We've been inundated, over the last few months, with request from readers who want to know exactly what to buy. Right now. With budgets ranging from under $200 to much, much more than that. Figuring out exactly what one needs is a fairly strenuous exercise, dependent on your own personal style and existing wardrobe. It's hard for me to say, on a personal level, what one person might need.
However. I've been giving this topic some thought. And while I realize that everyone has different styles, different needs...there are a few items that I would recommend to *most* moms.
My list then, contains the 11 items that I think can be most easily mixed-n-matched for a cohesive, cute, and functional mom-drobe that's totally on-trend for 2011. Ready?
Maxis are insanely flattering, and shockingly versatile. There is one out there for all body types. For the most mom-friendly version, hem yours for flats. Wear with TOMS to the park, flip-flops to the pool and pretty flat sandals to dinner. Accessorize with a cuff bracelet. You will always look great.
Flares look good with everything - little tanks, long flowy layers, boxy tops. Flares do look best with a bit of a heel (wedges work) so decide which shoe you'll be wearing with your flare and hem appropriately.
3. Something Striped
While stripes are having a BIG BIG moment now, stripes are always a classic. The good news is that stripes are everywhere - striped tees, dresses, skirts, shorts, shoes, etc. My favorite way to wear stripes is a casually slouchy lightweight sweater, like the one above from J.Crew.
4. Amazing Sunglasses
We've talked about the importance of good sunglasses before (check out Rachel's in our Mom Street Style article)...but I can't harp on this enough. Not only will they save your vision, but a good pair of sunnies can pull a whole look together. Rachel is a great example. And beware try polarized lenses - you will never go back. (Thanks a lot, J).
5. Lightweight Scarf
A scarf is so much a part of my entire existence that I should print it on business cards: Shana Draugelis, Scarf-Wearer. But seriously. Scarves, regardless of the season, make any crappy 'ol, spit-up stained tee or tank look good. And they can even double as a nursing cape, and, in a pinch, a baby sling. While I don't usually throw on a scarf in 90 degree weather....a lightweight scarf is pretty perfect for Spring's fickle weather, and cooler summer nights. My favorite places to find lightweight scarves are Echo Designs, American Eagle/Aerie, Ruche and Shopbop.
6. Gorgeous Flat Sandals
I love my rubber flip-flops, but the easiest way to add polish is to swap them out for a pair more glamorous. Don't be afraid to be picky - there are a ton of options to choose from, so find a pair that makes your heart beat fast and are comfortable to walk in. And don't forget to add Foot Petals. They make a huge difference, especially during a hot, hot summer.
7. Patterned, Tunic-y Top
Tunics are great. They hide stomach pooches and arm flab, and many will also flatter a large chest (look for styles with a v-neck and/or a slightly nipped in waist). Tunics look amazing with virtually all silhouettes (skinny, flare, and cropped), and are a no-brainer with shorts.
8. Lightweight Jacket
Whether it's a trench, army, biker, or Rag & Bone's short-sleeved safari inspired jacket....if you can only get one piece this Spring, get a gorgeous jacket. Throw it on over everything (looks especially cute with shorts) for instant polish. Regardless of your style, there is a lightweight jacket for you. And if the thought of wearing anything structured makes you squirm, try a sweatshirt/knit iteration of a jacket. Madewell has a cute moto-inspired knit jacket, currently on sale.
9. Comfy Canvas Shoes
For playing soccer, long walks around the park, and climbing up the monkey bars to rescue your kiddo....it's hard to beat a pair of TOMS. Really, any comfy, canvas shoe will do...but I've yet to find a pair as comfy as TOMS. Even better, for each pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair to a kiddo in need. Love that. I wear mine with denim, shorts, skirts, dresses...everything.
Girls, shorts aren't going anywhere. Right now I'm on the hunt for a slightly baggy, higher-waist pair with a tie belt and pockets. However, slim chino shorts or printed short-shorts, or denim cut-offs, or trouser shorts or even cargo shorts all work, too.
11. Something Crochet (or Lace or Eyelet)
Find some kind of crochet/lace/eyelet topper. It could be a tank, like the Free People eyelet one above, or the lace tank I bought for pooch-hiding. It could be a vest or little sweater. Just make sure it's something beautiful. Throw on over any 'ol hubby-beater tank. Layer over a maxi to make it more interesting. This is a great way to layer in the summer without getting too hot. And will seriously help with pooch-hiding.
Notice that all of these pieces can be mixed together. Here are a few combos I'll be rocking this Spring and into Summer...
One last note for those of you on a budget. Most of these pieces can be found at Target, Old Navy, Kohls, H&M and Forever 21. Or, just choose a few key pieces to invest in and wear them over and over. If there's one thing we all should've learned from pregnancy, it's that we can get through a season wearing the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over....
Hope this helps!!