Monday, October 18, 2010

Can Clothes Be Too Comfortable?

Everyone loves comfortable clothes. But can clothes be TOO comfortable?  In fact, most of my readers (except mom : ) will agree that today's emphasis on comfort above all else isn't doing much for the looks of the public at large.  But i'm not talking about dressing for comfort alone in bagged out, stained and faded sweats and cracked Crocs. I'm talking about clothes that look stylish, flattering and appropriate. They just feel much more soft, unconfining, and unconstricting than those we are used to wearing.

I wore this outfit without the jacket (with the belt) for most of the day.  I liked the look - a long column of grey with textural details at hem and neckline, waist defined in the middle - but it just felt like i was wearing pajamas or a floppy nightgown all day. It never felt like i actually 'got dressed', though i was demonstrably not naked. It was all just too floppy and 'comfy'. There's no way i would have worn this outfit without the jacket out of the house. I just couldn't convince myself i was actually 'dressed', no matter what i saw in the mirror.

I tried to figure it out.  I know that i tend towards a degree of structure in my clothes - woven materials, leather belts, waist and shoulder definition, stiff-brimmed hats and skirts with bulk.  I was born in 1962 and graduated high school in 1980, and i've seen many purely technological changes in clothing materials since then. I cast back to what clothes were like growing up - the only knits were bulky polyester double knits (which i think i never wore, i found them that hideous from the beginning) or stiff, scratchy men's underwear (tee shirts and waffleweave long johns).  No fabrics approached the sheer buttery deliciousness of today's rayon/lycra blends, for example, until i was in my late twenties.  The only fabrics which had that wonderful soft, smooth feel were my flannel nightgowns that i wore until the shoulders busted through.

the fairy thorn bush along the walking trail by our house

Well, i never thought my outfit blog would take such a Freudian turn!  But what do you think? Can clothes be TOO comfortable, just on feel alone? Or is this another of my personal eccentricities?

Top: Aeropostale (from the Petaluma Outlet store)
Skirt: own design
Jacket: Issey Miyake for Vogue Patterns
Shoes: Dansko Marcelle

sapsucker holes on the fairy thorn bush. sapsucker drill holes in this characteristic pattern of lines, which is a good thing - sapsuckers are notoriously shy birds and otherwise i'd never know they are around! this tree is covered in sapsucker holes, with fresh ones all the time. but i've only seen the sapsucker once.


  1. I think clothes can be "too comfortable." I don't quite know how to explain this, but wearing clothes that don't feel like pajamas are almost a slight, constant reminder that you aren't at home. Like I said I don't know how to explain this because HELLO - when I'm at work, everything around me is very obviously my cubicle, I don't actually need jeans or belts or tights to remind me of that fact. I think it's sort of a "costume change" mentality - even though I actually know whether I'm at work or at home despite the clothes I have on, it feels more "correct" with the "right" clothes on.

    Clear as mud.

    Although sometimes when I'm super sick but still have to come into work (my office doesn't offer sick days so you have to use a vacation day when you don't come in - obviously I try to conserve them!), I wear the absolute comfiest thing I can. It makes me feel just a *little* bit more like I'm sitting at home in bed nursing my fever (or whatever)...even if that's not actually the case.

  2. yes they can, which is probably why we're not allowed to wear pjs to work hehe

    I just wanted to thank you, the root canal ended up being a tooth extraction instead and I had my wisdom teeth pulled out a few months ago so I was a lot less nervous!

    Do you know, you remind me so much of Reva, you both have this beautiful, eclectic style and lovely photographs and you guys tend to come across as very inspirational free spirits.

    here's a link in case you haven't heard of her yet

    tc :)

  3. Hi Kelly! it's funny, but i think you expressed the whole, weird feeling better than i did! clothes + psychology = 'clear as mud'

    Hi Weesha! hehe, indeed ; ) and i'm glad to hear your dental experience ended up being less stressful. though i am sad you lost a tooth. c'est la guerre, i suppose : )

    and thank you for pointing me to Reva - i'd not heard of her until now and i'm really enjoying reading her blog - what a treat! i hope you heal up quick (or that you're already back to 100%)! steph

  4. Oh, definitely clothes can be too comfy - but I think we need that contrast between dressier clothes so that we can properly wear our comfy clothes when we are alone or at home (not in the grocery store, people!).

    I have a dress that I call my "jammie dress" - whenever I wear it to work, I feel WAY too relaxed, like I want to go to sleep.

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  6. hi - i'm testing a new avatar photo - comments photos cut off weird parts....

  7. Hi Sheila! excellent point on the contrast between 'comfy snugglies' and needing to 'gird one's loins'!

    so, have wee seen this 'jammie dress' posted on your blog? i'm off to have a look! : ) steph