Guest Blogger, Style

{guest post} project mommy // katie

{Katie writes the blog Mommy Call}

{on Katie: Old Navy top; Gap colored denim; vintage NYC rain boots
on baby N: Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars}

I used to enjoy picking out my outfits each day … until I became a mom. Throughout pregnancy, I survived on elastic pants, leggings and tunics, and while maybe not my most fashionable months, there was at least a market out there for pregnant women like me looking for a bit of style to brighten her bloated, morning sick days. Many affordable stores have maternity sections and many high-end stores offer maternity dresses, coats and other splurge-worthy items that can really boost a shopaholic’s spirit. I used pregnancy as an excuse to buy a second wardrobe and have enjoyed swapping clothes with other mommy friends.

After having the baby though, the fashion industry ignores the unglamorous postpartum woman, who isn’t quite her pregnancy size, definitely isn’t her pre-pregnancy size, has a larger chest and needs a top that accommodates breast-feeding and/or pumping. Maybe this combination is too much of a nightmare for fashion designers to tackle and is so unappealing that most choose to ignore those months of a woman’s life. This is why I think so many women end up wearing track suits, sweats and mom jeans. Things just aren’t what they used to be and so we surrender.

If I had been a stay-at-home mom, I probably would have lived in sweat pants through that whole period. Hence why there are few pictures of me on my maternity leave. However, going back to work forced me back into fashion. I soon learned though that while I knew how to dress appropriately, and yet comfortably stylish, for play-dates, and I knew how to dress up for work, albeit in a more mommy-friendly way (i.e. no dry-clean only), my biggest challenge was finding something that is both work and mommy friendly.

How do I make the transition from professional work attire to playground playtime? Working moms are often rushing straight from the office to get to daycare by 6 p.m., leaving little time for an outfit change. So here are my suggestions for how to successfully navigate the work-life balance in your wardrobe:

1. Layers! I find that a cardigan goes a long way. A staple of my wardrobe, the cardigan allows me to transform tank tops into dress-code appropriate attire, and they can be shed when sprinting after a toddler. When snacks are spilled or muddy hands give you hugs, the cardigan comes back as a helpful cover-up.

{ModCloth dress; Banana Republic cardigan; Nine West “Very Now” shoes; J.Crew bracelet}

2. Ballet flats. I’ve always loved ballet flats, but never more than I do now. My sparkly Steve Madden flats can be dressed up or down, allow me stability and comfort to run to a meeting or across the blacktop. Patent leather flats are also easy to wipe clean!

{from left: Steve Madden; Jessica Simpson, Nine West; Steve Madden}

3. Accessories. A scarf, a long necklace, or a bracelet can add interest to even a plain cotton t-shirt. I often pair a vintage cotton J.Crew tee with dress pants or skirts and then layer on fun accessories. These things are quick and easy to shed on your way to the park and fit easily into your diaper bag.

{J.Crew sweater + “Booker” boots; Gap pants; Old Navy scarf}

4. Skirts. A nice A-line or high-waisted skirt can hide a lot of a new mom’s insecurities without screaming to the world: “I still have baby weight!” Separates are also very breastfeeding-friendly and make pumping at work easier than wearing a dress or suit.

The challenges of maintaining your personal style while also streamlining your morning routine make being a fashionable mom difficult, but with a few staples in your wardrobe and some tricks of quick transformation, you might not look like Heidi Klum, but you can avoid turning into that 80s soccer mom with high-waisted jeans and scrunchies.

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  • Reply mommycall September 28, 2012 at 7:10 am

    Reblogged this on mommy call and commented:
    Check out my guest post over at Really Risa today!

  • Reply Carolyn Henderson September 28, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Katie you never cease to amaze me! I always knew you were destined for good things, your talents as a writer have always been strong. I love this
    post. Maybe you could write a fashion page for Vogue in your spare time.
    Just kidding!

  • Reply Raw Image | mommy call October 20, 2012 at 11:19 pm

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  • Reply It’s Raining Mommy Blogs! | Stroller City November 11, 2012 at 3:13 pm

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  • Reply Britishette February 18, 2013 at 6:07 am

    This is a really cool post. Thanks Katie. It’s true that the challenges of dressing during and after pregnancy are largely underestimated (and I am 8 months pregnant as I write this). the ideas of using accessories, layers, flats are simple yet brilliant. Great job!

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