Cross Country Checkup

Style legend Jeanne Beker on post-lockdown office style & thrifty shopping amid inflation

Ahead of her appearance on Cross Country Checkup’s Ask Me Anything series, Canadian style icon Jeanne Beker shared her thoughts on what many Canadians will be hanging in the closet post-lockdown and how to stay trendy as prices rise thanks to inflation.

Fashion journalist says comfort is key for many, but don't count on wearing gray sweatpants out

Jeanne Beker, a Canadian style legend known for her decades-long career in fashion journalism, weighs in on what to wear as people head back to the office. She will answer questions from Cross Country Checkup callers as part of the show's Ask Me Anything segment. (Peter Power/CBC)

Sweatpants have become a mainstay of pandemic style and fashion journalist Jeanne Beker believes comfortable wear is here to stay as we re-emerge from lockdowns. 

But gray joggers likely won't pass muster for those heading back into the office. 

"There are those that say it seems that all the rules of fashion have been broken now," she said. "But I think, you know, just common sense comes into play here."

Ahead of her appearance on Cross Country Checkup's Ask Me Anything series, the Canadian style icon shared her thoughts on what many Canadians will be hanging in the closet post-lockdown and how to stay trendy as prices rise thanks to inflation.

A lot of gals have sworn off high heels forever.- Jeanne Beker, fashion journalist

Comfort above all

While sweatpants might be out of the question, Beker says that doesn't mean you can't still find comfortable clothing to wear on a night out or in a boardroom.

Athleisure wear can offer a balance between comfort and style — even in a typically formal office. 

"There are some very, very classy-looking athleisure suits around," said Beker, adding that "there may be a way of wearing pants that aren't your conventional slacks, with real structure to them, but that maybe they're made of a stretchier kind of fabric."

Footwear, too, has shifted during the pandemic. Gone are the days of uncomfortable stilettos, Beker said.

"A lot of gals have sworn off high heels forever. They don't want to ever have to subject themselves to that kind of misery again," she said.

In the search for comfort, high heels could be on their way out — but not everyone is ready to give up the dressier option, says Beker. (8th.creator/Shutterstock)

Beker says thick-soled sneakers, upscale flats and platforms are now welcome. 

But not everyone is necessarily looking for comfy-coz, Beker included. 

"For those of us who do love fashion, and there are a lot of us out there, I think we can't wait to strut it again."

Thrift shopping to beat price hikes

Thrifting is a key word when it comes to shopping amid rising prices caused by inflation.

While buying second-hand clothing has been "all the rage" for a while, Beker says it will only become more popular now.

"There's so many boutiques now that offer designer resale, gently-used clothes that are just beautiful that you can really pick up for a song," she said.

Beker says shopping at thrift stores is also a great way to express individual style. 

"Anybody can go into a store if they have a big charge account and buy this, that and the other and put it together. I don't think that's what great style is all about. 

"For me, great style is really all about creativity and individual self-expression," she told Checkup.

Not only can thrift shopping provide a reprieve from rising prices, Beker says, it can also be a way to express an individual style. (Chaay_Tee/Shutterstock)

Investing in high-quality clothing can also be a smart move. And as calls for sustainability grow, it's the "wrong" time to consider fast, disposable fashion, Beker said.

"Start shopping better, shopping wisely and maybe sometimes spending a little bit more on the pieces that you know are going to last you for a long, long time," she said.

"I don't think people can just buy stuff on a whim anymore. That's a luxury that few can afford."

Written by Jason Vermes with files from Steve Howard.


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