Posts Tagged: casual

Getting Comfortable

comfortable sweatshirts

For a long time, I believed that a little bit of physical discomfort could be beneficial at times: Stiffer, more formal clothing can put you in a focused frame of mind and encourage extended concentration. Some experts recommend dressing up for phone interviews, both because the ritual of dressing can help center you, and because speaking to someone on the phone while wearing business attire makes the interview experience feel more weighty and real. And in the midst of our increasingly comfort-obsessed culture, it saddens me to see that people choose to wear cargo shorts to the opera* and t-shirts to four-star restaurants. Dressing up lends a different energy to our activities, and I enjoy that differentiation.

But I just got back from a short session with a client in which we selected an outfit for a photo shoot. She is a makeup artist who loves helping others look their best for photos, but dies inside every time the lens swings her way. AND she was told to wear an outfit that perfectly encapsulated her personal style. We talked about this challenging request, and agreed that if the mandate had been “semi-formal” or “a blazer and blouse” or anything that provided specific parameters, it would’ve been considerably less daunting. She wanted to look classic, luxe, and approachable, but I also knew that she needed to be comfortable or her anxiety would show through in the photos. We picked a favorite utility jacket, marled white tee, and layered gold necklaces, a combination she’d worn dozens of times in real life. This grouping provided her comfort on several levels: The clothes and accessories weren’t stiff or restricting, it was an outfit she’d worn before that felt reassuringly familiar, and it felt authentic to her personality and style. Sure, she would’ve looked more glamorous in a sequined cocktail dress, but it would’ve made her uncomfortable in so many ways. Not worth the risk or potential trade-off.

I’ve also observed the link between clothing comfort and body comfort. The mild discomfort of suiting and heels, or button-front and pencil skirt can work to focus attention, or it can make the wearer self-conscious and fidgety. This may sound obvious: It’s only natural that comfortable clothes would make our physical selves feel better. But I’m talking on a more abstract, self-image level. For some people, stiff, formal clothing makes them feel like impostors, like their bodies are unwieldy or don’t belong. Discomfort in clothing only serves to amplify the discomfort in body that was lurking just below the surface.

The idea of being “too comfortable” is a fascinating one, really. Policing of comfort is likely linked to the distinctly Western fear of laziness, a state of being that we believe will descend if we spend our entire lives feeling relaxed in our bodies and minds. And while I still believe that dressing for occasions is a rewarding way to set certain events and experiences apart from the everyday, I’m beginning to think that letting people spend more time in their style and body comfort zones could lead to a happier, less anxious population.

What do you think? What does comfort mean to you? Do you feel there’s a difference between clothing comfort and body comfort? Is there such a thing as being too comfortable? What do you think would happen if all dress codes were obliterated worldwide?

*I have witnessed this first-hand. Cross my heart.

Images courtesy Nordstrom – left | right

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for alreadypretty.com. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.

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Volumizing

IG poncho-esqueMy Inner Hippie Chick adores a poncho. But they’re not always the most practical garments. What do you do with a shoulder or cross-body bag? If you have to drive? I love this poncho-eqsue sweater as it gives me the look without the hassle. As a petite woman (5’1″), I have to be careful about voluminous garments that can swallow me whole; this one works for me because the fabric is soft and the knit open, and I don’t feel as though I’m wearing a yurt. I’ve also balanced the look with slimmer pants, and a bag and shoes with some visual weight.

poncho-esque 2Earrings: Argento Vivo
Scarf: McQ by Alexander McQueen
Sweater: DKNY Pure
Tee: Adea (long sleeve scoop neck)
Jeans: Frame Denim, no longer available. (similar style.)
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff
Bracelets: French Kande, Stella and Dot, no longer available (similar look)
Shoes: Eileen Fisher (these are SO comfortable!!)

poncho-esque 3

Do you wear ponchos or blanket wraps? Do you have tricks for balancing an outfit that includes more voluminous garments?

A note: this will be my final post as an Already Pretty contributor. I’d like to thank Sally for inviting me to be part of the AP Contributor team, as well as all of you who have read and/or commented over the last couple of years. I’ve had a blast, yet it feels like a good time to pass the baton, and I know Sally will have a fabulous contributor lined up to take over.

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for http://unefemme.net. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.
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Already Pretty contributor Une Femme is fifty-seven eight, married to the same wonderful monsieur since 1995, the mother of a special-needs teenager and two hooligan dogs, a full-time administrative professional, a coffee-holic, Paris-obsessed, native Californian, and a petite and curvy femme d’un certain age. She believes that personal style is an essential form of self-expression, and started her blog, une femme d’un certain âge, in 2007 hoping to start a conversation about style for women over 50.

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Walkies!

Doggehs 2

After a rainy weekend, my pups were very happy to get out for a nice long walk once it let up. I don’t mind walking in the rain, but they hate it. They hate wearing raincoats even more.

Not me. I fell in love with this Sandro jacket when we were visiting London in 2013, and have never regretted the purchase. It’s perfect for our Southern California climate. It’s lightweight enough to wear even into late spring, but now in “winter” (such as we get in LA) I’ll layer sweaters underneath for warmth. The charcoal grey NYDJ jeans were one of my best 2014 purchases. They are comfortable, versatile and a nice break from blue denim. Plus, they don’t show the dog hair as much. ;-p

Earrings: Argento Vivo, no longer available, similar
Scarf: Eileen Fisher
Jacket: Sandro, no longer available, similar.
Sweater: J.Crew
Jeans: NYDJ
Bracelet: French Kande
Boots: Aquatalia by Marvin K, similar

Doggehs 3

These boots may be suede, but they are actually weatherproof. I’ve stepped in big puddles while wearing them (not intentionally) and my feet stayed dry. They’re supremely comfortable too.

Doggehs 4

Remember that old show business saying, “never work with children or animals?” These two are scene-stealers for sure, but it’s not often I get them to sit this still for the camera!

Doggehs 1

 

**Disclosure: Actions you take from the hyperlinks within this blog post may yield commissions for http://unefemme.net. See Already Pretty’s disclosure statement for more details.
******************
Already Pretty contributor Une Femme is fifty-seven, married to the same wonderful monsieur since 1995, the mother of a special-needs teenager and two hooligan dogs, a full-time administrative professional, a coffee-holic, Paris-obsessed, native Californian, and a petite and curvy femme d’un certain age. She believes that personal style is an essential form of self-expression, and started her blog, une femme d’un certain âge, in 2007 hoping to start a conversation about style for women over 50.

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