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Mom Style

My style has definitely taken a hit since becoming a mom — as it does for most women when they have a family. I’m not suggesting that moms are dowdy or unkempt, but they usually aren’t as fashionable as non-moms, which is to be expected since style gets knocked down a few rungs on the priority ladder when you have to keep another human being alive. And even if you are tight on time, money, and opportunities to be stylish, it doesn’t mean that style is totally off the ladder of important things for modern-day mothers. Here’s a rundown of how to overcome the obstacles to being a stylish mom.

Lack of funds is the biggest hindrance to having up-to-date style for many moms. As a mother, you’re less likely to splurge on a fashionable item, because A. you don’t have the deposable income you once did (hello diapers!) and B. even if your budget does allow for updating your wardrobe on the regular, it’s hard to justify spending money on yourself when you can be saving it for your family. I’ve definitely become more frugal in my clothing purchases since having my baby, but I recognize that’s it OK to spend money on myself because shopping for new clothes isn’t always a frivolous activity. For working moms, it’s quite important to their jobs to have the appropriate wardrobe. Plus, for new moms, your body is in flux and your pre-pregnancy clothes may not yet be available to you, so you may need a “transition” wardrobe. Regardless of your reason for buying new clothes, just because you’re a mom doesn’t mean you’re relegated to boring or frumpy options. You can still wear the same chic and modern styles you did before motherhood, but you may need to allow for a few adjustments in size, silhouette, and fabric. You may have to go up a size, or trade in the mini-skirt for a midi-length, swap out halter-tops for sleeveless tees, and of course forgo those dry clean-only garments for machine washable, wrinkle-free pieces.

Lack of time is also a barrier to good style for many moms. When given the choice between sleeping an extra 10 minutes and planning an amazing outfit for the day, 9 women out of 10 are going to choose sleep. I am one of those 9, but even when time is tight, you can still make it out of the door with a put-together look. The key for me is having “go to” outfits planned ahead of schedule. On Sundays when I do laundry, I set aside the clothing I’ll wear for the coming week. And, I’ve developed some failsafe outfit formulas. For work days with meetings, it’s black trousers, striped button-down, blazer, and loafers. More laid-back days, I’ll switch out the pants for jeans, and the blazer for a sweater. For church and family parties, a long dress with a belt and flats. For running errands, I go with khakis, slip-on sneakers, and a striped tee. Of course, some “go-tos” can have more bells and whistles than others, but if you boil it down to the main parts — bottom, top, shoes — you’ll at least be covered (literally) and stylish without sacrificing those precious 10 extra minutes of sleep.

I like to joke that my husband and I have become “reverse vampires” since having our daughter, meaning we can no longer go out at night. Hence, the opportunities to leave the house in style are very few and far between. So, when I do have the chance to go out in the evenings I like to bring out my big guns, e.g. dress, heels, lipstick. But, even for the daily daycare run, errands, or just walks to the playground, I try to put a bit of effort into my style — sneakers instead of flip-flips, jeans, not sweatpants, a clean (not stained) T-shirt, or even throwing on an easy maxi-dress to appear a bit more polished, even if my mom-brain is frazzled.

One last takeaway to remember is that fashion and style are two separate concepts. Fashion is the business and of selling clothes and trends, while style is an inherent aesthetic sense. Or, as a very wise woman once said, “Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” For moms, that means this — while you may not have the most fashionable “it” bag/dress/shoe, you can still have style, even great style. And, don’t forget that style is timeless, so while the foreseeable future may be a bit of style drought, as your children get older, style will be there waiting like a welcoming oasis.

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