There’s nothing wrong with comfy clothes

— by Alyson Walsh

Everyone wears sneakers now. Photos: Claire Pepper

Comfy shouldn’t be a dirty word. But in fashion it can be viewed as a bit of a put-down, a derogatory label. Comfy clothes are reserved for children and old people; the relaxed aesthetic worn by middle-aged women referred to as Menocore  (‘Picture a 50-something-year-old woman who doesn’t care what other people think and just wants to be supremely comfortable.’ Thank you, Man Repeller). Why can’t we revel in the pressure of a no-stress, faff-free outfit? There’s nothing wrong with the concept of comfy – of feeling good in a particular outfit, of dressing to please yourself, who doesn’t want that? Comfy clothing needs a re-brand.

The older I get, the less inclined I am to put up with garments high on Faff Factor. Finding clothes that fit well is almost an obsession. I am acutely aware of armpit-bothering jackets and up yer bum pants. The neckline of a round-necked top or t-shirt has to be an optimum shape. Not cut too high, or too low. ‘Being comfortable is the most important thing,’ Iris Apfel told me over the phone when I interviewed her for my first book, Style Forever,  ‘and I don’t mean slobby!’ Apfel is the ultimate maximalist but underneath the baubles and bangles lies a tunic over trousers, a simple canvas. The nonagenarian New Yorker has a singular look. Apfel has created an image that feels good and works for her. She knows her style.


Scrumptious corduroy


My feel-good clothes – a cool coat or blazer, a jumpsuit, a pair of trainers – are the not-so-basic-basics I comeback to again and again. I can put them on and go about my daily business, no bother. Much like the Ready Brek-effect, feeling comfortable in your clothes provides a perma-hygge glow of all-day confidence. Texture has a part to play. Cashmere is top of the comfy scale. Corduroy is scrumptious. There’s a joy to a weighty silk crepe that hangs just right. Ditto a good quality cotton-stretch jersey, a magnificent plush velvet and super-soft, washed and worn-in denim. The way we work today: remotely, part-time, from home, in several places throughout the week, has impacted on the way we dress. Everyone wears sneakers and activewear now. This blend of casual and formal has become the new normal.


Feel-good clothes

This winter, I’ve replaced the cargo pants with slouchy jumbo cords (a thank you gift from Kate Sheridan), and I’m constantly trying to figure out new ways to layer-up my cardi and make my old clothes feel new again. Feeling comfortable means feeling relaxed not constricted, confident not self-conscious.

Oh and it’s not about age, it’s about style.

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Comfy shouldn’t be a dirty word. But in fashion it can be viewed as a bit of a put-down, a derogatory label.