Is Fashion Getting More Comfortable With Comfort?

Mansur Gavriel and Tibi’s Fall 2018 collections filled me with relief.

Punctuated by loose midi dresses, lightweight duster coats, spacious handbags, low-heeled shoes, cozy sweaters and tons of monochrome, these were collections that mutually affirmed an obvious truth often forgotten, perhaps amusingly, in the world of fashion: Clothes are meant to be lived in.

Such good Gen Z yellow @mansurgavriel (regram @fashionunfiltered)

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I love the look of a dramatic, I-can-barely-walk-or-sit-in-this outfit as much as the next fashion editor, but when it comes to the everyday, there is something far more magical about an assembly of pieces that don’t just look great, but feel great — clothes that ooze ease and the confidence that comes with it.

I’ve been thinking a lot about ease and confidence lately when it comes to style, especially after reading a recent “Week of Outfits” post on Cup of Jo, in which communications specialist Nicole Bruno said: “My style icon is probably Jackie O. or her sister Lee Radziwill. I love the tailored look of the 50s and 60s. Their clothes looked great, but you saw them first. I try to do that. I want people to see me first.”

I want people to see me first. That simple statement took me aback, articulating perfectly the power of clothes to selectively conceal or reveal. As a self-proclaimed maximalist, I often prefer to have the bells and whistles of my personal style speak for me, at least initially. I have this idea in my head, and I’m not sure whether or not it’s true, but I think I can make a better first impression with an outfit than I can with my personality. I’m fun once you get to know me, but my clothes? They’re fun right away.

Also! Don’t sleep on the cropped puffer situation @tibi

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The thing about wanting people to see you first is that you have to feel comfortable about what they might discover. Wearing bright colors and clashing patterns seems bold in theory, but sometimes I think minimalism is braver. Whenever I see a woman wearing something utterly simple and utterly chic, I think to myself, that’s power. There’s power in putting your most vulnerable self out there without a rainbow bracelet or sparkly shoe to shield you from what other people might think. There’s power in knowing who you are to the extent that you don’t feel compelled to try on different identities.

I’ll be damned if I don’t enjoy a rainbow bracelet, though. Ditto for sparkly shoes. So where does that leave me? Is there a middle ground between the quietude of minimalism and the distracting chatter of maximalism? Clothes that project both ease and self-expression simultaneously?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, or so Mansur Gavriel and Tibi seemed to conclude, offering up a slew of outfit ideas that looked wearable and comfortable and relatively simple without skimping on style. I’m already thinking about how to approximate the head-to-toe robin’s egg blue look from Mansur, and the cargo pants tucked into cowboy boots at Tibi. Both exuded a sense of contentment, and if there’s one thing I want my clothes to do, it’s that.

How about you?

Mansur Gavriel photos by Emily Malan; follow her on Instagram @emilymalanTibi photos via Vogue Runway. 

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  • Adrianna

    This is the aesthetic I’ve been gravitating towards the past few years, in my late twenties – loose tops, loose sweaters. I’m not self conscious about fit or fidgeting to adjust clothing. I feel my best when I layer a collared shirt with a sweater. Ironically I think I look more “put together” because my loose tops frequently have buttons.

    I was a teen and college student in the early 2000s, where everything was basically bodycon to show off your body shape, even t-shirts. It took some mental hurdles to realize that structured clothing is very comfortable once you go up a size or two.

  • I think this is a conversation more about a new conceptualization of body consciousness—as in literally wearing what feels good on your body—and less about the minimalist-maximalist spectrum. With the bright monochromes, patterns, and costume jewelry all of these are right up my alley as a maximalist, and a little 60s in a fun way.

    Now someone find me an affordable printed muumuu/yellow pants combo, stat. Also: how does one find affordable costume jewelry that hits the right side of cheap?

    • J.Crew sometimes has really good sales on their jewelry.

      • Totally. The factory stores are also great for accessories.

    • Zauberwald

      Target has great costume jewelry.

    • vss

      Go to a vintage shop! I recently purchased some for $30-$40 a pair.

      • Love vintage. That is kind of pricey for me personally though; I’d probably tap out at $20!

    • Harling Ross

      interesting point

    • Molly O

      Thrift stores. You have to be prepared to look through junk but you can get INCREDIBLE finds. Plus I have found that most of the thrift stores in my ares have started to display their better jewelry, be it costume or not, in cases so it’s easier to find.

      • Ugh, wish the thrift scene in NYC wasn’t such a bloodbath. It can be kind of surprisingly lackluster if you don’t have the funds for the ones everyone knows.

        However…I just discovered eBay’s estate jewelry lot sets and oh my god?! MR, please buy one of the huge unsorted boxes and have a couple writers style/craft with what they find! I will formally pitch this if no one else will!!

        • Molly O

          Ooof, yeah. I feel for you. While someone like me, up in Vermont, would travel to NYC with the plan of dealing with that scene for a bit, I wouldn’t want that to be my regular experience AT ALL. I couldn’t handle it.

          • Exactly! Plus, I find suburban thrifting–like, Value Village and Goodwill’ing–to be such an untapped resource. If you’re ever in an area without a lot of young people (or where vintage just isn’t cool, cough cough Silicon Valley, my hometown), you’re probably going to find the coolest things for literally nothing.

          • Molly O

            I don’t know, I thrifted in San José….. without anyone to guide me I had to google and follow reviews to the “best” thrift stores. I ended up with a few awesome things but I dropped a chunk of change! LOL

          • Ahhh no! If you ever go again, I literally just go to Savers…$5 Levis 505s, the occasional amazing vintage or new shoe (my sister found Nike Air Force 1s in good condition for $10 once), and always really good for 90s/2000s “fashion-y” bags. Also! Always check for nice coats in warm-weather cities–there’s a London Fog or shaggy faux fur out there for everyone.

    • Adrianna

      I got my best necklace on 50% sale at Ann Talyor. Sooooo many different people have complimented it, and it’s ironic that it’s from a fairly generic and uncreative brand.

  • Alexa M

    YES! I’ve stopped wearing half the clothes in my wardrobe because I’m so done with dresses that ride up when I walk/ off-the-shoulder tops I can’t raise my arms in/ shoes I can’t walk comfortably in/ tops that give me sweat patches/ dresses I can’t breathe in/ skirts I can’t bend over in/ jeans which cut into my waist/ camisoles I can’t move in for fear of a nip slip…. I’m just not interested anymore in wearing clothes which inhibit me

    • Molly O

      Me too! I hit 30 and was done with being uncomfortable just for the sake of fashion. I love thrifting because I can really build up a collection that is comfortable and beautiful, inexpensive too. I’ve also just gotten into upcycle fashion so I am busy combining clothing to get that spunk without losing comfort.

  • DelphineGarnier82

    I’m okay with comfort as long as what I wear doesn’t look sloppy. I also don’t think everything needs to be all minimalist or all maximalist. Even though I’m not a maximalist, I get more bored with too much minimalist much more easily, especially minimalism that is all neutrals and no color. Plus I like prints.

  • Rosemary

    In the aftermath of a failed all-nighter that involved waking up at 2pm and missing all my classes (yay college!), this outfit is what made me feel ready to take on the rest of my responsibilities and be a functional, self-compassionate human. Can confirm—the combo of comfort+spunk works wonders!

    • Rosemary

      Additional info: These pants have massive pockets, and workout leggings and fuzzy socks hidden under them

      • Molly O

        I am a HUGE fan of the leggings and warm socks under pajama pants… live somewhere cold enough and functional fashion becomes more important, right?! 🙂

        • Rosemary

          Yes!! I actually live in Houston and I’m just embarrassingly wimpy about cold, but these wool pants that feel like pajama pants have become my new winter staple 🙂

          • Molly O

            Ok, the Houston part makes that hilarious, but perhaps that’s only because I’ve been (slightly unintentionally) in VT all my life. LOL. One thing I intend to figure out how to make by next winter is some combo of leggings and warm pj pants that also look decent enough to be worn around and feel good in. We will see if I ever get around to that one!!! Hahahahah

          • Rosemary

            Haha wow, I imagine it’s an entirely different ball game up there! Best of luck!

    • Harling Ross

      l o v e

      • Rosemary


  • brabra1

    What you see as fashion becoming more comfortable, I see as young women just dressing older… comfort perhaps being an unintended consequence of that. Not to suggest that women must dress their age or anything but dressing in a way that has been traditionally associated with older women. It’s “menocore” all over the place. Women in their 20’s dressing like retirees or school principals (or masseuses) and even wearing their dads’ sneakers. Today’s version of 80’s power suiting. Not personally a big fan. I feel more put together in higher shoes and something more form fitting, otherwise I just feel like I am in PJs. But to each her own.

  • Cassie Richardson

    This post has inspired me to buy a pair of colored fun pants. Any suggestions of where to find some?

  • I do enjoy a more simplier wardrobe and wearable clothes. As long as they’re not dull!