Growing up in the 80s in the midwest, gradually making my way west to Los Angeles via Dallas, Texas, gives me a true appreciation for women's comfort clothing. Am I bothered that women no longer wear pantyhose when they "dress up?" No. Does it cross my mind that my grandmother is probably flip flopping in her grave as a result of my not wearing the proper undergarments, e.g. a slip and a girdle? Sometimes. But not for long. As popular as they are, I don't even own a pair of Spanx. I do have a few slips, but I never use them. I do have some tights and thigh highs but they are still in their packages.
I love this comfort trend that women are embracing. Today, women are looking for sexy, comfortable clothing options that are appropriate for whatever their lifestyle demands. Whether you're a housewife or a CEO, whether you home office or want to be as comfortable as you are while at home, women are no longer confined to strict dress codes, personally or professionally. The Spring 2011 runway shows gave us a glimpse of simple, easy knits that allowed women to look fashionable without torturing themselves. For many, women's comfort clothing, aka loungewear, means terry cloth/velour sweat suits and yoga-inspired clothing. But in 2010, we've moved beyond these looks. Sometimes our daily activities require us to look a little more dressed up than a warm up suit allows. And maybe we want to feel a little prettier than our favorite yoga pants permit.
So how do we achieve that? For a woman, here are a few rules of engagement when leaning toward a more comfort-inspired fashion look?
Rule No. 1 - Think outside of the box, don't have tunnel vision in your fashion choices.
Comfort clothing is more than just that terry cloth warm up, yoga inspired ensemble or your favorite moo moo. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't have those pieces in your wardrobe. But often times, you need to step up your fashion game, but hesitate to do so because you don't feel like being dressed up. Consider adding a wide, non-restricting belt to that moo moo and pairing it with your favorite comfy flats or riding boots. While effortless, you've found a way to show off your figure and accessorize. Pick basic pieces that are stylish, but are made from soft, luxuriously comfortable fabrics like Modal. Pay attention to the unique cuts in a garment, that can take a basic T-shirt, tank or cardigan to the next level.
Rule No. 2 - Choose items that can complement your most comfortable pieces, showing off your sense of style.
I mentioned adding a wide belt to your favorite moo moo, aka, comfortable, shapeless dress. How about pairing that belt with your favorite tank top, cardigan combination, giving you a sexy shape? Everyone has a favorite tank or tee. And these days, mostly everyone has leggings and comfy jeans. Pair your belted tee and tank with them. Add the right shoe/boot combination and earrings and you've created a new look without giving up the comfort.
Rule No. 3 - Don't hesitate spending a little extra to get the staple items needed to enhance your comfortable wardrobe.
I spent the most I'd ever spent on riding boots last year because I knew they were comfortable and versatile enough to wear with anything. It was the best purchase I'd made of the season. I wore them with everything and plan to do the same this boot season. They were a high-quality pair of Frye boots that weren't run over after a season of use, because they were quality. And they are basic, yet stylish enough to carry forward through seasons to come. I wore them with skirts, jeans, leggings, and dresses. I wasn't rocking my stilettos like back in the day, but my look was still current, sexy and most importantly, comfortable.
Rule No. 4 - Don't mistake comfort for an excuse to be frumpy.
As a woman, we all love to look good in our skin. You may not put the effort into your wardrobe like your favorite celebrity fashionista, staying on top of each and every trend, but be inspired by her. Keep the hair, nails and brows done. So even though you are comfortable and carefree, not limping in pain trying to sport the latest Louboutins, you still look amazing and pulled together.
The rules of looking and feeling your best in comfortable clothing are simple. Same as they have always been. If you look good, you feel good. Whatever that look is for you, discover it and wear it with a badge of honor.
Erin Braxton Loungewear, Resort Wear and Sleepwear