Ask the Bean: Chic Comfort

March 28, 2009 • Magazine

Ask the Bean: Chic Comfort

Ask the Bean: Chic Comfort

Sun, 2009-03-29 07:00

Dear Bean:

As much as I love fashion, when it comes down to my wardrobe I opt for comfort over style and ultimately end up wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Is there a way to dress up my casual look without trying too hard?

Sloppy Shirt

Dear Reader:

There is nothing sloppy about being comfortable. I would never dare take you away from your favorite pair of jeans. However, I applaud you for recognizing the fine line that can easily be crossed between casual and disheveled.

First off, one woman’s casual can be another woman’s glamour. So it’s important to know where you fit when it comes to wearing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. If your jeans are held together by a piece of thread and your t-shirt should have been retired to a dishrag three months ago…then you may want to start from scratch with your task of putting some snap into your style.

But if you are just looking to update a look that you feel just needs a little bit of a kick, then examine why. Is it because your jeans are dragging on the floor due to your flip flops? Is it because your t-shirt is just a little bit too stretched out to make you feel shapely? Or is it because you have a knapsack thrown over your shoulder that boasts the opposite side of the color wheel than that of your jacket?

No matter the reason, there are some easy fixes to make your effortless attire fit your style standards.

Firstly, make sure it fits. The jeans can be relaxed, but if you require a belt to avoid some embarrassing display action, then opt for a different pair. Bare the same rules for your t-shirt: too short or too low is a no-go. Feeling comfortable shouldn’t go so far as you wearing your pajamas to the grocery store. For example, if you are wearing a generic tank top with your favorite slouchy jeans, throw a fitted plaid button-down over it and pair it with a slouchy tan bag and big silver hoops, and you have a new look.

I know you may resent me for this one, but avoid flip flops! Shoes always add something to an outfit. So if you have a fantastic ensemble and throw on a pair of flip flops when running out the door, you relinquish your final edge to your ensemble to gather dust in your closet. A quick caveat to this statement — flip flops are not the same as thong sandals. Now, a cute pair of Keds with cuffed jeans contributes to the casual look. Cork wedges, same thing. You can be casual, comfortable, and still strut your stuff.

So after the original outfit and after the shoes, you may still feel like you need just a little something. That’s when accessories come into play. It’s amazing what a large pair of hoops can do for any outfit. You don’t have to go crazy with jewelry, but simple earrings and maybe a bracelet and statement ring or even a belt can be enough to tie your look together. Also, make sure you have that go-to bag that goes with anything you are wearing when you run out the door. Tan leather is always a good option as it goes both with black and brown — but you know your attire best.

Finally, when all else fails, work with layers. If you’re just wearing a t-shirt and jeans, throw on a cute bomber jacket, blazer, or cardigan. Even a simple scarf or pashmina can do the trick! If it’s not cover-up weather, I would suggest investing in a vest or two. They’re easy, go with almost everything, and portray a subtle sense of intrigue to the simplest outfit.

It is said that a great outfit can put a spring in anyone’s step. I couldn’t agree more, but feeling put-together and confident doesn’t have to take as much effort as dressing for a red carpet soiree. A pair of jeans and a t-shirt can provide you with just as much style as any ball gown. Remember it’s not about what you wear, it’s how you wear it— but maybe with just a few added accessories.

1. Splendid Cotton Modal T-Shirt
2. Chris Benz Jennifer Matte Jersey Top – Runway to Reality
3. Michael Kors Cashmere Silk Striped Sweater
4. Alice + Olivia Pretty Pearl T-Shirt
5. Leyendecker Carnaby Vest
6. Vivienne Westwood Anglomania New Billow Top
7. American Apparel Sheer Jersey 2-Sided Top
8. 291 Back to the Roots Scarf

Image Layout: Minette Higden

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