I remember way back when I was in my 20s and I had someplace I was required to be everyday. I needed to look professional while I was there, so I actually had to consider the way I looked before I left the house. This was before I had children.
After I became a stay at home mom, my presence was only required in one place: my house. And in the course of keeping everything going and everyone fed, I would venture out to the grocery store now and then, but that was about it. And I imagine that is exactly how I looked.
These days I am both a stay at home mom and a work at home mom, so I am “at home” a lot. But in the last seven years my eyes have been opened to the error of my ways — ways that I think other women may also be, um, erring.
Moms, you are beautiful. But too often I see choices that seem to distract the casual observer from that beauty. (I’m not trying to exclude non-moms, I just assume women without children look fabulous all the time.) Let’s talk about a few things…
1. CARING IS SHARING
I need you to care about how you look. You don’t have to be a fashionista. You don’t have to buy designer clothes or all the latest trends. But I need you to look like you care about yourself. Don’t do it for me. Do it for your kids. If you take pride in your appearance, it sends a message to your children about your opinion of yourself. Be what you want them to be.
2. SIZE MATTERS
We need to talk about what size you are wearing. Is it the right one? How do you know? Have you even been shopping lately?
Our bodies change, ladies. Growing babies, birthing babies, feeding babies, chasing babies – all of these things affect our bodies, which in turn affects how our clothes fit us. I hate to tell you this, but you have to go shopping after each baby. (And after you are done breastfeeding each baby.)
Have budget issues? Try things on anyway, at least to find out if the clothes you have are the right size for you any more. This way you can start planning for what you need to replace. Target, Walmart, whatever floats your boat — this isn’t about money, it’s about deliberately looking better. If you know you need pants or jeans, scan the clearance racks. One of my favorite pairs of jeans right now I found on the clearance rack at Target for $13.
Because here’s the thing: if it doesn’t fit it’s not going to flatter you. If it fits, it will. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for it.
The other thing? I swear they have changed the sizing of clothes. I have no other explanation for why a skirt I bought 12 years ago still fits me even though the size on the tag is a size that would not at all fit me if I tried it on in a store today. (Though I may have uncovered a new problem by admitting I still have a skirt I bought 12 years ago…)
3. LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
I know you want to be comfortable. I get that. You’re busy. You’re life requires you to be physically active. Kids, laundry, shopping, yada, yada, yada. I KNOW.
But that is no excuse to live in sweats and sloppy shirts. Fitness clothing is not what it used to be — you have a lot of options that can actually fit and flatter you. If you insist on comfort wear, give yourself an upgrade. Yoga pants are the best invention ever for the comfort obsessed (or maybe the worst?) in come is so many different cuts and colors these days that some don’t even look like yoga pants.
Also? You don’t have to be comfortable 24/7. Wear cuter (possibly less comfortable) things when you leave the house for errands and change back when you get home. You can hang them back up in the closet and wear them on your next outing if you so desire. Looking better will make you feel better about yourself when you are out and about. Comfort shmumfort.
4. GET OUT OF HIS PANTS
Are you seriously wearing mens clothes? Stop it. Just stop it right now.
This is not 1993 so you have no excuse. Back in the day this may have been necessary due to all women’s pants being high waisted and all women’s shirts being short waisted, but this isn’t the case any more. So stop it. Now.
Women are shaped differently than men. (Yes, even me, though it’s a close call there.) Women’s clothes will fit your curves and if you try something on that doesn’t, try a different size or style. The darts on the shirts should be near your breasts. The curve of the hips should be near your hips. And with pants, if the curves don’t match your curves, try a different style or brand. You can do this!
(Now that’s not to say menswear inspired women’s wear is a no-no. It is a yes-yes. It will still fit you better than actual men’s clothes.)
5. IF THE SHOE FITS
Shoes matter. I don’t want to hear about comfort issues or your weird feet. If your shoes don’t go with what you are wearing, it throws off the whole outfit.
Your athletic shoes are for the gym. For everything else, get a couple pairs of cute seasonal shoes (sandals, boots), some flats, and some casual shoes. TOMS are great – comfortable, cute, and when you buy a pair a child in need gets a pair. (No, they are not paying me to say that.)
Again, it’s not about about much you spend. Payless, Ross, Marshalls, Target, Walmart all have extremely affordable (and cute!) options.
6. THE MAGIC’S IN THE MAKEUP
I don’t like to wear makeup. But, holy crap, I look so much better when I do! I’ve learned what it takes to make me look alive. Get to know what works for you and do it any time you leave the house. (I look sickly without mascara. True story: my eyelashes are of the blondish variety and without added color they disappear.)
Accept that your face may have a minimum makeup requirement at this point in life. Do that for errands and save the extras for date night. If you are lucky enough to have a date night, that is. *ahem*
7. SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE
Are your ears pierced? Please wear earrings. That little bit of sparkle near your face really makes a difference. Add a necklace and you have a lovely, sparkling frame to match your lovely, sparkling countenance.
And don’t be afraid of bigger earrings or bolder necklaces. If you like them, try them on. Ignore that little voice inside your head telling you you can’t pull it off – if it makes you happy, you damn sure can pull it off. Stupid voices.
(I have lots of great accessories pinned here.)
OK. I’ll stop bossing you around for now. I just want you to appreciate how beautiful you really are. I know it can be hard to notice when you don’t get much time to even look in the mirror, but the beauty is there. I promise.
Do you have a great style tip for stay at home or work at home moms? What style transgressions have you had to correct yourself of over the years? Do share. It takes a village, you know.