To all professors who are irked by students dressed in pajamas during their lectures, close your ears. In terms of the fashion-realm, all us lazily-clothed college students are up to par, after all. After 2020’s oversized, loungewear fashion trended due to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, it seems that 2021 will be no different.

The fashion industry suffered in 2020, the New York Times calling it “the industry’s worst year in history.” Yet, if a clothing item could win MVP, it would be sweatpants, whose sales increased by 80{409126f2c1f09c9e510a010c163a4bce2c3ccfc4019bdf864d6cb2d5d8752f38} by April while clothing sales fell 79{409126f2c1f09c9e510a010c163a4bce2c3ccfc4019bdf864d6cb2d5d8752f38}.

It turns out that capitalism’s loss is social construct’s gain.

The shift away from form-fitting, midriff-flossing, make-you-feel-like-a-sausage-casing clothing has empowered women in America who are not Instagram or GymShark models.

As a female athlete, my body has never looked slim even in my best shape. Tight clothing could accentuate my curves but never left me looking like the women fashion-gurus on Instagram or Tiktok. So, this shift to athleisure comfort-clothing is a relief.

Even top-name designers are catching on to the new norm in their Spring 2021 collection launches. Much to the dismay of fashion-experts hoping 2021 comes with a desire for heightened fashion after a year of stir-crazy frustration, names like Michael Kors, Versace and Valentino — to name a few — are fueled by relaxed glamour.

In essence, the new trends are by-products of the consumer’s demand to be comfortable while looking attractive enough on Zoom calls.

Skinny jeans and bodycon-styles are tossed away alongside the body-shaming norms they inherently enable. Make way for wide-leg trousers, hidden cutouts in loose-fitting attire, and lots of flowy material.

Effortless fashion includes spicing up leisurewear with monochromatic color-blocking, layering, and pairing normal bralettes with oversized blazers.

Beauty is no longer pain.

According to Vogue, even high-end fashion industries are up-cycling their unused material to create new lines.

This is great news for balling-on-a-budget college students, like myself, who worship their trips to Plato’s Closet and Goodwill. It is official, thrifting is eco-friendly and COVID-fashion approved.

In other words, sorry moms and professors, it’s not a phase. Long-live sweatpants nation.