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Kings Mountain, North Carolina, United States
"A mind lively and at ease" is a blog by a first-generation Russian-Ukrainian immigrant Maria K. (Maria Igorevna Kuroshchepova). An engineer by education, an analyst by trade, as well as a writer, photographer, artist and amateur model, Maria brings her talent for weaving an engaging narrative to stories of life, fashion and style advice, book and movie reviews, and common-sense and to-the-point essays on politics and economy.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Today... burn your sweats

When it comes to sweats and pleated-front khakis - I agree with Trinny Woodal, Susannah Constantine, Stacy London, Clinton Kelly, and Carson Kressley. They are indeed the vilest, most unflattering and, amazingly, most pervasive garments known to humankind and ought to be banned.

Recently, I posted a quote from Clinton Kelly's book Oh, no, she didn't! "No self-respecting woman over the age of twenty-two should ever leave the house in a sweatshirt, especially if she has no intention of sweating." I would extrapolate this quote to all human beings - men and women. Some people responded well, but some became hostile. Some reactions were from the "no one tells me what to wear" category.

That is true. No one can tell you what to wear, once you are no longer a child. Which begs the question, why would you tell yourself to wear an ugly, shapeless, colorless blob of fabric that causes you to blend in with filing cabinets and garbage dumpsters? So, I am mean for pointing out that sweats should be reserved for the gym, but you are not mean for confining yourself to the life in something that makes you look your worst? Ok, I can see the logic. Not.

The arguments in favor of sweats are the same across genders, sizes, and age groups: they are comfortable, they are inexpensive, they take very little time to put on, they are washable and wrinkle-free. Below is a list of outfits that satisfy all these criteria with one added benefit - they actually look good.

Women - Winter

- A wool or cotton sweater dress (in any length), thick warm tights (Hanes has some awesome ones of both as does Land's End).

- A pair of flattering jeans (I swear by stretchy straight-leg jeans from Dress Barn), a fitted tee and a jacket.

- A pair of flat-front chinos (Gap and the like always have some on sale)with a shapely top in heavier materials (knit or velvet)

- A knit skirt (again, any length depending on whether or not you like showing your legs), thick tights, warm top.

All of the above can we born with flat or heeled boots of any height and style.

Women - Summer

- A breezy cotton dress with a nipped-in waist (once again, Hanes always comes up with some cute ones)

- A pair of chinos with a fitted tee in an interesting color or pattern

- A light skirt with a fitted tee

All of the above can be worn with all kinds of shoes, including high-heeled pumps and flat sandals. Add some fun jewelry (it takes a minute), and a cute bag (peruse discount stores like Ross and TJMaxx for some great inexpensive clutches, totes and shoulder bags), and you are dressed, ready, and fabulous.

Men - Winter

- Flat-front dress pants with a crisp shirt and a v-neck sweater (Land's End is your friend across the board)

- Flat-front chinos, khakis, or cords with a fitted v-neck or crew-neck sweater

- Non-baggy jeans (damn it, just try them on before buying!), with an open-collar shirt and a knit vest.

All these can be worn with dress shoes, mocs, loafers and boots.

Men - Summer

- Flat front chinos with a fitted tee (not your baggy college tee and not the t-shirt you would normally wear as an undershirt).

- Jeans with a white shirt - open collar, rolled-up sleeves.

- Linen beach pants with a loose cotton shirt or a fitted t-shirt. (Yes, linen creases, but beach pants are expected to be sort of rumpled).

Wear with loafers or sandals or a comfy pair of Sketchers trainers and save the big white sneakers for the gym, along with the sweats.

Look, folks, wearing sweats doesn't make you more virtuous, or intelligent, or athletic, or a better parent, or a better spouse. All it does is bring you down in the eyes of others and, most importantly, in your own. So, why not be the fun, smart , and all-around awesome person you already are - in style?

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