by Jennifer Mackey-Mary | Jennifer Mackey-Mary is a wardrobe stylist who gives everyday style advice to everyday women. Her business, Everyday Style, is on a mission to inspire women to love the way they look, and give them the tools to make style easy. Jennifer is passionate about raising confident daughters, female entrepreneurship, and getting every woman in a better bra.
Remember the time before you became a mom? When you had a real name, stayed up late, and wore whatever you wanted? My, how times have changed!
When you become a mom, lots of things change. Everything, in fact. Your priorities shift, your body may seem foreign to you…even your relationships are different. But one of the biggest changes is the shift from “person” to “mom”.
At first, it seems sweet. Being called “Mommy” is heaven to our ears, but over time, you feel like no one says your name anymore. You start to list your hobbies as “chasing kids around the park” and “cleaning up toys while drinking wine”. You choose your outfits based on what’s easy to breastfeed in, or what’s comfortable to play on the floor in, instead of what you feel good in. You might even respond, “I’m just a mom” when someone asks you what you do. You begin to feel invisible and wonder if you’ll ever feel like “you” again.
It doesn’t have to be this way. You can be a mom and a person. Reclaiming your identity is possible, and a great way to start is by maintaining your sense of style, regardless of what stage of motherhood you’re in.
The good news is, keeping your sense of style isn’t all that hard, and the boost of confidence and joy you’ll feel when you feel like yourself again is worth the extra effort. Read on to discover Five Ways to Keep Your Sense of Style as a Mom.
#1 Recognize the season you’re in.
The reality is, some phases of motherhood are easier to feel like yourself than others. For example, when you have infants, breastfeeding and spit-up are real considerations. It doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain your style, but chances are, in this phase, it’s a little more difficult. Recognize it for what it is, do the best you can, and understand it doesn’t last forever.
Often, moms fail to realize when those tough times are over and claim they need easy-care, play-on-the-floor clothes when their kids have long outgrown that phase. Evaluate what season of motherhood you’re in, and ask yourself if you’re dressing for a phase that’s passed. If you stopped wearing big earrings 10 years ago because your baby pulled on them, it’s probably ok to put them back on!
#2 Buy for your “right now” life.
It’s tempting to spend your wardrobe budget on fun clothes for date nights and brunches, but if those things aren’t a regular part of your routine these days, don’t spend your money on them. The majority of your budget should be spent on clothes for the things you do the majority of the time. If that means trips to the park, buy cute park clothes. If you’re spending your days holding a sleeping baby on the couch, buy nice loungewear that makes you feel good. A lot of moms spend the majority of their lives in their worst clothes, and then wonder why they don’t feel their best.
If your body has changed, buy for your “right now” body, too. Give yourself grace and go buy the clothes you need to make it easy to get dressed right now–whatever size you are. When and if your body changes, you can buy new clothes, but struggling to get dressed because nothing fits is no way to live.
When you’re in a season of transition, buy less than you would in a longer-term phase. You need enough clothes to get dressed easily every day in a way that makes you feel good, but don’t go overboard on clothes you won’t wear long.
#3 Choose upgraded versions of the things you’re already wearing
Feeling like you have to “dress up” to have a better sense of style, is a common misconception. The trick to real, lasting style is to buy better, more interesting, versions of the things you’re already wearing.
For example, if you’re living in leggings, don’t buy 5 pairs of the same solid black basics. Mix it up a little with color or pattern, or go crazy with a faux leather version. If you’re a jeans-and-a-tee kind of woman, buy interesting jeans. Play with different washes and silhouettes to change up your look. Look for tees that go beyond basic with a little texture or pattern. These simple swaps will help you stay true to the way you’re really living while adding a ton of personality and style to your wardrobe.
#4 Find practical versions of the things you used to wear.
If you look at your closet with longing, feeling like you’ll never wear your cute clothes again, find ways to put elements of them into your current wardrobe. Used to live in dresses, but don’t want to put on a show at playgroup? Try a sweatshirt or sweater dress over leggings. If heels used to be your thing, but they’re not exactly park-friendly, try a wedge sneaker. If you were known for your glam looks, put a little sparkle and shine into your wardrobe with metallic flats or an embellished tee. You don’t have to let go of everything you love when you become a mom, you just have to know how to make them work for your life right now.
#5 Buy things you love.
Have you ever found yourself at a table full of tees or sweaters, passing by a color you love, and instead choosing the black (or gray) one because it “goes with everything”? Put down the safe choice, and instead, pick the one that lights you up. You can’t create a wardrobe you love out of clothes you don’t.
Train yourself to always, and only, buy clothes you absolutely love. Quiet that voice in your head that’s telling you to tone it down, or be more practical. Learn to say “Who cares?” when you wonder what people will think. The reality is, no one cares what you wear, and besides, you’re doing this for you, not them.
When you commit to only buying things you love, over time your wardrobe will begin to feel fun and personal, and you’ll feel more like yourself.
It’s easy to give every part of ourselves to motherhood, but you don’t have to! Reclaiming or maintaining your personal sense of style can help you hang on to your identity, and remind you that you were a person before you were ever a mom.
Have fun with your wardrobe at all stages, and remember, if you don’t love it, don’t buy it!