease, and i still think so. this is not over, despite what the administration might be telling you. as i write this in july, cases across the united states are going up. hospitals which had not been hit so bad in march are now being overrun. it is still not the time to go out to restaurants, or bars, or really anywhere unnecessary. support local businesses as much as you can, using gift-cards, pick up orders, or other safe ways. and for the love of god, wear a mask.

however, if this hellish world gets too much for you, there’s no shame in taking care of yourself so you can better take care of others. we can’t pour from an empty bowl, and that still applies in a pandemic. so the next time you have a free moment, do something you’ve always wanted to do with your look, opinions and skillset be damned! go crazy with your makeup, cut your hair into that mullet you always wanted, life is far too short and crazy to deny yourself harmless joys. we have no control over the way life goes but we can control ourselves. so have a little fun, and do what makes You happy.



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