Like the rest of us, Simon Doonan has spent much of 2020 stuck at home — but don’t expect the author, fashion commentator, “Making It” judge and bon vivant to succumb to a life of sweatpants.
“I put on a little outfit every day. I pretend I’m going somewhere, even if I’m not,” Doonan, 67, told Page Six Style from his home on Shelter Island, where he and his husband, potter and designer Jonathan Adler, have been self-quarantining during the coronavirus pandemic.
“I find it’s like a great antidepressant; it’s definitely a mood elevator. There’s always somebody to dress up for, even if it’s the window cleaner! You owe it to yourself — it’s good for your psyche.”
The style star’s quarantine uniform of choice? Cowboy shirts with elaborate embroidery at the collar and yoke, which he says pack a punch during video calls. “Western shirts are a great little tip,” he shared.
Of course, rodeo-ready garb might not jive with your personal style — and true to the title of his new book, “How to Be Yourself” (out now), Doonan says that what’s most important is to stick to looks that fit your own aesthetic, even if you’re not particularly in the mood to get dressed up.
He pointed to a favorite quote, prominently featured in the book, from 99-year-old style icon Iris Apfel: “To me, the worst fashion faux pas is to look in the mirror, and not see yourself.”
“There’s something optimistic about vanity. Vanity is very life-affirming; the first thing to go when people are depressed is their appearance,” Doonan said. “That’s why I’m a little worried about the sweatpant [trend].”
Added the author, “For me it’s easy, because I don’t really care what other people think. I put on what amuses me.”
The same advice applies to setting up your remote workspace. With more people than ever working from home these days, Doonan — who for decades created stunning window displays for Barneys New York — says that your desk setup “should reflect you.”
“In my book, I have a whole section about how bizarre it is when you meet somebody and they’re super groovy and they’re very stylish, and then you get to their apartment and it’s a gulag — it doesn’t have any sense of fun or flamboyance,” he explained.
“So if you’re a very colorful, crazy person, then have banks of paper flowers behind you — whatever you want! But it should be profession-appropriate, because you don’t want people to think you’ve completely lost your mind.”
Ditto on the outfits and beauty looks you choose for those video calls. While Doonan insists that no trends are off the table — “I like anything if it’s done with conviction,” he said, pointing to dramatic “Euphoria”-style eye makeup as an example — he advised those with corporate or medical careers to keep it simple.
“No one wants their colonoscopy done by someone in a feather boa,” he quipped.