When it comes to women’s clothing (especially work wear), there are styles we’ve just come to accept as uncomfortable. Sure, they may look great, but after a full day in them, you’re ready to throw them on the floor in exchange for your sweatsuit or pyjamas. We’re here to tell you that you don’t have to settle for uncomfortable clothing, you can have stylish clothing so comfortable you accidentally fall asleep in it at the end of a long day. We’re making the case for comfort without compromise - not compromising on style, ethics, versatility, sustainability or anything else you deem important. You can have it all.
We put together a list of some of the most commonly complained about clothing, as well as the more comfortable alternatives. We’d love to hear which pieces you think belong on this list, so leave any we missed in the comments below!
1) Polyester Leggings vs. Plant-Based Knit Leggings
We’re not saying to go throw out your polyester leggings right away, however, we think there should be a distinction between activewear leggings and everyday leggings. Activewear leggings are typically made out of polyester, so they can feel quite plasticky- not exactly soft. The benefit is that they’re more compressive, which is good for a high-intensity workout, not so much for lounging around. For your everyday leggings, you’ll be much more comfortable in a softer plant-based fabric legging, like our bamboo Dressy Legging. A knit legging is also more versatile, as the polyester can add a sporty element to your look that you didn’t ask for.
We also want to note that polyester is petroleum based, so it’s non-renewable and can take up to 200 years to biodegrade. On top of that, each time your polyester leggings are washed they release microplastics that eventually end up in our oceans, which is harmful to marine life, and even us. Another good reason to give natural fabric leggings a try.
2) Bra vs. Bralette
If you look at any thread about uncomfortable women’s clothing, the bra is sure to come up. Women do not have good things to say about the underwire. Luckily, bralettes have come a long way over the past few years, with more variety to work for different body types. For example, this bralette from Proclaim has a triple layer design to ensure the perfect amount of coverage and the wirefree, contour underband gives you support without sacrificing comfort. If you haven’t hopped on the bralette train yet, we highly recommend giving it a try.
3) Button Up Shirt vs. Drapey Dress Shirt
One of the most commonly complained about styles is the button up shirt. Finding one that doesn’t gape and fits comfortably around your bust and shoulders is a challenge. Even if it fits perfectly, they’re typically very rigid, with no stretch. If they work for you and you enjoy wearing them, that’s great. If not, there are other options that look just as professional, but will be much more comfortable.
We love Modal for a dressier look because it drapes elegantly, and has lots of stretch for comfort. From here, it’s all about the cut and fit of your shirt. A well fitting, high quality shirt with clean lines and a nice drape can always be dressed up for a sophisticated look.
We created our Comfy Dress Shirt (seen above) to be the dress shirt you're actually excited to wear. Made from silky Modal, and featuring a soft v-neck, flattering front and back pleats, and puff sleeve cuffs, this shirt is the perfect combination of style and comfort.
4) Ballet Flats vs. Loafers
One of the most uncomfortable items in any women’s wardrobe is heels, yet the supposedly more comfortable alternative, flats, isn’t great either. According to podiatrist, Robert Khorramian, MD, the most common shoes to cause foot-related issues is the ballet flat. Their lack of support can wreak havoc on your feet. Instead, opt for the equally professional, more supportive loafer. Loafers are both seasonless and timeless, and if you ask us, a worthwhile investment. We're coveting the croc ones above from fellow Canadian brand, Poppy Barley.
5) Basic Blazer vs. Knit Blazer
Similar to dress shirts, blazers are typically a more structured non-stretch piece we all have in our wardrobe. They’re a workwear staple and one of the easiest ways to make a look more professional. While we definitely recommend investing in one, there are other options to the classic structured ones we’re used to seeing. Fit is one easy way to make a blazer more comfortable, luckily the oversized, boyfriend fit blazer is very on trend right now. Once you get used to having that extra room, you won’t want to go back to a more tailored fit.
Fabric is the other big factor, softer natural fabrics have more stretch and will keep you warmer in the cooler months. Our Unblazer for example, is made of a blend of Merino Wool, Rayon from Bamboo, Spandex French Terry. It’s as comfortable and cozy as a sweatshirt, but instantly makes any look more sophisticated. A great piece to keep nearby for impromptu zoom meetings!
For more Encircled styling tips, check out these blogs: