Allow me to make myself unpopular: I don’t believe that comfort trumps style on the weekends. I don’t believe we should eschew all things polished and structured in favor of all things soft and comfy just because the work week is on temporary hiatus. I don’t believe that blazers and heels are punishments while jeans and sneaks are rewards. I DO believe that mixing a few refined – and possibly mildly uncomfortable – pieces into your casual looks will help kick your casual style into high gear.
Now, before you bust out the torches and pitchforks, let me explain.
Many women who work day jobs maintain a work wardrobe, and a completely separate weekend wardrobe. The work wardrobe typically includes clean, classic, conservative pieces that reflect personal style but are also office-appropriate. The weekend wardrobe may be somewhat congruent to the work wardrobe … but it also may be COMPLETELY different. Stocked with baggy jeans and sweatshirts, influenced by a sharply defined aesthetic like steampunk or rockabilly, or brimming with frilly romantic, super tough, or highly whimsical pieces.
And for some, this is the only way. Work garb must conform to work rules, and if those rules are rigid and oppressive then breaking them into tiny little bits on the weekend can be liberating. Vital, even.
But for those with a little workplace dress code leeway, I recommend merging work and weekend as much as possible. Maintaining two drastically different wardrobes can cause some style identity crises, and forcing some of your workweek clothes and accessories into weekend wear can heal that rift. Here are some ways to make that process a bit less painful:
One polished item
If the thought of crafting outfits that mix items from your work and casual wardrobes makes your head hurt, start simply: Create weekend looks that include a single fancy, work week-appropriate item. My recommendation is to do jewelry, shoes, or accessories. Jeans and a graphic tee with sneaks is casual, jeans and a graphic tee with wedges is polished casual. Other single items that look fabulous in a casual mix include blazers, cardigans, and scarves.
Lean on jeans
Speaking of jeans, if you’ve peeked inside a fashion magazine anytime in the last five years or so, you’ll have seen about 28 bazillion outfit ideas that revolve around pairing denim with fanciness. If you’re a jean queen, this is great news. Throw on a separates outfit that you’d wear to work – cardigan, blouse, and heels or blazer, sweater, and flats – and swap in a pair of jeans for whatever you’d normally wear on your bottom half.
Prioritize comfort zones
All-over comfort is grand, of course, but we all have bits that are more sensitive than others. In order to make polished weekend looks sustainable and appealing, make sure you tend to your comfort priorities. Is your waistline tender? Then skip pinching skirts and binding tights in favor of flowy dresses or comfy jeans. Are your feet fussy? Then forget the heels entirely and focus on fancification above the ankle. Do you need to be able to move your arms freely? Then abandon blazers and delve into accessories and jewelry instead.
Explore casual alternatives
Jeans and a tee. Jeans and a sweatshirt. Jeans and a hoodie. Although jeans themselves can be a fabulous piece for making an otherwise dressy outfit read casual, there ARE other comfortable, casual options out there. Jersey knit dresses, sweater dresses, leggings and jeggings, ponte and knit blazers, and tunics are a few of my personal faves, but there are loads more. Don’t confine yourself to the casual classics.
Just as it’s always wise to inject your personality into your work wear – pyramid stud earrings for the undercover punk, an embellished silk blouse beneath a blazer for the incurable romantic, bright yellow pumps for the color addict – it’s equally smart to create some continuity between your work looks and your weekend looks. At least, if you’re interested in creating overall stylistic continuity.