Do you have a section of your closet that contains super-casual, outrageously comfy, weekend-only duds? And do you wear these items as a set, never mixing them with your dressier weekday garments? And if so, do you occasionally feel like you’re leading a Jekyll/Hyde life and wonder who the hell you are, stylistically speaking?
I’ve been there. Oh, friends, I’ve so been there. For ages, I thought I was required to wear skirts and blouses to work, but switch to hoodies and jeans on the weekend. And while there’s certainly nothing wrong with that – and, in fact, many women vastly prefer such a setup – it just didn’t FEEL right to me. I felt like I had two diametrically opposed looks going on, and it was messing with my sense of stylistic identity. Although I vastly preferred my weekday look, it seemed ridiculous to pull on a pair of heels and a dress for errands and Target-runs. And although my weekend garb was comfy and cute, it simply didn’t reflect the version of myself that I wanted to project.
I knew that my work week look was nailed, and that it was my maxin’ and relaxin’ wardrobe that needed revision. So I made some serious changes – both in inventory and attitude – and I feel like my look is consistent and unified at last. AT LAST! Here’s what I did, in case you’re feeling similarly disjointed and hoping for some guidance:
I created a new category: Lounge
So there are work outfits, and there are weekend outfits … and then there are the outfits I want to wear during a Netflix marathon while a purring tabby sits on my chest. I realized that I needed some items that would always be covered in Harriet-fur, and that could be reserved for nights (or afternoons! or mornings!) spent inside the house. Exclusively. I ended up downgrading a few casual pieces – joggers that had a tiny hole in the butt, sweatpants that were bought for sleeping but turned out to be too hot, track jacket with a minor sleeve stain – and relegated them to loungewear. This category never cross-pollinates with the rest of my wardrobe. (HM calls these items my pre-Js – the stuff I wear BEFORE my PJs. I don’t lounge in my actual PJs since cat hair-encrusted PJs means sleeping with a mouthful of cat hair. Which, for me, means not sleeping at all.)
I learned to juxtapose
What is the POINT of a weekend if you can’t wear jeans, right? But that doesn’t mean those jeans absolutely must be worn with sneakers and sweatshirts. In fact, juxtaposing some super comfy and traditionally casual items with dressier ones is a great way to until workweek and weekend looks. So a graphic tee and jeans with a blazer and heels. (Denim makes everything it touches feel more relaxed, and allowing jeans to be the single casual item in an otherwise dressy ensemble is a surefire formula for chicness.) Slouchy joggers with a structured jacket and statement necklace. Sometimes I’ll have more dressy pieces or more casual pieces in a mix, but it’s nearly always a mix. (Nearly.)
I tried wearing simple-but-dressy skirts with casual tops and accessories
Juxtapositions often orbit around denim, but dressy skirts can work in casual-dressy mixes, too. I keep solid-colored a-lines and pencil skirts in rotation for weekend wear, but pair them with my graphic tees and hoodies, or with slightly chunkier shoes, or more masculine styles of shirt or blazer.
I accessorized to the hilt
I am an accessory fiend, but for ages I would limit myself to my CZ studs and maybe a simple silver chain on the weekends. I’ve finally figured out that jeans and a white tee are far more fun with a giant necklace-pile laid on top, and that scarves can liven up any casual ensemble, and that heels might not be ideal for grocery shopping or mulching the garden but they add some fantastic sass to a coffeeshop-lounging outfit.
Now that I’ve forced a little crossover, I feel more self-assured when I dress for weekend outings: Instead of feeling formless and frumpy, I feel confident and chic. It’s not a formula that all women will want to embrace, but I find that mixing in a little workwear on the weekend is key to keeping my look consistent and unified.
Images courtesy J.Crew.
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Originally posted 2009-06-02 06:05:00.