Polar fleece – love it or hate it? It’s one of those fabrics that is super comfortable and warm, but lacks style in a big way. It’s a level 3 fabric that could be classed as appropriate for Outdoor Leisure activities such as going for a walk in the winter, watching football, heading to the gym and gardening on a crisp day.
It’s not stylish. Step away from the polar fleece. There are many other options.
If you want to look stylish, think about wearing level 2 clothing and keeping your level 3s for those outdoor and rugged activities.
How to Be Stylishin Your Casual Clothes
So what can you wear to be comfortable but still look stylish?
5 Ways to Be Stylish and Comfortable
Think about the fabrics, cut and fit.
- Overly baggy will make you look frumpy.
- Wear only 1 voluminous garment at a time, keep the other one more form fitting
- Good quality knee-high boots will last for years and years yet add style to your outfit, an ankle boot is another good alternative to sneakers.
- Think about layering wool or cashmere for comfort and warmth, look for garments that fit well and that may have a detail or embellishment that gives them an edge.
- Jeans with stretch or leggings with a long line cardigan are both comfortable and stylish, adding a belt or a scarf will create a more finished look.
Have a great coat (or two) in your wardrobe that you can slip over whatever you’re wearing before you go out. From leather and suede jackets to lovely wool and cashmere coats, there are so many great options to choose from.
Choosing Your Neutral – here are some tips:
I decided to make polar fleece more stylish and made some tailored jackets from it. They are slightly less fitted than a formal jacket but very good looking, easy to wear and readily machine washable; a great example of form meeting function.
Thank you, Terri. Last week I ordered a polar-fleece-smart-jacket. But the lining material did not fit to the polar fleece, so i sent it back.
I do love polar fleece warm, water repellant, easy launder BUT best confined to rugs.
I’m a big believer in wearing what you want but I feel polar fleece in clothing is very very aging. Can’t quite see our Gov Gen wearing polar fleece!!
Love your blog
I believe it’s made of old Coke bottles Donna! I once fell into the swimming pool whilst wearing a polar fleece jacket and it acted like a floatation device!
Thanks for replying to my query. Bulky, boxy style fleece is not a good look ! Like the idea of tailoring or altering them too. I will review what I have and how many I need for odd outdoor jobs and leisure.
Are plainer styles of tops better if you have a larger bust ?
I have been looking for a smarter style in a thinner sweatshirt fabric which is a better option but harder to source.
Please can you show us more level 2 refinement “comfortably stylish” options examples as I think this is a great way to have a casual smart look.
I have found a brand Kerrits which offers good active outdoor-wear; tops and jackets, that are flattering. The brand targets equestriennes, a group that needs comfort for everyday riding but is probably not willing to compromise when it comes to looking good. Other than a little carrot (kerrit) logo there is nothing overly “horsey” about the tops and jackets (pants are totally riding-specific.) http://www.kerrits.com
THANK YOU, IMOGEN!!! I currently (and temporarily) live in the polar fleece capital of the world… the New Hampshire side of the Upper Valley. All fashion is influenced by L.L. Bean whose headquarters are right across the border in Maine. Polar Fleece dominates every outfit with the grand exception of my own. People are always telling me, “You look so fancy! So dressed up!” I smile, say thanks, and tell them that my outfit is just how I translate smart casual. But their perspectives are skewed by viewing everything in its relation to polar fleece/performance fleece. And don’t even get me started on the shoes…
I agree. Polar fleece is horrible and very old ladyish. I do not own and have never owned any polar fleece and I don’t think I ever will.
Jesslyn, please tell us about the shoes!!!
I live in BC and I recently bought a red leather blazer. Sadly, it still has to be worn since I couldn’t quite figure out what to pair it with. I was hoping you’d be able to give ,e some tips. I’m 44 and really, wouldn’t want to wear something that would be aging? Lol! Thanks.
Anna – need a bit more information – you can wear a red leather blazer with jeans, with a straight skirt, over a shift dress, with dress pants – the options are wide and varied!
Thanks so much, Imogen. Is there any way I could send you a pic if the blazer? Lol
You ca email it to me
I very much appreciated this posting, Imogen. I find it ever so much easier to be comfortably stylish in the fall and winter. Could you provide similar tips (with pictures) for the spring and summer? I work from home and spend most of my “free” time at school, running errands, on ball fields, etc. Boots are appropriate — and effectively up the style quotient — during the cooler months, but what is the warm-weather footwear equivalent?
Thanks! I love your website/blog. Have found your articles on value contrast particularly insightful. Take good care.