5 RULES FOR COMFORT DRESSING
Over a work lunch recently, I was talking to a couple of women about comfort dressing.
Find comfort in chunky knits and slouchy pants… Chloe 2012 Autumn/Winter Collection.
Correction: one of them was talking about how much she wished she could wear her pyjamas to the office and I was trying to understand why. It’s no secret that I enjoy getting dressed (most mornings, anyway), and even on days I work from home I couldn’t imagine slobbing around in a tracksuit.
That’s not to say that I’m prancing around my loungeroom in my Jimmy Choos, but there are ways of balancing style and comfort.
After that lunch, I started thinking about pyjama-free comfort dressing for the office and whether it’s possible to create the psychological effect of a dressing gown, without giving your colleagues cause to question your sanity. Then I realised that I have my own version of comfort dressing, particularly on Fridays, the day my inclination towards dressing up tends to hit a weekly low.
The outfit above is a good example and pretty well sums up my rules for feeling much more relaxed than I look.
Rules, you say? Well, since you asked, here they are:
1. Wear cashmere. Always a worthwhile investment, it feels luxurious and rich, particularly if you tell yourself that you’re “swathed in cashmere”. No-one could ever be a slob when they’re swathed in anything. Obviously this is a winter-specific rule; the summer equivalent would be crisp cotton – it’s all about having something that just feels good. My knit is by J. Crew (the T-shirt is Proenza Schouler) but I also love this floral silk and cashmere knit by DKNY.
2. Ditch the denim. It’s too obvious – nothing says, “I’m feeling slobby” like a pair of boyfriend jeans. And while dark denim looks more polished, it can have a stiffness that is very much not about being comfortable. A pair of slim-cut chinos or capri pants in tan or grey will keep your comfort level a closely guarded secret. Mine are by Country Road, but J. Crew also make an excellent pair.
3. Incorporate a trend. It suggests that you know what’s going on and have made an effort to stay up to date (when you know it was an effort just getting to the office by nine. Ok, maybe 9.15). A pastel knit is my big nod to the season but this one by Carven combines pastel and peplum for double the trend love.
4. Choose your most comfortable heels. It can be tempting to forego heels altogether but I find that just stepping into them can often give me a psychological lift that no pair of ballet flats can hope to match. Just in case, I’ll choose a comfortable pair with a block heel, like these ones by Preen X Aldo Rise. Wedges, like these ones by Belle by Sigerson Morrison, will also do the trick.
5. Add a statement accessory. See point number 3: it suggests an effort is being made. Chunky bangles are an easy fix (mine are by Dinosaur Designs and Pamela Love) but I also love this bejewelled necklace by Marni, so fabulous over a simple T-shirt or sweater.
What are your tips for looking polished when you’d rather be in bed?
*Michelle Bateman is a freelance writer and editor who blogs about fashion, beauty and the arts on The Modernity Project, as well as contributing to Australian Vogue, Women’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar and Emporium, among other titles. When not testing new lipsticks (and the occasional gloss), she can be found rearranging her wardrobe in a perpetual quest for more space. This season, she is enjoying mixing patterns and clashing colours; she has always been a sucker for a good leopard print.