Jeans Comfort: Yay or Nay

Jeans have been around for decades. You’ll find them in most people’s wardrobes because they are practical, versatile, fashionable, and, to some extent, a classic. These days, it’s also much easier to find a flattering jeans fit that makes you feel attractive. Dress them up, dress them down, and you can wear a pair of blue or non-blue jeans almost anywhere. It’s no surprise that for some, jeans are wardrobe essentials, workhorses, and signature to their style.

Today I want to talk about the comfort level of jeans. Before spandex was invented and incorporated into denim, denim was either stiff or very stiff. Raw denim that has not been stonewashed makes an industrial, interesting and fashion-forward statement, but is the stiffest and roughest of the lot. On the other hand, stonewashed denim with a stretch component, and sometimes a polyester component, is very soft and stretchy. In fact, some denim purists will argue that soft and stretchy denim isn’t denim at all.

My clientele, family, and friends run the gamut with their opinions on the comfort levels of jeans. Some find all jeans uncomfortable and unflattering, and don’t wear them at all. Others wear them year round because they are flattering and easy, but with a bit or a lot of stretch to ensure comfort. Some will only wear the tight, soft and stretchy kind because they feel like leggings. Some wear them roomy to keep them comfortable throughout the day. Some are comfortable in jeans in colder weather only, and preferably with a bit of stretch. Some wear them on days when they don’t have to sit at a desk all day because the waistbands can dig into their midsections, especially after lunch. Some wear them exclusively over the weekends and are fine in stretchy and non-stretchy versions. Some wear them out and about, with or without stretch, but not when they work from home. And some are fine to wear 100% cotton jeans without stretch as long as it’s not hot and humid.

I love wearing jeans, find them comfortable, and vote YAY as long as it’s not too hot to wear them. I’m in the minority in that I find fairly stiff 100% cotton jeans without stretch comfortable. I also enjoy jeans with a bit of stretch, but not with more than 2% spandex or elastane. I wear jeans on long flights, at home, and working at my desk. The jeans I wear are on the fluid side and wider, which helps with comfort levels. That said, I also love wearing dressier pants and have accumulated quite the assortment. I have a thing for dressy checked pants, and wear those very frequently in cool weather. Every time I pop them on I think, WOW, my dressier pants are much more comfortable than jeans! That’s why I’ve embellished my dressy pants capsule over the years.

Although I find jeans comfortable, there are plenty of other types of pants that are more comfortable, like Athleisure and travel pants made of technical fabrics, cotton and silk joggers, sweatpants, chinos, wide and soft cotton and linen pants, harem pants, corduroy and velvet pants, cargo pants, sarong pants, and lantern pants. Or if you’re like me, you find dressy pants made of wool and cotton blends comfortable.

Over to you. What do you think of the comfort level of jeans?

Dated Wardrobe Items: A Dated Concept

The fashion and style world has been evolving in significant ways, and our new normals have recently accelerated these changes. They have also solidified my own thoughts on what great style, fashion savvy, and fabulous dress sense is really all about. 

The fickle fashion world has historically thrived with fast changing fashion trends. The idea was that you will look more fabulous if you wear the newest, trendiest, and in some cases more fringe and exclusive silhouettes and combinations. If you don’t, you won’t be as stylish, special and attractive as you could be. If you wear items that are considered dated, then you aren’t as stylish.

Thankfully, we have reached a turning point. We can throw this type of thinking out the window because there is no one way to be stylish. Fashion is less fickle than it used to be. It has become a melting pot of sartorial choices. Increasing diversity in fashion with each passing year means that there is something for everyone. Trends are no longer seasonal — some lasting decades — and fads no longer exist. Trends are becoming harder to define, and at some point they will be irrelevant.

I dutifully report on fashion trends in great detail twice a year because it’s been part of my job for 27 years. It’s a hard habit to break, and an important part of how I keep my pulse on where fashion and style is going. On the other hand, as I wade through countless fashion shows to piece together new emerging trends, I think to myself how unimportant it has become. Fashion has repeated most of our previous fashion eras in some small or large way, and adapted the silhouettes, combinations, and fabrics to suit modern life. That’s why very general themes like Sustainability and Ethics, Do Your Own Thing, Practical Comfort, and Celebrating the Classics keep on coming through, and are so much more meaningful than which bag or shoe is “it” for the season.

I’m finding it hard to think of a dated wardrobe item these days because the defining bench marks are gone, or at least very blurred. We’ve reached the point where there is no “in” or “out”. Every silhouette and proportional mix can look stylish if it’s worn with conviction, confidence, ease, and is a good fit. Wearing decades old items from thrift and consignment stores is on the rise because of its sustainable integrity, and is as popular as buying something trendy and brand new. It is time to say that calling items dated is a somewhat dated concept itself.

Fashion trends are not yet completely irrelevant. They are still fun to ponder and discuss with like-minded fashion folk. I enjoy researching seasonal trends, putting my posts together and sharing them. I also like adding what I think is a more “hot-off-the-press and new” fashion look to my own style from time to time because I’m a fashion professional. It’s not wrong to wear trendy items. If it gives you pleasure, why not! Especially since now they have much more longevity, which makes them more sustainable. I do think it’s important to remember that trends are losing their place as an essential component of one’s personal style. Fashion is fun, but style is not dependent on trends.

We hold the power. An item is only dated when we feel it no longer fits into our style or feels authentic. Whether we’re decked out in trendy items or non-trendy items, we can look fabulously stylish, because, now more than ever, great style is a celebration of individuality. It is also subjective, built from the inside out, and the sum of many parts. If you can wear a wardrobe item, any item, in a way that makes you feel confident, good, empowered, happy, and attractive — go for it.

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Preview

The annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (NAS) is operating differently this year because of COVID-19 restrictions. The sale has been delayed for a month, and is officially open to the public on August 19. Nordstrom cardholders have early access to the sale from August 4 to 18. Your Nordy card status determines when you can purchase online and in stores.

Instead of a catalogue, Nordstrom has made the sales assortment available online for all. You can preview items, and pop items you like into a wish list. You can purchase items on the designated days of your Nordy status during the two weeks of early access. You can also view sales merchandise in stores when you make an appointment with a sales assistant. In-store access to sales items is restrictive, and there are many, many COVID-19 measures in place.

I will not be shopping the NAS with my clientele this year, so I will not be creating my top picks lists with the level of detail about fit, colour, quality, and fabric that you are used to seeing on YLF. I will, though, be sharing top picks over the next few weeks as I navigate the NAS in an adapted way.

The sales assortment is much smaller than in previous years. Items are more basic, minimal, practical, classic, essential and casual — all signs of the times. There are many repeat items, and bestsellers in different fabrics and colours. This approach might seem boring to some, but I think it was a wise and safe way to go. It’s extremely tough for retail right now, so keeping things simple and familiar minimizes risks, returns, uncertainty and frustration. Even so, I wish there was a larger assortment of plus and petite sizes. It’s disappointing that size ranges are not more extended and inclusive. 

I’ve reviewed the items online many times over, and recognize quite a few of them. That’s good news because I’ll be able to share more accurate intel about those items. They are also adding new NAS items to the mix daily, so keep checking back.  In the meantime, I’ve compiled collections of items that I know have been winners with my clients in the past, or have the potential to be winners this year. Think of this as my first shortlist of items at the sale.

There are no detailed descriptions yet, but that will follow as I piece together what I can from the resources I will have available to me over the next few weeks. Be sure to browse the size and colour options.

1. Coats

2. Jackets

3. Cozy Comfies

BP Jogger Pants
View Info
Top Pick

4. Bottoms

5. Tops

6. Footwear

7. Dresses

8. Accessories

9. Table Top and Kitchen

I have a NAS appointment at the Seattle flagship on my own with a few sales assistants today, but will not be trying anything on. My plan is to have a look at the assortment to get a better sense of what is on offer, and purchase what tickles my fancy online. I will report back on what I see asap.

Remember that if shopping for your own wardrobe is not in the cards at the moment, there’s a good selection of beauty products, underwear, bedding, bath products, home decor, menswear and children’s wear on sale too. I’m also putting in a very good word for our favourite towels.


Summer Sale Items

Here are some top pick sale items for hot days at home, working from home, or socially distancing out and about.

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Assorted Sale Items

An assortment of accessories and bottoms.

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Summery Items

This week’s top picks are Summery, versatile and fun.

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Spring and Summer Items

An assortment of tops, bottoms, and toppers for Spring and Summer.

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Classic and Comfortable

This week’s roundup is classically comfortable and fab.

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Assorted Items

Some winning tops, toppers and shoes to kick off the new season.

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Spotlight: Cuyana by Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah

Karla Gallardo and Shilpah ShaCuyana is a women’s fashion brand that is all about incorporating fewer and better items into your wardrobe. It was started by co-founders Karla Gallardo and Shilpa Shah, who encourage customers to create a lean wardrobe of great quality pieces that they will love and treasure for years to come. That’s why the brand prides itself on the relatively timeless integrity of its designs, the use of carefully selected fabrics, precise silhouettes, attention to detail, and a commitment to producing these items responsibly.

Cuyana cares about how each product is made, and its impact on the planet. Over time they have intentionally built their supply chain to support sustainable and ethical production from raw materials to finished product. As far as possible, the brand tries to minimize its carbon footprint by manufacturing in close proximity to their material sources. For example, their Pima cotton is home-grown, spun and made into finished garments all in Peru.

Crafting items with integrity is key if the brand is to maintain its very responsible approach to garment production. Their vendors are small family-run businesses in Europe, South America, China and the United States that support skillful artisan techniques that have largely been left behind by modern mass production. In turn, the mills and factories that they use help support local economies around the world.

The brand wants you to maximize the wear of your items, and offers a 2-year warranty with every item and free repairs. They also provide ways to recycle every product through second-life programmes. Every domestic order in the US includes a thredUP shipping label to encourage you to pare down your closet to fewer, better things, AND pass on your items in ways that avoid landfills.

I’m familiar with the Cuyana brand because it’s popular with some of my clientele and our forum members. I see clean, crisp, beautifully made, luxurious, elegant, minimal, and versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down. Quality and precision jump off the page. Items are solid and neutral. Despite a classic integrity, there is a subtle nod to current trends.

Cuyana Asymmetrical Overlay Dress

Cuyana Linen Sleeveless Trench

Cuyana Linen Dolman Sleeve Top

Cuyana Alpaca Blanket Scarf

Items are on the pricey side, and there is room to extend size curves beyond an XL, which I hope they do soon. Their handbags are beautiful, and their basic tees go down particularly well with my clients. The simplicity of their items might seem a little strict, classic, and void of fun to some. Instead I see that as an opportunity to adorn, remix, and dress them up YOUR way.

Fashion News Roundup: July 2020

Plenty of sneaker news, sustainable jeans, and other style stories that caught our attention in July.

Fashion Quote

I thought this quote from Rebekah Taussig in Cup of Jo’s Week of Outfits series was food for thought:

“Sometimes I feel like my ability to present myself the way I want to be seen is limited, because the wheelchair is so loud and immediate. As soon as people see me, and my age, and my chair, it’s like they write a story about that in their minds — what it means to them, and what it must mean to me. So, for me, the things that I choose to wear are in part a way for me to control that narrative in some way. I love these wheel covers for that reason — the first time I wore them, they changed the conversation. Instead of asking ridiculous or invasive questions about my chair, people asked me about the artist. Immediately, my wheel covers asserted that life in a disabled body can be engaging and playful and creative.”