Spending most of your time at home, until it is deemed safe to resume life somewhat normally again, means you’re no longer figuring out what to wear each day. Your outfit of choice when you’re working from home is either your PJs or sweatpants. When your every day clothes has been reduced to whatever is comfy at home, unless you have to show your face from the waist up for a video conference, there hasn’t been a lot of need to “dress to impress” these days. Although the pandemic has temporarily taken the stress out of deciding what to wear before leaving the house each morning, I do find myself longing for a time where I was able to wear my prettiest dress to a party or donning a favorite sweater and jeans when I went to the office. The fashion deprivation I’m currently going through has led me to live my best stylish life through Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
I know a lot of my video game related posts have been taken over by New Horizons, but it’s hard to deny why this game for the Nintendo Switch has been the MVP during this entire pandemic. The game has caught on like wildfire and has also convinced non-gamers to jump on the Animal Crossing train, including people in the fashion world who have used the game’s custom design feature to create chic clothes for your little avatar that are available to download. Between the custom designs players have been making themselves and the in-game clothes available to buy for a certain amount of bells, this game has quenched my inner fashionista cravings. Rather than getting dressed up in real life with no where to go, I can dress up my character in the game instead.
I’ve been diligent about making sure I visit the Able Sisters’ shop daily to check on what new items they have for sale. What they offer in their shop changes every day, making it all the more enticing to pop in quickly to see if there is any pairs of pants, shoes, dresses, skirts, or tops I’ll want to splurge on. I have a growing number of outfits and styles I can mix and match for my avatar, and will probably keep collecting more clothes until it surpasses even my own in real life. The fashion obsession is real in this game.
The game kind of feels like a version of playing dress up, which I loved to do as a kid with my Barbie dolls. When I grow tired of one outfit I can immediately swap it out for something else. If it’s raining in New Horizons I can have her wear a cute red raincoat with yellow rain boots to keep her dry. If it looks like it’ll be a sunny afternoon I can have my character wear her brightest sundress while she’s picking fruit or digging up fossils. No matter what the day, there is always an outfit for it.
As we continue to sit and wait with our current situation, New Horizons has filled a void left behind by this global health crisis—a sense of normalcy in an idyllic fantasy island where there is no anxiety, cruelty, or uncertainty. It’s just you and a bunch of animal neighbors living a simple, stress-free life. If only reality could be like that.
Video games will never take the place of in-person socializing or even having a reason to get dressed in the morning, but it does provide a bit of comfort in a safe environment. Not to mention I get to wear out clothes or costumes I’ll never get to wear in my every day life. So while I continue to wear PJs at home, I’ll make sure my character is dressed to the nines for any occasion on her island.