It’s no secret that the Bigness of Motherhood is something I ponder.
Like most new-ish moms, motherhood has thrown me for a loop in both the best and the hardest ways.
But in becoming someone new, we inevitably lose something of what we were, even if it is something small.
While I never (like in about about a million years) considered myself to be a stylish person, there was a time that I did at least know how to put myself together. And I’m not talking about getting dressed for “the extremes”–on one end, the Target run/workout/errand time in my #momlife capacity, and on the other end, professional clothing for my old #worklife.
I’m talking about that tricky that middle ground. The times when you’re out and about sans kids and want to look cute but not to try-y. (That’s totally a word, what?)
Or the times when you’re grabbing a quick bite or drinks with friends. I used to have a grip on how to dress for this stuff, but these days I find myself literally slinging WTF’s around while standing naked in my closet.
That’s why I started The Style Project. It’s not only for me, but it’s also for all the other moms who find themselves feeling stuck in that same spot–the one between the stay-at-home-mom-sweats and working-mom-suits.
It’s a mission, of sorts, one that forces me to step outside my comfort zone and try styles I haven’t before, or even force myself to find ways to repurpose styles that are already in my closet.
But mostly, it’s a journey that I hope will help me reclaim an old part of myself. Or maybe it’s a place where I–we–can learn to have some fun again with style.
Are you in the same spot? Do you feel like you want to try some new looks but just can’t find the inspiration to start? Well, here’s how I am working on getting my style mojo going again. Hope they can help you get the ball rolling, too.
Let’s do this together, guys!
How to Find One’s (Seemingly Lost) Fashion Sense, From a Person Who’s Still Working on Hers
Ask Yourself Why
For me, the Why is simple: I have tons of comfy clothes, and I used to have tons of work clothes. But day-to-day looks that were cute but not too dressy? None. Zilch. Nada.
So, what’s your Why?
Maybe it’s to have a nice outfit for special night out with your partner. Maybe you have a girls’ trip coming up. Maybe you just can’t stand most of the contents of your current closet.
And just because you’re trying to find some new pieces doesn’t mean you have to abandon what you love most. The truth is, I actually quite love living in my little athleisure bubble. And honestly, most of my wardrobe will probably continue to revolve around stretchy fabrics, because I will still be bodily hauling toddlers in and out of carseats for most of the week.
But there are no clothes in my closet right now that are in the “middle zone.” So that’s where I’m starting.
Know It Doesn’t Have to Involve Lots of Spending
I think the biggest misconception we have when we think of feeling stylish is having to throw everything away. In fact, you can breathe new life into pieces that might already be in your closet by pairing them differently, or with new items that are affordable.
My favorite new additions are these basic tees from Gap (seen above). I wear them with literally everything, and as you can see, I dress them up in addition to wearing them with sweats.
My favorite new trick is actually free (and also reminds me of the 90s, which is even better). Tucking in shirts. Not only does this immediately dress up a t-shirt/jeans combo, but you can also throw on a cute belt and–bam!–you immediately have more visual interest to your outfit. Try it!
Decide on a Budget
How much money do you want to spend each month? Set it and stick to it. It is so, so much easier these days to stick to a budget with online shopping. Use the filtering tools on any given store’s website to set your spending limit.
And let technology work for you. I actually designate one email account for all my newsletter and mailing list subscriptions; that way, I get alerts in one place for the sales from all my favorite shops. Easy, and I honestly rarely miss a sale because of it!
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Find Inspiration Everywhere
Social media gets knocked because, well, it can be a pit of self-indulgence and misplaced sycophantic adoration.
But. But! It can also be a place where–after you sift through the crap–you can actually find some inspiration. Browse through the Explore option on Instagram, log onto the website for the big magazines, or find some bloggers whose style you like, and save some pictures of outfits you like. Take a glance at them before you head out shopping (in person or online), and it will help narrow down what to look for.
Then you can screenshot outfit ideas, and put them in a dedicated folder on your phone. Voila, quick access to inspiration when you shop!
Inspiration is everywhere; go find yours!
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Know That You are Worth It
I can’t tell you how many times I have put things off because I am too busy with the kids, too tired from the kids, too fill-in-the-blank because of the kids. If you’re a mom, you’re probably in the same boat.
Now repeat after me: It is okay to take care of yourself after having children. It is necessary to take care of yourself. A happy mom means happy kids.
I’m serious. You are not vain if you are ready to feel stylish or good about your wardrobe again (and conversely, you aren’t a slob if you don’t). If you’re ready to make some small changes to get back on the path to feeling yourself, embrace it!
And in the end, having a functional and stylish wardrobe actually pays you back. Think about it: When you have clothing you actually like wearing, it’s that much easier to get out of the house in the morning. But the cold coffee? That’s your problem. 😉