Tuesday 9 July 2013

Are You Fashionably Comfortable?

Sometime early 2000's, Gayle King, Oprah's best friend, went on a search for 20 best burgers in America.
My search is a little less ambitious. I am on the hunt for the ‘Most Comfortable Outfit’.
Form, how does a 'comfortable outfit' look and feel to what one thinks about comfort in the fashion perspective, I asked all the relevant (and irrelevant) question.

What better place to start my research than the holy shrine of fashion conscious people: the gym.
Each woman who is slaving away to the vanity gods has her answer ready. Boldly one said Juicy tracksuit, the others shouted cotton pants, some random voices echoed tank top and shorts, and so on I hear different items listed off- Saree, chuddiar kurta, everything sleeveless, old jeans, anything without collar ect...

With such a wide array to choose from, it suddenly seemed very difficult to pick one piece of clothing and label it ‘comfortable’. For starters, no two women would have selected the same things.
One has to ask, is there such thing as a 'Most Comfortable Outfit'? Plus, who gets to decide which outfit is comfortable and which is not? And most importantly, whom do I go to for these answers?

[Illustrations via: Pinterest, Inslee Haynes,Etsy, TrendHunter, Pinterest. Collage via Polyvore]

Comfort is Style: I had to start some where. After much deliberation, I started with my favourite ageless, weightless gym friend. Her opening line was, “Style is comfort! If it’s not stylish, I won’t be comfortable in it . 
For her, the most comfortable outfit is an extremely well fitted, well finished designer/branded piece. She H.A.T.E.S. loose- fitted ‘sloppy’ garments. “Yes, it is possible to be comfortable without looking like a total slob.” For her, being comfortable mean looking stylish.
My gym friend's preference of clothes made me re-think the original dichotomy of style vs. comfort. The classic myth has been, anything that is stylish won’t be comfortable. And yet, my friend opts for un-breathable designer skinny jeans and treacherous stilettos’ over comfy lounge pants and ballerina flats.
Moral of the story: One women’s torture could very easily be another women’s comfort!

 Comfort is cost-effective and hassle-free: My friend got me thinking, feeling comfortable is more a state of mind than anything else. The next few days, I discovered new personalised versions of the word ‘comfortable’.
One fine day I ran into my youngest brother’s ex-tuition teacher. Without trying to, she added to my growing comfort vocabulary. She jokingly asked me, why don’t you fashion designers make clothes that are durable and affordable? Why is everything so exorbitant and requires as much care as a newborn baby? “I feel very, very uncomfortable just trying out those expensive delicate-darlings; can never imagine wearing them, ever”.
She unknowingly gave me a new dimension to explore. Proudly stating her most comfortable outfit is something easy to buy and take care, cost effective and stays in fashion for more than just 2 weeks. “Sasta, sundar, tikau!” was her comfort philosophy.

 Comfort is being different from everyone else: Sale season is one of the best times to buy sasta, sundar, tikau goodies, plus observe people shop. They buy more than they need, and since it is 50% off they do it guilt free.
I too was indulging in my own little guilt-free retail therapy when I ran into my friend’s new girl friend. Out of sheer curiosity, I asked about what is her comfort mantra? “Something very different and unique from what everyone else wearing”. She could handle wild, whacky and statement making, but anything that is run-of -the-mill is a big no-no! She vehemently refused to be a salve to mainstream fashion trends and rules; her comfort was in being an absolute fashion trendsetter instead of follower.

Comfort is simple over flashy: After my impromptu chit chat with her, I went back to my shopping. “Something very simple” said a polite voice on my right side to a harrowed sales staff. She said simple he showed plain, she said white he showed her matronly, she said lightly embellished, and he brought out the bling. “All this jhatak-matak makes me very uncomfortable. Show me something not so flashy”. Finally giving-up on the sales staff, she decided to go look for herself. Stocked up on simple, yet elegant pieces she walked out as one happy customer.

Physical Comfort is Fashion Comfort: My quest for finding the most comfortable outfit made me wonder what am I most comfortable in? 
Like everyone, my definition of comfort is also an amalgamation of many things.

For me, brands, price points or lastest trend are not the most important aspect.
What I am most comfortable in is something that fits well, hides my flaw, complements my body type and gives me a certain amount of confidence. 
I prefer well-fitted to body hugging, flats to heels and bright colours to neutrals.
I love fashion and dressing up, but, I also know my physical limitations and at no given time am I slave to any particular trend or style. For me, physical comfort is also fashion comfort.

While I may of not found the 'most confortable outfit', one thing I know for sure is, the meaning of comfort from the fashion perspective is as ambiguous and subjective as it is anywhere else. The definition shifts from being physically comfortable to mentally feeling it. Requiring no set rule or basic parameters, each one can decide what he/she thinks is comfortable. The best way I can define comfort in the fashion context is- the complete freedom of dressing your self.
The only question you need to ask is - are you fashionably comfortable in it?

Till then, tra-la,
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  1. Great post! I wear my tees with perfect fit and three quarter track pants..

    I hate it when women wearing fitted clothes with bulging fat everywhere..


  2. U mentioned everything that I think of!! Lingerie is also an important aspect of feelin comfortable! Sexy lingerie totally ups feeling sooper diva-ish

  3. Can't agree more with your definition of confortable fashion. It has to hide the flaws and we are good to go !
    Love the theme you picked up!


  4. Yay fashionably comfortable FTW.
    I'll stick to my good old jeans and tees for work.. If I'm meeting a client or someone important, the jeans get upgraded to my jeggings or nicer tights and the tee becomes a tunic or a nicer blouse.
    But really, how does one stay comfortable and work as a stylist? Especially when the job requires you to run around, visit dodgy areas and other mad stuff??


  5. i like to wear whatever i like. period. i don't care what others have to say about it.

  6. Style > comfort anyday.
    Despite, uncomfortably tight/ short dresses or impractical jeans, there is one line I never cross - heels (unless we're talking nights-out)! That's right! Ballet flats/ brogues for regular days. In the city of traffic, I need to keep my legs mobile!

  7. I always choose comfort over fashion, and that is why I can never fall in the category of being "fashion forward."

  8. There is no better way you could have described comfort.Loved your definition.Kudos! :) I think It is possible to stay comfortable and stylish at the same time.For instance,Palazzo pants can be both comfortable and also give you an edgy look when styled right! :)
    Love xoxo

  9. My pick is physical comfort over fashion. BTW, your posts are always good read! :)

    Bong's Belleza

  10. Great post - I agree fashionable and comfortable should not be mutually exclusive, but sometimes we all have to pick one over the other! For me, as long as I have comfortable (yet good looking) shoes, I am OK with high maintenance outfit! That's ll the comfort I need:-)I usually carry foldable ballet flats in my bag, for this reason! Good luck with ur hunt!
    Hope you are having a wonderful day!
    Style-Delights Blog
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  11. Great post! Usually I am comfortable when I am not wearing crazy high heels - so I never really buy them. xo