Sunday, March 7, 2010

The art and language of comfies

We all have those days. You know the ones; usually a weekend day or a week night where you don't have any particular place to be and don't feel like being particularly productive. Household chores and responsibilities outside the house can be blithely relegated to the back burner and you declare it a Comfie Day. Comfie Days, obviously, require comfie attire. That can span the gamut from disreputable jeans or cut-offs (if it's warm weather) and a t-shirt that has seen better days, to sweats that are loose and soft, to yoga attire that is more form fitting but equally soft and comfortable. If you're a guy in a relationship, you may find your personal closet lightened by a few dress shirts or t-shirts that your significant other has claimed for her comfie days.

If I'm the one declaring a Comfie Day, then you can pretty much bet that there will be one of two things involved during winter months - fuzzy socks or critter slippers. Summertime comfie attire is completely different, but as we're still winding down the cold weather months, I'm focusing on the warmer version of comfie attire.

I've frequently wondered, since they hit the retail market, who in the world invented fuzzy socks. They're a marvelous product! The concept of kicked back, comfortable lounge wear reached new heights of comfie-ness when these socks were born. They take chenille, flannel, and other soft materials and relegate them to the annals of history for what used to be comfies. Fuzzy socks, simply, rule the world for cold weather comfie status. They are thick, soft, fuzzy (of course) and come in a wide range of zany colors and patterns. Some even have those little rubberized skid-proof patterns fused to the bottom to prevent you from slipping on slick flooring surfaces.

Better yet, they are very affordable and can be found at most drug stores and larger chain retail stores. For those of you old enough to remember Toe Socks from the late 1970's, yes, my friends, there are now Fuzzy Toe Socks. That's one trend I doubt I'll embrace, as I remember how uncomfortable Toe Socks really are to wear, but I know that teen girls the world over are probably in raptures over Fuzzy Toe Socks! There's a fuzzy sock mania going on these days, and I, for one, hope it never dies down!

Moving on to critter slippers - this is another pinnacle in comfie status. I rarely mix fuzzy sockedness with critter slippers because I'm fairly warm natured and wearing both make my feet feel smothered. I also never wear fuzzy socks with shoes because they're so thick and plush that my toes get squished inside my shoes. One or the other is my choice, but I realize I may be unusual in that regard. There may be many who wear fuzzy socks outside the house; I wear them in lieu of slippers.

When I do choose slippers over fuzzy socks, my slippers are of the critter variety. I have one pair of the half-slipper, backless kind that my Mom got me years ago and these have baby lambs on them. Baby lambs complete with ridiculous, flirty eyes with long lashes and equally absurd long, floppy ears with pink satin inside, soft fleecy, lamb-ish fur outside. When I walk, the lamb's ears flap and wag, adding all sorts of hilarity to my sashay.

My ultimate comfie punctuation, of course, are my Snoopy ™ slippers. If you know me at all, you know I am a Snoopy fan and have a genuine appreciation for the Peanuts™ brand of humor. Again, a gift from my Mom, they are wonderful! They are these big, poofy, marshmallowy kind of full slippers that keep my feet warm as well as appeal to my sense of comedy. Snoopy just makes a fashion statement of the best comfie kind and I wear these slippers proudly.

Okay, yes, I admit that this is perhaps more of a girl thing, embracing comfie-ness with fuzzy socks and critter slippers. Manly men have their version of laid back attire for a quiet day or evening at home, but rarely do they embrace fuzzy socks and critter slippers. That's more the territory of women who are not afraid to embrace their inner child and delight in the pure silliness of being relaxed.

The best part about fuzzy socks and critter slippers is that they "go" with any and everything (well, within the confines of home, of course)! In fact, the more bizarre and absurd your fuzzy sock colors and designs, the better. When I was in my mid-twenties, I worked in a restaurant that had a very rigid dress code for the front of the house staff. Black slacks, white button down Oxford dress shirt, black tie and suspenders, black shoes for everyone, male and female alike. The one way we could express ourselves was through our socks, and I amassed a huge collection of colors and designs. Jump forward to present day and fuzzy socks are being created in equally unique designs and colors. Obviously this appeals to my sense of humor and once again, I am expressing myself with the language of socks. Critter slippers are just a happy adjunct of that theme.

Why choose something of this nature for a blog article? Because I feel that mental and emotional health can be addressed and catered to with humor and a dash of irreverance at times. Taking time for ourselves and just being relaxed and free in whatever expression that appeals to us is important in the grand scheme of things.

Something that I have always found of interest is that men like women in comfie attire! I've taken informal surveys over the years about this with close male friends, and also with men I've been in relationships with and surprisingly, the overall consensus is that laid back, no makeup, hair in a ponytail, wearing comfortable clothes and the odd splash of personality via socks or slippers look is when they all find us ladies to be at our most attractive. That never ceases to amaze me.

Granted, men are always appreciative when we do the full, glamourous, girlie presentation, done up to the nines for a night out on the town. But from the informal surveys I've taken, it is when we are relaxed and not trying to impress anyone that our true beauty shines most brightly. This always makes me smile, because it is true for everyone, regardless of embracing any fuzzy sockedness or critter slipper humor.

The art of comfies will vary from person to person, from season to season, from age to age. Not everyone will "get" your personal application of comfie-ness. That isn't important; what matters is that your particular brand of comfie-ness gives you joy and allows you to completely relax, be yourself and find that inner glow of peace and contentment.

Spring is approaching and my fuzzy socks and critter slippers will be relegated to the winter clothing storage section of my closet. Comfie attire will shift to yoga style clothing and oversized shirts with cutoff shorts. Bare feet with cute pedicures will rule the warmer months of the calendar. Flip flops and pretty sandals will be the form of expression that is embraced.

The art of comfies are simply an extension of who we each are, deep down inside. If you look closely at that comfy attire, it will tell a unique story and if you ask questions, will spark a fascinating conversation a good 90% of the time. Moving days, rehabs of furniture or additions to a home will be told in the form of tears in fabric, paint stains or ragged hems. Clothing that should be banished to the rag bin or garbage will be held onto for those warm memories and brought out on comfie days to give voice to that inner contentment we all have deep inside.

As a story teller, I am always captured by other peoples' comfies, and I will always be the one asking questions about that intriguing dash of outlandish style you have chosen to wear when you are the most genuinely relaxed. It gives me an open door to learn beautiful, profound things about who you are at your most authentic level. Comfies will definitely be different from one person to the next, but what is true for all of us is that our comfies define us in a very elemental manner.

Who says each day should be rigid and formulaic in clothing? Embrace your unique comfie-ness, I say! It is a slightly different version of the old standard of "Let your light shine"! So, shine on in comfie-ness, my friends, and give voice to your own laid back contentment.

*Disclaimer: Mention of Snoopy ™ and Peanuts™ brands in this article are not meant to indicate, imply or suggest monetary compensation of any form was received by the blog author.*

If you liked this article, you can read more at Healing Morning blog.