Day 19: Think About Your Mom Uniform

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By the time I had my last baby, my wardrobe was, well, a hot mess.

Cobbled together from Target’s “I’m not sure I like this but it’s 70% off so I should try, right?” pieces that I bought without even thinking about the other “Ugh I think I hate this color but it’s 60% so why not, right?” items already in my drawer, my “wardrobe” – if you could really call it that – was unflattering, sloppy, and unsuited to my needs- not to mention taste or personality.

But turning away from my motley collection of tops, pants, and skirts was hard. After all, I’d spent good money on those bad outfits, and even though I never wore half of them, I kept holding out for the magical day when I might.

Plus, I was so used to gaining and losing 40 pounds every couple of years (due to one-after-another pregnancies) that I was unwilling to invest much in myself. After all, who knew what size I might wind up in the end? Even if the “end” might actually be the end of my life, several (I hope) decades away?

Finally, I decided that enough was enough. I wasn’t having any more babies, and even if my future weight might still fluctuate by 5-10 pounds, I’d settled into my size enough to be ready to invest in it.

It was around that time when, due to the help of my friend and fashion blogger Shana Draugelis, I zeroed in on the concept of a “mom uniform” – a collection of similar shapes and pieces that I KNOW work for me, look good on me, and – here’s the biggest part – will coordinate with the stuff I already have in my closet and drawers.

Once I got the essentials of the uniform down – for me, it’s short, casual dresses in the summer; slim-fitting pants or leggings paired with looser tops in fall and winter – it became easier, faster, and less expensive to pull together a wardrobe whether I was heading to a conference or hanging out with the kids at home. And since I needed fewer of each item, there was less need to scout the clearance rack like my life depended on it.

When I wrote about my “mom uniform” a few years ago, I suggested asking yourself some questions to narrow down your options:

  • “What basic shapes look best on me?” I’m an apple shape so I look better in flowing tops and snug bottoms. Your body shape may dictate a different look.

  • “What really suits my lifestyle?” Maybe you look your best in evening gowns, but that’s not necessarily a great option for the zoo. If you live on a farm and spend most of your days gardening, your uniform is probably going to be different than if you spend most of your time sitting in a desk chair.

  • “What do I already have?” If you went through all your clothes and shoes right now and got rid of the stuff you didn’t really like, what would be left? Could they be the bones of a uniform?

  • Where do I want to wear the most color and/or prints? I decided to go with all neutrals on the bottoms – denim, brown, or black – so that I could mix them with almost any top and it would still go together.

  • “What do I really need to create a few go-to outfits?” Once you’ve whittled the so-so out of your closet,  you may find that you’re closer to a great mom uniform than you thought. Start small.

Obviously, you probably won’t be able to put together a whole new wardrobe in a morning.

But today I challenge you to think about a “mom uniform” that might work for you.

Take a few minutes to look at what you already have, think about how you’d like to look and what looks good on you, and maybe spend some time looking at how other people put their mom uniforms together for inspiration (First stop: The Mom Edit.)

I want to know: if you had to start all over, throwing away all of the clothes you currently have, and were only able to purchase a handful of new pieces – what “mom uniform” would you embrace, and why? Discuss in the comments section here or over at the Beyond Baby Facebook Group!

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