Style & Beauty

Soft Style

By Jessica Dostie

After embracing “soft” comfort during the pandemic, why give it up now? Can you be comfy without sacrificing style? You bet! Here’s how. 

Go for the stretchy stuff.

“You can definitely have a put-together look and still feel like you’re in your pyjamas,” says columnist and TV host Laurence Bareil. Start by choosing clothes made of a stretchy material. “Even fitted clothing can be comfortable when it’s not too tight and is made of a stretchy fabric,” she says. Materials to look for on the label include elastane, Lycra, or spandex, which indicate that the piece you like will allow you to move easily. 

Mix it up.

Another way to give some oomph to a comfortable outfit is to dare to mix styles. “It’s easy to ‘chic up,’ as I like to say, clothes that are as comfortable as sweatpants or a loose, flowing dress by adding something more formal,” Bareil says. “That’s why the jacket is my all-time favourite piece: it serves the same purpose as a cardigan or denim jacket, but it’s more stylish.” It all comes down to the balance between the soft pieces and dressier ones. 

Choose the right shoes.

“When we think of chic and shoes, we tend to think of high-heeled pumps, but you can wear almost anything, from jeans to a pretty print dress, with comfortable sneakers,” Bareil says. Beyond running shoes, most brands now offer ultra-versatile sneakers in hot styles. “At the moment, platform sneakers are very popular. It’s a great way to get some height and lengthen the leg in comfort. I swear by them.” 

Opt for cuts that flatter your figure.

While loose-fitting cuts add to comfort, it’s possible—and easy—to wear them in a way that highlights your figure. “Once again, balance is important,” Bareil says. The secret is to define the proportions (around one-third torso and two-thirds leg, she estimates) while drawing attention to your waist at navel level. “You don’t have to wear a belt. If you’re wearing baggy pants and a top with a more square cut, all you need to do is to tuck the hem of your top into the waist of your pants, in the middle, and let the rest fall.” This technique—called a French tuck—allows you to emphasize your waist and balance your shape.