Before I became a mom, my style was a huge part of my identity. Image was everything in my original career (acting), and I spent a few years working in the fashion industry before opening a boutique in Miami Beach. I insisted on filling my store with unique pieces from independent designers instead of the mainstream fair.
But something shifted when I was pregnant — right around the time I started to show. My body looked different. It moved differently, and I certainly wore clothes differently. Tiny-waisted 1950s dresses, a staple of my wardrobe previously, were out of the question, and the outrageous accessories that I loved so much suddenly started to feel over the top. Who was this woman?
After wrapping up my nine months with a belly bigger than anything I could have ever imagined, I moved into the PJ-cloaked, sleep-deprived days of life with a newborn. Then it was a year with a nursing baby. Who knew I'd ever do so much shopping for clothes to allow easy access to my boobs? Life with a toddler comes with its own demands for flexible clothing that allows for lots of bending and crawling and stretching without a lot of flashing or tearing.
Safe to say my style has evolved quite a lot over the last three years, and practical has replaced perfectly-put-together on most days. And I'm not ashamed to say that I'm most confident when I feel like I look good, so I now employ a few tricks to maintain my sense of style with very little effort.
1. I consistently make a few, simple choices to feel glam.
Lately, it's been red lipstick and a little mascara. These two small things give the impression that I'm really put together (at least to me they do — which is really what matters). Plus, it takes less than one minute to put on.
2. I think of my wardrobe as a fun little collection.
Over time, I have made it a project to collect statement pieces that will highlight my style and make me feel fabulous. And let me add that it hasn't cost me lots of money or precious time. Outrageous shoes, giant cocktail rings, an extra special handbag, oversized sunglasses, unique silk scarves, or a glamorous coat can all do the trick.
3. I invest in good jeans.
Good jeans are essential to a mom's wardrobe. Find a handful of pairs that are comfortable and make you feel sexy. Invest wisely and wear liberally.
4. Take note — literally!
When you feel really confident, take a mirror selfie of your outfit. Keep an album of these photos on your phone, and when you're having that moment when you feel like you've lost all sense of style, or have to find a great outfit in a pinch, refer to this album for inspiration and reassurance.
5. I abide by "less is more."
I only allow things that I love everything in my wardrobe, even if it means cutting back on the amount of clothes I own. I don't keep clothes that I don't wear or that would make me feel frumpy, period.
Paring down my wardrobe to include only items that make me feel great has made it much easier to choose what to wear. This has done wonders to break the feeling of being in a style slump, as I juggle the millions of things I need to do now as a mom.
To be clear, none of my choices are about looking a certain way for anyone but myself — and I recommend this philosophy to everyone.
In the throes of life as a mother, even small acts of self care can be powerful acknowledgments of your own identity. It certainly doesn't have to be about style, just do something (anything) that feeds YOU. The more fulfilled you feel as an individual, the more fully you will be able to come to the task of mothering.
Photo courtesy of the author