Service of Fashion that’s Memorable, Comfortable and Makes You Look Good

May 13th, 2024

Categories: Comfort, Fashion

Last week I heard an interview with Vanessa Friedman, New York Times fashion director and chief fashion critic for the past 10 years [photo below, right]. Earlier that day I attended a member preview of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute show, “Sleeping Beauties: Reawakening Fashion.” Friedman spoke of clothes with memories—I have a closetful. She endorsed keeping and wearing favorites for a long time and mentioned that people look best in the clothes they are most comfortable wearing.

Vanessa Friedman, left. Photo by Nancie Steinberg

I thought about a young woman I saw decades ago at a trendy SoHo bistro. She was trapped in a super hip getup that fit neither her shape, face, posture, hairstyle or expression. It pained me to see her. She could not have felt comfortable in her getup.

I reached out to a bunch of friends asking if they might describe a favorite outfit or piece of clothing they now or once wore that looks or looked good on them because they are/were comfortable wearing it.

Tulip evening cloak, House of Worth, 1889, Met Museum, spring 2024 Costume Institute Show

Me first:

After visiting Bourges cathedral in France, Homer, who despised shopping, indulged me while I ducked into a typical tourist giftshop with its standard junky fare. In striking contrast, in an armoire in a backroom were four jackets breathtakingly constructed and finished. One of them [photos top, left and right] fit as though it was made for me. When I wore it, I felt dressed perfectly and received countless compliments for years. I still have it and haven’t worn it for a very long time. I don’t even know if it still fits.

These days my favorites are my Uniqlo puffy vests.

Poppy fascinator, Met Museum, spring 2024 Costume Institute Show

Francine R

I absolutely love the fleece pullovers from J Crew.  Half zipper can give you a cozy turtleneck. Zippered pockets. Can be worn in every weather, except hot, with layers. Washes wonderfully!

Bob G-

I really don’t think about clothes. If they fit right, then they are comfortable. 👖 jeans. I hate wearing suits, but I had to buy one for a wedding this summer.

ERB

I have been and continue to dress in layers way before they became “fashionable.”  Keep in mind that I don’t and never have given a holy hoot about prevailing fashions.  I dress to please myself.

RF

This is historic. I’ve had many pieces of clothing that fit that description. In the era when I got married, it was traditional for brides to change into what they called a “going away” outfit, before leaving a reception. (This is probably no longer a thing today.)

For that occasion, I wore a dress with a short jacket by then-popular designer Geoffrey Beene. The outfit was a lightweight navy wool. The dress was sleeveless and slightly Aline hitting at just below the knee. The jacket was lined in navy silk with white polka dots. The jacket had three buttons that were navy rimmed with white. I had an early spring wedding so the outfit was perfect for the season. 

And worn with a pair of Donald Pliner low heeled black patten leather pumps. And a black patten leather Chanel style bag. That suit/dress outfit was perfect for so many occasions that I wore it for years. 

EAM

While I’m WFH, leggings have become a staple in my wardrobe. I’m also a big fan of sweater sets which include a tank and a sweater or camisole and sweater.  Sneakers have also become a necessity esp when commuting, I have several pairs and adapt them to every outfit. I recommend black sneakers, white soles which have become versatile.

Jim Gordon

I have little concerns or thoughts about clothing. I buy stuff that I think looks alright, but not often, because I don’t have anything fancy or expensive. I like to look nice and that’s it. I almost never go shopping because my clothes last a long time. I wear dungarees most days and shorts in the summer. I dress mostly conservatively except for some political tee shirts. 

DK

I wear black trousers with assorted black tops (sweaters) & business jackets. Work attire that can be smart casual.

Do some of the clothes in your closet bring back memories? Do you agree that to look great in what you’ve chosen to wear you must feel comfortable? Can you identify a standout piece of clothing you had or have? Do some of the examples above resonate with you?

1930 wedding ensemble from Callot Soeurs by designer Pierre Gerber, finale, Met Museum, spring 2024 Costume Institute Show
 

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6 Responses to “Service of Fashion that’s Memorable, Comfortable and Makes You Look Good”

  1. Martha Takayama Said:

    I do love fashion and think about what I wear. Very tall when I was still very young, I was concerned about not looking gawky. I’m most influenced by living a short time in Paris, promoting high fashion for the Italian government years ago, and being the Director for a year of St. Lauren Rive Gauche at Saks, Boston. I take good care of my clothes which are generally simple, classical and tailored. I do love my little black dresses . I have my wedding outfit, which was an Armani Collezioni cream colored suit, I love my Uniqlo purchases by Ines de la Fressange and always wear or carry a scarf. My most nostalgic item is a now frayed Hermes scarf which I bought when leaving Paris after not doing graduate studies.

  2. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Martha,

    You always look elegant. Some people could wear a mumu or housecoat and look smart and you’re one of them.

  3. Lucrezia Said:

    I like clothes but have no interest in fashion. A gift of a blouse with an Ancient Egyptian motif holds court in the closet. It’s at least 50 years old.

  4. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Lucrezia,

    The oldest thing in my closet is a velvet gown that was our grandmother’s. I am afraid to check it if is OK –what shape it’s in.

  5. Deb Wright Said:

    More and more, as I “mature,” I do not subscribe to fashions that are designed for younger people. I love to be comfortable in my skin, although it is covered. (I am not a nudist)!

    I have lately been going through my closet and clothing drawers. I have been pretty ruthless. Anything that I know I realistically will not wear is donated. Yes, ten years ago I looked pretty in a fancy black dress. Well, my waist has sort of disappeared, and even though I will be going to a formal wedding in September, I will wear my silky black pants and a favorite dressy top. Dress is gone.

    I do have memories about jackets that were given to me by my best friend, Linda. They were very expensive and reversible too. However, as I am now 4’9,” they look ridiculous and practically come down to my knees. Donated. Any blouse that feels scratchy or does not fit across properly on my chest is history. No more heels or even shoes that look nice with pants but are uncomfortable: gone.

    I agree that comfort is paramount to me. But I try to look nice most of the time! If I am grubbing around in the yard, old jeans and a worn but beloved shirt are fine. I am glad that I have enough pride? vanity? left to take pains with my appearance.

  6. Jeanne Byington Said:

    Deb,

    I am just the opposite because I find the clothes I can afford are at a store like Uniqlo and I am far from their demographic! My uniform for 99 percent of my life is one of their legging pants and a variety of tops. Obviously, this wouldn’t work for a formal wedding….

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