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Hear Me Out: Life is too short to wear uncomfortable clothing

PHOTOGRAPHY BY OLIVIA REPACI
WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

“I often have people remark on how I look comfortable to which I reply, ‘Oh thank you, it’s on purpose’. Being ‘comfy and cute’ has become my catchphrase.”

A month or so ago as I was sitting at my work desk, I found myself adjusting my high-waisted, wide-leg denim pants for what felt like the fiftieth time that day. They were, and still are, one of my favourite pairs of pants – they’re the perfect shade of mid-blue and appearance-wise give the impression that they fit my body like a glove.

Unfortunately, these jeans are hideously uncomfortable; I would liken the experience of wearing them to what I imagine it must be like to wear a g-string made of tightly fitted denim. When I peel them off my body at the end of a long work day, there are red, angry marks scattered across my stomach, thighs and crotch.


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Walking around in them is a fairly painless experience – this is what tricks me into continually reaching for them. Unfortunately, as a writer and editor, I spend a lot of my time seated at a desk. And as anyone who spends a lot of their time seated will be aware, clothing reveals its true colours when one is stationary for long periods of time.

As I sat there, trying to surreptitiously pick these pants out of my crotch, I had the very obvious realisation that I could just not wear them anymore. Yes, I love them, but is any item of clothing really worth this level of discomfort?

Across my teen years and my twenties, I’ve put up with and accepted discomfort as the price one pays for being interested in fashion (and for wanting to be perceived as ‘sexy’ or ‘attractive’). I’m sure the pandemic, with all its non-stop tracksuit wearing, planted a comfort-related seed in my mind but it was only very recently I realised I can actively choose to be comfortable while also looking cute.

I can’t claim to have come to this realisation all on my own, though. I follow a good handful of well-dressed women on social media who prioritise comfort without compromising on style, and it’s slowly been rubbing off on me. I also have a close friend, Savannah Anand-Sobti, who’s always championed her own fusion of comfort and fashion.

As a content creator that’s worked across the fashion industry throughout her career, she favours oversized, breezy silhouettes and bold bursts of colour. She always looks excellent, but more than anything, she always seems at ease and relaxed in her outfits.

You’ll never find her yanking a too-tight top down or picking at a denim wedgie – instead, she opts for elasticated waistbands, soft stretch fabrics, cozy knits and loose button-up shirts. Comfort is so enmeshed in her personal brand that her TikTok handle is @comfygal1992. Because I love any excuse to pick my fashionable friends’ brains, I asked her how she came to this place of prioritising comfort in her personal style.

@comfygal1992GRWM 🎀♬ Time Machine – Muni Long

“I have a distinct memory from my teens of me yelling halfway out the door, ‘No Mum I don’t need a cardi!’. I insisted that my legs were somehow immune to the harsh, windy nights in Melbourne and that I could withstand walking in five-inch heels to the club. I was actually so proud and renowned (among my several friends) for my impeccable balancing stiletto skills.

“A decade later, I can barely tolerate a pair of heeled mules and will always have a warm layer just in case. In some ways, I feel like I’ve turned into my Mum… but not in a bad way. I love big knickers, elasticated pants, and supportive shoes, and so does she. I can barely tolerate a bra with an underwire or jeans and don’t really feel the need to,” she told me.

Savannah believes her focus on comfort has “come with age and feeling secure with myself”, something I can relate to. As I approach the end of my twenties, I know myself better than I ever have and feel more at ease in my body; this naturally bleeds into how I want to clothe myself.

@comfygal1992🌞🌞🌞♬ Head vs. Heart – kyo

A lot of the time, women put up with feeling uncomfortable for the sake of ‘sexiness’. The clothes we’re told appeal to the male gaze all seem to be particularly uncomfortable styles, made of constricting fabrics and often with plunging necklines or micro-mini hems. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to wear these styles, but it would be hard to make the argument that many people feel genuinely comfy in them.

Looking at fashion through a historical lens, we’re reminded that women have always had to put up with a level of discomfort in order to be perceived as attractive. Think painfully restrictive corsets, ludicrously high stilettos, deadly hoop skirts, exceptionally tight low-rise jeans and punishingly heavy wigs.

But Savannah, and an ever-growing demographic of women, believe that opting for the clothing we feel our best in is what makes us actually feel attractive and appealing, and comfort is an intrinsic component of this.

“Personally, I think those items of clothing I used to wear – heels, push-up bras and bodycon dresses, I wore to appear ‘sexy’. But now for me, that’s a knitted halter neck and just feeling comfortable in my body. I often have people remark on how I look comfortable to which I reply, ‘Oh thank you, it’s on purpose’. Being comfy and cute has become my catchphrase,” she told me.

Since I’ve rejected the uncomfortable items in my wardrobe in favour of comfort, I’m convinced I’ve become a happier person, which in turn makes me a better person to be around. I’m less quick to anger, I feel better about my weight and the way I exist in my body – period pain and bad bloating no longer send me into a tailspin – and I’m not having to waste my time readjusting something so that it sits correctly or I can breath better. While I miss my favourite jeans, I don’t think I miss them enough to compromise on comfort anymore.

For more on comfortable fashion, try this.

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