Since J was born, I have really struggled with what on earth I am supposed to wear for this new at-home-mom gig. Over the past two and a half years I have worked part time in retail, and now I do part time consulting at home. But the majority of my days are spent at the playground, running errands, around the train table, and using my fingernail to scrape applesauce off my kitchen beadboard paneling. There's really no perfect outfit for that.
I started facing my closet each morning and constantly feeling like I had nothing to wear. The problem was that the racks were full of clothes that didn't work for my current lifestyle--I had pencil skirts from my corporate days, sequined tops from my days at a certain retailer, and Tshirts that were clingy and not appealing. I was wearing the same things over and over, and often falling into the yoga pant rut--reaching for clothes that were comfortable but not making me feel good.
I stumbled on the Seventeenth & Irving blog through a friend and read about her Closet Makeover project (as well as her amazing packing posts) and a lightbulb went off--I had to clean out my closet and approach shopping from a new smarter outlook. After some cleaning out and some shopping, I feel like my closet is in a much better place because I am thinking about what I really wear. Here are a few principles for my new mom uniform:
Understand Your Different Kinds of Outfit Needs
Once I thought about my new lifestyle, I realized I had three main categories of clothes that I need in my life: Everyday Mom uniform, Fun Dinner/Girls' Night Outfits, and Special Events like weddings. I am not including Working Out as a category because 1. I was hardly ever actually working out, 2. I had enough Lululemon to be embarrassed about and 3. I felt schlubby when wearing it amongst the general public.
Get RID OF STUFF
Armfuls of stuff if you have to! I got rid of any clothes I hadn't been wearing, and anything I didn't feel like I could see myself wearing in my new categories of wardrobe. This meant many trips to the consignment shop, Goodwill, and in some cases, the trash. Clean it out! Get rid of it! As soon as I got rid of things that were not working in my closet, the prospect of peeking in those doors was so much brighter. My closet was turning into a place where all the clothes are ones I like and are wearable.
Understand What Works for You
From my three wardrobe categories, I thought about what kinds of pieces I like best for each. For my everyday Mom Uniform, I know that yoga pants make me feel sloppy, but I need pants that still let me get on the floor to play or pick up cheerios. Jeans it is! Almost everyday you can find me in jeans--black, white, denim whatever. I also don't feel as comfortable with my post-baby belly (yeah, its been 2 years, can't blame the baby much anymore) so I stick to tops with structure (button downs, tunics, sweaters) and really stay away from Tshirts unless its a layering piece or crazy hot summer. My Dinner Out look tends to be a skinny pant or jean, blazer or cardigan, and accessorize with a scarf. I looked at my closet and realized I like to wear a lot of neutrals (especially in winter) and then top off with a colorful scarf or vest, rather than wearing a lot of color in my clothes. By looking for patterns like these, I created my own parameters for shopping and dressing that narrow down choices and also make me feel polished in what I choose.
Look Around for Inspiration
I started following certain blogs and Instagrammers with OOTD (outfits of the day) for inspiration. It helped me to see the way others put things together and I recognized that my style is really pretty simple. Jeans and a cute top, flats, a vest. I started seeing great patterns that made me check my own closet and style.
Shop with Your Rules and a List
Once I had my uniform down, I made a little list of things that would add to my closet. On the top of my list this spring were distressed jeans, and a great going-out jacket. Now I had a shopping target rather than aimless browsing. I still love shopping and looking, but I loved having "the hunt" for the perfect items--it made me excited to find them and also made me more confident in my purchases, knowing they were things that were well planned. One other rule I use for myself is to try and find cheaper alternatives for certain things--Tshirts, trends I want to try out, knock-around clothes--and invest in other pieces that will last. That means you will see my buying Mossimo Boyfriend Tshirts for $8 and trying ankle boots from Target, and splurging on a ivory motorcycle blazer from Zara.
All that said, here are some (really bad quality) pics of recent fave looks for my Momiform and Going Out categories:
Gingham Popover, Madewell
Distressed Jeans, Paige Jimmy Jimmy
Excusrion Vest, JCrew (pop of color over totally neutral outfit)
Going Out for Girls Dinner:
Combination Jacket with Zips, Zara
Black Flowy Vneck Tshirt, Gap Pure
Scarf, JCrew 2011
Black Skinny Skinny Ankle Jeans, Madewell
More on this later, but I thought I would use this to kick things off. Have you recently done a wardrobe overhaul? Do you have a Momiform?