Comfort Clothes, Dressed Up!

Comfort is stylish this season! Sneakers have replaced heels on some of the world’s trendiest runways, and modified sweats in a variety of materials and prints have been spotted on fashion bloggers, models, and celebrities. But this trend can easily veer toward sloppy rather than chic if you don’t follow a few key styling rules. Read on for advice for turning comfy into cool.

One thing at a time. Don’t go overboard with the casual pieces when putting together your outfit. Pick one piece that says comfortable, then aim for a more elegant look with the rest of your ensemble. Bottom line: Sneakers with a tracksuit—no matter how fabulous the labels—are still best suited for hanging around the house.

Fit is key. Unlike your dad’s bargain sweatpants, the comfort trend relies heavily on fit if it’s going to look polished. Pieces should give a nod to gym wear without being confused with it. Look for form-fitting, sweatshirt-inspired tops and athletic-style pants that flatter your shape and accentuate your legs but don’t overwhelm your frame.

Layer on some luxury. Once you’ve picked your one casual, comfortable piece, give the rest of your outfit that styled-by-a-pro look by adding luxurious pieces that up the overall glam factor. Add a heel to your athletic-style pant to dress it up. Wear your fabulous new sneakers with a cocktail dress and leather jacket. Add a blingy necklace to your sweatshirt. Fancier pieces paired with casual ones show that you made consciously stylish choices—and you’re nobody’s fashion victim.

It’s all in the details. Traditional loungewear is pretty basic. The new dressed-up versions usually stand out from the crowd thanks to pretty embellishments, like leather trim, interesting necklines, fabulous patterns, or witty writing—all of which make this super-wearable trend feel new and fun.

Keep them fresh and bright. These are not your trusty laundry-day sweats! Fashionable casual clothes require special care to keep their shape and continue looking fierce—not to mention feeling soft. Wash your pieces inside out on a cold or warm setting with a liquid laundry detergent, then tumble dry on low.

Mystery Stains? Presoaking Can Help

Presoaking stained or dingy laundry items can help restore your favorite things—be it a shirt or a child’s lovey—to their former brighter glory. And the reason is simple: soaking maximizes contact time between fabric and detergent.

Why a soak makes sense: When you immerse washable fabric in detergent and water, you give the cleanser and all its modern-day bells and whistles (the brighteners, the special crud-fighting enzymes, the sudsy stuff) time to soak into the fabric and lift stains.

For a basic presoak: Fill a sink, tub, or washing machine with enough water to cover your item, using the warmest water allowed on the fabric care label. Then add a measured full dose of your favorite detergent. Stir the water until the detergent is completely dissolved. Add your item. Presoak for 30 minutes, then launder as usual. (Always check the manufacturer’s label for laundry care instructions.)

For extra-tough stains: Mix a stain remover into the presoak with your detergent. If your clothes are brightly colored, make sure the stain remover has a color-safe form of bleach.

Take That, Sweat

Underarm stains can crop up on your favorite tees and blouses seemingly out of the blue. But the sources are no mystery: perspiration and buildup from antiperspirant/deodorant products.

The two culprits, close up: Sweat stains can be white or clear (and undetectable), and—over time—they can turn fabric dingy gray. Stains from antiperspirant/deodorant products tend to look yellow, green, or brown, and they can feel hard or crusty.

Best treatment: Both types of stains have the same solution. First, it’s important to launder the garment right away. Brush the excess stain off the surface of the fabric, and rinse in cold water. Wash the garment in warm water with both a detergent and stain remover. If the stain is stubborn, wash again as above before drying.

Prevention: To stave off future stains, it’s best to wash garments soon after each wear. Letting them linger in the dirty clothes hamper for days gives stains a chance to settle in. If the stain is caused by an antiperspirant/deodorant, be sure to apply a very thin layer of the product to your skin, and always wait a few minutes for a liquid or creamy product to dry before getting dressed. Both steps will reduce the chance that it migrates to your clothes. Take that, sweat! 

Time to Turn In

The hours before your head hits the pillow can determine whether you’ll be up tossing and turning or falling right to sleep. If you find your mind racing and unable to shut down, try these simple tricks so you can drift into sweet slumber, easily.

Power down. The last thing you need at the end of the day is more stimulation. Make it a rule: no distractions, no electronics. That means no computer, TV, cell phone—zilch! Artificial light can trick your body’s internal clock into thinking it’s not time for bed. Keep it simple. Reading a book or magazine can help you let go of a hectic day as you get ready to go to sleep.  

Beware of sleep disrupters. Alcohol, which may initially make you drowsy, can negatively affect your sleep. Heavy meals may cause indigestion, so it’s best to finish dinner two or three hours before bedtime. Exercise is encouraged; however, strenuous activity is not recommended for two hours before you go to sleep.

Establish an evening ritual. A warm bath at night can relieve tension and help you to feel relaxed and sleepy. Try to regulate your body’s clock, too, by going to sleep and waking up the same time each day. Slip into soft PJs washed with a fabric softener in a calming scent for extra cozy comfort.

Set the mood. Keep your bedroom tranquil and serene, with no bright lights. Soft lamplight or the gentle glow of a scented candle works better as you’re getting ready for bed. If your mind is endlessly wandering, write thoughts down in a journal (no electronics!).

Breathe deeply and meditate. Practiced for thousands of years, mediation may help you to relax and let go of the daily stress that takes up too much space in your head. A tip from the experts: Stay mindful of the flow of your breath. Positive affirmations may also help. Silently repeat a reassuring word or phrase.

Comfort is key. The most important part of your evening oasis: the bed. Launder linens with a liquid fabric softener in a amazing scent. The silky soft sheets will feel fabulous as you drift off to sleep.

5 Ways to Keep Clothes Looking Great—Wherever You Go


Tip 1: Roll your clothes



Rolling instead of folding your clothes not only prevents wrinkles, it also saves space. And you know what that means—more room to bring home souvenirs! Tip: tuck a dryer sheet into each suitcase to keep clothes smelling fresh on the road. 



Tip 2: Double-bag your liquids



No matter how tightly you think the top of that shampoo bottle is screwed on, it’s better to be safe than sorry. While packing, separate your liquids from your clothes by putting them in two plastic bags.



Tip 3: Pack an Uh-Oh tee



Traveling with kids? Carry an extra T-shirt for each of them as you take in the sights. Why? Because stains happen, and changing is the quickest fix you can do. Be sure to launder their spares in a liquid fabric softener to keep the bright mood of the day rolling.



Tip 4: When you don’t have an iron, take a hot shower



You don’t need an iron to stay wrinkle-free. Simply hang your clothes up in your bathroom while you take a hot shower and let the steam get rid of unwanted wrinkles. Or try a fabric smoother spray. 



Tip 5: Use dry-cleaning bags



Dry-cleaning bags can be a useful tool when traveling. Pack small stacks of clothes inside a single bag—this will help prevent friction and therefore wrinkles. As you near the end of your trip, tie a knot at one end of a bag to use it as a dirty clothes hamper. Smart, huh?