How do you dress to look put-together and comfortable at the same time?

Written by Naomi May

 If comfort is king in your post-pandemic wardrobe, then consider this your bumper guide to perfecting the art of looking both comfortable and stylish at the same time.  

As we crawl out from the quagmire of comfort-first clothes we’ve spent the last 18 months in, it would seem many of us are embroiled in something of a collective identity crisis.

How do I get dressed? What do I like to wear? What do I wear?

Sound familiar? Doesn’t it just. After all, now that our pre-pandemic lives are beginning to take form once more, the dichotomy of how to dress well, which is to say stylishly, without compromising on that all-important comfort to which we’ve been accustomed is proving trickier than ever. And it’s understandable following a year-long stint stationed in loungewear and pyjamas; after all, if that’s not enough to render your sense of style just a little bit bruised, then I don’t know what is.

But fear not, dear fashion lovers, for assistance is at hand in the form of this helpful guide that will pin-point the dos and don’ts of comfort-first dressing. Look at this as fine art; a dance between comfort and style that cross-pollinates both perfectly.

You’ll no longer have to suffer for style, or crash into comfort; these are the pointers to follow for how to look put-together and feel comfortable. You’re welcome.

Outerwear is your friend

Statement outerwear is your new style BFF

As the temperatures begin to nosedive, it will come as no surprise to you that it is well worth investing in outerwear that will keep you snug and cosy during the chillier months. As the Olsen twins once remarked, “I love getting amazing jackets, because you can wear your pajamas underneath and everyone’s like, ‘Oh fabulous jacket’, and I’m like, ‘You should see what’s underneath’.” Truer words have never been said.

The trick is to masterfully divert attention away from your outfit, which in this case at least can be as louche as can be (see: loungewear), and instead direct it to your jacket. To nail the outerwear-as-an-outfit trend with aplomb, coats must be calf to ankle length so as to hide the multitude of sartorial sins your body is clad in and they must be obnoxiously statement-making in some way.

Unsure where to start? Purveyor of faux fur fashion Jakke has a multitude of options, including splashy iterations which have been birthed from its recent collaboration with a trio of burgeoning artists, while Stand Studio – a fashion editor favourite – is still crafting some of the most covetable coats in the game. 

Take your knitted dress to new lengths

Make a knitted maxi dress your go-to

While the virtues of the humble knitted dress have been extolled at large, for those of us baby-stepping our way back to fashion normality, it’s time to familiarise ourselves with knitted frocks with much longer hems.

Wear with tall stomper boots to both nail the trend and keep your legs toasty, of course. Shorter stomper boots or, indeed, box-fresh trainers allow the knitted dress to be the throw-on-and-go item of your winter wardrobe. The way to take a knitted maxi to the next level, though, is to do it while embracing this year’s love-in with colour saturation which, to you and I, is the fancy term given to colour-blocking – wearing slightly varying shades of the same colour in one outfit. If your knitted maxi is chocolate brown, throw on under a coat of the same hue; if your knitted maxi is black, opt for outerwear in charcoal grey or midnight blue; if your knitted maxi is cream, the power of beige outerwear will elevate it.

Whistles and Hush have both interpreted the knitted maxi dress this winter, in shades of brown and dark blue respectively, while Matches Fashion’s homegrown brand Raey’s take on the trend is a high-neck floor-sweeping frock which we predict big things for among the fashion set.

 Co-ords will save the day

Matching co-ord sets will save you outfit planning time

If the concept of having to decide what to wear each day haunts you, then take the headache out of it by investing in a ready-made look. Indeed, co-ords are no secret in the realm of fashion, but they are oft-times mistakenly relegated in conversations pertaining to comfort when they are, in actual fact, the perfect way of dressing to be comfy and cool at the same time, and there’s a duo to suit every body.

Oversized two-piece suits have proven to be the fashion set’s favourite on the streets of the spring/summer 2022 fashion weeks (all the effort that’s required of you is to throw on a vest top underneath your blazer), while sharper iterations – which are no less comfortable – have also been championed. Look to those with a wide-leg for optimal style and comfort points, and don’t be afraid to layer up underneath once the temperature plummets even more.

River Island’s newly-imagined Studio collection – which features a collaboration with pared-back content creator Lizzy Hadfield, no less – is brimming with cool and comfy co-ords, while Sleeper’s soft-to-the-touch two-pieces similarly offer the same element of sartorial splash, without the restrictive waistbands. 

Keep a pair of your favourite trainers fresh

Keep trainers box fresh

It would be remiss of us to not proffer the comfort-first powers of a pair of box-fresh trainers, but the emphasis when considering outfits that are both stylish and comfortable is on the box-fresh element. For trainers to be at their punchiest in this sense, they must look embryonic in their newness; dazzlingly white, or their sartorial clout is limited.

The fashion set’s favourite trainers of late come by way of outdoorsy brand Salomon, whose gore-tex treads are leading the charge, but there is also the inevitable buffet of New Balance and Nikes pounding the pavements in all of their box-fresh glory. An insider’s hack is to spray new sneakers before wearing with a protective spray and, should they become speckled with mud or dust, just wipe clean with a baby wipe and avoid putting them in the washing machine, as this weakens their soles.

Sunglasses are not just for summer

Sunglasses are perfect for adding a finishing touch

The sun, believe it or not, shines all year round (not that our Brits would know that through all of the gloomy grey clouds), which makes sunglasses one of the most socially acceptable accessories in the game. Their enduring appeal, in fact, is less pertaining to their ability to shield from the sun’s rays and more in their ability to elevate even the slouchiest of outfits.

Don’t believe us? Just trawl through any and all street style pictures and you’ll find even the most put-together style stars rocking their sunnies. The go-to silhouette this winter? A 90s-inspired rectangular frame, which London-based brand Jimmy Fairly excels in; but for those who prefer a more forgiving oversized shape, look to Zimmermann, whose shades are all kinds of fabulous. 

Images: courtesy of Getty.

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