5 Easy Fashion Tips for New Moms

While I'm not (yet) a new mom my mind is constantly there. Every clothing item I've purchased in the past year has been moving towards soft fabrics, comfy dresses and lower-heeled shoes. If you aren't in the know, we are in the process of adopting (read more here) and currently are waiting to be chosen by a birth mother. We've been told by our agency that birth mothers typically present in their last trimester, so once we're chosen it's quite possible we'll only have a couple months before we have a baby! We already have the nursery ready (see pics here!), have been given tons of great hand-me-downs, are registered for some other things and are doing a fundraiser in October to offset the cost of the loan. Being the fashion-lover I am, I've been thinking a lot about what my "new mommy" style will look like. I'm prepared to pretty much look like a zombie for the first month (and probably several months beyond that too!) but want to keep some semblence of looking put-together, at least when I go out. And with having worked from home for the past 7 years, I absolutely understand the hazards of getting too comfortable and not changing out of pj's, yet also the need to be comfortable because - let's be honest - sometimes I set up shop on the couch!  So I decided to make my own list of things I personally do now that could help me later when I'm sleep deprived and not feeling so creative. I'm sharing that list with you today and would LOVE to hear your thoughts! *

1. Shoes/Boots/Booties – Make your shoes the standout piece. Maybe pre-baby you invested in some fabulous OTK boots but never think to wear them now? How about those red loafers that get compliments every time you wear them? And honestly, you can NEVER go wrong with leopard flats. Shoes are a new mommies best accessory. Keep your outfit simple, put them on before you walk out the door and kick them off once back in the house!

Choose a sweater that incorporates neutrals with a pop of your favorite color. I can't tell you how much mileage I've gotten out of this kimono! I found it over a year ago at Marshall's so Cost Per Wear has been amazing! Seen here with a white summer dress, this could easily be thrown over a white, gray or black tee and jeans. Add in boots for cooler days and you're G2G!

Choose a sweater that incorporates neutrals with a pop of your favorite color. I can't tell you how much mileage I've gotten out of this kimono! I found it over a year ago at Marshall's so Cost Per Wear has been amazing! Seen here with a white summer dress, this could easily be thrown over a white, gray or black tee and jeans. Add in boots for cooler days and you're G2G!

2. Printed or Patterned Sweater – Having a go-to patterned sweater to add to a white tee or tank plus jeans you can pull your look together in less than 30 seconds! Once again, this is a piece that can be taken right off once you get back in the house or slipped into your bag if you get warm while out (those new babies are like little heaters!)

To make a half-bun ("hun?") go around hair twice with the pony holder then only half-way the third time so it creates a bun-like look.                                                                     

To make a half-bun ("hun?") go around hair twice with the pony holder then only half-way the third time so it creates a bun-like look.                                                                     

3. Ponytail or half pony – Here's a simple tip on how to make a ponytail "fancy": After you've secured all your hair, take a small piece from the underside of the ponytail and wrap it around the holder, then fasten with a bobby pin. Another option is to use a barrette that has fake hair similar to your own color. Bonus points: create a small braid with your bangs and use a bobby pin to clip it the side. Default trick: If it's Day 2 hair and there's still some hope for the ends, here's another option: add a fedora or wool floppy hat. This one step makes casual items appear intentional and takes them from individual pieces to pulled-together outfit.

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4. Blazer - Blazers have long been the fashion star of the corporate world but I love taking them in a more casual direction by pairing them with jeans and a graphic tee.  Going with a basic black blazer, white tee and jeans can take you immediately to cool girl status. OR you can really have fun with this and add more than just the basics to your blazer collection. They don't have to be your stuffy work blazer, either. Try a blazer/sweater combo with leather sleeves. How about a striped collarless one, like this one below?  Or, find one in a soft cotton and it's as comfortable as wearing a sweater! (Editor's note: both of these pairings will look fab with or without the necklace....keep reading for a baby-friendly necklace option!).

 

5. Jewelry – While I know you aren't able to wear dangly earrings (shop some great studs here), you can wear bracelets & baby-friendly necklaces! (Whoever had this great idea was a genius!) Buy them for either you to wear or baby. ) Personally I like the ones you wear because....#accessories. 

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There are SO many shops making these great baby-friendly non-toxic necklaces now! This one is from Mama & Little but I've also found a bunch on Etsy

And a final tip: Add a tunic or dress over those leggings! OK, here's the deal with leggings. First - and MOST important - they are NOT pants. Repeat after me: NOT PANTS. SO - while I understand sometimes you have to run to the store right after the gym (and that's ok), anytime other than this do not substitute leggings or yoga pants for real pants. If you are wearing leggings, make it intentional with a long (must come past your ladyparts!) sweater, furry vest, long tee or a cute dress that might be a tad to short on its own. Add some booties or fun flats and voila - outfit ready. 

This cold-shoulder dress is long enough to wear on it's own but I added leggings just for fun. Switch out the sandals for booties or flats in colder weather and off you go!

This cold-shoulder dress is long enough to wear on it's own but I added leggings just for fun. Switch out the sandals for booties or flats in colder weather and off you go!

*Here's a bonus tip from a super stylish mommy I know: "Find a bag/tote/purse that works for you and add your baby gear to that. Most diaper bags are clunky and ugly or EXPENSIVE (although I know a few fans of the Petunia Picklebottom brand, but again $$$).  Instead, use this handy travel case for diapers, wipes and pacifiers. You can also easily move it from purse to purse! Check out my super stylish mommy friend's instagram feed for even more great style tips!

 

Trending: Cutouts

The cutout trend has been around for a while now. First seen in athletic wear, it has since migrated onto tops, swimwear, dresses and even red-carpet wear. What's great about it is that each season has its own iteration; after my strappy-backed swimsuit has been put away for the season, I'll be wearing one of my favorite buys from this year's #NSale (seen here on Instagram): a navy long-sleeved cutout detail top. Women of any age can wear this trend; you can find strappy neckline tops,  multiple straps on swimwear and bras and dresses with geometric waistline cutouts. I personally love the trend, especially on tops where the extra detail can stand-in for a necklace and make getting dressed that much simpler! Here are some ideas on how you can wear the trend  - for work, play AND going out. 

In your 20's: Young and carefree, you are more than likely in the best shape of your life. So live it up! Rock this trend all you want. One caviat: you are also probably just starting out in your career so don't make the mistake of going too far with this at your job. Stick to small details on tops only or skip it altogether for the 8-5. Weekends and evenings however are yours for the taking.

Lush cream strappy dress

Wear this now with heeled sandals. Wear later with a leather jacket plus booties! 

Wear this now with heeled sandals. Wear later with a leather jacket plus booties! 

 

In your 30's: Busy carving out your place in the corporate world, making a daydream happen, starting a family or a combination of these aspirations, your cutouts should be a little more conservative than the 20's gal, but you can still have fun with it. Keep hemlines appropriate during the day but show your style with some shoulder details like this little number from Nordstrom Rack.

Crepe A-line cutout dress

Dress this up with a tan blazer for work or a dark denim jacket for a casual event. 

Dress this up with a tan blazer for work or a dark denim jacket for a casual event. 

 

In your 40's: You are finally comfortable in your own skin, but need to be presentable at those client meetings or for Meet the Teacher Night. Pair your cutout top like this cute one from Target with wide-legged trousers or jeans, a pencil skirt or dark denim. On weekends, however - if you have the confidence to wear it, then wear it! 

Jealous Tomato cutout dress

This closet staple can go from desk to drinks to dinner in no time. Just add a blazer, leather jacket or cardigan. 

This closet staple can go from desk to drinks to dinner in no time. Just add a blazer, leather jacket or cardigan. 

In your 50's: You are finally at the top of your game, both personally and professionally. You can rock a cutout dress to that fundraiser dinner or wear a backless top like this cute one from Lulu's to a weekend brunch. As long as the rest of your outfit is well-tailored and smart (read: no other trends that might feel too "young" for you), you can pull off this look with ease.

Make a statement while walking away by adding a strappy-back bra in a fun color under this open back top

In your 60's: These are your Golden Years! You should be enjoying life and having fun doing what you want with your time. Depending on your line of work (if you're still working), keep your cutouts subtle and sophisticated - try a top with a detailed neckline or a workout bra like this cute one under a backless long-sleeved top. If none of these options float your boat, another easy way to wear this trend is in a lace-up shoe. Are these burgundy flats not the cutest you've ever seen?! They might need to #getinmycloset immediately.

Pair these gorgeous lace up flats from LOFT with a tailored pants, dark jeans or a floral skirt. 

 I'm a firm believer that any woman can wear the trend she wants, regardless of size or age. Sometimes just knowing how to tweak it or translate it for what works for your lifestyle is the key. If you would like styling help, have fashion questions or just want to chat, please email me... I'd love to hear from you!

XO,

Jen

5 Tips for a Fall Wardrobe When It’s Still 90 degrees

It happens every year. I run full-fledged into summer, embracing all the bright colors and fun new trends.  I enjoy going to the beach, to the pool, feeling the sun on my skin and wearing sundresses and sandals every day. However, along about late-July/early August I start thinking about fall. And even though I’m kind of not ready, it’s kind of inevitable, what with the famous #NSale that starts mid-July (for cardholders, anyway) and runs for three weeks, school starting back up and pre-season football games.  Just about every blogger and instagrammer I follow are posting pics with boots, sweaters and jeans. And yet here in the South, true fall weather won’t arrive until October, maybe even November. Not that I’m complaining - I love summer. But even I start to hear my OTK suede boots calling (hello, luvvvah!) after several hot and humid months.  So for anyone else out there who lives in a virtual heatwave until mid-fall, here are some tips on how to incorporate a little bit of autumn without overheating.

1.  Pair your favorite summer top with black or gray denim instead of white. This simple tip is essentially the reverse of what we do every Spring & Summer to create the perfect warm weather outfit. So just switch out your white denim for gray, black denim or even wine-colored like I picked up recently from Target (not found online, check stores for availability). Layer on some silver jewelry and off you go.

2.   Find summer silhouettes in fall colors. Whether it’s a sheath dress for work, a day dress for running weekend errands or a tee – select one in a rich Fall color like emerald green, deep turquoise or mustard yellow.

3.       Rock those booties! This trend has been ongoing for a few years now and I’m so glad it’s continuing. They are such a great transition piece that can be worn with a flowy dress, jeans or cut-off denim shorts. And with open-toe versions, there’s no worrying about getting too hot.

4.  Wear light layers. Pair a chambray button-down top with a summer skirt. This works well if you work in an office that blasts the AC or for those cool mornings and hot afternoons that fall can bring.  Wearing a solid tee or a sleeveless top underneath plus a statement necklace works for the office and a graphic tee with sneakers can take you through the weekend. Also, if you are headed out after work or get warm while running errands, the button-down still looks cute tied around your waist. Another layering option is a lightweight scarf in a fall color. I like the casual but put-together look of a scarf with a tee and either shorts or a skirt.

 

5.  Change out your summer bag. I know, I know…you’re still swooning over your perfect summer bag... (me too!). But adding a structured tote in a rich cognac, exotic texture or a neutral metallic can be just the accessory you need for fall.