Comfy clothes are the best. I would wear pyjamas all day every day if I could. But you
know what I definitely can’t wear to work? Pyjamas. Not just because of Sarah from Accounts and her judging eyes, but also because I’m a big believer in dressing for success. If I look dressed for business, I get business done.
But herein lies the minefield; being uncomfortable is a massive distraction. I itch, I fidget, I change position constantly and can’t focus, even though I know I look good. A happy medium has to be found; we must find a way to power dress with some room in the trousers. So that’s what I’ve learned to do. Here’s what I have found for serving looks while staying comfy.
The formal jogger
The purchase of a lifetime, my ‘formal joggers’ are basically a pair of trackie bottoms
made out of trouser fabric. I.e. you look like you’re wearing trousers when you feel ready for a physio appointment. Genius trickery.
While not looking too formal on their own, importantly, the elasticated waist rather than a normal trouser allows you to emphasise your waist and make pretty much anything you wear on top look better fitted when tucked in. Pairing them with a loose shirt and a pair of brogues creates a slouchy, put-together-without trying look. If your work requires you to look a bit more formal than this, a tighter shirt and a suit jacket can make the trousers a statement piece of your outfit, while remaining the cosy secret down below. (Not like that. Gross)
The shirt dress
By wearing what is essentially a sack with buttons, the shirt dress allows you to move about freely, unrestricted by such things as ‘figure hugging flattery’. The buttons on this
one also allow me to do a quirky, geek-chic vibe, or play games should the situation call for it. The simplicity of the design also means that you can make the outfit look a lot more formal with even a small amount of jewellery; I particularly like to feed a necklace under the collar, adding a small piece of detail without any expense to my comfort. Pair with some nice ballet pumps, and you once again have that looking-profesh-but-fresh-from-the-sesh vibe.
Fat Face and & other stories have always been the best place to find these for me, especially when on sale, as they come in at quite reasonable prices for decent quality. They’re also a sensible answer if the grown-ups ask where you got it from.
The jumper with amazing fabric on the inside
Another optical illusion. I appreciate a jumper is not always the most acceptable work
wear. But, if you get the right fit, shape and style and pair with a pencil skirt or sensible trousers and heels, you can get away with it. A jumper is comfy enough in itself, but the real piece of genius is investing in something that looks fancy on the outside, but is super-soft on the inside; a rare find but a possibility. This sparkly, bat-winged number from & other stories is really scratchy on the outside, but has super silky fabric on the inside. If you look at me in it, you feel satisfied that I’m suffering for the look; if you touch me, you fear me. However, I’m floating on air inside.
And what didn’t work…
The giant baby-gro
Well, dungarees. Essential for going to see Cher singing ABBA songs at the cinema, but something about them made me… Playful. Mischievous. More attention seeking than normal, which is really something. Basically, I felt so happy in them I couldn’t behave. My manager still talks about that day as a benchmark of me at my professional worst and has banned me from wearing them. But I guess there has to be a line somewhere.