Fashion Dr: Can comfort equal style?

17:00, Sep 18 2012
Cate Blanchett
SIMPLY STYLISH: Cate Blanchett embodies relaxed, comfortable and casual style.

I dress up every day for work and in my spare time I take part in sport, play taxi driver for my kids and cook, clean and keep the house in order. When not at work, comfort is essential to me. In saying that, I don't wander around in pyjamas or leggings or anything like that. I love fashion and support New Zealand brands, but my weekend look tends to be a good pair of jeans and a hoodie, or a T-shirt in summer.

I thought since they were "higher end" designer labels, they would get me through, but apparently not. My friends and family have commented on how I never look "girly", and that it would be nice to see me take a bit more care with what I am wearing. What can I wear in my downtime that is still comfortable, practical but is stylish, too, and can take me from spectating on the sports field to a cafe for coffee?


Dear Michelle,

A quick but desperately important lesson you need to learn is this - "designer" does not equal stylish.

To be stylish in 2012 is to wear clothing that suits your personality, which flatters your body, that's different, interesting, special or timeless. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but being stylish isn't as easy as walking into Karen Walker and flexing the credit card.

Style means being aware of trends without being a slave to them; it means marching to the beat of your own personal style and taking exciting risks. It's not about being afraid of fashion but about having fun with it and using it to suit your needs.

You need comfortable but stylish looks that allow you to feel good while having fun with your children. You also want to be more feminine. Widen your shopping net - don't snub chain stores as they can be great for affordable basics, and try vintage stores for special statement items. Look for great garments that resonate with you - try ballet flats with an edgy print, cool and colourful trainers, relaxed cotton T-shirts and elegant drape cardigans. Crisp blazers will smarten up your denim and trend-focused bold jewellery will jazz up a simple look.