One of my great joys since opening Love Your Body has been witnessing customers reluctantly walk into what they think is going to be a laid-back loungewear boutique only to surprisingly walk out with a whole new work wardrobe. For some reason, we’ve been schooled to believe that “relaxed” and “sophisticated” are mutually exclusive style concepts. Au contraire, my friends!
When I encounter doubting customers, I love to use the example of my mom. This Wonder Woman is a full-time physician who also happens to be a poster child for “lounge chic” (exclusively styled by LYB, of course!) She not only runs a successful pediatric practice, but is part-owner of a surgery center and President of the Indiana Medical Society. Her lifestyle demands sophistication, yet she lives exclusively in comfortable clothing. This is a woman who has found a way to make comfy classy!
When I go to market to shop for new styles for LYB, my number one priority is identifying pieces that are super soft on the body and feet, yet polished. If this conversation is calling to you, consider trying out seven ultra-wearable concepts I’m loving this summer:
1. The Sorel wedge.
I’m not exaggerating when I say that a wedge sandal or boot from Sorel will literally change your life. When my feet are uncomfortable, I become a bear. I am SO over the days of suffering to look sexy or sophisticated! Sorel has been my ultimate foot fashion solution for years, and the brand’s styles just keep getting cooler and edgier with each season. Right now, I’m living and frequently traveling in my gladiator wedges. I can stand all day at the store, look put together for business meetings, and run after toddlers in the evening in these super versatile summer booties. They’re equally adorable with jeans, dresses and skirts, and, bonus, they’re even waterproof! If the gladiator look isn’t quite your speed, Sorel has a handful of wedge alternatives, from slides to wrap sandals, which are equally polished and comfortable.
2. The Splendid shift dress.
Shift dresses are the definition of effortless beauty, and Splendid has really impressed me this summer with its variety of adorable silhouettes, fabrics and colors. Whether you’re into knits or wovens, and prefer neutrals like black, grey or olive, or love a pop of cherry red, Splendid has found a way to craft shift dresses that are universally appealing. I especially love good shifts because of their versatility. While I can easily slip on a comfy pair of wedges and dress up a shift for a meeting or date night, I can also create an edgy look by turning it into a tunic and pairing it with skinny jeans and ankle boots. On the weekend, throwing on a cute shift with my Dolce Vita sneakers is the ultimate no-brainer. For the classy gal who wants to be comfy, and especially the gal who is always on the run, the shift dress is a timeless wardrobe staple.
3. The Parker Smith skinny.
It’s almost impossible to escape LYB without hearing me wax poetic about our latest delivery of Parker Smith skinnies! So, bear with me if this feels repetitive to you… I literally refused to wear denim before discovering Parker Smith. This brand is what I call the “yoga pants of the jeans world. “ Every style they make seems to flatter a variety of body types, creating a streamlined and utterly comfortable look that practically begs to be integrated into a work wardrobe. Nothing says “Parisian chic” better than a pair of dark wash, high-waisted Parker Smith skinnies paired with one of the brand’s silky-soft, yet extremely tailored, pinstriped button-down shifts and a splash of Jenny Bird jewelry. You’ll feel “lounge-y,” but look like the picture of poise and sophistication. On weekends, pair your skinnies with sneakers and a button-down shirt knotted at the waist, and you’ll look so put-together no one will even know you’re in your loungewear!
4. The silky jogger.
Gone are the days of silky sweatpants. Enter the new era of the tailored jogger. Active and casual lifestyle labels like Blanc Noir, Vimmia, Koral and Hard Tail Forever have totally nailed it when it comes to creating super-soft, silky-feeling drawstring pants that can be worn just as well with sneakers and a tee as with a blazer and stilettos. My Vimmia joggers are so comfortable and forgiving that I consider it a true indulgence to wear them. One of the most bewildered looks I get from customers comes when I tell them that joggers can be dressed up. Here are a few of my top ways to transform my favorite article of clothing from sloppy to sophisticated: 1) Pair you joggers with a button-down shirt knotted at the waist, a thick silver Jenny Bird cuff bracelet, and ankle booties; 2) Don a fitted tee and denim jacket, and slide on a pair of low blush-colored Dolce Vita suede heels; 3) Channel New York street chic by cinching up the leg of your joggers and adding a white tee, cropped blazer and edgy sneakers.
5. The Bailey 44 blazer.
Just like jeans, blazers used to be on my personal no-no list. I was forced to wear them once upon a lifetime ago when I worked in politics, and I would spend my days fantasizing about becoming a yoga teacher just so I could get out of my stiff uniform! Bailey 44 has completely revolutionized the blazer into a piece of clothing so comfortable that I actually voluntarily wear it on the weekends! The line’s knit blazers are not only utterly soft and perfectly tailored, but are seasonless and come in a variety of bodies, colors and sleeve lengths. My favorite is my mid-length boyfriend-style black blazer with ruched three-quarter-length sleeves. It’s my ultimate go-to for travel and dressing up my jeans, and looks equally cute with a silk cami underneath as with a Chaser concert tee and destroyed boyfriend jeans.
6. The Chan Luu scarf/pashmina.
If you followed my series on travel capsules, you know that I almost never leave home without at Chan Luu pashmina either wrapped around my shoulders or stashed in my handbag. I have to thank our European sisters for leading the way when it comes to showing us how to upgrade a casual look with the simple addition of an oversized scarf. Even yoga pants can take on a sophisticated edge when a silky pashmina is wrapped around the neck and paired with a denim jacket and a great handbag (see #7.) Chan Luu has sent us a treasure chest of beautiful colors and styles to bump up our look for summer (and take us into fall and beyond!) The sumptuous feel of the line’s silk-cashmere blends makes them a true joy to wrap around you when indoors, hang loosely around the neck to add polish to your look, or even drape as a swimsuit cover up. These pashminas are luxury loungewear!
7. The Hammitt cross-body bag.
You may be wondering how an upscale handbag makes it onto a list of loungewear essentials! I include Hammitt here not only because it’s a consistent customer favorite, but because its leathers are so soft and delicious that, in my mind, the texture qualifies the handbags as a loungewear staple. Designed with both beauty and functionality in mind, the line’s iconic “Montana” bag boasts a strap with a clever adjustable mechanism, a reversible color design, and a perfectly-placed cell phone pocket on the outside. Despite the insane practicality of these bags, their biggest selling point is their posh sophistication highlighted by the brand’s telltale brushed metal grommets on every piece. This is the only accessory you’ll need to elevate your look from down dog to date night!
If your personal style is polished and “classic,” never for a moment believe that loungewear has no place in your repertoire. The modern gal, whether her vibe is edgy, sophisticated, laid back, or ultra-feminine, knows that she deserves to feel good. Soft and stretchy fabrics, comfortable shoes, and versatile, body-friendly pieces belong in every woman’s wardrobe. The fun is in deciding how you will add your own personal twist!