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Pieces From A Working Mom’s Wardrobe

June 14, 2011

I know that as mothers, we need to find balance with what’s important.  Taking care of family is definitely on the top of my list, but it’s important to remember to take care of yourself, too.  To me, looking good and feeling good are also on the same list.  As a working mother of a rambunctious 2-year-old, I struggle all the time with functional style.  How can I look and feel effortless?  Here are some things that I do to make it easy for myself to stay stylish.

1.  Easy, low maintenance fabrics – I would love for most of my weekend or casual wardrobe to be items that I can just grab and go with very little to no fuss.  This is why I have started to select pieces in my wardrobe that require no ironing, or what my husband calls “ironing by dryer” (throwing an item in the dryer for 10 minutes on high, then smooth out the wrinkles).  Some of these pieces are not always work clothes or clothes for an evening out, but are functional yet stylish pieces that I can literally throw on when I need to run to the store with Dominic in tow.  An example is the dress pictured above from Lulus.com.  It is 100% sheer polyester with a built-in lining.  I can wear it with a little cardigan or denim jacket, boots or sandals, grab my purse and his baby bag, then I’m ready to go.  I’m still completely comfortable, but I feel quite stylish.

2.  Versatile mid-heel and flat-heel shoes – I am a very big shoe fanatic, so it’s hard to believe that I would wear anything but knock-out-show-stopping heels.  Although I definitely do own those types of shoes, they aren’t practical for my everyday life.  Many of my casual shoes are like the boots pictured above, or the shoes pictured below.  The Jeffrey Campbell “Kelley” shoes look like any other Oxford in styling, but are like sandals due to the cut-outs on either side.  I’ve worn them with skirts, shorts, jeans and work pants (see my “40 for 40 for Lent” category for the many ways I remixed them).  The versatility makes them invaluable for my wardrobe.  But if you really want to know what my ultimate “go to” extreme casual flat is, look no further than the classic canvas Toms shoe, which are pictured in the header of my blog.

3.  When wearing higher heels, make sure they are strong & comfortable, preferably a wedged heel – I always worry about getting any kind of heel for casual day-to-day dressing because I don’t feel very secure in my footing when carrying Dominic, additional bags, or groceries.  I also worry about comfort during any kind of long trip or outing.  But I can attest to the fact that a wedge heel in a practical height will remedy any of those worries, as long as you “test drive” them first.  I just bought the shoes pictured below from DSW by Envy.  They are a medium wedged heel with a 1 inch platform.  I was happy to know when I received these shoes in the mail how well they fit and just how comfortable they are (which means no returns).  They can be worn with shorts and jeans, but I think the best partner for these cute, comfortable and practical shoes are my maxi-dresses and skirts.  Flats never seem to work for me when wearing anything long, so these are the perfect solution.

4.  A versatile grab & go purse – I want a purse that can carry all and should be easy to handle if I need to carry (or chase) my son.  I have two recently purchased bags that I have been interchanging on a daily basis, depending on what I need.  The first is the Moto Hobo bag by Foley + Corinna.  When you join their email list,  not only will you get great deals, but you also receive a $50 gift voucher for any purchase over $200 during the month of your birthday.  I was able to snag this great purse on sale, then added my coupon so I only paid $175 for a purse that was originally $450!  It’s roomy, slouchy and has a great strap drop.  I know I can carry it on my shoulder, but I could carry it cross-body if I have to.  It is in a wonderful supple leather and believe it or not, it’s still available (see the link at the bottom of the page to their website).  My next purchase from them will definitely be either a City or Mid-City tote because of the size and the detachable strap.

My newest obsession is the Morning After Clutch by Rebecca Minkoff.  Since my trip to their recent sample sale, I now own three!  What I like about the MAC is that it is a sleek 11″W x 7.5″H x 3″D with a 14″ strap drop.  This is actually larger than it appears in an online description, once the bag is up close and personal.  The strap is convertible and can either be worn cross-body, shortened to be hand carried or worn on the shoulder, or the strap can be removed to be a clutch.  Inside, there are several pockets and compartments for all of my “little things” that would otherwise get lost at the bottom of a larger purse.  What really has me excited about this purse is the quality.  The leather of two of the MACs I purchased are also soft and supple, like the Foley + Corinna bag.  The hardware is thick and durable.  But overall, it’s just a beautiful purse because everything about it is classic.

 That was just a little sneak-peek into what I think about when putting together an outfit or shopping for wardrobe pieces, which is basically practical and functional style that should and be as effortless as it appears.  How do you find your wardrobe/life balance?

Outfit – Audrey 3+1 dress; Aldo boots; Calvin Klein denim jacket; Vintage brooch; Rebecca Minkoff bag; Juicy Couture ring & necklace; H&M earrings; Michael Kors watch; Converse glasses

Jeffrey Campbell “Kelley” Oxford image courtesy of  Polyvore (from Norstrom here); Envy Tween Ankle Wrap Wedge Sandal image courtesy of DSW here; Moto Hobo bag images courtesy of Foley + Corinna here

27 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2011 6:01 am

    great advice…I would definitely say YES to a versatile purse…since I do not collect bags that often..I usually base my outfit on my shoes or bag…

    Kisses
    Sweet
    PensandLens
    @mistytewest

    • June 14, 2011 6:48 am

      Thanks Sweet! A versatile purse is a must for me, too. But I have a lot of purses (much to the dismay of my husband!). I’m selling a few of them to make more room in my closet, lol.

      xoxo

  2. June 14, 2011 7:00 am

    Floral dresses with jean jackets are one of my favorite ensembles for spring/summer! And Rebecca Minkoff is my newest unattainable handbag obsession (ever since I picked up a slightly damamged evening bag of hers at a discount store for 90% off). The black one you’ve pictured above is so versatile. I love it!

    • June 14, 2011 8:05 am

      Hi Kimi! You know, if you can get away with getting something at 90% off with a little damage, it’s ok. That means its an opportunity to be creative, right? I really do love denim jackets with floral dresses. When I go to England next year, I’m going to pick up a pair of Doc Martens to really do the combo up right! :)

      xoxo

  3. June 14, 2011 11:19 am

    I think these are fantastic tips for any busy woman! You look great in that little dress :)

    • June 14, 2011 11:54 am

      Thanks Stephanie! I’m glad you like the tips and you’re right, any busy woman wants to look and feel effortless!

      xoxo

  4. June 14, 2011 12:31 pm

    fantastic tips! I love those black espadrilles!! You denim jacket is soo cute with the sleeves rolled up!

    • June 14, 2011 1:07 pm

      Thank you! I’ve had that denim jacket for forever, and it’s a fantastic staple that I’m glad doesn’t ever go out of style :)

      xoxo

  5. June 14, 2011 12:38 pm

    Cyrillynn,
    I love your printed dress. These are all great ways to versify your garments/accessories. I know I always carry a versatile bag with me (mostly because you never know what unexpected places you may need t go). I am also a fan of low maintenance and iron-free fabrics. haha!
    Have a great day! ;)
    Madison

    • June 14, 2011 1:04 pm

      Thanks Madison! Totally. I remember reading your suggestions about packing light, and I think the less the fuss the better.

      xoxo

  6. June 14, 2011 7:47 pm

    Great tips- the shoes are a biggee for me. They have to be wearable- I walk and ride my bike so I need shoes to take me places.

    • June 14, 2011 8:22 pm

      Thanks Bella and I completely agree. I know I love heels, but when I’m out and about with my hubby and kid, my feet need to last as long as my shoes do!

      xoxo

  7. June 15, 2011 4:41 pm

    Love the denim jacket over the floral!

    • June 15, 2011 7:54 pm

      Thanks V! I rocked this back in the 80′s, and I’m still doing it now, lol :)

      xoxo

  8. sarah permalink
    June 16, 2011 10:20 am

    I think the little flowery dress would look great on someone younger. The boots are totally the wrong shape for this look, and the purse is horrible. All that heavy gold bling too – so out of place with such a light, boho look. Sorry – I think the clothes are very wrong for you, and I also feel that putting things together like this – kind of mis-matched, cute/arty/feminine/little girly does not work on older women. I”m not so young myself, and I love to put odd things together – but I think the older we get, the more careful we have to be. it’s easy to throw things on (or even take ages to look like we threw stuff on) when we’re in our 20′s, and it’s forgiven. Looking a hot mess when you’re an older mom – not so cute. I think you should select your quirky pieces a bit more carefully, and if you like this flowery/western take on things – wear a longer and less pouffy skirt, less metal in general, and please try and get the boots right – they shouldn’t have these huge, 70′s style heel and big round toes unless you’re going for a retro look and then everything needs to be changed up. See what I mean? if you want to just look thrown together, I think you need to be very very careful. Wanted to add – I see you mention how you ‘rocked’ this in the 80′s…well, that’s my point exactly.

    • June 16, 2011 10:29 am

      Thanks for visiting my blog, but I guess we all like different ways of dressing, which is what makes us all who we are!

      BTW -the skirt is only pouffy because the wind was blowing behind me, otherwise the dress lays pretty flat.

      Take care!

      xoxo

    • June 16, 2011 3:59 pm

      I’m going to have to completely differ in opinion on this comment. Iris Apfel, an indisputable fashion icon, and more so the older she gets would completely disagree. One does not need to be more careful in our dress as we age- one needs to be more expressive. Opinions are great, and I value those even if I may disagree with them, and even more so I value the old adage: advice is worth as much as you paid for it.

      I remember posting a look for my first fashion contest (via Kristy Elena’s Vogue Gone Rogue) and some commenter totally tore my look apart- calling me an ugly Christmas tree just needing some lights. LOL! I competed against women half my age- and came in second- losing to a blonde professional model in her teens. Bottom line: Take this feedback with a grain of salt- there might be bits of it you can use to refine your outfit, but remember playing safe is boring which is the biggest fashion don’t.

      • June 16, 2011 4:26 pm

        Iris Apfel is a fashion GODDESS! Thanks Bella. At 41, I stopped playing safe a long time ago!

        And you always look so unique and original. You truly make me feel like I should never be afraid to be me. It’s what I love about you!

        xoxo

      • June 16, 2011 4:28 pm

        Cyrillynn, first off: I absolutely adore this outfit and you look amazing in it. And just so you know you’re not the only 40+ working mom out there rocking this look, here’s something similar from me: http://bit.ly/huqrc5 (I like your boots better, though!)

        As for the rest: Bella speaks truth (as always). I’d only add that I’ve been realizing lately how I tend to think snarky and critical thoughts about other women when I’m feeling insecure myself. I can’t imagine how insecure a person would have to be to actually seek out people to criticize and invest the kind of time that comment took to write.

        You’ve got a new fan here — following and adding you to my reader. So glad to have met you!

        • June 16, 2011 4:57 pm

          Glad to have met you, too! I’m happily stuck on your blog right now, looking through all your wonderful outfits (there’s a fantastic pink & black dress that looks amazing on you). Thank you for your kind words and I’m so happy to be in great company!

          xoxo

    • June 16, 2011 4:19 pm

      wow… i’m going to have to disagree completely with sarah. this is actually one of my favorite looks of yours. it’s funny actually b/c i clicked on the link that bella of citizen rosebud tweeted which brought me first to the comments, so i read the comment before scrolling up to see the look and was expecting something completely different. sarah’s description seems like it’s of a completely different outfit.

      i don’t see too much hardware at all. the bag has some and then there’s the watch but i like the gold with this outfit. i think it’s the perfect accent and helps to ‘dress up’ the look precisely so that it doesn’t look ‘thrown together’ in a bad way.

      i don’t find the dress poofy at all. i find it very simple and flowy and i like that the flowery pattern is understated. the color of the dress works really well with the contrasting blue of the jean jacket.

      as for the boots, i find them perfect and i’m REALLY picky about boots. i hate point boots and like that these have a slightly rounded toe… but compared to many other boots from doc martens to vermacht, the toe isn’t all THAT rounded as sarah suggests. it’s subtle and just right.

      i don’t usually like to rip apart peoples’ comments or anything b/c we’re all entitled to our own opinion, but i particularly dislike it when people talk about age as a reason why anyone should or shouldn’t do something. i don’t think we need to be ‘more careful’ as we get older… i think as we get older we should have a better grasp of our personal style thanks to experience but the idea of being more careful depresses me beyond belief. who made this rule that women are supposed to stop having fun and being carefree as they get older? it’s not like you’re prancing around in something inappropriate like a hot pink tube top and ass-less chaps or something that might look like it came off a tween. you’re dressed entirely appropriately and very cutely for a nice summer day. and you are soooo far from a ‘hot mess’ it actually makes me laugh that the term was used in response to this look. again, i’m not trying to start anything but i know from first hand experience how much unfair negative comments hurt. though you handled it really beautifully.

      anyone who knows anything about fashion knows that style is subjective. sure there are people in the world who might have more widely accepted style, but at the end of the day we all disagree on what the best kind of style is. i think you look awesome but what’s most important is how you feel in this outfit. and you look like you feel great and are having fun, and to me that’s the most important part about style. not the specific items, but the attitude that exudes from the person wearing the outfit. and most definitely, good style is not derived from over-analyzing and second-guessing every single little detail so that your outfits lose all character.

      rock on, love. you look awesome.

      • June 16, 2011 4:28 pm

        You had me at “ass-less chaps”, Kristy. Thank you always for your support. This was pefectly said. I am always having fun with my wardrobe and I’m glad that it comes off that way :)

        xoxo

    • Rholnna permalink
      June 16, 2011 9:16 pm

      sarah…you must be very jealous of the way she looks. you probably wouldn’t feel the way you do if Cy didn’t tell her age. in which, i think she looks great . i believe she is the only person that i know that can pull any type of look. if she did “rock this in the 80s” well i think you should know a lot of styles have come back from every decade possible. when we were all younger we dressed they way we wanted to and granted some of the outfits did not look right, but being older and more mature we now can figure out what looks good on and what doesn’t. but as for Cy she already knows what looks good. honestly, i myself am a little jealous that she can pull all these different looks because i know for a fact that i could never pull them off the way she can. at least she can style all her clothes together. are you basically telling her to dress her age because i think the way you should dress, you dress for you and how you feel. do you expect her to wear a “moo-moo?”(however you spell it). her styles give me ideas on what i can wear or put together. the one thing is when it does come to fashion i can always count on her to help me put together clothes. all in all everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it just meant that one more person decided to check out her blog. in which, i am very proud of her putting out a fashion blog for others to enjoy or not.

      just me,
      Cy’s baby sister :)

      • June 16, 2011 9:31 pm

        Awww, my baby sister! Thanks so much. I really appreciate everything you said :)

        Love you!
        xoxo

Trackbacks

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