While I tend to stick to writing about antiques, vintage, and home décor, today I’m venturing into the world of fashion for a change. I wouldn’t say that I’m a fashionista, but I do have a degree in fashion (yes, those do exist. Cool, huh?), and I try to pay attention to what’s out there.
This blog goes out to moms or ladies over thirty who may be feeling a little frumpy today. No worries – we’ve all been there.
So this morning while perusing my new issue of InStyle magazine I recalled a conversation that I had with a friend a few years back. She had come to me in distress over her wardrobe and overall appearance. She was a mother of three (little ones) and was tired of just looking like a mom on the go. I knew exactly what she meant.
I’m a mother of two (ages 5 and 3) and I’m 42 years old myself. We moms get so focused on just trying to clean, feed, clothe, teach, and love-on our families that we tend to neglect ourselves in the process. I’ve had those moments of looking in the mirror and remembering that cute spunky college girl that used to stare back at me. Those days are long gone (seriously long gone) and I am a mom, but I still want to look relevant – I still want to look like the real ME. I married and had kids late in life and I always promised myself that I would try to avoid the “soccer mom” label.
Here’s wikipedia’s definition of a soccer mom: “The phrase soccer mom generally refers to a married middle-class woman who lives in the suburbs and has school age children. She is sometimes portrayed in the media as busy or overburdened and driving a minivan. She is also portrayed as putting the interests of her family, and most importantly her children, ahead of her own.” The latter portion of their definition is what I’m getting at – great ladies who have little time for themselves.
So, back to my original story, this is the advice that I gave to my wardrobe weary-friend.
My advice for her in five easy steps:
1) Get a copy of InStyle magazine. There is a plethora of fashion mags out there, but to me, InStyle is the most practical for everyday gals. I’m just a normal American mama who goes to the grocery store, shops now and then, goes out to lunch occasionally and takes the kids to museums and parks. There’s no need for couture in my closet!
I also don’t have the time to read InStyle every month, so I wait until they publish one of those big FAT issues and then I buy it (March 2010 is a good one!). Get your morning cup (cups!) of coffee and sit and flip through it. You will get about a third of the way through and you’ll know exactly what to look for on your next shopping venture – they do a nice job with repetition and I need repetition (my kids interrupt my magazine time about every 3 minutes, but I still get through it – you can too!).
2) Get a good pair of jeans that fit well. Shopping for jeans is no easy task – to me it ranks up there with bathing suit shopping- it takes a lot of time and patience. And when I say GOOD jeans, I don’t mean expensive jeans. I’m not all-about the $150 pair of jeans – that’s money I could be spending on shoes (a shoe intervention is another blog I’ll get to – I’m addicted). I’m a frugal mama – I can find a $25 pair of jeans and spend $20 having them altered and they look amazing.
Trouser jeans are perfect – they look great on anyone and you can dress them up or down – a nice investment. Darker jeans are also more slimming and can also be easily dressed up. Great jeans go a long way – keep reading…
3) Shoes! I am a shoe freak, but I’ve had to tone down my freakishness since getting married and having kids – the funds don’t flow as freely as they used to! So, I decide exactly what types of shoes I’ll need (see your InStyle) and just focus on those. After reading through it this morning’s issue, I’ve made my decision that I will need two pairs of new shoes for this spring and summer - a pair of chunky strappy sandals and a pair of cute updated flats.
Now, some of you are screaming, “TWO PAIRS, only TWO??!!”, but like I said, I’m on a budget and I do have other shoes from last season that will also work just fine. Don’t panic. And if it is in your budget to go shoe crazy, by all means do (I’ll be a bit jealous, but in a nice way).
I’m compelled here to put in a little note about those ever so popular, stark white chunky running shoes. If you’re trying to look cute and updated, try not to wear these with anything other than your running clothes. New Balance, Puma and several others make some adorable athletic shoes that are both comfortable and cute. TJMaxx and DSW have a slew of these. (rant over...)
4) Purses & Accessories. Big chunky bags are not only “in” but they serve an awesome purpose for us moms – you can pack an entire artillery of family items in these bags and look great toting it around. I never carried an actual diaper bag – all those supplies went right into my cute chunky shoulder bag.
Earrings & bracelets can be found anywhere and for CHEAP. Find a few favorites that you can switch around and they will last through this season and probably next – Target has some great stuff this Spring – take a look.
5) Hair & Makeup. - I dream of the day that I have my own hair stylist pop in my home from time-to-time, but until then, this is all I’ve got! Try and save your pennies to get a good cut and I’m ALL about highlights/coloring to really bring out the best of your God given skin tone. Yes, it can be pricey, but again, this is one of those things that goes a LONG way.
If I’m on the run, my hair goes up (I know,there are some fashionistas out there in total disagreement over this, but in my defense, French women have MASTERED this – that’s another blog). There are a ton of great hair bands and scarves that make putting your hair up easy & cute – thank goodness for that!
I’m also a 5 minute makeup mama. I rarely spend much time on makeup, but I do make sure to use concealer, a light base (mineral foundation is quick & amazing), blush, mascara, and lipstick or tinted lip gloss. If I’m actually going somewhere special, then I’ll add all the other steps in there, but for on-the-go, that’s all you need.
So that’s the five steps: You run out the door in a great pair of jeans, a cute top, purse & accessories that are adorable yet cheap, groovy shoes, and enough hair/makeup that you don’t scare anyone. No more wearing sweatpants or plain o’l pony tails with no makeup - that’s a no-no that will slap that soccer mom label right on your forehead. I would say that it even gets easier during Spring and Summer when you can throw on a cute sundress or skirt and be on your way – my favorite time of year!
Below I’ve noted some fun things that I found in this month’s issue that I’ll be on the lookout for. I hope this helps any of you wardrobe-weary ladies (or perhaps a wardrobe-weary friend!). If any of you do decide to venture into a mini self rebuild, take pictures and send them over – I would love to see what you’ve done & cheer you on!
Tcheuss! (see ya later in Deutsch)