I’m a few years into this whole “figuring out my style” thing, and when I first started, it didn’t take too long to find the aesthetic I loved.
But it did take me a while to figure out how to execute my aesthetic in the most comfortable way possible.
In fact, I’m still figuring it out. But even though I still make mistakes, this outfit is definitely a win for style + comfort.
Let’s break it down:
01: Flat, comfortable shoes.
Flat shoes are great.
Except for when they have zero support and give you blisters. :)
But here’s my big secret:
I slip comfy insoles into just about every pair of shoes I own — even if they are sandals. Then and I put moleskin padding around the heel and any other uncomfortable spots. Quick tip: instead of following the instructions and putting the moleskin on my foot, I put it directly onto my shoe instead.
And just like that, they’re comfortable.
02: A small bag.
I swing back and forth — sometimes I prefer a small bag, sometimes a big bag.
But right now, a small bag equals comfort because it doesn’t weigh me down.
I still love + carry my big cognac tote all the time. I can stash snacks in it. And a sweater if it gets chilly. Or a backup pair of flats if I’m wearing heels. Or my fav water bottle. It’s convenient to have all those things with me.
But lately, carrying all those things with me makes my shoulders hurt at the end of a day. I think most of us carry enough tension in our shoulders already — so I’ve been trying to lighten my load by downsizing to a smaller bag.
I can fit everything I need inside: keys, phone, wallet, small toiletry bag, and sunnies.
03: An outfit that works in hot and cold temperatures.
It’s heating up in Texas, but that doesn’t mean we’re out of sweater weather yet.
Why? Because this time of year, businesses + restaurants tend to b l a s t the air conditioning to combat the heat.
I get it. But it means I alternate between hot and freezing all day long. So I come prepared with this cozy cashmere cardigan.
(Wondering how this cardigan is holding up so far? Excellent question. When I first pulled it out of the box, it seemed like a fairly fragile piece. But I’ve had it for a few months now, and I haven’t been easy on it. I’ve worn it two or three times a week, taken it on four or five trips, and even tossed it in the back of the car a few times — and I’m happy to say, it’s holding up! A few pills here and there, but I just grab my little defuzzing comb — and after a few brushes, no more pills.)
04: The softest jeans I can find.
I’ve been tracking my dressing habits more and more lately, and you know what? These soft boyfriend jeans get worn more than any other bottom I own.
Why? Because they are crazy soft + they are just loose enough + they don’t pinch in the waist.
Now, when it comes to style, my favorite proportion to wear is a high rise bottom + crop top. But these boyfriend jeans have a lower rise, so my favorite proportion (and my crop tops) are out. And even still, I can’t stop reaching for them.
That’s the power of comfort for ya. :)
• • •
So, what about you? How do you reconcile your personal style with a need for comfort? Got any tips for upping your style game while staying comfortable? Share away in the comments!
Photo Credit: Katie Jameson
Liked today’s outfit? You can shop it and support Unfancy at the same time by using these affiliate links:
01 | Tee by Everlane (made responsibly) | similar (under $20)
02 | Cardigan by Cuyana (made responsibly) | similar | similar (under $25)
03 | Jeans (old by Rag+Bone) | same jean, darker wash (made in USA) | same jean, lighter wash (made in USA) | similar | similar (under $60)
04 | Lace up sandals by Madewell | similar (made responsibly)
I agree! This outfit is style and comfort in the same way!
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
Rebelle Kitchen says
Ok I LOVE the idea about making sandals comfy. Genius! I tend to have to buy inexpensive shoes since I don’t wear leather, and they feel like pieces of cardboard on my feet. Would the insole thing work on sandals that don’t have a back? (I’m guessing not…)
Yep–they work! I use those exact insoles in nearly every sandal or high heel shoe I have. The bottoms of the insoles are a little sticky (without actual adhesive–something about the surface of the insole) so they stay in place without having to anchor against edges of the shoe. Just figure out where your foot sits on the footbed of the shoe, and place the insole appropriately. They’re brilliant.
These insoles allowed me to wear gorgeous, strappy, delicate high-heel shoes at my wedding with no pain. Standing through the ceremony, then during the whole reception afterwards–awesome!
Hi, I’m really curious about these insoles, as my feet often hurt in new, or even not new, shoes. Do you have any brand or any link that you could recommend so I could better see what you’re referring to? That would be amazing!
Hey Bettina, I linked to them in the post. You can find them here: http://bit.ly/2qjtkHA
Thanks so much, that helps a lot, I hadn’t seen the link in the article!
Tanya E says
I love this too. I currently have orthotics due to plantar fasciitis and am trying to slowly transition out of them. I think these might be perfect. I’m with you on wanting comfort, as well as style!
Totally my kind of outfit!
-Kirsten // http://www.porkandcookies.com
AH YES, COMFORT IS TRULY KING! I’M TRYING TO FIGURE OUT MY AESTHETIC BUT I’M STRUGGLING WITH FANTASY AND REALITY. I DO KNOW THAT COMFORT IS SUPER IMPORTANT TO ME SO AT LEAST I HAVE ONE THING NARROWED DOWN RIGHT :)
I also find that I’m reaching for a smaller crossbody more often, especially for travel. It’s funny how easy it is to pare down your “essentials” when you are forced to house them in a smaller space!
So true, Krystal! :)
I follow the same ideas to feel comfortable, but also add a funny print either on my top or my bag. I was recently inspired by this girl’s spring capsule: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cadbvT6LjKs. Maybe we’re all headed in the direction of casual glamour.
Albeit we are no doubt 30+ years apart (same as my partner in our firm and blog, you have the same ideas about style and comfort as I do. Always love your look!-Laurel Bledsoe
Wondering how you would use insoles on sandals that are skimpy, like the gladiator sandals you are wearing, without them showing. I must wear good supportive insoles.
Hey Mary, These might not be quite as supportive as other insoles, but they really do the trick for me if I want to wear flat sandals: http://bit.ly/2qjtkHA
They stick to the inside of the shoe so they don’t move around! :)
Love the outfit! I bought this sweater (using your link) and I love it too! So warm and it feels like a luxury for everyday. Quick question- when you purchased your Mott & Bow jeans recently, did you get the 8.5″ rise or the 10″ rise? I’m on the fence. I’m trying to find jeans that don’t dig into my waist when I sit down, and I thought I might give these a try.
Thanks! I always appreciate when you’re able to reply to comments.
I know I’m not Caroline, but….
I own jeans from Mott and Bow in both rises, and I love them both. Admittedly, I’m both a dancer and a climber – consequently, I have a pretty big butt, so lower rise jeans can be a challenge for me. I like the pair of 8.5′ rise jeans I have well enough, but I’ve occasionally found that they have a tendency to show my buttcrack if I’m not wearing a longer shirt with them. The 10′ rise ones, though, I wear practically every day. They’re super super comfortable, but they are high enough that they can dig in a little when you sit down. I don’t have an issue with it, but if it’s something that would bother you, and if you typically don’t have buttcrack issues with low rise jeans, I’d do the 8.5′ rise.
Hey Christy! I love these jeans. I went with the 10″ rise, because I enjoy a good high-rise right now. It’s practically like wearing yoga pants! :)
Thanks Toni & Caroline! This is really helpful. I think I will go with the 10″ rise because I have a curvier rear end too but a smaller waist. Thanks again :)
Anna W says
This is such a great post – I love the insight of how this might not be your favorite visual proportion, but it’s the most comfortable…and I think that’s awesome! It still totally passes the aesthetic test though, and in my opinion, it really helps define your dressy high waist black jeans and cropped silk top styles from your more casual distressed jeans and tee styles.
When it comes to comfort, there are two things I place above everything else: temperature and outfit management. Like you, I struggle with the balance of sunshine and AC, so I have some light sweaters that never go into storage, plus a heavier wool sweater that lives in my office year round. As far as outfit management goes, I am adamant that once I put my clothes on, I don’t want to think about them for the rest of the day. I don’t want to mess with belts that drift around my waist, bra straps that show on boat neck tops or sleeveless tees, skirts that fly up and reveal too much, flowy sleeves that get caught on things, or jewelry that snags on delicate material. Usually that means I’m picking super simple, low maintenance items, but when I decide that outfit is worth the effort, I’ve been known to safety pin a bra into a dress or top…and I never, ever, ever wear a dress or skirt without shorts underneath. Heck, I even pin the front pieces of my hair back so I don’t have to deal with it falling down in my face all day.
Love your tips on how to make shoes more comfy!
Anna, temperature is a big one! Thanks for always sharing such great perspectives. :)
Sara Mac says
Anna, I’d love to know what kinds of shorts you use under skirts and dresses! I’ve tried Jockey’s Shorties, but I’m always on the lookout for similar shorts in natural fabrics.
I love your style, it’s so effortless and beautiful.
Keep doing you!
K A T E L A T E L Y || Fashion & Lifestyle Blog
Absolutely agree about comfort.
It was surprisingly challenging to acknowledge how many of my clothes I love but likely wouldn’t wear again because they were uncomfortable in some way. Getting serious about comfort made shopping for clothes much more difficult. It also helped refine & clarify my style. For example, I generally only buy clothing made of natural fabrics because they feel so much more comfortable to me. It’s not a hard & fast rule, but I have to have a good reason before I’ll break it. A wardrobe of natural fabrics has a certain type of aesthetic, & I’ve discovered I like it.
Also, it’s great to go to my closet and know I’ll be comfy whatever I choose.
I’m adopting this rule, too Pretty much any time I’m swayed into buying something that’s not made with natural fabrics, it’s a mistake. That sweater from the big fast fashion retailer made of a polyblend looked and felt so good, but washed terribly and now feels stiff and uncomfortable. No bueno. And you’re right–having some guidelines like that forces you to consider your style and purchases so much more carefully!
Sheila Joy says
For me, whenever sneakers came back into style I was over the moon and my style became a lot more casual and comfortable. I think I had do go through a phase of wearing high and uncomfortable shoes first to really appreciate having a comfy style!
I totally agree, Sheila! :)
I’d like to recommend Rothy’s flats. They are SO comfy, sustainable, made in the USA, and I really love the way they look.
Thanks for the recommendation, Alexa!
The slow pace says
For me, comfort always comes first. When I gave up trying to look “trendy” and just decided to be comfortable in the clothes I was wearing a new world of possibilities appeared in front of me. I only wear flats because I just can’t walk in heels. At first it was a bit of a shock, mostly during wedding season, but now, most of my friends have decided to go flat during important events because it’s the best way to have fun!!! Comfort for the win!
I love that! :)
Agree! I got rid of pretty much all my heels last year and don’t miss them at all. It helps that my husband doesn’t care for them (he says I walk funny and just complain about my feet). :)
Alina @EclecticAlu says
Yes to everything you said!! I agree! Comfort is what makes me decide what jeans or tops I ultimately wear.
Love that bag!
totally loving this outfit!
Do you wear something under the linen tee? I got the same one and it was totally see thru! Any tips? Thanks! :)
Hey Anna, I just wear my nude bra. It doesn’t seem to show through too much! :)
I agree, comfort is always first. I sometimes still make mistakes when buying clothes that turn out to itch or ride up or show too much bra. Out they go on eBay to find a new home and a new owner who might appreciate them more.
By the way. I love your outside photos. I liked the living room pics too, but I like the change.
How do you like that circular bag? Is the shape practical?
Hey Tina, yes! The bag has been very practical. Circular bags are sometimes hard to open — you have to lay them down so stuff doesn’t spill out. This one only opens half way so everything stays put, but it’s still enough where everything is accessible. :)
I go for comfort and ruthless practicality. Only recently have I started to attempt stylish on top of that, and sometimes it is a struggle because apparently nice looking clothing has to be uncomfortable or lack pockets. (Not always, obviously, but sometimes it seems like it.)
I love your blog. I would be really interested in a tutorial for how you use your defuzzing comb. I recently purchased one and I’m having a hard time getting the hang of using it. I can’t seem to find a good explanation of the technique.
Samantha Lee says
Obsessed with long jackets and cardigans – they somehow make my 5’3″ frame appear a bit taller! I’m currently on the hunt for a long black one. Also, I wear a Fjallraven backpack most days to help ease shoulder pain – big, heavy totes just don’t work for me anymore.
A good ergo backpack is definitely a game changer when you really have to carry all of that stuff. Mine is a Deuter women’s cycling backpack. I’ve had it for at least 5 years and there’s almost no sign of wear. For purses, mine are all really small, too.
Kay Nguyen says
Great outfit! That cardigan looks so comfortable and cozy <3
I love your outfit and I love your blog!! Comfort in clothing has always been important to me, but I wasn’t always so in Vogue. I am just happy to see that there are fewer fashion rules now, and better fabrics, than there were 30 or so years ago when I was a twenty-something, so it is much easier now to wear comfortable flats, stretch jeans etc. With hemlines at all lengths and jeans at different rises, even shorter people like me can be comfortable and can be stylish and can wear clothes that fit.
I love it too, Robin! :)
Caroline, I’m curious how you balance the ‘breaking-in’ period for clothes – so many of my favorite, most comfortable pieces have become that way from wear after wear. How do you know if a piece is or isn’t going to have that break-in factor?
Hey Megan, I guess there’s no way to know 100% of the time. But I kind of think natural fibers break in better than synthetic ones, so that’s something to look at. Jeans, for instance, won’t break in as much when they are super stretchy. Cotton / linen fabrics may break in better and wear in well, more so than nylon / rayon fabric.
Has that been your experience? What are some of your favorite, worn-in pieces made from?
Very true! My most notable experience lately has been a pair of leather boots that were way too tight at first but now are my most comfortable pair of shoes. You are right, there is no way to know for sure – I sometimes wish clothes came with a label that let me know how long they will last/how long I will love them… But that is all part of the learning process! It’s more fun to think about why something did work vs feeling frustrated over something that didn’t.
Excited I found your blog because I REALLY need to pair down my wardrobe and cut way back on shopping for ideally the rest of the year!
What a comfy yet stylish looking outfit. You’ve nailed it again. I’ve come to realize that these are basically they key things I need to watch out for in all clothing — comfort and style!
Hi! I have the round Baggu cross body and love it…but wondering if I need to treat the leather somehow to resist stains?! It’s so soft and pretty that I hate to use anything to change the color, but it seems like it might need something! Thought, tips on possible products ? Thanks!
Hey Susan, I haven’t really treated it — and unless it starts looking really shabby, I don’t plan to. I kind of love the worn-in look. :)
Ali | Gimme Some Oven says
Love this post! I decided last year that comfort is now my main priority in clothes…which I’ve learned is totally do-able!
Also, that cardigan looks soooo cozy. :)
I’m so with you on the smaller bag thing! I have two little kids so I’m often toting around a large leather bag like yours as a “diaper bag.” But for my own essential things (and so as to not worry about them getting stolen at the playground or something), I’ve just totally adopted a “cool looking” (or so I like to think) fanny pack. http://www.roots.com/ca/en/village-pack-tribe-18011037.html?cgid=leatherTribeLeatherCollection&start=73&selectedColor=024#start=73
I pretend it’s my “signature” piece and IDGAF that it’s actually a fanny pack because being hands free is so … freeing!
Thanks for the comments on how the cardi holding up. I’ve been eyeing this for a while as I’ve recently decided I will pretty much exclusively be buying cashmere for sweaters from now on :)
The cardigan is gorgeous and exactly what I’m looking for – what’s been your experience with its wear and durability? How long have you had it? I’m happy to spend that sort of $$ on it, but I’m always worried that these things are going to go baggy in the elbows — my least favourite thing in a knit!
Comfort is super important. If i’m wearing something ‘comfortable but not that fashionable’ , i would try and make it up in the shoe department, making sure that i’m wearing something that actually looks good (but still comfy enough).
Laura Blanton says
Thanks for the insole tip/lead! I’ve been thinking about using them in some of the booties that I own as well — I’ve just noticed that if I’m wearing any amount of heel that the balls of my feet hurt immediately (as opposed to after at least a few hours of wear.) Will definitely be trying these out! :)
Oh my gosh–THANK YOU! I got those same sandals a few months back and have barely worn them as they aren’t comfortable enough to reach for over my flip flops. Great solution!
irene \ hint of grey says
Totally agree on the hot and cold temperature thing. Our temperature can change so fast, it’s so important that the outfit can handle sweaty and chilly!
http://www.hintofgrey.com | Hint of Grey
I realized that my style aesthetic of structured pieces does not go so well with my need for soft, comfortable and fuss-free clothes. Though I still like shirts and pressed trousers, I hardly still wear them because they need so much ironing (blah!), need to be adjusted when sitting down and are generally less soft to the touch and pulling in one place or another.
That doesn’t mean I wear only loose and soft pieces, but I have embraced knit fabrics, body skimming or even oversize dresses and pants with elasticated waists. Denim, leather and tops with some shape in it (like subtle shoulder pads or clever pleating) further provide the structured look that I crave.
I love this look! It’s definitely one I may be copying very soon! :)