Book Excerpt: Comfort



We all prefer to be comfortable.  But what is comfort?  It’s not just about clothing that you can fall asleep in – would you feel comfortable wearing your jammies in front of an audience?  If not, then comfort is more than just the physical.


Comfort involves the following:


  • Appropriateness
  • Fit
  • Fabric
  • Psychological needs


Wearing the right thing to the right place leaves you comfortable.  You fit in with the people around you, and you don’t have to spend time thinking about what you’re wearing.  Church clothes are worn to church, work clothes to work, beach clothes to the beach.  Appropriateness includes function – I might find that ballgown extremely comfortable at the ball, but at the gym, it’s just going to get in my way.


Fit is probably the most important part of our physical comfort, and this often surprises people who are used to the one-size-fits-all approach.  Even the softest sweatshirt – too big or too small, and you lose the ability to move around.  You have to constantly adjust your clothes just to exist.  On the other end of the spectrum, couture is known for being so custom fit that a ballgown feels completely natural.


Comfortable fabrics are a personal thing.  One woman can’t stand wool, another adores cashmere.  One woman thinks polyester is of the devil, another loves the way it slides over her skin.  Breathable fabric is generally more comfortable than fabric that doesn’t breathe, and fabrics that drape are more comfortable than stiff fabrics.


Color and texture affect our emotions.  Specific connotations of colors will be discussed at length in the toolbox, and Zyla has done some excellent work in this regard (I highly recommend his book, “Color Your Style”), but all of us understand that there are some colors that make us happy, some that relax us, and colors that we just can’t stand.   I don’t care how well the oxblood pants fit, how soft the fabric is, or how very appropriate they are to my morning routine.  I hate that color.    Wearing it would make me uncomfortable.  I have friends who need the boost that bright colors provide – they should wear those colors and be happy, because happiness is part of comfort.


A well fitting, appropriate garment in a color and fabric that you love is the most comfortable thing you can own or wear.   That’s what you’re looking for!


8 thoughts on “Book Excerpt: Comfort

  1. magistratrium

    I agree. I’m still attempting to recreate my wardrobe after weight redistribution due to menopause and adding work clothes into the mix. I have a small but doable wardrobe for work (except for one or two pieces) and am working on a casual wardrobe now. I finally found a pair of jeans that fit, look decent, and didn’t break my bank account. Now on to casual shoes that will support my poor tender foot. 🙂

    Have I told you how much I love your advice. You are so wise and practical and don’t expect me to buy a closet full of black. Thank you!


      1. magistratrium

        I started having problems with plantar fasciitis a couple of years ago. I stopped going barefoot (a true sorrow for me as I always went barefoot around the house), did exercises, and bought some very expensive supportive shoes for work. Now that I’ve transitioned to working in reference and so am sitting instead of standing most of the time, my foot is 100% better. However, better safe than sorry so I’m looking for casual shoes with decent arch support that cost less than a hundred dollars and that are cute. I refuse to wear ugly shoes! Does such a thing exist?


      2. hearthie Post author

        Well. Not sure about the “less than 100” bit – with the arch support – but one or two pair of good shoes beats a stack of cute shoes from payless. I’ve had good luck with mary-jane style shoes – they look feminine, but the strap keeps them supportive as well. Links to shoes I’ve liked:|pcrid|54121900520|&gclid=CPzWzrvf88oCFQ6maQodXAMEYw (I bought mine at the outlet, they were under 100 but barely. However super comfy).
        Again, a bit over – but very basic. I found this brand cushy and soft.
        Not particularly this shoe, but the tennis shoe/mary-jane blend is cute/comfy/casual – and can be found for less than 100

        Basically – I live in mary janes. Or barefoot. I go barefoot a lot, but my trouble is improved by being barefoot. Lace up boots are also good for supported feets, especially if your ankles run to pronation:

        Buy the best you can afford, polish them and keep them nice and rotate them to keep them unstinky. Old school.


  2. superslaviswife

    On fit: I am currently considering getting some blouses with wide sleeves which I can adjust into a “button up above the elbow” sleeve for housework. Wearing short sleeves when its cool bothers me. Having my sleeves roll down when I’m doing dishes or gardening bothers me. But stretching/wrinkling perfectly good sleeves also bothers me. I need something which can be folded up and down in an attractive, suitable and comfortable way.


      1. hearthie Post author

        They sell those. 😀 Or you could add a tab to a buttondown you already own. The dress I’m remaking for myself soon has such a feature on the sleeve – it’s not much trouble.


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