I wrote this for the Indie Sight after I bought five new pairs of shoes and a dress to force me out of my own comfort zone of bootleg jeans and runners. It worked, I went eight days without touching my runners or my favourite jeans. Now I have the best of both worlds. Leave me a comment if you have a comfort clothes zone you want to change. You can now see it on SheSays.ie
Almost every girl goes through this stage in their fashion lives. The stage where they find a comfort zone for clothes and wearing nothing but what they can find in that zone. It’s often the same type of zone. There’s the comfy jeans and runners zone, the baggy hoody zone, the all-black zone, the covered legs zone, the flat shoe zone. Everyone has a different variation or combination of zones. Unfortunately, when they’re trapped in this zone, anything outside it looks terrible. Jeans addicts can never seem to get into dresses. Runner addicts won’t wear pumps or heels. Hoody people won’t explore cardigans.
The problem is fear. Most people fear how they may look in something and when they’ve never worn anything like it before, it looks weird to them. Therefore their mind leads them to the conclusion that it will look weird to everyone, and we don’t want to look weird, weird is bad. So, off with the dress and back on with the jeans that we’re used to. It’s like anything in life, we need to get used to the idea to feel in comfortable with the change. We need to wean ourselves out of our comfort zone and into a new realm of gorgeous clothes.
Since everyone has their own comfort zone, they all need to work out their own way to slowly move into a new wardrobe. But it’s like making new paint colours from the base ones. From basic types of comfort clothes, everyone can work out how to help themselves and feel more comfortable in their own skin, regardless of what they’re wearing.
For those who are afraid of colour, start with something small. Colourful costume jewellery will make a massive difference to an all black outfit but for the person wearing it, it won’t feel too dramatic. After that, you might try shoes. If you’re not ready for bright yellow or fire engine red, go for a subtle purple or pink and work your way up, as long as they’re not brown or navy, they’ll match.
For those who live in baggy jeans, try skinny or straight-legged jeans. They’re not that big of a change and you can still wear everything else you feel comfortable. From there you might try shorts and tights (very common right now, and you can still wear your favourite runners).
Hoody people who want a more feminine cardigan should go for a plain black one that goes with everything so you don’t feel lost without your hoody. Long cardigans might be the best option because they feel the most like hoodies, less fitted and restricting but it’s all about personal preference.
People who are afraid to show their legs don’t have a major problem in Ireland since even those who love showing skin don’t get much more than a couple of weeks a year. However, summer’s well underway so there’s no time to lose. First, try skirts or dresses with leggings to start getting used to it. Then you could swap the leggings for thin black tights, then maybe clear tights and finally bare legs. Nothing too short or you’ll still feel self-conscious and always beware of windy days when venturing out in a dress.
Finally, weaning off runners. This is probably the toughest because for many women, it’s not for a lack of trying. It’s not just finding the confidence to step out of runners, but finding the perfect shoes that don’t cut the feet off you. You should make sure you have at least a couple of pairs of pumps or sandals and a pair of nice flip-flops (not plastic beach ones) that go with the majority of your wardrobe. When you’re shopping for them, do a good few laps around the shop and analyse as many feelings as you can; are they rubbing off your heels? It’s always tough to find shoes that won’t hurt when you get home but when you do, you should break them in by wearing them around the house with thick socks on for a day, then wear them with an outfit you’re most comfortable and not on a day where you’ll have to walk too much. After that, you’ll be used to them.
To really kick the habit of hiding in your comfort zone, try to go a week without wearing any of your comfort clothes. By the end of the week, you’ll have found new comfort clothes and suddenly, none of it is comfort clothes anymore, they’re all just clothes that make you look great.