Whether you are a working mom or a SAHM, the way you dress is important because not only does it affect how you look it affects how you feel. So read on to find out how you can look good and feel good in spite of the chaos that is motherhood.
Especially when you have young kids it’s so tempting to wear the same black yoga pants everyday with whatever t-shirt is reasonably clean, running shoes, and hair in a pony tail. It’s quick, easy and comfortable. But you know what? After a while, you get into a funk. After my first was born I didn’t even want to get out of my crusty torn sweatpants. My body was mangled, I was just “fat” instead of pregnant and without a bra my boobs hung down to my belly button! I felt like crap. I watched all the pretty people on television and remembered when I used to look like that. But, it was okay, I told myself, because I am a mother now and I wouldn’t trade it.
Well, guess what? After having the twins I realized that just because you are a mother doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice yourself. In fact, you shouldn’t. Looking good is feeling good. When you feel good about yourself you are in a better mood, which makes you a better person and a better mother. You can’t take care of your kids if you don’t take care of yourself first.
Being a working mother of three young kids I have learned a few tips for how to make yourself look and feel like a million bucks without actually spending a lot of time and money. Here are some of my top tips for making it work.
1. Invest in a good haircut. No matter what you are wearing, if your hair looks good it will elevate your appearance to the next level. After years of wearing a pony tail everyday I decided to make a change and the results were amazing. Work with your stylist to find a cut that works with your lifestyle. In my case, I needed something that was more wash and go (never blow dry my hair), was versatile (read I could still do the pony tail thing is needed) and looked good. My stylist gave a great haircut with choppy layers that frame my face. The cut requires minimal styling because the shape is in the cut, and the messier it gets, the better it looks. Long hair is great but it is a pain to style and if you wear it up 99% of the time, what have you got to lose?
2. Use double duty products. Instead of foundation I use a tinted beauty balm that moisturizes my skin as well as providing a light foundation. With a baby you don’t have a lot of time to be fussy with make-up, but bb cream is lightweight and can be worn alone (I find foundation looks weird if you don’t also wear some blush/ eyeshadow) along with a tinted lip gloss or tinted chapstick (like Nivea’s fruity shines, less than $4 each). For work (or home), I love Maybelline 24 hour lip colour because when you put it on in the morning it really does last all day (even after drinking etc.) I know I don’t have time to be freshening lipstick, nor do I want to have to clean up lip stick stains from my cups, the kids faces, my clothes etc.
3. Dress for your age. Trust me on this one. Dressing age appropriately will make you look younger not older. My heart sinks when I see a mom who looks like she is taking clothes out of her daughters closet. People always fight me on this, but I am sorry, most people will NOT take you seriously. Save the fun bright pink for your PJs.
4. Dress for your size. Same idea. You can take the cheapest of clothes and they will look good if they fit you properly. Even the most expensive jeans look trashy if you are pouring out of them (not to mention you won’t be very comfortable).
5. Invest in a few timeless pieces. While prints and colours are fun, invest (and by invest I mean do your best to get them at a discount but they will ever go as cheap) in a nice coat and pair of boots. There were lots of times I had to go out late night to the pharmacy for something and I was covered in dog hair and spit up but once I put my nice coat and boots on you would never know. Stick to basic colours like black because not only will they match everything they will last you for several years.
6. Never buy clothes you can’t wash. My house is a laundry free-for-all. I wash anything and everything together
(special baby detergent, I laugh at your special baby detergent). I don’t have time for hand wash, and certainly not the time and money for dry clean only. Pick things you can throw in the washer and dryer, even if it means passing by a really nice pair of wool pants. You’ll thank me later.
7. Learn to layer. Layering is great because not only will it allow you to adjust depending on the temperature, its a great back in case life gets in the way. Baby’s diaper leaked on your sweater? No problem, take it off to reveal a clean t-shirt underneath.
8. Running shoes are for running. Crocs are for crocodiling? (well they might as well be). Look, I know what you mean. I have Achilles tendonitis which means I have to be extra careful about how I choose my footwear, and I love running shoes, and I didn’t leave the house without my crocs when I was pregnant. But you can step it up a notch without sacrificing comfort. In summer I have a great pair of Sketchers shape ups sandals that are strappy and metallic. They look great with all my capris and maxi dresses but are still super comfortable and (supposedly) give you a better toosh. In the fall I love those suede booties because they are warm and comfortable and look good with mostly anything. For work I have a cute pair of short black booties that look good with pants or dresses and have just a small heel so they are comfortable to walk in, but still give a nice clicking sound when you walk down the hall.
9. Dresses are great. While on the surface dresses seem like they are more high maintenance they aren’t. Think about it. Pick out a dress and there’s your outfit, done. I lobe maxi dresses in the summer because they are cool and comfortable and you can still play in the playground without flashing the world. In the winter, sweater dresses are great because you even wear them with pants if it’s really cold or even jeans if you want to wear it like a tunic and dress it down for your day off.
10. Be organized. Whether I am working or it’s my day off mornings are always a busy blur of commotion, so the last thing you want to be doing is figuring out what to wear. Get your outfits together the night before, or even put them together when you are putting the laundry away so you can just wake up and go. One of my big secrets is shoe organizers (you know, the ones that hang on the door). They work great for everything. Not only do they keep your stuff organized and hide away in the closet, with clear pouches you can see everything at a glance. I have one for scarves, one for shoes, one for winter accessories, I even used to have one for make up.
Remember, it doesn’t happen all at once. Take one step at a time and try to incorporate one thing into your routine. Before you know it you will see how you look and feel better and that will encourage you to take your routine even further. You are not being selfish or conceited. You are investing a small amount of time and money in yourself, because you are worth it.
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