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Balancing Act: Combining Function and Fashion in Your Wardrobe

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

Function Over Fashion - Why You Don't Have to Choose! I recently got a text message from a friend of mine saying she had to unbutton a pair of her pants on the way home from work because they were so uncomfortable. I think this is probably close to the number one reason women tend to shy away from being "fashionable." The truth of the matter is, you can and SHOULD have both function + fashion. And a huge part of function in my mind is comfort. I do think back in the day, clothes that were considered stylish were far less comfortable than they are today. Thankfully, retailers have come a LONG way and I would say a large majority of the clothes out there are pretty dang comfortable. That being said, there are some factors that need to be considered in order to find the right pieces that serve up this happy balance between function and fashion.

The balance between function and fashion, How to select functional yet fashionable clothes

The first thing that comes to mind for me when I am thinking of making fashion fit me and my lifestyle instead of the other way around, goes beyond the whole comfort thing. Meaning comfortable isn’t enough, I want to be able to MOVE in my clothes. And I mean really move which these days means having FUN with my boys. This picture was taken one afternoon directly after I walked in the door from work. This is the exact outfit I wore to work!! And then I immediately hopped on the trampoline to jump with my boys. Now, will every single outfit or piece of clothing I recommend be trampoline friendly, no! Sometimes your day requires a level up. BUT is it impossible to go from the boardroom to the trampoline? Also no ;) When I am building outfits for my clients, I almost always gravitate towards pieces that feel so good on your body, you feel like you could jump whilst all the onlookers are non the wiser! How exactly do you find those pieces? Start by grabbing my free guide that will recommend pieces for your body type! In the guide it's going to walk you through the following:

  • Closet Edit Tutorial - helping you figure out what stays and what goes

  • Body Shape Guide - how to figure out what shape you have and a guide for the best pieces for each shape

  • What pieces are must haves in your to build a sustainable wardrobe - think capsule wardrobe checklist

  • Where to shop - this is a huge part of the style game. Finding retailers that you know make clothes that fit your shape really well, that fit your budget, and make clothes that are built to last is what I am after

  • Plus a video of me walking your through it all!

Style tips for combining function and fashion

Part of making fashion more functional in your life is understanding your closet. I know this is not a task that most people enjoy tackling but it's a critical one. One of the things that falls under the functional category for me is using what I have versus buying a whole new wardrobe every season. You may be thinking, "I hate my whole closet" but that is likely because there are items you can't wear because they are missing the right counterpart OR they don't fit you. We need to remedy both of these things. I guarantee there are things in your closet worth keeping and before we do anything else, we need to know what those are. Using my tutorial will get you there!

The next step is truly understanding the shape of your body. I promise you, it's the key to less frustration when you are looking for clothes that actually FEEL good on your body. Designers cut clothes in certain ways that are made to flatter certain shapes and figures. Without this knowledge you are setting yourself up for a lot of trial and error in the fitting room and I don't know about you, but the fitting room can make or break a shopping experience for me. Once you understand the necklines, and silhouettes that flatter you, your closet becomes a place where you can grab things and go that you know will fit you, flatter you, feel good on your body, and maybe even make you smile.

Finally, you need to find the right balance between structure and stretch for the ultimate functional fashion experience. I want my clothes to kind of mold to my body but still provide enough structure that they smooth me out + hold me in where needed. There is a lot of stretch out there these days, so I thought I would share some items I've found that strike this balance really well. You can click on the image to shop these items or just to get a feel for what I am talking about here.

Function vs fashion in different settings

Does functional fashion in a work setting look different that a non-work setting? Perhaps. I don't think it has to, but that really depends on what your work environment looks like. When I am not working on my style business, I work in a public school as an instructional coach. So, more often than not, I am in a business casual setting which makes it easy for the pieces I pull together for outfits to bridge the gap between work and play. If you work in a corporate setting, this may take a little more imagination BUT still 100% believe it can be done. As you can see in the picture at the top of this post, I took a white cotton shell and showed you how to dress it up 3 ways and how to dress it down in 3 ways. Often times it just takes changing up your shoes, accessories, and layers. And I do think it really depends on the piece you are wanting to be able to mix and match with!

Inspirational outfit ideas

Here are a few different ways you can style these pieces both dressed up for work and down for non-work functions. On the left hand side, you'll see more up-leveled looks. When you add those accessories, layers, and shoes, the bottoms can transform and be office ready. When you take them away, you can run those errands, carpool, and whatever else your non-work life demands. That truly is the key to fashion being functional in my life and the heart of my Capsules!

Ready to really LEARN more about how this all works and how to achieve personal style with ease? A good place to start is checking out my page on my Style School Membership - it's where I take my teaching out of the classroom and into your closet!

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