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Don’t worry about having to prise yourself out of sweats, leggings and baggy T-shirts for the summer because over-sized casual doesn’t say ‘can’t be bothered’ it really says Scandi style blogger cool.
Liverpool fashion consultant Joanne Watkinson confirms that looser-fitting clothes aren’t just OK, they can be a smart choice in every way.
As co-owner of the brand By Elleven, which focuses on wardrobe essentials made from ethically sourced organic fabrics, she’s a massive fan of fashion that’s a bit more forgiving.
Top tips for refreshing your home decor with the new ANYDAY range from John Lewis in Liverpool ONE 🛋️
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And the past 12 months has seen lots of other people really embracing that. “What we’ve seen is that the trend for comfy clothes doesn’t have to be your PJs and your slummies – it’s evolved into this casual way of dressing which we can create our own version of,” she says.
“The trend for oversized has been around for a while and I think over the last year or so we’ve all leaned into that look so things have got slouchier, easier, more relaxed, and less bodycon.
“This is about comfort and also practicality so you don’t have to change your shoes or your entire outfit going from one place to another.
“I think we’re being kinder to ourselves in terms of comfort and not feeling like there’s an expectation that it always has to be strappy heels that rip holes in your feet and bodycon dresses. If that’s how you want to dress then that’s great, there shouldn’t be one way, but now we’ve got more options.
“Our idea of what dressy is, and perhaps sexy, has definitely changed so whereas maybe you’d feel before that something had to be revealed, like either legs or arms, or the silhouette needed to be more slim and fitted, now that’s relaxed much more into over-sized comfortable.
“If I’ve got my hair done, I feel ready to go with a T-shirt and track pants as long as I’ve smartened it with a blazer.”
Joanne says the streetwear style which had its origins in hip-hop has been brought more into the mainstream by Scandinavian fashion bloggers and influencers.
“They were on to track pants and leisurewear in bright pop colours really quickly and they’re leading the way with sustainable brands as well. They created that aesthetic of cap and hoodie with a blazer over, and everything not necessarily being your normal size – it’s a very confident look, but it’s not clowny at all, it’s exaggerated but it’s in proportion because nobody wants to look ridiculous.
“It’s just about things being a bit looser and cooler and easier to wear.”
By Elleven customers love their slim-fit jersey track pants for going out, she says, and the shorts suit in black can just as easily be worn with heels as with trainers.
Liverpool’s famously a dressing up city, so there’s still an opportunity to smarten everything up with blazer – just go for one that’s a bit larger to fit over a sweatshirt or hoodie.
And if the idea of track pants for a night out still feels like a step too far, Joanne suggests just swapping them for decent black leggings.
“If you’re nervous about wearing a tracksuit, or if it reminds you of shell suits, then buy a black legging in a really nice soft mix to go with trainers, a hoodie and a blazer – that looks great. It’s like a really simple jigsaw: hoodie, leggings, trainers, blazer, cap.
“Leggings are so easy to make flattering, especially with a longer-length jacket to cover your bum, and black is really slimming, just avoid anything with too much sports branding on.
“Organic Basics is a fully-sustainable Scandi brand, the fabric is great and they do a full range of sizes, or if you want an entry level legging then Matalan do their Souluxe brand which is really good.”
Key to getting it right is remembering that all comfy clothes are not equal.
“The best place to start is with marl grey,” says Joanne. “I do love brights, the greens and oranges, but if it’s your first foray not everyone’s going to wear green track pants, so I’d go for marl grey because apparently grey is the colour of comfort which is why so many people gravitate towards it.
“If you’re slightly unsure, go for a subtle left chest logo so when you’ve got your blazer on it’s not in your face.
“And definitely grade your slouchies. We’ve all got our trackies that are a bit scruffy with baggy knees that we hang around in and only the Hermes delivery man sees them. They’re fine for the house. Then you look for the ones you’re happy to leave the house in, ones that are still flattering even though they might have an elasticated waist.
“Then think about an investment piece, something that’s really nice quality fabric that you buy to go out in and you can repeat wear for different purposes. It’s all about clothing that’s multi-functioning and there’s a confidence in dressing down to dress up.”
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