Updated: May 6
“You’re not going to need pretty hair clips — there’s no brunch,” she remembered thinking. “I don’t need my sunglasses because I’m staying in the house.”
She did what so many fashion businesses did: She started selling athleisure wear, that marriage of comfort and fashion — think form-fitting leggings and joggers. (Some fashionistas say they prefer the term “joggers” because calling them “sweatpants” carries a negative connotation.)
“It was something I wanted to add anyway, but I was forced to do it now if I wanted to stay relevant and stay in business during all this,” said O’Donnell.
Business owners said jewelry sales plummeted and the demand for lacey bralettes went up as many shoppers ditched their more structured captors. O’Donnell said she couldn’t replenish her stock of headbands and other less formal accessories fast enough.
“A lot of my customers were saying, the little anklets, little bracelets, that was helping them get through,” she said. “I may have these sweats on, but if I put this bracelet on, I feel a little better.”
Adrienne Ray, owner of Curve Conscious in Philadelphia’s Brewerytown, has always stocked her plus-size “buy, sell, swap” store with casual items like jeans, dresses, and rompers. But with customers still demanding even less formal clothes one year into the pandemic, Ray launched her own loungewear line this month. Styles include pieces that are soft and loose, yet can be accessorized and dressed up with other layers, as is the case with a mustard yellow lounge dress with pockets.