Confession: I used to be terrified of loose clothes. I always envied women who could pull off light, airy clothes with grace, but I accepted that I wasn’t one of them. Maybe it’s just flashbacks to hand-me-downs, or a side effect of growing up petite. I’d try to look carefree and ethereal, and end up looking like a failed Project Runway challenge. For me, loose clothes meant drowning in fabrics — getting lost in layers, not having a visible waist or body. So I always gravitated towards super skin-tight, sized down, body conscious pieces — but secretly lusted after drapey silhouettes and floaty, angelic, dreamy, flowing loose clothes.
That started to change a summer or two ago. You’ve heard me before: New York heat and summer style can be a tricky match. On top of that, I was visiting India, where loose clothes are not just du jour, but basically the only option. It’s not even just a modesty thing. Less clothing won’t help you out in humid weather. Breathable fabrics will, and loose clothes allow for air. I had to learn to let go of my cinched, tight aesthetic and let the layers in.
It was terrifying, but I actually learned a few things about styling by being forced out of my (very compact, form-fitting, uncompromising) comfort zone. The biggest lesson? You do not have to suffer for fashion. You can wear loose clothes and look cute, femme, even polished and put-together. And ever since, I’m not so afraid of airy layers anymore. Read on for styling tips on wearing loose, light layers without losing yourself.
shop the look
Pencil Riding Skirt in Black by American Apparel
Luxe Eyelash Bra in White by Uye Surana
Pebble Silk Draped Top by Helmut Lang
Soft Shroud Overlap Top by Helmut Lang (similar)
Hudson Necklace in Gunmetal by Jessica Elliott (similar)
Polly Heel @ Need Supply (similar)
Movado Bold Stainless Steel Watch by Movado
Vasha Vegan Leather Clutch by Viva Creatures (similar)
Naked Illuminated Shimmer Powder in Aura by Urban Decay