Let’s talk for a second about our style comfort zones.
For months, I’ve been pushing myself outside of my comfort zone with these mom jeans. I’ve been styling + wearing them regularly. But even still, it’s been hard for me to feel super confident in them.
I just kept questioning if I can “pull it off”.
You know what I’m talking about. We’ve probably all said it at one time or another: She looks cute, but I could never pull that off.
But I’m learning that pulling it off is less about the way it looks to people on the outside — after all, everyone will have a different opinion on it anyway. Instead, it’s about having fun and feeling confident on the inside.
That confidence doesn’t have to come the moment we try out a new item. But with three things — time, practice, and a chipper attitude — we eventually start to see things a little differently. The fun starts, our confidence grows, and that thing we weren’t sure we could pull off begins to feel natural.
I’m starting to feel that way with these jeans. I’m still not all the way there, but I’m headed in that direction.
About this time you might be wondering, Caroline, why on earth would you keep pushing yourself to wear these jeans when you’re not super confident in them?
Getting outside of my style comfort zone can be a ton of fun or zero fun, depending on where my motivation comes from.
If it comes from a place of obligation (like a “should”), it’s no fun and I usually abandon it immediately.
But when it comes from a place of curiosity and play (like right now, with these jeans) it’s fun. Pushing myself out of my style comfort zone is like a mini adventure — sometimes uncomfortable, but fun nonetheless.
And fun is important. :)
So tell me, what do you do when you feel that “can’t pull it off” feeling? Which path do you take when you feel it — do you try anyway or do you let it go? What helps you decided which path to take? Got a story of a time you recently pushed yourself out of your style comfort zone? Was it fun? Share away!
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 | Shirt (old by Madewell) | similar | similar (made responsibly)
02 | Jeans by Girlfriend (made in USA) (Fit Note: These jeans have zero stretch. I’m usually a 24 in jeans and sized up to a 25. They feel tight in the waist at first, but over a few wears they mold to your body. Wash them on cold, don’t ever put them in the dryer, and they’ll stay molded like that forever.) | similar (under $70) | similar (under $40)
03 | Bag gifted by ONA | similar (made responsibly) | similar (under $65) | similar (under $49)
04 | Flip flops (old by Clarks) | similar | similar | similar (made responsibly)
05 | Sunnies by Madewell
I really don’t know why you wouldn’t feel confident in these jeans, Caroline. They look great on you.
Liane Tomlinson says
I felt this way when I first bought kick flare cargo jeans. Now they are my favorite pants!
Yes! Own it and Rock it…with everything we do. We encourage our clients to make a decision and have confidence to not look back. The next decision comes so much easier with a little confidence behind us. make the plan and then work the plan. -Laurel Bledsoe
Boom. There you have it, Laurel. :)
So timely! I went out last night and wore a necklace that was totally not ‘me’. I usually wear delicate silver jewelry. Last night, a big gold lotus necklace with pave crystal. Waaaaayyy outside my comfort zone!
I ended up loving it:) It was an easy way to dress up my all black outfit (had to go to a party right from work), and made me feel a little more polished and like I put some effort into it. Also, nice to surprise the people that see you all the time with something a little different. Just when they thought they knew me…
I love that, Faith! Glad it worked out in your favor and you ended up loving the look. It’s a good feeling. :)
Hi Caroline, thanks for the inspiring post. I usually just wear clothes that I feel comfortable in and your idea of working towards a new style is new to me. My solution for trying out new styles with confidence would be to wear them on holidays or to make small changes to an outfit in the first step.
I ventured out of my style comfort zone recently with a boxy cropped linen tee. I had been trying to pair it with my fav low rise jeans but I’m fairly tall (5’8″) and I just wasn’t comfortable with the look. I thought it just wouldn’t work on me. When I finally found the perfect pair of high rise jeans, that crop tee with high rise skinnies had become a favorite silhouette!
P.s. your blog has been helpful and encouraging! Thanks for continuing to put up content that I can actually use in my actual life! (Can’t say that about many of the blogs I’ve come across!)
Yay Laura! I’m right there with you on that silhouette. :)
I think your frame looks great in your mom jeans! It took me a long time to be comfortable in skinny legged pants but now I love them jeggings! Literally all I wear!
I feel you on this! I love the idea of blazers but I’ve never felt comfortable in them, probably just because they’re out of my zone and they feel more “adult” than I do on the outside. But I kept coming back to them, and finally made it my goal to find some blazers that I like and learn to style them in ways that feel like me. And you know, it’s worked! I love the sassy feeling of tossing a great blazer on top of an otherwise plain/casual outfit.
And I think these jeans look great on you! I especially like them styled like this – casual and fun.
I had the same thing about blazers. My solution was to find blazers that are less restrictive — they have a stretchy construction so they feel like sweaters. :)
Yes! I think I made the initial mistake of trying to wear “classic” blazers, which have their place in my closet now but felt too stiff/formal.
Flowy/stretchy blazers are great, and I found that I also like more shrunken shapes (like Jcrew’s old Schoolboy Blazer) because it fits better with my overall style.
Miss Field says
Ah, I so enjoy when you share your thoughts like this! I can relate; I am a very self-conscious person. But I don’t want to be so I usually have an urge to get out of my comfort zone. Sometimes through style, sometimes through the opinions I choose to share. I know how scary it can be every know and then because after having the courage to put yourself out there, you have to get through the consequences! If that be embarrassment or whatnot. Love your outfit today, especially that shirt!
I feel that way about high waisted jeans. I’m not exactly sure I’m pulling them off but I just like them so I keep wearing them. Mostly on the weekends or when I know I’m not going to be seeing a bunch of cool hip and stylish people. I try to wear a sweater or something neutral with them because I’m doubting myself and want to look like I’m not.
Also, are all your blog comments capitalized? I swear I’m not yelling at you :)
Miss Field says
I know! That happened to me also, the all caps thing. It doesn’t post that way. XD
I’m 42. Off the shoulder floral dress. Floral trends. I love it. Summery. Colorful. Happy. And I’m going there…just minus the black choker! Will wear more simply. Low black ankle wrap sandals. Minimal makeup.
As for mom jeans, I wore them when in high school… They are a tough fit compared to boyfriends, skinnies and boot cut. I like a midrise with stretch, not a high rise on the belly and butt, but that’s me! Wear those mom jeans if you love them and feel good in! If you have to try to make it work, then it’s a trend that maybe you pass on :)
Cheers to that! Mom jeans are not a very flattering cut on anyone. And I find the stiff fabric and pinched waist uncomfortable. I tried to wear them in high school but realized we were just not meant to be!
Mom jeans are all I wear. I have a small waist and large hips, so the “pinched” waist is not uncomfortable for me and much more flattering than a waist that gaps out in the back. And the fabric is not stiff on the jeans I wear.
Beckie Andrews says
Love your attitude Caroline! love this blog – so much more than just a style blog for me. You really share yourself and i totally dig that! you go girl x
Honestly I simply wear it :) And have fun! You look classy and cool in your look!
xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena
Good for you, Rena! Keep the fun attitude and don’t overthink it, right? :)
When I’m having trouble coming around to an item (i.e. my leather jacket) I’ll try to wear it a bunch of days in a row to find the love between us. It not only makes the item feel broken in, but usually by the end of the week, I realize it’s just not as big a stretch as I made it out to be in my mind. I’ve had to do this more often recently — now that I buy quality investment pieces and can’t just donate something I’m not loving. It comes from a place of fun too! Love this cute breezy look!
I usually try on out-of-my-zone things at the thrift store and either love them (even when I thought I wouldn’t) or don’t. Otherwise, if it’s out of my comfort zone, I’m often trying to match a “should” and it doesn’t work out well.
i really love how these jeans fit on you :)
Breanna Marie says
I’m definitely beginning to look at clothing options more outside my comfort zone. This is partly because I’m working on my style and what my style is more than ever before. This is also because I’m working on NOT buying items on a whim.
It’s sometimes really difficult! I’ll watch an item for months (example, my Tradlands shirt) and just think on it. Now it’s my favorite shirt!
Breanna, I love when an investment piece that you’ve been waiting for just pays off! :)
Yes, experimenting with clothes should be fun! My capsule wardrobe usually consists of classic pieces so I like to push my style by throwing in a few trendy items. When I’m wearing something I’m not 100% sure about, I like to pair with a closet staple, like my favorite Levis. It gives me that confident boost to own my look!
I am slowly learning a balance between “I’m fat and I want stuff that’s flattering/slimming” and “I’m fat and I love it so I’ll show some pudge anyway.”
I’ve been overweight most of my life and I’ve sacrificed style to hide myself away and I’m over it! I know this weight isn’t going to change drastically overnight and in the meantime, I’m learning to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin. Just because I -could- pull something off doesn’t mean I want to. But, I also don’t want to feel limited to a few styles because I carry more on my frame than the average lady.
Here’s to shorts despite thunder thighs and calves.
Here’s to beautiful feminine lightweight fabrics that drape every part of me
Here’s to showing the world who I am through my style instead of hiding away my fat
Pamela Kellow says
Love your frame of mind! I bet you look beautiful in your shorts and lightweight fabrics. Half of beauty (probably more!) is how you own what you wear!
Cheers, Laura!!! All of us have self doubts, and I admire you for just keepin’ it real. You’ll inspire others by embracing and loving yourself! :)
I love this! You don’t have to hide yourself! Rock those shorts!
Thanks to you, Caroline, I’m stepping out of my comfort zone right now on this very day. I lost 55 pounds over the past year and had to transition into a whole new look, including a massive closet overhaul, as I had to start from scratch. Given the cost and time considerations of growing an entirely new wardrobe, I was searching for minimalist apparel and stumbled upon your blog. Thank goodness. I’ve learned so much in the past few weeks and am confidently building a new staple collection from all that I’ve learned on your blog. Today, I am wearing the long, neutral cardigan from your H & M link. It’s nothing I would have ever selected on my own, but the first thing my husband told me this morning was how nice I looked today. Here’s to being comfortable, both inside and outside of your body! Thank you for your blog! It’s completely changed the way I think and feel about dressing.
p.s. This is how I released the weight–if anyone is interested, here is my affiliate link:
That’s wonderful Kristine! Congrats!! :)
If a style speaks to me, if I feel like I might enjoy it if I were in a different situation, living a different sort of life, a different age, etc., then it’s generally worth a shot. That’s when the motivation comes from the inside.
If a style leaves me cold, but I’m seeing it everywhere and I feel like I ought to embrace it in order to be current and fresh, then it’s generally a hopeless battle. That’s the external motivation and “ought” or “should.” I’ve given up on making that work.
In the first situation, I might wear it around home for the first few times. Or I might wear it when I know I’m going to be busy & thinking about other things so I don’t obsess and get overly-aware of the item.. I like Jaana’s idea of wearing the piece all week long, to get to know it, find the love in it, learn how to wear it, etc. I’d never identified it before, but I think that’s actually what I tend to do. Comfort and familiarity are a big reason for my everyday pieces. Getting over that unfamiliar-ness is a good way to incorporate it into my “style self-image”
Great point, MK. We have that inner dialogue for a reason — when we feel like we “should” wear something, it’s harder to come from a place of fun. :)
I’m older, so have had lots of time to play with my own style. There’s a difference between being uncomfortable because it’s different from what I’m used to wearing or it’s not something commonly seen and being uncomfortable because it’s not conducive to my body type, height, etc. I’ll push myself to try new things in the first category, but tend to stick with what I know looks best on me. Being comfortable in that area is much more important to me.
I totally suffer from the “ugh I probably can’t pull that off” attitude too! I have also started just trying to make myself wear something if I like it. Sometimes though to pull something off, you just have to make yourself walk out the door in it!
I have similar jeans (3 pairs) to be exact! It’s the jeans I love, but not the top. I’m still challenged with pairing my said “similar” jeans. Too, while I’m thinking about what my outfit is telling everyone, I’m forgetting to look inside-I know my fun side is in there?! Great post & outfit is cool & casual?
When I’m not sure if I can pull it off, I usually rely on the people who’s style judgment I trust. If they say I look good, than I wear with confidence and if I feel uncomfortable during the day I just remind myself that the outfit got a thumbs up from someone who loves me that I trust.
Good to have fashion allies for sure, Allison. :)
I read your blog all the time, but have never commented. I just have to comment on this post because you are actually one of the people who inspired me to try mom jeans. They look so adorable on you, and the funny thing is, I bought a pair myself and every time I wear them, I feel self-conscious. Like I can’t pull them off or style them in the way you can (thanks to my wide hips!). Needless to say, this post has certainly made me think about how I feel when I wear my mom jeans, or any of my clothes, really. How we feel about ourselves/how we look and how we are perceived by others may often not align at all. I may feel weird in them, but someone else may think I’m rocking them, in the same way that I think you’re definitely rocking these jeans. :)
Yes Allison! I don’t know why we get so stuck in our thoughts about how we look to others. I’m sure they don’t think about it all that much, because they’re probably worried about themselves! I hope you’ll give your mom jeans another shot and if you like them, you rock them. :)
It’s funny, I’ve been kind of struggling with “pulling off” skinny jeans, of all things, lately. I’ve had a lot of fun lately trying out new pant silhouettes, so my old standbys don’t really feel like me anymore. I just did an experiment where I wore them 5 different ways to try to get out of my comfort zone with them, to mixed results. I think it’s a case of something I feel like I “should” wear–because I used to wear them all the time, because they’re classic–but might not be the more organic look anymore. I don’t feel the sense of curiosity and fun there that you’re talking about. (But you look awesome in these jeans.)
When I wear something that’s out of my comfort zone but still feels like ‘me’, if that makes any sense, I will keep trying it until it feels familiar enough – though pieces like that seldom become part of your wardrobe rotation. It helps to style them with old favorites, as you pointed out a while ago. Still it’s nice to experiment. But occasionally I give up on something and have to conclude I made a shopping mistake (how fascinating ;)).
Example: one oversize dress I have is a shirt dress and as such fits my aesthetic of structured yet somewhat boyish. It is still a bit outside my comfort zone with its unconventional shape, one of my least feminine pieces. Another oversized dress, I’m going to have to get rid off as its shape is just too unflattering, running into bag territory and hard to style any other way on top,of that. Whenever I wear that dress I feel like a blob (though I’m actually skinny) so it will have to go…
Liesbeth, I think the important thing is that we are trying, right? If it doesn’t work, you are right to look at it as a “fascinating” moment! You gave it your best shot and that’s all you can do. :)
I’m definitely kind of stuck in my comfort zone when it comes to style. But I have a wedding coming up where I have to wear colour and lots of things I wouldn’t so I’m using it as an excuse o buy fun accessories to start to get me out of my neutrals funk
That sounds like a fun time to experiment, Natalie! Good luck! :)
Hey I love those jeans, can you give a size review? I wear 7fam a lot and their sizes run large how does grlfrnd compare?
Hey Linda, since these jeans don’t have any stretch, I recommend sizing up. I sized up from my usual 24 to a 25 and they still needed some breaking in. :)
Sharon Lampert says
I am a Grand-MOM, and began reading your blog to “dial in” my capsule wardrobe; now that I’ve gone grey.
Those Mom jeans look FABULOUS on you! Maybe a way of getting more comfortable is to actually wear them, and pay attention to all of the compliments you get…???
Thanks, Sharon! I’m sure you are probably right. :)
Kay Nguyen says
Great outfit! Love your style as always <3
Melody smith says
I’ve gotten out of my comfort zone recently by wearing skirts.
For so long I’ve been in a rut of jeans & leggings.
Since I’m taking a break from shopping, I’ve started shopping my closet & trying to wear things I’ve neglected, namely skirts & dresses. I started with maxi skirts & felt a little self conscious at first but feminine. Then for a couple of days I wore knee length feminine skirts, which was way out of my comfort zone. But I’ve learned to wear a shorts slip (petit pants) underneath & that helps me not be so worried about flashing! I have to admit that I do feel more feminine & put together in a skirt. Tomorrow I will dare to wear a Tshirt dress. It seems so easy for other people, so why not me? I’ll give it a go!
I’m excited to see how this plays out, Melody! I hope you’ll keep us posted if you were able to make it work. :)
Kate Bu says
I stepped out of my comfort zone – wearing paisley overalls! I got a pair of Free People paisley overalls from a second-hand store a couple years ago and have worn them about four times since then. I am six feet tall, so I think that especially makes the outfit a “statement” – so much to cover! Haha. Even though I haven’t worn these overalls a lot, I love them and refuse to get rid of them. It also helps to wear them to events with friends where I feel comfortable wearing what I want and not feeling judged. (or at least, judged in my head.)
Those sound spectacular, Kate! And I think you have a good point there, that we are mostly judging ourselves. I don’t think other people care all that much! :)
I mostly wear clothes I’m super comfortable in, but I think that’s just part of my style. I’d rather wear a simple outfit that looks good and feels great then something I’m not sure about. I feel like after years of thrift shopping I can tell when I’m going to wear something a lot or not. So maybe I do pick things out of my comfort zone without really realising it.
Just wanted to cheer for you, expressing yourself in such an inspiring and vunareble way through your latest post.
Also, your posts made me think of the inspiring project StyleLikeU (searchable on YouTube). They showed me a new style dimension, adding more dept to the way I dress my body.
Hopefully something that might bring value to you and/or others! :)
Thanks for sharing, Nathalie! I’ll be sure to check it out. :)
Oh my goodness I know >exactly< where you're coming from. I have resisted skinny anything ever since it became a thing (so, for the better part of this decade so far). I looked like I was perpetually stuck in the late 90s/00s with my boot cut jeans, but then I took the dive and invested in 2 pairs of skinnies, and 2 pairs of leggings this year, and my stars I have never felt more normal. Playing with proportions of course has helped immensely, but I have now embraced the skinnies on bottom and I am not looking back! Such a small step, but this has been a sartorial revelation and I don't feel constricted at all.
That’s great, Cindy! Sometimes it’s not as scary as we make it out to be in our minds. :)
Forgive me, but what are mom jeans? How are they different from high waisted jeans?
Hey Michele, there are subtle differences. They have a little wider leg and more room in the hips. Usually a lighter wash. Very reminiscent of 90’s jeans in general. :)
I have Mom jeans in a light wash, a dark rinse and black. They are high-waisted and relaxed through the hip and thigh.
Yes! It’s all about the confidence! I’ve found that when I don’t feel like I can pull something off, or I’m just not 100% about a piece, I let it sit for a bit. Often times I’ve found that it grows on me or I eventually get the confidence to “pull it off”. This year my struggle is with the crop tops and a bit of midriff showing… I know I can pull it off, and I’ve seen girls of different body types than me ROCK that look because they felt good about it, but still my head keeps going back to those darn self conscious thoughts. It’s like, “Get outta there, thoughts! You’re amazing and you can rock this.” I just have to tell myself that more often ;)
Thanks for an inspiring post, Caroline! As always :)
My biggest challenge is not only to wear something out of the comfort zone while playing with the style, but to even notice and choose something out of the comfort zone. I just get blind to all things that do not immediately say “that’s mine”, which is usually same minimalistic items and uniform pieces (skinny jeans, skinny pants, fitted pullovers, cardis, fitted tops). So how to even get to the point where you actually notice other pieces in the store that are not in the usual comfort fit/color?
This question hasn’t bothered me for a couple years, until this spring I realized I’m extremely tired of wearing similar pieces in same colors (usually a combo of navy/purple/red). So much that I get instantly depressed putting on a navy item.. Full wardrobe revamp doesn’t sound like a good option either for a minimalistic person..
What do you guys do when you realize you are very tired of the wardrobe you have been wearing for years? When 90% of your wardrobe is 2-3 same colors and same shapes?