It's March. Know what that means? Sigh. I'm about ready to burn my skinnies. Like, literally burn them. As a sacrifice to the weather gods to BRING ME SOME SUN ALREADY. I mean, it feels like Spring...in my heart. BOOOO
Mamas!! We're starting a new monthly series called How We Wear It, where *we* show all of the different ways we're rocking a wardrobe basic. And by "we" I mean...all y'all. If there was One. Thing. you readers communicated LOUD AND CLEAR via our survey, it's this: You want to see a wider range of body types represented here on ANMJ.
So. I'll show you how I've been styling my old standbys, and so will Cam. And then, dear readers, we want to hear from YOU. You can play along via our Linky party at the bottom (you can sign up at the bottom of this article or on Cam's page), you can send us a email (send it to either Cam or I), upload a pic to ANMJ's Facebook page, or use Instagram with the hashtag: #howwewearit. As reader pics come in, I'll be keeping this page up-to-date.
But here's the genius part of the maxi-skirt-in-winter: You can wear juuuust about anything underneath. Including fleece-lined tights. Or, say...winter running tights. Or heck - even fleece skinny sweatpants! As long as they tuck nicely into tall boots...no one will be the wiser. (Unless, of course, your little one likes to play hide-and-go-seek in your skirt. Then there's a chance that someone will awkwardly learn your secret. There are always risks, Mamas!)
And most of these swooshy skirts look fabulous with a cozy sweater. Curvy gals, look for a fitted sweater, or something that belts. Poochy mamas can try a boxy cropped sweater (like above) or something slim through the hips but loose on the pooch. Like this one:
This outfit isn't quite as dressy...but neither are all holiday festivities. I wore this exact outfit to a Mother's Tea at Raines' school. He had requested that I show up looking "like a princess." Sigh. How is princess culture so pervasive???
But anyway, this is actually a maxi dress, not a skirt. I just layered the dress over a turtleneck and added a cozy vest. And yes - I'm rocking some major warmie legs underneath. I just have to beware of bears.
*A note about the bubble necklace below. There are a ton of low-cost iterations (including ebay, where I purchased mine)...but these pieces are everywhere - it's now an over-saturated market. Expect to walk into any holiday party and see several. I'm now on the hunt for a new statement necklace. Anyone else interested in my finds?
Lastly, I asked Camille from Life in Modification to weigh in. To see how she'd take a day dress into night. Cam went a vintage-y / understated route, and the resulting look is quite pretty. It's amazing to see how a faux-fur collar adds so much sophistication and romance - very Grace Kelly, no? Love the midi length, also.
eShakti dress (fyi, it was customizable), AE cardi, Hush Puppies moto boots - similar, Target tights
This was the case with my stand-by J.Crew maxi. I just couldn't seem to winterize it in an interesting, yet comfortable way. And then I found these old pics.
These pics are actually from last Fall. I had somehow forgotten to post them. Even worse, I also forgot the styling that I had already worked out. Sigh. Mom brain? I suspect that the whole skirt knotting thing must have been in the back of my mind when I was styling Sarah's maternity maxi dress recently.
Anyway. My issue with this particular maxi dress is that when covered up, it's pretty snooze-worthy. The fabulous drape gets lost, as does the waist, as does the sexy flash of bare shoulder. Additionally, I have trouble with boots and maxi dresses. Sandals always work, but boots? So often they look strange. And nothing was cohesive. It looked like I was wearing a very boring, too-summer-y dress with a long cardigan and clumpy shoes. I hate when my outfits scream I AM DETERMINED TO WEAR THIS SUMMER DRESS IN WINTER BECAUSE I AM A CREATIVE FASHION BLOGGING TYPE.
Mamas! Fall is around the corner, and we're juuust about ready to start talking Fall trends. In September. So stay tuned.
However, each time we start discussing trends here on Ain't No Mom Jeans, our inboxes flood with requests from Mamas asking us about the basics.
Reader Lauren wrote in:
"...my clothes are woefully worn, outdated, and too big. I've been saving money for a "reward" shopping spree when I hit my goal weight, and that day is coming quickly. I feel overwhelmed with where to start with my buying, though; I literally need a whole new wardrobe."
Reader Kammy agrees:
"I'm a long-time reader, but am ashamed to admit that my wardrobe has consisted of the same sweatpants and tank tops since my first son was born over 3 years ago. I'm ready to dress like a grown up, but am feeling so completely overwhelmed! I've glanced back through your mom-drobe series, but I am still feeling so lost and just don't know where to start!"
And by the sheer number of requests we've recieved over the last two years, these Mamas aren't alone.
So. Before we start yapping about trends, let's talk basics. Below I have gathered up 14 key pieces that can be considered a cornerstone of any Mama's wardrobe. These items represent only the business of being moms (including a simple date night look). Black-tie event? No. Workin' Out? Nope. Going to the office?? Not unless your workplace is very casual. But for trips to the park, days at the museum, afternoons running errands...this is your starting point.
DISCLAIMER: The starter mom-drobe shown below is based on my style sensibility. Which may not be yours. That's OK. This list is intended to be inspiration for the types of pieces to look for, not necessarily the exact pieces.
Mamas, I'm so bugged when I have something in my closet that I barely wear. Especially when that something is crazy-fabulous, comfortable, and flattering. Like my old DVF wrap dress that I "invested" in years ago. (Snort. Mike loves it when I use money-managing words to describe clothes. Like when you "save" money by shopping sales...instead of...not...shopping? I know. I don't get it either.)
But it's been sitting in my closet, untouched, for years. I mean yeah - I was too poochy to pull it off for a while. But my problem with many dresses (and this wrap dress in particular) is that it's easy to fall into this old thought-pattern:
Wear only when it's warm
Wear under a cardigan
Wear under a jacket
Yawn! I'm sick of cardigans, and throwing a jacket over makes me feel like I'm either going to work or out on the town. Sometimes "too fussy" is the death of an item.
So on a recent visit to the aquarium, I decided to give the wrap dress one final try.
I threw a lightweight sweatshirt over it. While most dresses are reasonably well-behaved under a topper, a wrap dress is knot. That pesky knot bulges out unattractively.
I decided to use the wrapped fabric as a belt, and do a half-tuck of the sweatshirt to show off the knot. The result? Surprisingly flattering - it almost looks like a high-waisted skirt:
Smart mamas know how to improvise. In the McGyver-like hands of moms, a stack of tupperware becomes a vacation toy, a popsicle-stained shirt turned inside out is now photo-opp worthy, and (ta-da!) a yoga skirt transforms into a date night-worthy LBD. New mom and ANMJ reader Amy is only nine months into this gig and already she's pulling out all the mom stops, shopping her closet and making a statement. She writes:
Last weekend my hubby and I went on our THIRD date since our NINE month old was born. Crazy, I know. But I was super excited about it, so I got all dressed up. I actually put on a real bra that didn't have nursing access. Sheer amazingness. (don't look too close- you can see it in that second picture!) I felt a little sneaky wearing my black yoga skirt as a dress, but nobody even knew. (Until now of course, since I'm sharing my secret.)
Just wanted to share with you all since you inspire me so much. Have a lovely day!
We're loving everything Amy has going on. She's rocking de rigueur boots with long socks, a fab long cardi (a la wear your cardi as a dress?), and best of all she turned her yoga skirt (also probably very nursing-friendly if babes are in tow!) into an adorable little black dress for a night out with hubs.
Amy, three dates in nine months isn't too shabby--I think we'd had exactly one-half of a date by that time with our first because we came home early. Keep shopping your closet and thank you for sending in your pics--you look amazing!
Mamas, are you getting as sick of the boots-over-skinny-jean uniform as I am? Not that there's anything wrong with it (it is the most practical mom-i-form for messy winter months), but GAH. I needed a sartorial break. And now that we're in Philly, I couldn't count on Denver's surprisingly mild climate to bail me out anytime soon (although I hear Denver's winter has been brutal this year).
What I wanted was a dress. A sweater dress maybe, or something mod with a short hem and a high neckline. God, after four (almost) straight years of nursing, I dream about high necked dresses. While I have learned to nurse in a crew-neck top, pulling a dress all the way up is beyond my comfort/skill range.
Yup. I'm still messing around with these things. You first saw them here, where I used a little flash of thigh to distract from my post-partum tum and dark-circled eyes. Pretty effective, actually. And a thicker, less dressy pair here, when I channeled my husband's fourth-grade self (Wow - I just made Mike sound like a cross-dresser. Just to clarify: He was/is NOT.)
In any case, I own a couple of thigh-highs, but they don't get used nearly enough to justify the enormous amount of room they take up in my sock drawer. So I decided to mess around with the black pair, seeing if I could make them both daytime appropriate and mom-friendly.
Incidentally, thigh-highs (or over-the-knee-socks, if you prefer) always look spot-on peeking out over the top of over-the-knee boots.