If we take a look at female fashion through history, we see that practicality and comfort were very rarely anyone’s primary concern. Simply letting women wear pants involved decades of social struggle and protests before it finally became allowed, and it took until the 1920s for trousers to really become a part of everyday life for a small portion of women. Even then, the trends fluctuated and there was always a very clear distinction between what’s considered a proper attire to wear in public, and what most ladies wouldn’t be caught dead in. The very idea of “business casual” was completely unknown, and both genders had very clear dress codes that they needed to adhere to in the office. However, things are now changing, and an average fashion lover no longer needs to choose between staying on trend and being comfortable. Of course, some skill in finding the right balance is still needed, but we can help with that.
Choosing your aesthetics
The crucial thing about successful fashion is always an individual’s unique aesthetic. Comfort doesn’t come only from soft fabrics and loose-fitting garments, it comes from confidence, from wearing something that panders to your personality and showcases your best features. Perhaps you enjoy the retro vibe of the ‘60s, or maybe today’s fashion appeals to you and you’re inspired by the sporty, modern glam of Gigi and Bella Hadid.
Research fashion and look at the way it developed through history. What kind of silhouettes do you like? What kind of color schemes appeal to you? Whose style do you admire? Let magazines, Pinterest, and even history books inspire you to find your “fashion niche.”
Athleisure as the game-changer
Loose, baggy, oversized – all of the attributes that used to be synonymous with shabby and almost slob-like clothes are now the top trends on all the runways. Gigi Hadid’s entire off-duty urban style consists almost solely of athleisure looks, and she has been rocking her sporty glam for years now. In her casual Reebok x Future sneakers and a sleek little black getup, she managed to bring a dose of elegance with her Saint Laurent tote bag. And this is generally the key when it comes to combining comfort and fashion: rely on staple pieces and then style them up with a good accessory or two.
Celebrities do love their athleisure, and stars like Beyoncé are to blame for its rising popularity. While the trend showed up at the end of 2013, it wasn’t until the launch of Ivy Park clothing line that it became clear it’s not going anywhere. Beyoncé and her high-street sportswear promote not only comfort, but health and fitness as a lifestyle, and wearing an Ivy Park oversized hoodie became almost a uniform for all the busy gals who juggle work, gym time, and social activities in a single day. Leggings are the new jeans, and athleisure is your new best friend in your search for cozy wardrobe. It can be kept fairly simple and straightforward, but it can also be styled up with jewelry, denim jackets, nail polish, and sleek, luxury bags.
The right shoes
Shoes are key when it comes to comfort, but this doesn’t really mean you only need to stick to ballet flats and sneakers. If you love your heels, pick shoes with wedge soles that will offer better arch support, or stick to kitten heels. Even low platform shoes can be very cozy! If you want to slip into something more glamorous, try padding your shoe with cushioned insoles or try one of the other high-heel tricks. Avoid crazy shoe trends like the “plastic shoe.” Something can be popular for a little while, but that doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea.
Layers are a good way to give your outfit some visual interest while retaining the comfort, so rely on spaghetti-strap tops, light cardigans, and loose crop tops over form-fitting shirts to create fun layers.
Business wear for the busy
Blazers are your friend. They can literally make even a simple combo of jeans and a t-shirt look professional, and investing in a few blazers is a great way to achieve that businesswoman polish. For the office, you want to keep it demure, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be boring. Stick to neutral colors such as black, navy, nude, grey, or brown, but break the monotony of it with colorful accessories – a red scarf to pair with your navy blouse, for example. Silver and gold jewelry also works well.
And one more tip before we go: if you don’t like it, put it back on the rack. When shopping for new clothes, the only real way to achieve comfort is to buy pieces that simply look and feel good when you put them on. If you don’t feel all that happy in something you’re trying out or you think it might take a lot of styling to make it work, simply put it back. Shop smartly, enjoy athleisure, and have fun creating your own unique aesthetic.