When we became first-time moms so many moons ago, our stylish outfits, like our time spent sleeping, flew out the maternity ward window. With hourly spit-up sessions, diaper duty, and overall exhaustion, our theory about getting dressed became “function over form.” In other words, we just couldn’t get out of our sweats and slippers.
Once we settled into motherhood, both style and sleep returned—well, we’re still working on the sleep thing, but we regained some fashion sense by figuring out how to combine what was convenient (quick and comfy) with what was fun (hip and colorful). Best of all, we did it without breaking the bank. You might have a new baby in the house, or maybe your 6-year-old looks more stylish than you do, but either way, our tips can make it easy to update your look—while lifting your spirits.
Clear out the closet. Set aside a few hours to weed the grubby items out of your wardrobe. It’s OK to keep your favorite sweatshirt or a sentimental pair of tattered pajama pants, but you’ll want to donate or make rags out of the stained, torn, pill-covered, faded beyond recognition, and worn-through duds. You only need one or two “hanging around the house” outfits, not a drawer full.
If you’ve recently had a baby and still can’t quite fit into your pre-pregnancy pants, visit an inexpensive spot with cute clothes, such as Old Navy, for a more comfortable size or a pair of new leggings. You’ll feel better wearing something that fits rather than trying to squeeze into a skirt you won’t be able to zip shut for another few weeks. Most importantly, organize your storage space so you can see what you own. It increases the chance that you’ll choose the outfit that best fits your mood, even when you’re tight on time.
Choose multipurpose clothing. Look for items you can dress up or down. A pair of boyfriend jeans, for example, is relaxed, comfy, and cute. Wear them with a nice tee and flats by day, and spice them up with kitten-heel boots and a fitted jacket in the evening. Aim for skirts that will look playful with a pair of Mary Janes and classy when paired with strappy sandals. Find more ideas for making your clothing work for you in different ways at polyvore.com, a fashion site that allows you to shop looks created by others and to create your own.
Accessorize. If your little one yanks everything that sparkles, shines, or swings, don’t load up on dangling earrings or long, dainty necklaces. A belt is an easy way to add a twist to an outfit. Try the waist-cinching look over a blouse and skirt or dress. With jeans, wear a looser, flashier belt that hangs on your hips. Another option is a jazzy headband. Claire’s, a favorite with tween girls, is stocked with the latest designs. They’re pretty, cheap, and a smart way to pull back unwashed, unbrushed hair.
Try a free personal shopping service. A personal shopper can help you find one perfect item or overhaul your entire wardrobe. They know what’s trendy, looks that will last, and cuts that work well with your body type. Try out these free websites: styleforfree.com and personalshopper.com. Many major department stores, such as Macy’s, also offer these services at no cost, as do some boutique chains like Anthropologie and online retailers like couturecandy.com.
Perfect the 5-minute makeup drill. Long gone are the days of step-by-step makeup application. Choose the one item you’d absolutely have to have on a deserted island and apply it daily. You want to look healthy and natural anyway, not like you’re about to go on stage. Let the little makeup you wear highlight how beautiful you already are. Knowing which basics work for you will save you time, money, and stress. Apply first thing in the morning to start your day with a little bang. Finish up with a quick swipe of lip shine and you won’t just feel “presentable,” you’ll feel like a million bucks.
To keep your style on, click here.