Sewcialists HateWear Photo Challenge

A hate-wear is when you put on clothing even though — because? — it makes you feel bad. Neither stylish nor particularly comfortable, yet constantly in rotation.

“Pandemic Dressing Takes a Dark Turn”, NYTimes, Jan 6, 2021

In early January 2021 the US’ New York Times ran an article about pandemic dressing in clothes you neither love nor hate, yet you keep reaching for them during this time of uncertainty. For some of us confined to our homes and not going into a workplace, we’ve turned to wearing things we wouldn’t normally. For me, that’s been a Christmas bright red and green tie-dye dashiki styled caftan, over my husband’s olive green plaid pajama pants, topped with an orange/tan sweater someone gave me ten years ago. None of it coordinates, it doesn’t look good, and I *really* wouldn’t want anyone to see me in it. Yet, it’s become my warm, cozy, comforting outfit of choice.

A caption from a story about hatewear and sadwear in The Guardian.
The Guardian headline, January 17, 2021

Men’s magazine Esquire followed suit on January 6, coining the term “sadwear”.

Sadwear: comfort blanket menswear that makes happy boys of sad boys

Esquire Editors. January 1, 2021

Here at the Sewcialists, we thought it might be fun to see what other “hate-wear” people have turned to. By no means is this meant to make light of the pandemic, the enormous loss of life, jobs and livelihoods as a result. Thanks to vaccine advancements, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, yet that doesn’t minimize how the pandemic has touched each of our lives in different ways.

Left - a Christmas tree with a red, blue and white patterned skirt on the floor below. Right - Gillian, standing in front of the tree, is now wearing the same Christmas tree skirt, with green checked trousers.
From our editor, Gillian: I was feeling all cocky that I get dressed properly every work day… and then I remembered that I used a quilted wool and flannel Christmas tree skirt as a poncho several times a week! :rolling_on_the_floor_laughing:

Full disclosure, after 10 months of being home, my husband and I drove two days to Florida to hole up in a condo where we could see sunshine and some warmth. I left the sadwear at home and have been dressing like me again. So I reached out to my fellow editors and Anne shared her not-quite-right, but comforting home uniform.

Anne stands in front of a door and kitcehn appliance, wearing puffer jacket, blanket, mitts, hat and scarf. Her small black dog sits looking up at the camera.
Husband’s old sweater. 25yo thermal top underneath. Gillian’s old jeans. Handknit hat, shawl, and gloves, which I love individually but which don’t match each other in the least. Oversized puffer vest. Blanket as a skirt. No makeup. But I’m wearing shoes, so it’s a victory!

If you find yourself still in an office and out in the world, we applaud and support you! If you dress the same as always whether you’re working from home or in an office, we admire your mindset and discipline. This is just a way for us to have a peak into our fellow Sewcialists’ wardrobes and minds, while keeping us connected. Your share doesn’t have to be hate-wear / sadwear. It can be your standard “house clothes”, the thing you wear when no one is looking. Either way, we’d love to see and hear how you’re dressing in the pandemic.

A graphic showing a person sitting in an armchair, a second person looking at a laptop  and wrapped in a blanket, and a third person looking at their phone from under a blanket.

So, the week of January 24, post join us in our collective ennui and share a hate-wear on Instagram with #SewcialistsHatewear and tag us @thesewcialists on Instagram.


Renee Samuels sews, teaches, and writes about sewing from Baltimore, Maryland, USA. She blogs projects at MissCeliesPants.com and posts more regularly at @MissCeliesPants.


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