If ever I had a mom uniform....the outfit pictured at left is it. I've been wearing it for years: JBrand skinny jeans, brown tall-ish boots, cute shirt (or sweater layered for cold) and some kind of moto-styled jacket in sweatshirt or sweater material. And, of course, black/brown & navy all mixed together (I've never been picky about this...and now I don't have time to be). I think it all works - I honestly wear this outfit (or a version of this outfit) almost daily once the weather turns cold. And I love it still.
But after several years of wear....it's time to branch out a bit. And while trends, in recent years have been all over the map....there's a few constants that have started to emerge. And as I've been doing a few more "closet clean-outs" with friends and other moms...I'm finding that these constants are passing many of us by, unnoticed. The problem? Ignoring trends year after year after year is exactly how you wake up one morning, 20 years later, with a permed mullet and legwarmers wondering why everyone else looks so different.
I'm not a huge new trend devotee...but staying somewhat current (and still being true to your own personal sense of style) is the sweet spot to aim for.
So while I normally hate the word "rules" (they just beg to be broken)...here are two of the most essential style "rules" for moms:
In the past few months, every mom closet clean-out has unearthed a plethora of too-short camis, tanks, and tees, in numerous colors, sizes, and stages of wear. "Oh, THAT? Yes, it doesn't really fit, but I only wear it with this one v-neck sweater where the lace kind of shows at the top....let me find the v-neck....here! Wait - it has a hole. Hunh."
or my personal favorite:
"Oh yeah - that cami is way too short. I don't actually pull the straps over my shoulders...I just fold it down, kind of like a bella band? Like this. See? NOW it's long enough!"
While I'll give points for such environmentally-conscious, reusable behavior...may I point out that camis (like the gray one pictured above) retail at Target for $8?
Here's the deal: long, fitted layering tops are THE easiest way to wear skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, and numerous other pant trends that have surfaced in recent years. If you don't have camis (or layering tops) that are long enough...you are probably stuck wondering why you can't wear <insert current trend here>. And by long....I don't mean grazing your hip bone. I mean long enough to fully cover your hip bone, with an inch or two to spare (see pic above).
Part of the problem, I think, is the sizing. Often, if you shop big box retailers (Target, J.Crew)...you'll need to go up several sizes in order to get the right length. Luckily, when it comes to layering camis, there is very little difference between sizes in width...but a big difference in length. So play around with sizing...and don't be afraid to bring 2-3 sizes into the dressing room with you.
The other glaring hole in many a momdrobe is one really fabulous sweater option. This piece can transform any spit-up stained tee-shirt and jeans into something with style.
It seems that many moms tend to rely on an army of short, boring cardigans or sweaters...but that one perfect, drapey, add-instant-polish topper? Missing. Which makes quick dressing tough - in order to make either of the sweaters pictured at right stylish, you'd really need to focus on cool pants and accessories, which are much more time-consuming options.
Interesting sweaters can be more expensive...but once you factor in the style and ease of dressing, as well as calculate the CPW (cost per wear), it's the much better option. However, if you are the very frugal type, even Old Navy comes up with great options from time-to-time.
What to look for:
Bottom line: You are looking for something fabulous, BUT something totally versatile that can be thrown on over anything.
Look for interesting details around the collar, cool buttons or toggles, ruffles, interesting drape, or - my favorite option - a jacket style (moto, blazer) made out of a soft sweater or sweatshirt material. Look for something that makes your heart beat fast, look for something different. Your new signature piece, if you will. Here are some that make my pulse quicken:
Womens's NEW ARRIVALS - jackets & outerwear - Sweater Blazer -...
$168 - madewell.com
All Saints Vasu Cardigan
$120 - allsaints.com
Bobeau Flyaway Tiered Cardigan | Nordstrom.com
$40 - nordstrom.com
Salty Cable Trim Wrap Cardigan | Nordstrom.com
$128 - nordstrom.com
Fairisle Belted Poncho at ASOS
$71 - asos.com
So if you do nothing else this Fall, be sure to have a few longer, layering pieces and an eat-your-heart-out-I-look-fab-sweater...and you'll always have something to wear. Who cares if it's the same thing over and over again? So very French, n'est pas?
ps. Next week...a few more "rules"....