I’m one of those women who likes to “Look Presentable Always” (If you haven’t read this book yet, pick it up, it’s a winner, and it goes way more in depth into the concept of looking presentable always). In other words, I like to look stylish, no matter what I am doing.
On the days when I’m not presentable, it never fails, someone will drop by unannounced, and I will squirm uncomfortably while trying to appear that I don’t mind being caught with no makeup and ratty, comfy clothes.
But I do mind. I mind a LOT! I like to always put my best foot forward. I like to be prepared for whatever or whomever the day brings. I like to conquer my monumental to-do list looking my best.
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But I also like to be comfortable.
I’ve come up with a few ways that I can look stylish, but still feel comfortable and casual. The order of those words is important. I don’t want to look comfortable and casual.
I want to look stylish. But I want the best of both worlds. Class and comfort. Style and casual.
Let me show you exactly how I keep one foot firmly planted in style with the other in casual.
Look Stylish Tip #1- The Cut of the Clothing
One of the most important pieces to the comfortable style puzzle is your clothing. It’s impossible to feel comfortable and relaxed if you are wearing ill-fitting or uncomfortable clothes.
You must first know your body type and what fits your body best, and buy clothes accordingly. For example, if you have an hourglass figure, buying clothes in a slim cut is going to make you very uncomfortable.
Your thighs will be squeezed within an inch of their lives, while the waistband will gap.
Thankfully, these days, you can find garments cut for an hourglass (they are usually labeled curvy), even in non-plus-size sizes. It used to be that the only time you could find curvy-cut clothing was if you were plus sized.
So, if you have longer limbs and less curve, buy slimmer fitting garments, if you have hips and thighs and a tinier waist, stick to curvy cuts.
Now, you also want to make sure that you are dressing to flatter your figure. This is where the style part comes in. If you have a long, slender body, but are dressing in clothes cut for an hourglass, the result will not be stylish.
Dr. Julie-Ann at Modern Retro Woman has an excellent series on dressing your figure. She not only helps you figure out your body type here but also how to dress your body in the most flattering way here and here. Dr. Julie-Ann uses charming vintage diagrams to teach you exactly what you need to know about your body’s shape
If you always want to look your best, knowing the right styles for your body is the first step.
Look Stylish Tip #2- Types of Clothing
In the spring and summer, my wardrobe transitions to mainly skirts and dresses. I live in a hot, humid climate. And to me, there is nothing cooler than a dress.
Dresses provide way more ventilation. And the right type of dress is infinitely more comfortable than pants, capris, or shorts.
A dress or skirt is also an instant style upgrade. You can’t help but look pulled together when wearing a dress. It’s an instant outfit. No need to find the perfect top to go with the perfect bottom.
I have bought so many dresses from eShakti because I can customize them specifically for my body type, and my own preferences. They also sell pants, tops, and skirts, but I mostly buy dresses from them.
For example, I don’t love my arms, so I choose to have my dresses customized to have sleeves that end right above the elbow. I also always alter the neckline to not show cleavage (if I’m wearing these dresses around the house and to children’s activities, I don’t want to be flashing boobage everywhere!).
I usually adjust the hem length to below the knee too.
I just bought this dress shown above last month and it is my new favorite. I customized it to have the sleeves end just above my elbow, changed the neckline to a high V-neck, and had it hemmed to mid-calf length. I wear a red leather belt with it, and I absolutely love the look!
eShakti has a one-time charge per garment for as many alterations as they offer. And it’s only $9.95!!! It’s really a steal to get a garment made precisely how you want it, and the workmanship is excellent. I have had some of my eShakti dresses for 4 years, and they are still going strong.
If you like the garment as-is, you can just pay the regular price and not alter it.
I have a nice selection now of casual summer dresses, most of them made with a stretchy knit material, and all of them are cut to be both flattering and functional.
I also have two pair of capris and a few nicely made, bright knit tops.
Basically, no matter what I put on, it looks great, is cut for my body type, is comfortable, and matches my signature style.
Look Stylish Tip #3- Hair
Do you have a go-to easy hairstyle that you can twirl your unwashed hair into in under five minutes and still look fabulous? If you don’t, it is seriously time to get one!
I wash my hair every fourth day. On day one I style depending on my day. If I’m going out and have the extra time, I’ll blow dry it and curl it.
On day two, I spray a light misting of dry shampoo and a quick touch-up with the flat iron on my awesome bangs, and I can wear it down or up.
On day three, I use a more thorough misting of dry shampoo, quick flat iron work, and a high messy bun, and I’m telling you, I can take on the world.
Mastering a quick updo will change your life! My high messy buns look so classy that I can wear them anywhere with confidence oozing out of every one of my pores.
I wear them on dates, I wear them to church, I wear them to stay around the house, I wear them for yard work. And my hair looks amazing.
I learned how to do my messy bun at The Small Things Blog. Kate has oodles of tutorials for any style that suits your fancy, plus really good recommendations for products and tools.
Hint: Her bobby pin recommendation is the first step for success for a messy bun that stays put all day long.
Look Stylish Tip #4- Makeup
Mastering a quick, everyday makeup routine is essential to a stylish but practical look. You don’t need full makeup everyday, unless you want that look.
But, making sure to have the essentials for your face covered will give you the confidence to tackle all tasks, and all unexpected guests or errands.
My daily makeup routine includes bb creme, blush, mascara, eyebrows, a light eyeshadow, light eyeliner, and a long-wear lipstick, or this new lip oil.
You can read more about my daily makeup routine here.
Look Stylish Tip #5- Nails
As I mentioned in my post on quick beauty fixes, having my nails “done” is one of the most important ways that I keep my look always on point.
I don’t know about you, but I always notice when someone has nice-looking nails. This doesn’t mean you have to have a professional manicure. Even just nicely filed, with a coat of clear or nude polish looks classy and poised.
If you don’t currently keep your nails in good shape, it doesn’t have to be expensive, or time-consuming. I do my own nails in less than 30 minutes a week, and they stay looking great for the whole week.
I used to use a traditional polish, and even though it didn’t take more than 15 minutes to get them painted, it took HOURS for the polish to properly cure and not get crinkles or creases in the polish.
I now use this gel polish, and my nails are painted, dry and set in 30 minutes. Rock the Runway is my summer red, and Fairy Tailor is my summer nude.
Amateur tip: Paint your nails right before you have to drive somewhere and just have someone buckle you in. Your hands will stay on the steering wheel long enough for them to dry and cure, and you have wasted any of your time sitting around with your hands in the air! (When I figured that out, I felt so smart!)
Looking stylish does not mean hours spent each day getting ready. It doesn’t mean being uncomfortable. And it doesn’t mean that you are always thinking about being pretty and put-together.
Looking stylish means that you spent a little bit of time in preparation, and then go about your day and look great.
Spend some time building a comfortable but stylish, coordinated wardrobe, and then just pull something out of the closet and put it on. If you aren’t constantly weeding through clothes that don’t fit right, are uncomfortable, or that you don’t like, then getting dressed every day is easy!
Spend some time finding a signature 5-minute hairstyle that works for your hair and makes you feel gorgeous. Once you learn how to put your hair up quickly, you’ll cut so many hours and so much angst out of your hair care routine.
Spend a little bit of time honing in on a daily makeup routine that works for you and your beautiful face, and then spend five minutes a day on your makeup.
Spend a little bit of time each week taking care of your hands and nails. We women ask so much of our hands. They wash, launder, cook, clean, comfort, and love all day long. Spend 15-30 minutes each week loving your hands back.
So you see, looking stylish doesn’t mean tons of extra work, and feeling uncomfortable all day long. You just need to front-load a few self-care tasks, and then you are set!