So now when I say I have nothing to wear, I’m not exaggerating.
Since I no longer need my conservative bank suits as a full-time stay-at-home mom, my closet seems somehow empty to me. I was shocked to look in my closet and see how few casual clothes I really had. And many of those happen to be clothes that I don’t fit into yet (I am stubborn and have not admitted some realities) but can’t seem to let go of.
Most of my life my clothes have been able to fit into three categories: work, work-out and go-out. There are a few exceptions to that rule, but it is pretty spot on.
I would love to say that now I no longer need to wear suits, sweats are my normal uniform (I should be so lucky). Don’t get me wrong, I have my sweats days. And when I was first on maternity leave, I had a lot of sweats days. But life has sure changed. No longer can I confidently wear sweats on a daily basis. And if I was being completely honest, wearing sweats daily never made me feel very good about myself. There is something about getting up and purposefully getting into a planned outfit that makes you feel a little bit more motivated to accomplish something. It’s weird but true.
I grew up in a family where sweats are only for working out. My mother would never be seen in sweats around the house and always had her hair done and makeup complete. I was and am completely amazed by her. I, on the other hand, have to force myself to do this. My sister is similar to my mother in the fact that even with a young child, she always looks so put together. I have no idea how I did not get the benefit of that gene. But, no matter what, I am trying to be better daily. Some days, I have to admit, I am weak, but I am really trying to be better.
My new style has transitioned to a few key pieces.
Instead of dress pants, I now wear jeans or leggings most days. My favorite jeans are the boyfriend fit, because they have a more relaxed fit which means it’s easier to chase after a toddler in. They can also be dressed up or dressed down, with little work. There are many great boyfriend jeans out there, but my two favorites are made by Kut from the Kloth and Banana Republic, the Destructed Boyfriend Jean. I find the quality and fit to be amazing and it fits multiple different heights and heel types. It also can be worn in different seasons, like summer with a sandal or winter with a cute leather tall boot.
I also love a classic bootcut jean, usually for going out on date nights with my husband, but am trying to work them into my daily routine as well. My husband likes them and I usually wear a cute low heel with them as well, which he loooooves. The one issue I usually have with these jeans is that they fit a little lower and don’t have as much give for my changing body. One of my favorite brands that have focused on that problem is KUT from the Kloth. They have a lot of give and I actually had to go down a size, which did wonders for my ego.
My other go to is the legging. I’ve never been the biggest fan of leggings because I never felt they were very forgiving. I also hated the idea that when most women bent over, people could see everything. Then I found the most amazing leggings ever on Amazon, especially for new moms that are still fighting the battle of the bulge. They are Lysse Women’s Center Seam Ponte legging. These things are amazing. They have a wonderful weight and hold everything where they belong. They also don’t fall down throughout the day, which used to my biggest reason for hating leggings in the first place. To the naked eye, they look like any other legging but they feel wonderful and make everything look a little tighter. I love love love these. I wish I would have found these before.
My next staple is the sweater. While working I would normally wear a suit jacket or a blazer. This was a very smooth transition because I have always loved cardigans especially. I especially love that the duster sweater is back in style. It adds a little style to any outfit but is still easy to wear as I am running errands, cleaning the house and taking care of a toddler. I love my olive duster cardigan by Mossimo from Target. It is lightweight and comfortable. And for a person who loves to wear black, it actually helps to add a little color to my wardrobe.
A blouse has now been replaced with various t-shirts and tanks. A t-shirt is one staple that I have always loved, but recently have found my favorite of all time. That t-shirt comes from Gap. Gap has been known for years for their basic tee, it’s a classic. It fits great and looks good on those aged 16 to 60. For some reason though, I prefer more of a scoop neck than the classic tee. I came across the Gap scoop neck tee in tall (a t-shirt that is long too, will wonders never seize). Bless my mom’s heart, she gave me three of them for last Christmas as well. It was awesome!! But then while writing this article, I noticed that Gap wasn’t selling them. This tee may come and go, but I hope it comes back soon and comes back in many colors. But until then, I highly recommend the classic Gap tee or racerback tank. It dresses up wonderfully, but can still be worn when you’re stuck at home taking care of sick kids.
One staple that was fun to tweak was my jewelry. I now wear a fitbit and fun light earrings. I rarely wear a watch, and I usually only wear my small stud earrings when I am going to church. It’s fun to show off your unique style with something as simple as earrings. Earrings by Jennii from reUNIQUE have consistently been what I go to.
I have to admit I probably miss heels the most, but I don’t think my feet do. I love a beautiful pair of heels. I love how they make my legs look amazing and let’s be realistic, heels make a girl feel a little bit more feminine. In the beginning, Uggs were an everyday staple, but begging from my husband made me relook at this. Though I do wear my eggs once in a while, I also love a nice ballet flat. There are so many cute and comfy styles out there now. I have a range of them now, from a simple black leather pair, red patent leather and soft leopard with a little spike on it. My favorite though is my Me Too Women’s Alla Ballet Flat. There are a lot of different styles and patterns but they have a little extra cushion and just a little different look to them. And most importantly for me, my husband likes them.
My last staple is my handbag or purse. You need to know one thing about me, I love handbags. They just make me feel good. I may have a day I feel fat or have a bad hair day, but I will never have a bad handbag day. It may not be the healthiest obsession but I just adore them and they make me feel pretty.
There are four things that I always need to have with me: my wallet, my phone, my journal and my diaper bag. All of those things need to fit into any bag I own nowadays. Boy has life changed. I love a bright wallet. It not only makes me smile but it is easier to find in a purse. I have been using a HOBO Vintage Lauren Wallet for years, and it is one of the best wallets out there. It can be used as a clutch or wallet and it seems to only look better with wear.
Now when it comes to a diaper bag, I have a beautiful one. I have seen a few other women carry it and they love it too. But I have found another option that seems to work well for me, Damero Insert Organizer for Women’s Bag / Diaper Bag with Handles and Stroller Straps. It’s wonderful. I can put all of my son’s diapers, wipes, A & D ointment, snacks, bottle, food and extra clothing in one place. It’s a life saver.
I have rotated many handbags through my time as a stay-at-home mom and I have loved most of them. The one thing I don’t like is caring both a handbag and a diaper bag. I also have a bad neck (degenerative joint disease) and a bad shoulder (tendinitis from past sports injuries and just age). I have found that I need either a bag that is comfortable to hold in the fold of my arm, and sometimes on the shoulder, or a cross-body bag.
There are so many beautiful bags out there, and I probably own many of them. From Coach to Hobo International to Michael Kors, there are just too many beautiful bags. But was also must not discard less expensive bags as well. I have found very nice bags at Fred Meyer and Target as well.
But two weeks ago, as I was picking up baby food for my son at Walmart, I walked by and found the bag I was looking for. It is a crossbody hobo bag that I can also be worn as a shoulder bag, with one inside pocket and two outside pockets (for water bottles, bottles or keys). It looks like it is sold out online, but there are still many other great options. The one I found in their store was black and white with a black handle. I love it! It can fit my Hobo wallet, phone, journal and my Damero organizer. It’s amazing, and it doesn’t even hurt my should or neck. I had been looking for something different and I found it. I guess now a days it’s the little things that bring me joy.
I guess the lesson is that you never know where you will find the perfect bag, but don’t think you have to spend a lot of money. That really goes for every piece of clothing and accessory. There are so many great local business in the area to shop from and also amazing places online. Some of the best places I have found to shop online is Amazon and 6pm.com.
And don’t forget to go green. Gently used high-end clothing is all the rage right now. I recommend trying out thredUP, an amazing online consignment boutique, or Spanky’s a locally owned consignment shop in Beaverton and Vancouver.
Life has definitely changed for me. I do admit that I miss wearing a suit once in a while, but I wouldn’t miss the opportunity I have been given to stay at home with my baby boy for anything. And not wearing nylons everyday isn’t bad either!!!!