It’s a holiday season like no other in living memory. How do we dress up in a way that’s festive and right for now?

No matter what they throw at us—pandemics,fraught elections, economic travails—some things will remain the same: You’ll probably be enjoying your first hot chocolate of the season soon (even if you are sipping it at an outdoor table under a heat lamp), and come the holidays, you will want to dressup. It may seem silly and frivolous and maybe even a little brain-dead to put on party clothes at the end of a year like this, amid a tragedy of almost biblical proportions. But there is nothing to be ashamed of. Regardless of circumstances,the human penchant for adornment, the impulse to decorate ourselves, is as old as civilization itself. The quest for beauty, the need to rage against the machine, is perhaps never stronger than when we are waging uphill battles.

Dressing up in the face of catastrophe has a venerable history. During World War II, women in occupied Paris whipped up hats from straw and even vegetables; in London during the Blitz, those craving a new frock used furniture rations to get hold of upholstery fabrics—or sewed outfits from repurposed silk Royal Air Force maps.In the face of bombs and starvation, the desire to embrace fashion, even as a form of resistance, was not extinguished.

We are no different. In this year like no other, your laughter in the dark might mean coming up with a whole new look, but more likely you will add to what you already have and love. Christelle Kocher, whose line Koché offers wildly elevated streetwear-influenced clothes with couture details,believes you will opt for “a balanced mix between elegance and creativity, with both vintage and new pieces.” Whatever this balanced mix looks like, it will be comfortable—in many cases, chic iterations of the cozy knitwear you have come to rely on. After what we have been through in the past several months, the last thing we need is to spend 18 hours trussed up in a torture chamber that pulls and pinches.

You might also decide to chuck your stilettos in favor of satin mules or glittery flats—in the case of the young British designer Molly Goddard, a pair of massive pink slippers for at-home (but also, she swears, for slippery London streets). Then again, if you are one of those rare birds who can slip their feet into the spikiest stilettos and insist,“They’re comfortable!”—well, this is still a democracy:Feel free to tower over the six or so friends at your socially distanced holiday gathering.“You don’t want to feel itchy, you don’t want a tight waistband; you definitely want a more relaxed look,”Rodarte’s Laura Mulleavy says, explaining that her

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