The majority of my clients are working moms – so life is a constant push and pull of career and family, of work obligations and spending time with the kids, of demands at the office vs. needs at home. And in between all of this you’re trying to squeeze in a date night here and there, brunch/lunch/dinner with your friends, and a little ‘me’ time, also known as self-care. And yes, self-care comes in the amazing form of carving time out for yoga or reading an entire (written for adults) book or just 10 minutes with a cup of tea – but it can also be expressed as putting time and energy into your appearance so you feel good when you look in the mirror.
A good chunk of my working mom clients have been a bit lost in regard to their style. Before they come to me, they’ve gotten stuck in a rut of workout clothes anytime they’re not at the office. Or they don’t know how to dress their body after 3 kids and a little extra weight. Or they simply don’t have the time to devote to cull through their wardrobe and shop to fill the holes. And in some cases, they don’t even know where to turn to figure out how to feel better in their clothes – but they know that they’re not feeling great.
I’ve worked with literally hundreds of moms, and I’ve used a few key methods to help them get their ‘style mojo’ back (so to speak). When we work together, we not only create a user-friendly wardrobe that aligns with their lifestyle and body type – we also talk through specific strategies that make getting dressed easier, more enjoyable and leave them feeling altogether stylish on a daily basis. If you’re feeling less than stylish and want to get your mojo back, read below for 6 ways to ramp up your style so that you feel like a stylish mom, whether you have the kids in tow or not.
PICK A PRINT
Prints and patterns can be your best friends when time to make outfits is minimal and inspiration is slim to none. And there are a few reasons why (including one that’s specific to moms with young kids):
Prints add dimension and interest to your look – even adding just one printed piece totally elevates your outfit (yes, even a printed shoe can take a t-shirt and jeans from simple to stylish!).
Prints can act as the ‘blueprint’ of your outfit. So, if you’re hesitant to combine different colors into one look, select items that reflect colors from the print and you’re instantly pulled together.
You can pick your print in more ways that one. If you love stripes – go for it! If floral or geometric prints are to your liking, those are easy to find. And if you’re an animal print aficionado, you’ve got many to choose from. And you can also decide how to wear your prints – print tops are the easiest to integrate into a wardrobe, but print pants are just as fun and print scarves add style points to most any look.
If you’ve got young kids (or messy older ones), prints and patterns hide stains easier than solids. So, you can help the kids with a project, get a little paint on your top and still walk out the door without having to change your outfit.
MIX IN METALLICS
I’m not going to say that metallic shoes are magic - but if I told you that there are shoes that add a major dose of style to even the most casual looks while still being as comfortable and versatile as your favorites, would you believe me? And metallic shoes do just that. Here’s how I explain why metallic shoes go with everything: gold is just metallic beige and silver is just metallic grey, and pewter and copper are somewhere in the middle – so they are the shiny versions of neutrals that are just as easy to pair with outfits as their duller counterparts. And when I have a mom client who needs to build a basic shoe wardrobe, we start with metallics as the perennial answer to the “what shoes should I wear?” question.
And the best part? You can choose metallic shoes that work for your lifestyle and the occasion. When you need a summer easy breezy shoe, pick a gold toned sandal. When it’s a Saturday full of errands and chauffeuring kids, choose silver sneakers. And for serious (but comfortable) days at the office, go for a metallic textured loafer or pointy toe flat. If you’re curious about adding metallics to your accessory wardrobe, click here to read how to add belts and bags to your repertoire, too!
TRY A THIRD PIECE
A big challenge for many of my mom clients is generally feeling pulled together. You know what I mean – you put on a top, pants and shoes and even add some jewelry, but it still feels like something is missing. And that’s where a third piece comes in.
A third piece is a jacket, cardigan or blazer that completes your look like nothing else can. It polishes off a simple outfit, adds flair to basic separates and makes your look feel totally finished. When I’m in clients’ closets and I ask about third pieces, I get a variety of answers. Some clients have a decent third piece wardrobe to start with, others have just a couple of cardigans, and a few of my clients only have rain jackets and outerwear – and have missed using third pieces as an outfit-completer altogether.
And a great thing is that you can select third pieces that make sense with your lifestyle and preferences. So if you love a cardigan, you can use a variety of colors and shapes to add interest to your everyday look. If you’re on the casual side, a denim or military-inspired jacket are ideal options that you can toss in the back seat of your car. And if you appreciate a little structure, blazers can transform anything from jeans and sneakers to a floaty dress into something a little more fashionable.
If you’re looking for some third piece inspiration, read this for the third piece I think everyone should have in her wardrobe, check this out for my favorite summer third piece and click here to discover a great choice for fall.
DON’T DECIDE WHAT TO WEAR WHEN YOU’RE GETTING DRESSED
What’s the worst time to decide what you’re going to wear? When you’re getting dressed. But so many people do it – you don’t even consider what you’ll put on that day until you’re standing in your underwear, in front of your closet, with about 7 minutes before you need to leave the house.
So, what’s the best time to decide what you’re going to wear? That depends. If you’re a planner, take some time on the weekend to pick a few key outfits for the week ahead – especially if you have something important going on. One of my clients is a single mom of 3, so on Sunday night, she lays out all her outfits for the week to make her mornings that much easier.
I know, you may think I’m crazy - so there are other options. How about the night before? I guarantee you – if you take 5 minutes at night to select your look for the next day, you’ll probably save yourself 10 minutes in the morning. And if that seems out of reach for your schedule, lay out your outfit before you hit the shower (that’s what I do). Believe me, choosing what you’re going to wear even 15 minutes before you get dressed can make your morning less stressful.
USE A UNIFORM
Many of my mom clients haven’t heard of the ‘uniform’ concept until I bring it up. So, what’s a uniform? It’s not wearing the same thing every day, or deciding that you’re just going to wear black to make everything easier. It’s creating different looks from the same kinds of pieces so that your outfit decisions are minimized. On a casual weekend, your uniform can be a striped t-shirt, cropped cotton jacket, jeans and sneakers – and on different days, you can rotate among a handful of striped t’s, a few of your jackets and colors/fits of jeans. Or if you dress up for work, your uniform may be a colored cardigan, print blouse, trousers and heels.
I have a client who is a tech CFO and she wanted super user-friendly outfits for her business casual office. So last month we scheduled a styling session, and she asked me to focus on jeans and easy dresses for summer - and that’s what I did. Below are a handful of outfits from her look book – a selection of looks I created with a blazer, print or colored blouse and jeans, and other looks I made with dresses and denim jackets.
TRY SOMETHING NEW
Once you have the hang of being a stylish mom, it may be time to try something new. Yes, your uniforms are handy for days when you have zero time or energy to get dressed (if you didn’t lay out your look the night before), but it never hurts to add some fun into the mix. So, how about trying one new thing a few times a year? And by ‘new’, I don’t mean a completely different go-to outfit – take it slow and make one or two changes, just to keep it fresh.
It can be as simple as grabbing a new color in a top or shoe. Or finally embracing floral prints in spring. Or testing out an inexpensive version of wide leg cropped pants when all your other bottoms are skinnies. And you can even focus on mixing things from your current wardrobe in different ways, like a new print pairing or wearing your silky dress into early fall with tights and booties (click here for a few ideas on how to remix what’s already in your closet). It’s essentially shaking things up just a little bit – because you never know if you’re going to like something new unless you try it, right?
If you’re a mom who needs a little help with your style, click here to read about the different ways we can work together and then contact me to schedule a free phone call to chat about how the process can work for you!