Photo: David Yeo


There’s a certain liberation that comes with unchaining yourself from uncomfortable clothes

Zoë Beaty let it go – and loved how it felt

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By Zoë Beaty on

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A few months ago, when the nights were prematurely dark and the cold had only just started to settle in, I bought a jumper. It was an impulse buy; unnecessary and a bit extravagant, probably. But when I spotted it – a soft little grey cloud of a sweater, all wool and warmth and gentle lines that wrapped my body in a delicate hug – I didn’t hesitate.

I wore my new jumper for a week straight without concern. I wore it to work with jeans, at home late at night with pyjamas; I adored the way the fluffy woollen fibres contrasted beautifully with sharp-looking, thick leather skirts for the pub. Wearing something else – anything else – suddenly felt like a whole lot of effort. Everything in my wardrobe looked harder, or harsher, next to this ballerina puffball of snuggle. I was so comfortable I dreaded having to put it in for a wash.

At the time, I’d not been feeling brilliant. I was depressed and disjointed and uncomfortable in my own skin. Out of sorts and mind. And when your foundation of confidence and inner security is suddenly cracked, everything feels more awkward. Anxiety made me hyper-aware of my body and my skin – the button of my jeans on my stomach felt like an intrusion, my hair irritated my cheeks with its incessant tickling, shoes were heavier than usual and the thick elastic of my bra pinched and clasped at my rib cage. I didn’t care about clothes – or anything much, really – by that point. Until I bought my little cloud.

I started to consider what I hadn’t for a long time: that what I wore could have an effect on the way I feel. The clothes I’d always worn – high-waisted, belted jeans and skirts; high-cut lace knickers with matching underwired lace bras; structured jackets and leotards – still felt like me, but they were more restrictive somehow. I was reminded of something my mum told me over and over as a teenager – that it’s OK to be casual sometimes. She was frustrated that, as I developed my sense of self and style, I was constantly “done”, with curated outfits and structured looks. I never had a “down” day, to settle down and relax. “It’s important,” she’d say. Almost two decades later, I finally realised she had a point.

Often, life simply demands that we button up and belt up and get on with it. But there’s an awful lot to be said for those small sartorial comforts


Because there’s a certain liberation that comes with unchaining yourself from uncomfortable clothes. Of course, there’s a place for dressing up to feel a better version of yourself or, at least, to present that more confident version to the world on days when you’re not quite feeling it. And often, life simply demands that we button up and belt up and get on with it. But there’s an awful lot to be said for those small sartorial comforts, if we indulge ourselves where we can.

For me, it feels like a little bit of self-care – which, I’ve learnt of late, is quite essential. As a result, I’ve expanded my little collection. Now, I have “sitting-down pants” (running tights, repurposed for relaxing in the house) and vintage, fleecy sweatshirts for warmth. I recently invested in cashmere-blend joggers and a matching sweater in rich burgundy, which my housemate says make me look like a 6ft kidney bean. I adore them. The fine knit is light and velvety on my skin, and a blanket of warmth. On weekends at home, I’ve taken to ditching my usual tightly wound underwired bras in place of a deliciously light new sloggi ZERO Feel one. While it keeps me comfortably supported, it sits like a silky second skin, so lightly that I barely know it’s there – no digging in, no adjusting limp straps, no awkwardly manoeuvring the pinch of metal on my chest. When I need a little secret comfort, to feel a little freer, I wear it under my clothes for work, too.

It might not be much, but that respite means a lot. Sometimes I can feel my shoulders drop and the tension compacted in the eaves of my spine dissipate slightly when I change. I can breathe a little better and I’m cosy and free all at once. Lighter, maybe. Like the little grey cloud all this began with.

This blog is part of our Do The Day Differently series where we have asked writers to unfasten and liberate themselves from everyday constraints. The week is brought to you by sloggi, who are making it their mission to free women from uncomfortable bras with their new ZERO Feel range of bodywear, bras so easy to wear they feel like a "second skin". Click here to buy.


Zoe is sitting on an Uroso velvet chair, £545, by Oliver Bonas. Prop stylist Stephanie Iles. 

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Photo: David Yeo
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