You are born into a family and those are your people, and they know you and they love you and if you are lucky they even, on occasion, manage to understand you. And that ought to be enough. But it is never enough. Abe had not been dressing up, styling himself, for all these years because he was trying to prove how different he was from everyone else. He did it in the hope of attracting the attention of somebody else—somewhere, someday—who was the same. He was not flying his freak flag; he was sending up a flare, hoping for rescue, for company in the solitude of his passion.
“You were with your people. You found them,” I said.
When I was in high school, I used to be obsessed with fashion. Instead of doodling flowers or names of bands on my notebooks, I wrote names of fashion designers and models. After all, I did grow up during the age of the supermodel and CNN’s Style with Elsa Klensch. I never missed an episode of the latter and was up on the names of all the hottest designers – Gianni Versace, Thierry Mugler, Sonia Rykiel, Moschino. I couldn’t afford the clothes, but I knew the designers’ names and I could also do a killer Elsa Klensch impersonation.
Although I was a teenager of limited means, I could usually put a pretty good outfit together. At least, I had the confidence to do so. Clothes were fun and getting dressed for the day was a treat.
Today, I have two kids and am a total mess. This transformation from fashion savvy to slob didn’t happen overnight, of course. It was a slow, sickly process. Then, the other day, I hit rock bottom. As I was slipping into a crimson-colored, shapeless Land’s End turtleneck – LAND’S END! – I knew it was time to seek help. I quickly packed up the turtleneck, which I had just received by mail-order, and sent an email to my friend Rosana who is also a mom and a fashion stylist. I implored her to give me some tips for getting myself back on track. And that resulted in the very first guest post on this site.
Mommy Fashion Tips
Yes, I am a professional shopper and stylist. But, I’m also a mom — of two kids under five. So, I know. I know how challenging it can be to get them up and dressed, teeth brushed, lunches ready, breakfast on the table and out the door in time for school without looking and feeling like a bus ran over you…twice.
I am here to tell you, though, it is possible. Clothing-wise, there is an easy, comfortable life beyond sweats, running shoes and hoodies. Suspend disbelief for a moment, and take in these simple tips that are guaranteed to have you workin’ your MILF mojo in no time.
Dark Slim-Fit Denim. Skinny jeans, once a trend, is now a staple. And there is no easier way to update your look than with a good pair of dark skinnies. I know what you’re thinking. Comfort is king when you’re chasing Little Johnny around the neighborhood playground. Believe it or not, though, skinny denim is comfy. Most jeans these days are a mix of cotton and spandex, which helps denim retain its shape over time and also provides the all-important ease and mobility factor to moms everywhere.
Universally flattering is a straight-leg fit (as opposed to a narrower taper toward the ankle) with a slightly higher rise. Perfect with boots, non-athletic sneakers and heels (date night!). Pair with a fitted jacket, white-collared shirt, and heels – presto! You have a modern business casual look.
Shirt Dresses. Today’s wrap and shirt dresses are flattering to pretty much any body type, and although classic and sensible, can easily be young and chic with the right shoes. For a busy mom, it’s a no-brainer, one-piece ready-to-go outfit. No need to coordinate a top and a bottom. Just throw that shirt dress on (usually cotton or viscose) and wear with your favorite knee-high boots, flats, or wedge sandals when the weather warms up. A little chilly? Pair with a cardigan and accessorize with a scarf (see below).
For petite ladies, make sure hemline is above the knee. Curvier ladies, hemline right below the knee.
Scarves. Accessories are an easy and inexpensive way to update any look. Scarves, in all manner of shapes, sizes and patterns, have been on-trend for several season now. Stripe scarves (black and white) are youthful and modern — with a touch of edginess. Floral silks scarves add femininity to the most basic jeans-and-t-shirt ensemble. Geometric patterns can bring your look up a few notches on the sophistication meter.
And, bet you didn’t know there are about a million-and-one different ways
to wear a scarf without spending a whole lot of time or effort. You can loop that scarf around your neck as your running out the door; tie it as shawl; or wrap it around your neck several times for a celebrity-inspired “undone” look.
Tailored Jacket. A tailored corduroy, cotton, wool, etc. jacket gives any outfit shape. Start with a neutral like charcoal grey, camel or chocolate. Jeans, dress slacks, you name it; it goes with. Petite ladies stick with one that hits right above your hip. Curvier mamas, do one with three buttons for more support.
Daytime metallic flats. No better way to add a little shine to your everyday look. Metallics are a neutral and go with everything. So forget beige, brown and grey. Add a little gold and silver to your life. For colder weather, wear with tights (and don’t be afraid to do color). Warmer weather, pair with dark skinny jeans and a white t-shirt for no better example of a less-is-more chic look.
Great leather bag. You can literally walk out the door in your sweat pants and a hoodie. If you have a great bag, all wrongs are suddenly right. Stick with leather and go slouchy hobo for a fun, young look.
Rosana Vollmerhausen is owner of DC Style Factory, a personal shopping and styling business. She spends her days stylishly chasing after a preschooler and toddler.