Fashion isn’t exactly the first topic that comes to mind when thinking of things to study from this COVID-19 year. But those Zoom-school leggings and quarantine 15-caftans are precisely the impetus for “Fashion in Residence,” a new exhibit from the UNT Texas Fashion Collection on display at Dallas’ NorthPark Center.


In the last year, organizers say, comfort has been one of the most appealing features of people’s wardrobes, but this is not the first time societal changes have influenced private clothing choices at home.


“From transforming homes into venues for entertaining during Prohibition in the 1920s to the COVID-19 pandemic reshaping our living spaces into primary sites for leisure, our wardrobes have long responded to changing demands of our times,” says Annette Becker, director of the Texas Fashion Collection in the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design, in a release.


The display — on view through June 6 — traces the design innovations and cultural changes associated with at-home styles over the last century, they say. It showcases 14 womenswear styles by designers Lilly Pulitzer, Emilio Pucci, Geoffrey Beene, Texas native Todd Oldham, Hanae Mori, and more.


“Within American popular culture, advances in at-home dress have empowered women by gently challenging the boundaries of acceptable dress,” Becker says. “While women wearing pants was not widely accepted until the 1970s, hostess ensembles as early as the 1920s included bifurcated garments. When televisions flooded American homes in the 1950s, designer Claire McCardell designed the first ‘television suit,’ an ensemble somewhere between a house dress and nighttime pajamas.


“And the late 1960s sexual revolution pushed lingerie out of the bedroom and onto the pages of fashion magazines, enlivening options in intimate apparel.”


“Fashion in Residence” is on view between Neiman Marcus and Dillard’s on level one of the shopping center; admission is free.