I need them.
I’ve been a mom now for just over a year, and it’s been a tough year in a lot of ways. Perhaps most visible in my style. Which has looked something like this:
1-3 months postpartum: pajamas any time of day. Velour sweats when I leave the house. 1 maternity dress that still fit for church.
3-6 months postpartum: I guess I should wear real pants, huh? Too bad none of my pre-pregnancy jeans fit, and I am so.over maternity pants. Let me buy a few ratty pairs of second-hand jeans.
6-9 months postpartum: It’s summer! Thank God for loose-fitting sundresses. I also joined weight watchers. Clothes start to fit again.
9-12 months postpartum: My clothes fit again! However, most days I still wear yoga pants and a ratty t-shirt. I’m not leaving the house, what’s the point?
12-14 months postpartum: Oops, I lost 18 pounds and most of my clothes are just too big enough to not really work anymore.
So there it is. I need to buy some new things because most of my current clothes just don’t fit properly any longer. I reached my pre-baby weight back in the fall, and lost another ten pounds.
So, now I need to find a wardrobe that works. What I have in my closet are clothes that I love wearing when I “go out” but hesitate to put on just for being at home. Why? Because I’ve been conditioned to think that when I’m home “I’m not doing anything.” Well, that’s just a load of crap. When I’m at home Monday-Friday, I’m at work. I’m “at the office.” Granted, my office attire is jeans and sweaters, not suits and pearls. But still, there’s no excuse for me to not make it out of my yoga pants and into something more stylish. Yoga pants are great, don’t get me wrong, but they are not the whole of mommy-style.
So what is? How do I create a wardrobe that marries style and practicality, which a work-at-home mom needs?
I have a great opportunity now to re-evaluate my wardrobe, since most of it no longer fits.
I found a a few articles and books helpful as I’m thinking about and re-figuring my wardrobe, including the lovely Betty Beguiles’ e-book Dressing with Intention. It’s short, sweet, and to the point. It’s also FREE. Go check it out!
So here are some ideas I picked up here and there which are helping me to cultivate my style:
1. Envision a wardrobe for YOUR life. Think very concretely about how you spend your time. What do you wear most of the time? How often do you dress up, for work or other occasions?
For me, I wear jeans nearly every day, except in the summer. I pretty much only wear skirts or dresses for church and date-night, except in the summer, when I mostly wear skirts and dresses. So I need a wardrobe built around well-made stylish jeans and well-made stylish, easy to wash t-shirts and sweaters for winter, and well-made, comfortable, easy to wash skirts and dresses in summer.
What do you need and want to look stylish in your day to day life?
2. Pick a palette. Choose one, or at most two, neutral colors and make sure everything in your wardrobe goes with that neutral color. This makes picking outfits simple.
Choose black, brown, tan, navy, or white.
If you’re indecisive like I am, or already have a lot of clothes, choose two and try to find many pieces which match both.
My fall/winter wardrobe is based on black and tan. My spring/summer wardrobe is white and navy blue. It makes shopping easier, as well as enables you to need fewer accessories like shoes and bags.
3. Phone a friend. As you are going through what you have, evaluating each piece and whether or not it fits with your wardrobe, have a friend whose judgment you trust. Some pieces are just hard to tell.
This is where I am currently struggling. I have so many things I like, and which sort of still fit, but which really probably don’t, and make me look frumpy. But I bought it, I like it, and I ‘m having a hard time deciding. However, I am way too proud to ask for help.
Do you have a friend who can help you make those tough calls?
4. Plan outfits. I’ve been going through the items I do have that still fit enough to work, and making outfits. I even include shoes, scarves, or jewelery to make a complete look. It allows me several advantages: a reduced urge to shop, since I feel that I have “something to wear” more often. It also helps me know what items I actually need, so that when I do go shopping, I’m not buying things that are a waste. Which brings me to the next idea.
5. Shop with a plan. This is so hard for me! I love to shop, especially at discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls. However, those places are like black holes. I often throw my wardrobe plan and (sometimes!) budget to the wind when I find a great deal. I’m not alone in that, am I?
This is an area in which I need a lot of discipline. I only let myself buy shoes or clothes at such stores if what I find fits perfectly into my style-wardrobe plan. I’d rather spend more money on a great item which I’ll wear until it falls apart, than to buy five “gotta have” discounts from TJ which I wear twice each before donating to Goodwill.
It’s hard to stick with sometimes, but I always feel better when I do resist the urge of impulse buys.
I’m still struggling to find my style and motivation to get dressed each day, even if we don’t leave the house. However, these tips have been helping me continue to think about and envision my style.
Right now, I am looking for a few pieces to pull everything together.
A crisp white shirt
Straight-leg mid-rise dark wash jeans
1-2 blouses (to wear with skirts or jeans)
Luckily for me, it’s my birthday this weekend, so I’ll actually be able to get a few of these items soon! Perhaps a picture post will be in order.
What items do you need to complete your wardrobe? Do you have any tricks or ideas that have helped you create a style? I’d love to hear them!