I’m so happy to have one of our favorite bloggers, Sara from Our Yuppie Life and Ladytroupe Sweets, guest write for our fashion theme. Sara’s blog is filled with beautiful moments with her adorable girls, tales of adventure while living abroad with her family, and mouth-watering photos of her cooking and baking. Fun fact: Sara is the sister of one of our previous guest bloggers! Talent seems to run in the family, right? ~Linz
Some may say that the words fashion and motherhood cannot function together. Maybe that they don’t even belong in the same sentence. I’ve muddled through this topic many times over the past few years and I admit to periods in my journey as a mother where I have agreed with this statement whole heartily. But, also admittedly there have been times during this amazing stage in my life where fashion has been my savior; the light at the end of the never ending baby-fog filled tunnel. Before I had children fashion was an important part of getting dressed every day. Six years and three children later, fashion is still important to me but our relationship is more complicated and has gone through some interesting ups and downs.
The good news is that I’m going to share with you what I’ve muddled through, in the hopes that I can offer some guidance from my experience. The not so good news that I’m not entirely sure I’ve mastered being a fashionable mother yet. It’s an ever-evolving process. To sort it all out, I’ve developed what I call the phases of motherhood. It all starts at the beginning; the moment after you see that positive pregnancy test and it continues on past potty training and through packing school lunches. Navigating where fashion and motherhood intersect can be tricky, but not impossible.
The “Shhh! I’m pregnant” phase: You’ve discovered your pregnant and for many people it’s a secretive first three months before announcing this wonderful milestone to the world. Your wardrobe doesn’t change much during this stage of the pregnancy. You find yourself longingly browsing maternity sections and scrolling through empire waisted frocks, anxious for the day you have a visible baby bump that requires these garments. For now, all you need is a belly band/tummy tube/spandex belt. Whatever you call it, it’s a wonderful invention that fits around your growing waistline allowing you to wear your normal pants (unbuttoned) before you truly need maternity clothes. Try to stretch this phase out as long as you can. Believe me, you will have plenty of time to wear maternity clothes later on.
The “Baby bump” phase: The second trimester welcomes more energy and less nausea as well as that adorable baby bump you’ve been waiting for. Now’s the time to wear some fabulous maternity clothes and enjoy looking and feeling good in them. Essentials for this phase are a wrap dress for work or parties and maternity jeans for home. I highly recommend these picks.
The “I’m huge” phase: The third trimester starts the period in your life as a mother where fashion takes a back-burner. Towards the end of a pregnancy no matter how large you have purchased your maternity clothing, things just don’t fit any longer. There will be a point that you no longer care what you put on, as long as it covers your belly. My suggestion is to buy a great big cardigan style sweater for the last few weeks.
The “new Mommy” phase: Congratulations! You’re a mother. The first few days, weeks and even months are like nothing you will ever experience in your life again (until the next child that is). This period is equal parts amazing and difficult, wrapped in a heafty dose of sleep exhaustion. You won’t feel like yourself and you certainly won’t look like yourself. It can be very hard to muster the courage, effort and time to get dressed in the morning. Don’t be afraid to continue wearing your maternity clothing. Comfort is key. There will be plenty of impromptu naps on the couch and wardrobe changes from baby messes. The trouble is that there are also lots of photo ops as well. Don’t let your disheveled appearance keep you from being caught on camera. Photos of you and your child at this stage are priceless and even though it doesn’t feel like it while you are deep in the newborn trenches, this time will pass very quickly and you will never have those first weeks back. Embrace the chaos and accept that at this moment in your life, there is no room for fashion.
The “Mama’s getting her groove back” phase. This phase hits anywhere between 3 and 4 months after the baby is born. You’re desperate for a new outfit and can’t get your hideous maternity clothes boxed up and put in storage fast enough. This phase seems to coincide with having nap and feeding schedules sorted out enough that you have time to get yourself put together a tad more. Suddenly, it doesn’t feel like rocket science to get the diaper bag packed properly to go for short outings to the store or coffee shop. Be proud of these small feats of greatness. Treat yourself to a new pair of jeans that make you feel great. They may be a size or two larger than your pre-baby pair but they don’t have an elastic waste band and that’s what really counts. Pampering yourself with a hair cut and new cosmetics will help you to feel pretty even if you’re still not thrilled with how you body looks. It’s tough to come to the realization that your post body baby may take time to look like it did pre-baby (or maybe it won’t ever be quite the same). Be patient and focus on fun things like cute new ballet flats or earrings.
The “figuring it out” phase. You’re nailing it as a Mom. You adore the coos and smiles. You’re freezer is full of bags of frozen breast milk and dinner is cooking while the baby is napping. It’s all coming together and suddenly the idea of being a Mom for the next eighteen years doesn’t sound like a terrible sentence. You’re even open to entertaining the idea of having another baby some day. This phase happens for everyone at different times. For me, I felt like I was getting my sanity, body and mind back to normal after six months with the first and second children and 4 months with the third child (experience helps). Some people need more time to get those pre-baby jeans on. But when it happens you have every right to do a little jig right there in your closet-maybe even shed a tear of joy. It’s a big deal. Don’t let this moment pass without patting yourself on the back, strapping your little one in the car seat pocketing your credit card and driving straight to the mall. Reward yourself with something that makes you feel beautiful. You deserve this! Motherhood is beautiful and can be sexy. Fashion suddenly has meaning to you once again!
Button tab mini in bitter orange by Banana republic-I wish I owned this skirt
The “collision of Motherhood fashion” phase. You’ve passed through some pretty low fashion periods to get back to this point. You’re ready to care about what the new trends are for the season. Flipping through fashion magazines is fun again and you take some mental notes about what you think you can still pull off. Other moms become your fashion muses as you notice the subtlety of chic comfort more experienced moms seems to exude. You want to look good but you’re busy and life consumes you in a manner that it never did before you became a mom. Fashion may not make the top of the priority list as it once did, but it’s still important to you.
This phase starts before baby’s first birthday and spans on through many trips to the playground and preschool drop-offs. Navigating fashion as a mom is not vastly unlike navigating fashion pre-baby-you just have less energy and time to devote to it. You still want to look beautiful yet appropriate and above all, comfortable. Your audience might be slightly different now that you have a child in tow, but being a stylish mama is something you can accomplish.
There are a few things that should be in every fashionable mothers’s closet. These items can span all fashion seasons and trends.
Maxi skirt or dress: As mothers, we do a lot of bending, kneeling and squatting with our children. This is perfect for birthday parties, kid friendly dinners or brunch. Look for some sort of sleeve on maxi dresses so they can be worn after the summer months and shirring at the waist on maxi skirts to hide any flaws.
Girls Best Friend Maxi dress by Ella Moss
Skinny jeans: Moms can rock skinny jeans too. These stretchy high wasited pair are my favorite. J Brand ‘Maria’ High Rise Skinny Stretch Jeans (Starless)
Flat shoes: I can’t live without my Chooka duck skimmers right now.
Tunic or utility blouse: The length on a tunic style blouse keeps your waistline covered during all that bending and a utility blouse can be tucked in jeans or tied in a knot paired with your maxi skirt.
Excellent post-nursing bra: It’s no secret that breastfeeding changes your breast tissue. When the creamery is closed, you might need some more lift. This under wire free bra provides great support and unbeatable comfort.
Blazer: A stylish tailored blazer can transform your playground jeans and a t-shirt uniform into a put-together lunch date ensemble. Example: J.Crew’s Schoolboy Blazer in Wool Flannel.
Leggings: I’m not going to lie. There are many days as a stay-at-home mom that leggings and a long shirt are all I can manage. If your schedule for the day is to build the most amazing wooden train city or pillow fort, leggings is your go-to. They can also transform some of your slightly-too-short- pre-baby dresses or skirts into chic mama-appropriate outfits.
Date night outfit: Date nights with your husband might be fewer and farther between now that baby makes three, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t own something sexy to wear when you get the chance. You don’t get to dress-up very often anymore so make these nights count. A mini dress with opaque leggings and contrasting wedge sandals will surely ignites some fires.
My last piece of fashion advice for mothers everywhere is to embrace the stains. Assume that everything you wear will at some point get snotted on, spit up on and smeared with dirt or food. It’s the badge of motherhood. Wear it with pride.
I’d like to give photography credit to my darling eldest daughter who is becoming quite the little artist.