How to Dress Cozy Without Feeling Sloppy

December 16, 2011

As a girl I was mesmerized by the popular television show, “Gilligan’s Island” – for obvious reasons…I loved watching Ginger — “the movie star.” Here she was deserted on an uninhabited island and yet she seemed to have an endless supply of stunning gowns, her hair was always perfectly coiffed, and her makeup was flawless. Her “lounging around the house…um, I mean island” clothes were not what most of us think of as comfy. She always looked glamorous. Silly, yes. Engaging, yes. Realistic, nope!

More recently, I have been watching reruns of the old “Dick Van Dyke Show.” Oh, my goodness…what a different world it was then. Rob and Laura would have their next door neighbors over for dinner, and they’d all be decked out in cocktail dresses and the men in suits! I’m not sure any of them owned a pair of jeans (or dungarees as they were probably referred to then).

Times have certainly changed! I suspect that your “relax around the house” outfit doesn’t resemble the movie star’s clothes or even Laura Petrie’s. I know mine don’t. I’ve lost count of the number of women who tell me theirs consists of old, stained sweatpants or baggy jeans with an oversized T-shirt or layers of ill-fitting polar fleece in unflattering colors, or, some variation thereof. Does any of that ring a bell?

I completely understand, and to be totally honest, I’m always on the lookout for fun, pretty, comfy things I can wear around the house and not feel like a total frump. Because this is such a constant concern for so many women, here are 5 tips to consider for your ‘at home’ wardrobe:

  1. Manage the Dirt Factor. So many women say to me, “But I cook, clean, walk the dogs, do some gardening…in my at home clothes so they can’t cost a lot or look too fancy.” Here’s a radical thought… just because something gets dirty does not mean you have to discard it. Sure, you might not want to spend major dollars on something you could drip spaghetti sauce on (that’s also what aprons are for), but it just means you buy clothes that are washable. These T-shirts, for example, come in fun colors, are made of soft cotton and, considering I’ve had some for years, seem to be practically indestructible:
    Plus, they often have sales on them so you can pick up your favorites for less. (Click here for more information).
  2. Feeling Yucky Weighs On Your Psyche. Have you ever caught a glimpse of yourself in a mirror at home and thought, “Yikes, I’m so glad no one can see me this way!” Sure, our home should be our sanctuary, but it’s also a place we go to feel happy, supported, relaxed and connected. While you don’t have to wear your fanciest finery (trust me, I don’t!) you do want to feel content in your own skin. (Kudos to those of you who can feel grounded and happy no matter what you are wearing.) For the rest of us, a little extra attention to this part of our lives makes a huge difference.
  3. Fashion Rules Still Apply. Okay, before you get mad at me, hear me out. The fashion rules I’m talking about are personal to you:
    • Choose colors that flatter you.
    • Fit is still important. (You might think I’m crazy but when I bought a zip-up polar fleece jacket in a gorgeous teal color from LL Bean, it was way too big (and they didn’t have a smaller size). So, I took it to my tailor and had it taken in on the sides and the sleeves taken in, too. Yup, I never wore this outside the house but I needed to feel good in it. And, I wore it so much I definitely got my money’s worth from it.)
    • Dress for your personality –let that special inner you shine through even in fun, comfy, cozy clothes. It doesn’t have to be an either/or situation.
  4. Try Something New. It is SO easy to get set in our ways about what feels good and what doesn’t. If you have been wearing the same “at home” outfit for what seems like forever, then maybe it’s time to explore new options. You just might be surprised! For instance, I have recently discovered fleece-lined leggings (click here for more information):

    They are totally amazing! No binding at the waist (a pet peeve of mine) and they are soft, sleek and warm. I’ve recently even found them in dark brown at a store up the street from me (let me know if you want the name). I pair them with this fun top (in brown)

    and it’s super cozy, sleek and casual. (Click here for more information)
  5. What You Wear At Home Stays At Home. My stay-at-home clothes are just that. I’m not embarrassed if friends come over or I will run to the mailbox or shovel snow, but they are not what I wear when I’m out and about.

Remember, this is not about being a “fashion plate” (or movie star) at home, and it’s really not so much about fashion rules. It’s about what makes you feel happy. I have learned over the years that so many women feel drab, frumpy or messy at home and wish they had a “uniform” to wear about the house that they feel good in but that doesn’t require them to sacrifice comfort. It’s very doable. It just takes a bit of focus and intention. Use these tips above to help you identify what works for you and most of fall, have fun!

Important: Even when no one else will see you don’t settle for something that feels “not horrible” – a common sentiment I hear from my clients. Allow your inner beauty to resonate in your cozy clothes as much as in your out and about wardrobe, and you won’t believe how delicious that feels!

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