Thursday, November 17, 2011

Let's set a good example!

We've all seen typical mom outfits of running shoes, crops and a tank or tee, and possibly even been seen ourselves in these outfits. But really, it doesn't take much to turn an adequate but boring and run-of-the-mill outfit into something with some style. With a few well chosen accessories, not only will you look more put together, you will be setting a great example for your children.

"Hang-on", I can hear you saying, "what does looking put together and stylish have to do with setting a good example for our children?" Well, I think looking stylish has a lot to do with it. Motherhood (and SAHMs in particular) can get a pretty bum rap, from the media, from other moms, and from society in general. It is seen as the lesser option, the lesser role, and really, when you see a lot of us running around looking like slobs, moaning and complaining all the time, it's pretty easy to see why that is our image. Look at it this way - would you go to "work" (as in paid, outside employment) dressed in runners, cropped pants and a tank and expect to be taken seriously? Of course not. But we moms run around like this and expect our role to be taken seriously.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we start wearing suits - we still need to be practical for what our role entails. But taking an extra ten minutes in the morning to accessorise, fix our hair and add a touch of makeup can make a real difference in both how we look and how we are perceived. Let's show our children that motherhood is a valuable role, and that just like an "outside" job, we take it seriously!

Take these two summer outfits - they are comfy and practical, and great for running around after little kids. But, and it's a big but, these are pretty boring and you are guaranteed to blend into the background. They don't look bad, per se, and I've definitely seen worse, but with a few well chosen accessories, you can turn these blah outfits into something chic and stylish, and yes, still just as comfy and practical.
Typical Mum Outfits

My first piece of advice is to keep your accessories relatively current. The clothes in the above pic are pretty timeless and will last a long time. By updating some of your accessories seasonally, you can inexpensively make your wardrobe look more current and more fashionable, without having to overhaul all the clothes in it. So let's start with the shoes. I love me my heels, and will often wear them almost everywhere, but for most moms, a great pair of flats is much more practical.  I love the gladiator style sandals on the left - they look modern and really add some edge to a basic outfit, but are still as comfortable as a pair of flip flops. Sandals like this would also look great with a date night outfit or with skinny jeans. For the right outfit, I went for a classic pair of ballet flats in an updated metallic. I adore a gunmetal metallic, rather than a silver or a gold, because it will go with a lot more things in your wardrobe. Another option is a champagne metallic, since it sits kind of in between gold and silver.

Next, invest in a great bag in a neutral colour, in a size and shape that works for your lifestyle. I really think you need two, one in black, and one in a lighter colour like tan or taupe that can work better in summer or with lighter colour clothes. For mom's with young kids, I don't think you can go past a roomy tote. It will fit all the things you need to tote around like sippy cups and wipes and a bottle of water for mom. I prefer a tote that also has an over-the-shoulder strap since it frees up my arms.

Lastly, add in once more accessory to add some colour or texture. Both outfits are at the uber-casual end of the spectrum, so don't go over-the-top, but some simple touches will really take the outfit from blah to polished and pulled together. A long pendant necklace on the left not only adds a pop of colour to a neutral outfit, but helps to visually elongate the body. This is particularly great for this outfit, because the crops and the shoes can often do the opposite. For the right outfit, a soft scarf in tones that pick up on the colours of the top add another little bit of colour, and some textural interest as well. If you are not confident with scarfs, then check out this youtube series, How To Tie A Scarf 25 Ways.  
The New Mom Uniform!
So by simply adding in three accessories, you are really taking your outfit from looking like you quickly grabbed a couple of things out of your wardrobe, to looking pulled together, and like a professional, intentional mom-about-town!

Linking to Monday Mingle

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