Luxury in the Time of Corona Virus

I’ve been thinking a lot these past few days about how we define luxury. And how I define it, in particular. And whether that definition has, as Dottoressa postulated in a comment on my Isolation Dairy post, been altered by the time we’re living in right now. We’re stuck at home, disconnected from friends and family, some of whom may be ill or at risk of contracting the virus, or we’re still working in environments which put us at risk. Either way, we’re unable to do many of the normal things from which we take pleasure, or in which we find comfort. And I wonder if many of us are finding solace in small luxuries, that we wouldn’t have considered luxuries before.

The term “luxury” is defined as “the state of great comfort and extravagant living” and is often synonymous with “opulence and wealth or abundance” (Oxford.) But it can also be something in which we take “self-indulgent delight.” Something “to revel in or to savour.” And that second definition, of course, means that luxury can be a very relative term. When we were kids our Easter basket filled with chocolate eggs was a great luxury. Something to be savoured, and protected against marauding older sisters. Ha. Exciting because we didn’t get treats every day. The fact that the basket appeared magically, courtesy of the Easter bunny, was pretty exciting too, if I’m honest.

Note: the clothing links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.

Right now, I am revelling in the luxury of a new pair of sweatpants. I don’t normally get excited over sweatpants. But with only two pairs to my name, in heavy rotation these days, one pair getting increasingly baggy at the knees and even worse in the butt, and getting shorter and shorter in the legs, I desperately needed a new pair. I searched and searched on-line but couldn’t find anything I liked. Until my friend Jeannie said that she’s been wearing Roots sweatpants. So I ordered these navy blue, slim-cut, cuffed sweatpants.

Then I sat back and waited, and checked the tracking code each day. Not really impatient, just excited. I’d also ordered some products from Sephora, so for the first time ever I had two on-line orders enroute to my doorstep. The morning they arrived, Hubby and I had just sat down in the living room with our first cup of tea, and I glanced out the window. There on the deck, tucked neatly up under the overhang, were two packages. I almost spilled my tea in my haste to go collect them. Robe and slippers flapping, I scuttled to the front door, “This is better than the Easter Bunny,” I called over my shoulder to Hubby. Who, I should probably tell you, just rolled his eyes.

Sweatpants from Roots, sweater from Vince, sneakers from Stan Smith.
Easter outfit, minus a bonnet.

So yesterday, I decided to give my Easter outfit a trial run. I pulled on my new sweatpants. I’m really pleased with them. They are soft without being too slouchy or baggy. The cut is slim through the leg, and in the butt. I’ve already washed them once. Unusual for me, I ordered a size medium, instead of size large which I often need for leg length. I really like these pants with a white stretchy cami, my recently purchased Vince cashmere sweater, a light scarf wound around my neck, and my old Stan Smith Adidas. I gave the sweater a half tuck in the front, and bloused it over the sweatpants; it looks neater that way. Now this is a dressed-up-stay-at-home outfit I can love.

Sweatpants from Roots, sweater from Vince, sneakers from Stan Smith.
I even managed a half-tuck with my sweater.

With my ultra-light Uniqlo down jacket, I was ready to take my tea outside for my mid-morning visit in the garden with Hubby.

A new pair of sweatpants from Roots is a luxury these days. Coat Uniqlo, sweater from Vince, sneakers from Stan Smith.
And now, with my down jacket, I’m ready to brave the elements .

That is if it hadn’t been raining and blowing, as I discovered when I poked my nose outdoors. Ah well, so the visit was short-lived. That’s okay; I had other fish to fry. Buying the occasional latté, or meeting friends for coffee, is one small luxury I’ve missed since we’ve been self-isolating and staying home except to venture forth for necessities. And I’d recently discovered that, even if I can’t see my friends, I don’t have to forgo my weekly coffee treat. So I had plans to settle down with my book and a freshly made latté, concocted by moi.

We don’t make coffee at home. But I found a recipe on-line to make a latté with instant coffee. I just happened to have a jar of instant coffee in the cupboard, bought for a chocolate-coffee icing recipe I made for Hubby’s birthday cake. Boiling water, instant coffee, and skim milk heated in the microwave and frothed up nicely with my whisk makes a passable latté. Seriously, quite yummy. The frothing technique is the secret. Standing the whisk in the cup of heated milk and rolling it between my palms works a treat. I mean, who knew? For the past couple of mornings, Hubby and I have been settling into our chairs, him with his tea and me with my latté. Sigh.

And this morning, with my coffee, I had a homemade, toasted hot cross bun. I adore hot cross buns. But Hubby could not find any on his last grocery store run. So on my mother’s assurance that they were easy to make, I tried my hand. They’re not bad for a first effort. And this morning toasted, smeared with butter, and savoured with my freshly made latté, that bun tasted like the ultimate luxury. Such a small treat… but really… so wonderful.

Living on the river seems a luxury these days.
It is NOT a day for bare ankles. Ha.

I guess I’m reconsidering what the word “luxury” means to me. I have always enjoyed small pleasures. My first cup of tea in the morning. A feed of wild fiddleheads in the spring. Sitting on our deck in the summer sunshine, looking out at the river, eating my lunch and reading a good book. Hot cross buns at Easter. A new pair of pants. Ha. But now, when the world can be a pretty grim place, these feel like more than small pleasures. They feel like luxuries. And of course they are.

I know that I’m lucky to be able to savour these luxuries, however small. My family is all well, and safe for the moment, Hubby and I are pretty contented here in our isolation, I chat to my mum every other day. We are not kept sleepless with worry or fear, well… only occasionally.

And lately I’ve been wondering if I will still consider these pleasures as luxuries next month, or in six months, or next year. I wonder whether we, as a society, will eschew many of our more extravagant habits when this is all over, and take more pleasure in small things. Will we luxuriate in small pleasures, and appreciate them more?

Will the idea of luxury in the time of Corona Virus carry over in the time after Corona Virus? I wonder.

I hope you all have a wonderful long weekend, my friends, whether you celebrate Easter or not. Let’s revel in the small luxuries that we are afforded, shall we?

Note: the clothing links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking my link, I will earn a commission.


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From the archives


Luxury in the Time of Corona Virus

I think that the pandemic has changed how we define the term "luxury." It's more about small pleasures to be savoured, than extravagant purchases.

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40 thoughts on “Luxury in the Time of Corona Virus”

  1. As I live in a city my biggest luxury at the moment is the lack of pollution. I know this will be short lived but it is wonderful while it lasts.

    1. Yes! I live in Los Angeles, and the air is sparkling. And those few times we do venture out, traffic is nothing. Talk about luxury!

  2. Great new sweats Sue. You look fashionable in anything you wear! Happy Easter! Passover for me here.

  3. I would be dishonest if I didn’t admit that the peace and birdsong, courtesy of practically no traffic anywhere, was a gift. And I can spend a very long time now just looking out of the window, listening to the sounds of the family over the wall as they play in the garden together. Yesterday I painted my nails a true scarlet because my nails have improved in the last couple of weeks. It felt quite glamorous. As you say, little luxuries of time and space. I want to remember this when life switches gear again. Happy Easter.

  4. I’m thinking that time is a luxury to take pleasure in now . I absolutely realise this does not apply to all the wonderful health & key workers who are looking after us ( including quite a few in my own family ) We are retired so time is not such a luxury for us but I’m noticing other people , family , friends , neighbours & even strangers have more time for each other . Short texts have become chats on Zoom etc . Busy neighbours are around to chat over the hedge more . People we meet on our dog walk aren’t dashing off to work so there’s time to talk ( at a safe distance ). Strangers smile & wave more . We’ve had lots of offers of help with shopping , not really needed , but very nice to know & neighbours have left gifts of eggs etc on the doorstep . There are so many nice people out there but we Brits are especially notorious for ‘ keeping ourselves to ourselves ‘ & long working hours don’t help . This dreadful virus seems to be breaking down our natural reserve . There seems to be a need to be kinder , gentler & more caring plus the time to do it . How lovely it would be if this has a lasting effect & people’s priorities change a little . On a lighter note today’s little luxury is banana in our porridge . We ran out but then the delivery arrived . Feels like a real treat .

    1. I wonder if the fact that everyone everywhere is in the same boat, more or less, makes this whole “battle” more bearable. The feeling that we’re all in it together. By the way I am loving listening to Ann Glenconner narrate her book. Thanks for the recommendation.

      1. I think you’re right , we are all affected by this . So glad you are enjoying the book as I’ve found such a lot of new authors thanks to you .

  5. Happy Easter. Thank you for your post…makes me feel better when I get overwhelmed. Missing my grandchildren at Easter is hard, but we are blessed, the whole family is well, even if we can’t be together. Our health is definitely a luxury we can enjoy.

  6. Sleep is my “luxury”. I love the joy of getting into bed with freshly laundered bed linens–that first few minutes when they are still cool to the touch, and I pull up the covers to my neck and snuggle in. Sweet!

  7. True luxury is in the small things we savour not in the brand name merchandise sold for unbelievably high prices…Covid-19 has made me realize that more than ever! My luxury was the purchase of a Nespresso coffee machine at Christmas time and now having the time to really enjoy the espresso or latte or mocha made in each morning…decadent! Your new casual outfit is lovely and so comfy for time spent at home! Happy Easter and do enjoy a chocolate bunny or egg or two!

  8. Luxury in the the time of Coronovavirus (soon to be a film) for me is sleeping in without guilt, reading to my hearts content and not wearing a bra! Your Easter outfit looks very comfortable. I have 2 pairs of Roots sweatpants and they are extremely luxurious. Happy Easter!

  9. Thanks Sue for another delightful post – and happy Easter to you! I agree with the comments about time being a special luxury right now. I am retired so haven’t lost a “work” routine, but I am feeling content with the options for how I spend my time even more now. I’ve had a Nespresso machine for years, and it’s such a pleasure to brew up a latte. Thanks to the closure of the local library, I’ve been granted more time to finish a book about how impressionist art developed in the mid-1800’s in France. The Judgement of Paris if anyone is interested. It’s not an easy read but enjoyable nonetheless with reminders of Paris from my trip last fall. I am also savoring the many blessings in my life more than usual. Always enjoy your posts – fashion plus other interesting thoughts! Stay well.

    1. Thanks, Deanne. I’m happy that I’ve been retired for a few years now. I’ve had time to get used to a slower pace. And this is just an added twist.

  10. Thank you for mentioning me
    Brava for your hot cross buns! I’m eying this recipe for latte for a long time- I’ll have to try it (coffee is one of my little luxuries,as you may know :-)),with friends or alone).
    I hope that some of the good changes will stay in post- corona time,as Wendy described them , between people,states (we’ve got help from China today,masks and med suits), bussinesses…..
    I love clothes and shoes very much,even still now (and love your new sweatpants btw), but at the end of the day- a dress is just a dress…..and people are what matters!
    And little luxuries….:-)

    1. It was your idea. Thanks for that. 🙂 Funny that your country received masks from China, and yet Trump blocked the shipment of masks that Canada was supposed to receive from a company in the States. Canadians are all scratching their heads at that one.

  11. Luxuries…… yes, a parcel on the doorstep,( nothing extravagant) , tea in bed in the morning with a few pages of a good book, the smell of morning coffee brewing, empty roads, the seeds I planted showing through. Perhaps I went a bit off track there, not exactly a luxury !
    An Easter egg would be a luxury as I don’t usually treat myself !
    And of course comfy sweatpants.

  12. Happy Easter! Those sweatpants look great and as always you look wonderful in them. For me luxury right now would be a good piece of chocolate! Isolation for us in some ways is not so different from normal life but I do miss seeing friends and purchasing that good piece of chocolate!

  13. Going to have to check out Roots pants for sure. Well- said about luxuries – a special coffee, a silk scarf, my dark chocolate sea salt caramel truffle for dessert every night. I find myself caressing shoes and purses, whispering softly in my closet to the clothes that I’m not mad at them and WILL wear them again…

  14. My focus is on all things positive. Like you, clean sheets, new clothes or fresh air, the list is long. I relish in the thought of home not stuck at home and regardless of the weather, I am grateful to experience the weather. Each day is a blessing and my home and yard are so clean it makes me smile!

  15. I am just very grateful for the luxury of being able to stay at home. The Mister’s work is considered “essential”(construction) but he has been very sparing with trips to check on jobs and pick up groceries for us. I think of all the people in tiny apartments with no outdoors, or in untenable situations, and feel like we are living in the lap of luxury out here in the country, with our garden to tend and trails in the woods to hike. Sometimes I get antsy when I think my chore list will run short, but somehow the chores seem to stretch to fit the days. Time had slowed down so to speak. I am so happy to have my dog as an ever ready walking companion, my stack of books, my bits of dark chocolate hidden here and there, good food and wine put away, and morning coffee. And I am always happy to have your blog to read!

  16. Luxuries I’m appreciating? Perishable foods: Cheese and bananas. All of a sudden they are quite a delight.

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