As first time mothers, we all recall those hazy, sleep-deprived days of new parenting, when the idea of getting dressed for the day translates to changing from your nightgown, pulling your hair into a pony tail and putting on a tank top and yoga pants. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure that’s what my “mom uniform” looked like for the first two months after Stella was born. I would find myself looking for any excuse to get out of the house with her so it forced me to shower and blow dry my hair. (We got to know the folks at Starbucks pretty well!)
Once my maternity leave was nearing its end, we enrolled Stella into nursery school, and I was planning my return back to work. I work remotely from my home office when I am not traveling for business, and I knew I needed a plan so I could feel confident making the transition back into work as a working mother. Rather than working in exercise clothes all day (with the “intention” to work out…), I decided to do a little closet re-vamping on a budget. Here are just a few tips on how to look cute but still be “mom comfortable.”
Anything including the words “dry clean only,” “hand-wash only,” or fabrics that would wrinkle easily were moved to a new section in my closet. Between spit-up, drool, and all of the other icky things we moms come into contact with, washable, durable, and easy-care fabrics are a must.
Be kind to your new figure
Whether you had your baby naturally or via c-section, and whether nursing your baby or not, your body just been through a major change over the last year. It takes time, diet and exercise for your body to come back, and I had majorly unrealistic expectations about getting my pre-baby body back.
Not wanting to spend too much money on clothes since I was in between sizes, I offered it up and treated myself to some closet updates on basics that I could mix and match to achieve my “preppy meets mommy” style. Preferring to stick to the classics, I loaded up on Old Navy corduroy skinnies and cardigans and basics T’s in a variety of colors from J. Crew last fall. This spring, I am living in T’s, cardigans and pastel denim. Even J.C. Penney is stepping up their style game with the new Joe Fresh brand – bright gingham tops and lots of colorful denim for under $30. Remember the old saying, “If it fits, buy it in every color?” It’s true! Having options to coordinate some new looks with my existing accessories without breaking the bank gave me the confidence to switch up my style while accommodating my new post-baby body. Remember, you just had a baby, be nice to yourself!
Shoes, shoes, shoes
It is all about being practical. The days of sky high heels are for date nights and special occasions now! Ballet flats are a perfect choice for the mom-on-the-go. With so many practical and stylish flats on the market these days, I invested in a new pair of Cole Haan and Tory Burch flats in neutral colors. These made it easy to pull together an outfit quickly. Now that the weather is warming up, I’ve been living in my Sperry’s or Jack Rogers. If you need a little height, try a wedge heel which will elongate your legs but still give you the stability to get around easy. It’s all about pulling together your look and ditching the “frump.” Ditch the plastic flip flops and sneakers and invest in some practical shoes that you can feel confident and comfortable when you are out and about.
Get organized and lay out your clothes
Taking the time to get organized and know where your accessories are can really help in pulling yourself together. Consider placing hooks or plastic dividers in your closet so accessories, belts and scarves are easily seen. Sometimes a scarf or belt can be the perfect way to tie a simple outfit together. When you can, take a couple of minutes before you go to bed to lay out your clothes for the next day. It simplifies the morning routine significantly!
Less is more
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of days I show up at daycare in running gear with a ball cap on my unwashed hair with no makeup. Don’t get overwhelmed! We moms have plenty of pressure and responsibilities on our plate. Just take it one day at a time. Set a goal for at least a few days a week to put on a little makeup, slip into something that you feel cute in, and give your spouse a big smile and a hug when they walk through the door at the end of the day. I’m always surprised at the compliments I receive when I go out of my way to look like “pre-Mommy Trish!”