When Alexander Wang said, and I'm paraphrasing, that it is how you dress in your off days that matters, I connected. For big events, I thrill in finding the perfect dress, shoes, jewelry, bag, makeup, and hair. I love getting dressed up (unlike some people) so I take a lot of joy in the event I'm going to AND the days leading up to the event planning my ensemble. Yes, if I'm excited enough, I may even have trouble falling asleep at night while trying to imagine each perfect piece. But it is the everyday that is the real challenge. Everyone has different lifestyles and therefore different obstacles that face them when they get dressed. And most of us are not just headed to one place that we have to look "right" for in a day. That is what makes it difficult. Going to a wedding... one outfit. Dropping off the kids at school, going to work, meeting a friend for a quick drink, and stopping at the grocery store on the way home...still one outfit. Now we're looking at what Wang is talking about! It can be done. But it DOES take effort and some planning.
Here's a quick rundown. Don't get dressed in the morning until right before you walk out the door. This helps to avoid sticky fingers on pant legs and pet hair on your behind. Kitten heels are making a big comeback; perfect for work and they still have a little lift. But have a pair of fantastic heels in your bag as well as an extra accessory or two, a lipstick, and your eyeliner. You can put the heels on when you meet your friend as well as take them off when you get to the grocery store. You don't want to be navigating wiggly kids in your arms, stairs, the eyes of the good ole' boys club at work, and the grocery store pushing a cart with 4 inch heels on. Add the extra jewelry and makeup at the end of the day (by the way, you should have SOME jewelry on already).
Wang may or may not agree with me on this, but we can't look "done" all the time. If you're walking the dog, heading to the playground, or just hanging around your house, it is okay to let go. Wash your face, pull your hair back in a neat way, and relax. This doesn't mean put on your grossest tee shirt from college and a pair of sagged-out sweatpants. Buy some pants and a cute jacket that fit well and a basic tank from Old Navy and you're good to go. Sneakers make sense if you're going to be walking, chasing, lifting, bending, and generally getting dirty. I've always loved L.A.M.B.'s line and, most seasons, they have fun options of really casual wear. Nike, lululemon, Champion- all good. I'm really into this line called Roam right now. My favorite piece is a gray hoodie zip-up sweatshirt. It is really fitted and has a long and lean cut. The neck is wide and round without a traditional sweatshirt band. Edgy but super casual and I can just toss it in the washer/dryer when it is dirty. Keep it easy.
But here is my real point. Even when I'm at my most casual, my look is still mine. THAT is how you keep that uniqueness that Alberto Fermani talks about. If you saw me in my sweats or you saw me out to dinner, you would still have a sense of how I define my personal style. Here are a couple of basic examples. My color palette is still essentially the same. You won't find me in pink and green in my dressier wardrobe and you won't find me in it in sweats. The way I put my clothes together is the same, meaning I don't buy "matching" pieces in anything I own, not even my sweats. I have never owned a full Juicy Couture track suit. (No judgement, just a fact.) I look for unique embellishments whether in pattern on the fabric or zippers, or cut... you get the picture. I like at least one item of whatever I'm wearing to stand out a little, even in sweats.
Since the modern woman has taken on so many different and fulfilling roles, we have to learn how to roll with the punches. And, just sometimes, that means doing it in sweats. Don't feel badly about it. Just make it your own and you'll look like you know what you're doing.