By Grace Van Duyn, ’22
The past year proved to be quite a unique one. Even though people had different experiences during the pandemic, I think most of us can say that we saw the cultural trends of our lives – and those of the world – change drastically.
When schools and office buildings shut down in March 2020, we found ourselves doing all of our work online. Millions of people were meeting over video calls with teachers, bosses, friends, and family. Many of us had never heard of Zoom before and had never worked or studied remotely. Most of us started off with great intentions of bringing our best selves to this new situation. Even though we may have gotten dressed in the first stages of zooming, it wasn’t long before a lot of us decided to stick with wearing pajamas. Comfort quickly became a priority. People who used to show up to work in formal suits had no need for those types of clothes when working remotely. In fact, stores found that pajamas sales experienced a 143% increase in 2020. Comfort was a big priority for many during 2020, and if we weren’t sleeping in blankets, we were wearing them. The Comfy was originally featured on Shark Tank in 2017, and due to its popularity – especially during 2020 – it has become one of the most successful products that has ever been on the show. There is no doubt that this cozy and one size fits all combination blanket and sweatshirt was the perfect 2020 uniform for remote work and school.
Along with trying to stay as comfortable as possible, many people wanted to eat good food. Food is a source of comfort and people were trying to find good food options while stuck at home. Instead of eating out at their favorite restaurants, more people were eating at home. People were looking for familiar and comforting foods to get them through their time in quarantine. Grubhub made a list of its top 10 most popular orders of 2020. The top five on the list were a spicy chicken sandwich, a chicken burrito bowl, chicken wings, waffle fries, and cold brew coffee.
After getting comfortable with being comfortable all the time – and after too many takeout orders, many people next found themselves working out at home. With gyms and workout studios closed or severely restricted, people tried to find easy ways to exercise at home. People found themselves buying workout bands, weights, and even thousand dollar stationary bikes. Even people who didn’t have access to equipment found workouts on YouTube. As more people set up in-home gyms, stores across the country sold out of weights. Bicycles were also almost impossible to find over as people tried to get outside and exercise.
Music was another way we kept ourselves sane during this time. Some of the most listened to songs of 2020 were Blinding Lights, Dance Monkey, and Before You Go. Artists like Harry Styles, Lewis Capaldi, and Dua Lipa came out with multiple songs that were extremely popular during this time.
Many of us found some of our favorite songs in 2020 on the popular app called TikTok. While it became popular in 2019, the pandemic pushed people who had long resisted it into joining. Some of the top TikTok trends of 2020 were what I eat in a day, NYU quarantine meals, whipped coffee, election memes, and anything with pets. People of all ages joined in.