Dressing for the Heat Lamp

Which goes some way toward explaining why people began strategizing for fall as far back as late August. “All season we wore sweatpants,” said Marina Albright, 37, an executive at a fashion rental company. Recently Ms. Albright and her like-minded friends performed a stylistic about-face, unearthing showier pieces they had purchased before the pandemic.

At her engagement party in September at the house of a friend, Ms. Albright and guests warmed themselves under heat lamps, wearing wispy dresses under duster coats and long sweaters, she recalled. Some of those friends gathered on Columbus Day for a low-key gender reveal party, grouped around a makeshift outdoor fireplace and sheltered under blankets Ms. Albright had bought on Amazon.

Come what may, neither she nor her friends plan to give up entertaining outdoors. “Some of us are already scouting for those weird plastic tents,” Ms. Albright said. “And we’re thinking of trying a yurt.”

Plunging temperatures have not stopped some hardier souls from releasing their inner divas, their often willfully incongruous fashion choices reminiscent of Villanelle, Jodie Comer’s wickedly insolent character in “Killing Eve,” stalking London’s gritty in cascades of candy pink tulle.

Indeed, lockdown has teased out a peacocking tendency that may not subside any time soon, Ms. Karen said. “In the midst of a crisis, embracing a little formality can impart a sense of control,” she said. “The longer this goes on, the more people will dress up or even overdress. We’ll be wearing suits on the plane, and probably even to the baseball game.”

Certainly this is true for Kimberly Steinberg, who breezed into town in October for a hair appointment. “I never go into Manhattan without wearing something sparkly or furry,” said Ms. Steinberg, 50, an event planner from Huntington, N.Y.

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