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31. Many people say they want to feel “comfortable,” or that they admire people who seem “confident.” What do these words really mean to you?

Jowita Bydlowska

Rachel Perry Welty

Comfortable means physically feeling good. Nothing's itchy, scratchy or too tight. Too tight is my worst nightmare. As a child, I think it's why I didn't wear pants until age 8 or 9. I felt restricted in pants. I loved the freedom of a skirt. I still love the freedom of a skirt. Especially a long skirt. But, I also love the power of pants.

Confident means feeling good inside. It's a state of mind. Last week I went to Trader Joe's in a state of disarray. My hair was unwashed and disheveled. I had no make-up on. I was wearing a skimpy tank top and ripped boyfriend jeans that I'd retired last year because I'd read that boyfriend jeans are 'out.' I was exhausted from working long hours but the sun was shining and I felt good and satisfied by my exhaustion because I was working on a project that felt like a step in the right direction. I felt like the intriguing, dirty artist hermit who everyone knows lives in the neighborhood but rarely sees except for an occasional sighting at the dry cleaners or Whole Foods. Or, Trader Joe's. I wandered the aisles and had the distinct feeling that men and women were checking me out. I felt good.

Had I been in a different state of mind, I would have felt quite the opposite. I would have rushed in and rushed out, making eye contact with no one. Feeling like a dirty, why-would-anyone-love me girl in last year's boyfriend jeans and her pajama top.

Claire Cottrell

Grace Denton

Doretta Lau

I think it means those people have a style that is beautiful but looks as though little thought went into it.

Leigh Kinch-Pedrosa

Theresa Pageot

I don't dress for comfort. This isn't to say that I like to be uncomfortable, but as long as I can walk and breathe and am not unbearably itchy I will wear tight scratchy polyester dresses as I believe the sacrifice is worth it. In the 1990s I read an article by Lisa Carver of Rollerderby zine (it's online here: and took these words to heart. "Uncomfortable does not mean miserable: It means accentuated living. The more uncomfortable you feel, the better you look. And the better you look, the better you feel."
The appearance of confidence has a lot to do with posture. I've always had bad posture, even as a child, and my parents were constantly telling me to sit up straight and put my shoulders back. I was a very shy child and even though I'm no longer shy as an adult, I still have bad posture. But I try to "walk tall" - I give myself the advice that my parents used to give me and that drove me crazy - and when I do this I feel like I could be wearing anything and it would look good.

Vanessa Berry

Christen Clifford

Elena Megalos

Jennifer Armbrust

Mary Mann

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