First, know this: no one is asking me how I pull off my chic, effortless mom-style. Mostly because I’ve been living in the same three $3.97 clearance items from Old Navy for the past 9 weeks. I’ve decided to post about New Mom Style because I’m desperately looking for some for myself. My hope was to find some inspiration in East Anglia, but, well… let’s just say that only 0.02% of people in camel-colored leggings actually can pull it off. And I am certain that leggy lot does not include me.
As our household goods near our tiny new home, my challenge-driven organizing geek side is telling me that many things must go. There are some new realities of my life as a 30-something stay-at-“home” mom/lady of “leisure” – Air quotes because I don’t intend to hang around the house much and any mom knows that there’s nothing leisurely about life (or even tea) with a near-toddler – that make my wardrobe an easy target.
- Professional wear is not ideal mom wear. By the time I’ll need to dress professionally for 250 days each year again, it will be time to update the looks. Plus, I would need a full-time paying job to cover the cost of dry cleaning. Splatters of food cover me from head-to-toe each day. Easy-to-clean is a must.
- Much of what I have doesn’t fit properly. Never mind the 30 pounds I’ve lost over the past decade. Most moms will tell you that pregnancy changes everything, but I’m going to tell you that the caring for a child part matters, too. Hours of bouncing, altering your center of gravity with 20 extra pounds on your hip, toting with one arm an 18 pound car seat that’s holding a human being, pushing an umbrella stroller uphill through gravel… there’s no training for that.
- Sexy is different. Perhaps you have fabulous milk cleavage that you’re proud to showcase, but it’s not effortlessly chic to flash the world when your child pulls down your low cut shirt. Or perhaps your soul has been drained slowly through ineffective nursing that left your child hungry and shrunk your breasts to prepubescent size at a near-geriatric elevation. Maybe you feel less-than-confident about your body because you haven’t found a way to get back to the gym. Though it’s most likely that you’re exhausted, and who the hell cares about being sexy anyway? Nightlife as a new parent means premium cable and a baby that sleeps soundly until morning.
- Nice-looking counts, especially in your 30’s. It seems I now believe that my appearance will set a standard for my kid. Faded, torn, worn stuff certainly doesn’t make me feel like the put-together mom I’d like to be.
So when our stuff gets here, I need to ditch my holey, coffee-stained, dryer-worn weekend clothes and update my look. While I pretty much have the effortless thing down – I suppose it would be even more effortless to forego my personal rule of showering, changing out of my pajamas and not wearing rubber flipflops outside the house – I feel a long way from chic. I’m hoping to put together the New Mom knowledge I’ve gained over the past 8 months with some basic fashion guidance to construct a respectable wardrobe. Here’s what I know:
- Jeans: not too long (because are you really going to wear heels?), not too low cut (because you WILL be on your hands and knees somewhere, either pulling your child out from under a camping chair at a horserace or fishing a toy out from under a booth at a McDonald’s) and able to stay anchored in place through all of the squatting, crawling, pulling, etc. that is inevitable. Oh, and be sure to have usable pockets.
- Skirts: proceed with caution. See “Jeans.”
- Shorts: if you find time to shave and the weather is appropriate, go for it.
- Shirts: easy to launder, not easy to stain, without small beads or sequins that your baby can chew off. See above re: cut. Patterns may be best, and don’t count on black to not show oatmeal.
- Shoes: flats. Just do it. Especially if you live in Europe or a Real city.
- Jewelry: forget it. Unless you want to try out some teething jewelry.
- Jackets: this may be your ticket to style. If you’re wearing one, your kid is probably strapped into a stroller or car seat and your potential for destruction is minimized. And they looooove zippers and buttons and such when you’re desperate for distraction.