I am completely willing to sacrifice comfort for style.
OK, OK, I am completely willing to sacrifice comfort for style on most days. Or maybe “some days” would be more accurate. And, you know, not EVERYWHERE on my body. Just most spots. Or maybe “some spots” would be more accurate …
Well, regardless of the quantifiable particulars, when I wake up and think, “I need to be comfortable today. And not just for the first couple of hours. All day,” I build my outfits utilizing what I’ve learned about my body, my taste, and my preferences.
Everyone’s comfort-related needs will be different, of course, but having a handle on those needs is key to consistently assembling outfits that are both soothing to your body and flattering to your figure. And since deciphering those needs can be a bit challenging, here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Identify your sensitive bits
Whether you’ve got skin that irritates easily and can only tolerate certain fibers, a bad back that calls for flats, or sweaty pits that do best with absorbent cotton, you should be able to pinpoint which bits of your body NEED to be accommodated in order to create holistic comfort. Start with the fussiest parts of your physique, and work your way outward.
You’ll be amused to learn that a girl who loves sky-high heels and belts is most sensitive in her feet and waist. That’s right, if I’m dressing for comfort it is imperative that I be beltless and shod in squishy-soft shoes.
Know your irritants
One of my best friends is allergic to all man-made fibers. A co-worker buddy needs shoes with a very slight heel and an inflexible sole or her feet kill. And, personally, I need full range of motion in my arms for real comfort. Stiff, fitted blazers are fabulous, but they make reaching for the peanut butter jar on that top shelf such a pain. Experimentation and experience should lend you some insight into which fibers, styles, and garments will make you the most miserable. When dressing for comfort, avoid them. See how easy?
Know your faves
The tunic/leggings/boots combo is my go-to choice for cool weather comfort dressing. And I know for certain which shoes will serve me well for long days of walking and standing, and which ones will make me want to buy a new pair of feet after an hour. When comfort is paramount, it helps to build your outfits by starting with a few reliable key pieces that you love, that love you back, and that have been road tested for ultimate comfort.
If you know you can’t tolerate a belt for more than a few hours, DON’T plunk down your hard-earned wages for waist-cinchers. If you have fussy feet, insist on quality shoes … and shop at stores with liberal return policies so you can give ’em a true test-run. If you get a stiff neck or back pain with exertion, think twice before purchasing an oversized handbag made from heavy leather. Comfort needn’t be the primary consideration in every purchase, but it needs to be part of the equation. Especially if you’re thinking of spending big.
I don’t subscribe to the idea that all comfortable ensembles must be completely casual, utterly accessory-free, or essentially unstylish. Comfortable outfits can include dressy accents, and mixing elegant items into a casual mix generally works beautifully. If you’re doing jeans and flats, add a long necklace. If you’ve got your hair pulled back to keep it from tickling your face, be sure to wear earrings. If you’re wearing a knit sundress, throw on a scarf or belt. Find ways to style your comfies so that you look chic AND feel fab.
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