22 June 2012

Guest Post: Wardrobe Oxygen on Being a Stylish Mom

A while back, in anticipation of an actual vacation, I asked a few online friends if they would be so kind as to "pen" a guest post for me while I'm away. I realized after the fact that the women I've asked all have voices that have become important to me - all for different reasons. So I'd like to share them with you.

Alison of Wardrobe Oxygen has a smart, sassy, straightforward, and sweet (have you seen her daughter on Instagram?) way of giving plain 'ol the best style advice. She is, truth be told, my blogging teacher. She walks the delicate balance between advice, outfit posts, and just enough of her personal life to make sure you know tht She's Real. Here's what she has to say.


It truly is possible to balance family and fashion, to have style even if you have little ones in your brood. DC Celine is proof positive that you can be stylish and still be a spectacular parent.

Do you know the name of five different Real Housewives? Have you read the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy? How many times have you visited Target in the past month? If you have time for these activities, you have time to infuse fashion into your life, and I will give you a few tips on how to do it without being overwhelmed, stressed, or short on time.

1. First things first – if you haven’t done so in the past year, get a professional bra fitting. This doesn’t mean Lane Bryant, you want to visit a high-end department store or specialty boutique where the staff has been trained for hours on the proper way to fit one for a bra. Get at least two bras a year – one nude, one black.

2. Buy a simple wardrobe. There is no need for a closet full of the hottest trends (or a closet full of dry-clean only designer duds) to be stylish. You don’t need a dozen pair of shoes or six different washes of denim in your drawer. Solid colors, machine-washable fabrics, pieces that mix and match with ease. Check my list of wardrobe staples for some suggestions.

3. Shop online. Which would you rather do on a Saturday morning – wrangle toddlers through aisles of a department store, trying to ignore glares as they scream and yank dresses off hangers, spend an hour surfing the ‘net and using the rest of the time to spend quality time with your family? I do 90% of my clothing shopping online. I stick to brands and retailers I know fit, and have great exchange and return policies. I have online shopped while nursing, with a baby asleep on my chest, on my lunch hour at work. Not only do I buy clothing online, I also purchase beauty products, diapers, books, and homegoods. I go to stores only for specific items that I can’t find online or I need to try on in person. The less time in the mall, the more time to spend with the family.

4. Focus on style, not trend. Think of popular style icons – they have almost a uniform they wear every day, not a huge variety of colors and silhouettes. Anna Wintour has had the same bob haircut for eons, Carolina Herrera is known for her crisp white shirts, even Rachel Zoe has a uniform of downtown boho style that doesn’t change drastically from season to season. Create a small, core wardrobe and just add minor details to keep it current.

5. Have a “Me Day” every other month. Just one day every eight weeks will drastically change your outlook and personal style. Get your partner, best friend, or a babysitter just for a few hours six times a year for a lifetime of confidence and style. Use this day to get your hair cut, your roots touched up. Get your brows waxed, a professional pedicure, maybe a facial or massage. Read recent magazines focusing on fashion to stay current. On this day get the mall shopping done that you can’t get done online. During this time, treat yourself to a glass of wine or an iced latte and find the pleasure in a day to yourself, focusing on yourself. This may seem selfish, but you’re a better caregiver if you yourself are in great condition and calm.

6. Give yourself a break! Don’t be so hard on yourself, no one is perfect. Creating a stylish exterior will improve your outlook and self-confidence, but worrying too much of it will creat imbalance in your life. Small steps – choosing a solid over a print, buying a more classic cut of jean, purchasing quality instead of quantity will make big differences with little time and effort. Care for yourself, and you can better care for others!

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