Your shape may be different than it was or you may be between sizes. Live in the now, Banks said, and address size changes as they occur. “You have to dress for the body you have, not the one you remember or wish for.”
Atlanta wardrobe stylist and mom of three Jules Salinas (http://www.styledbyjules.com) advises using a website that determines your body type based on measurements (like http://www.calculator.net/body-type-calculator.html) so that you can learn what suits your shape. “You also want to follow guidelines for balance and proportion. If you wear a fitted top, go with a wider pant or skirt on the bottom, and vice versa.”
As for pieces you already have, remember that just because you can get something on doesn’t necessarily mean it flatters. Salinas says, “I’d rather have five pieces in my closet that fit me and look great than 50 pieces that I’d look at and think ‘That used to fit me.’”
Do you have a game plan when you shop?
If not, it’s time to get one.
Salinas completes an image analysis with every new client to identify how a woman wants to be seen and how she wants others to see her. Once they zero in on an image goal, they analyze colors, assess the client’s wardrobe, and move on to shopping. She suggests clients create a style file of looks they love to get a sense of their fashion self. To do it, pay attention to the things in your closet that you always reach for and note what’s similar about them. Find pieces you like by window shopping at stores, in catalogs, or online at sites like Pinterest.
“Plug in one word, like skinny jeans, and poof! Hundreds of images come up with ways to wear them. Pinterest is inspiration central,” she said.
Cinda Boomershine, Atlanta mom of one (with another on the way) and founder of the cinda b line of accessories, is also a style file advocate, keeping a digital folder of trends she likes. “I tear out magazine pages of things that work for my body. Those pieces might be too expensive, but then I look for similar items when I go shopping.”
If you’re still not sure what’s really “you,” Salinas suggests sticking to classic looks and adding new pieces as your style evolves.
Once your day starts, you won’t have time for a clothing change. Your outfit has to work for all the things you do, whether it’s carpool, meetings, playdates or a combination of them all.
Boomershine relies on a “mom uniform” formula to pull off a casual chic look on most days. She starts with a solid color top and a dark jean, then adds a third piece, like a light cotton blazer in warmer months or a cashmere cardigan or scarf in cooler ones, to add dimension. Then she chooses a comfortable, eye-catching shoe and plenty of accessories. “There’s a bonus to accessorizing,” said Boomershine. “A great scarf or sweater can cover up child-related messes you may end up wearing!”
Basic pieces in colors that mix and match are key to creating a wardrobe that works for you. (See sidebar for closet must-haves our experts recommend.) According to Salinas, you can dress for comfort and still look sophisticated. “Leggings, a tunic, and a low-heeled boot are just as casual as yoga pants and sneakers, but far more polished.”
Although moms are always short on time, planning can mean the difference between getting out the door in sweats or in style.
Salinas helps clients separate their wardrobes into sections by color and item so that it’s easy to find coordinating pieces. She’s also a fan of photo mapping: snapping pics of outfits you love and putting them on the closet wall or posting them to a private Pinterest board or photo stream so that a go-to outfit is always at your fingertips. “It’s like ordering off a fashion menu!” she says. “We have so little time to spend on ourselves, so organization is everything.”
“Last minute never works,” Banks says. She spends time each weekend assigning outfits for what she has scheduled in the coming week, and keeps them in a special section of her closet so that she can grab and go. She said the time invested is worth it.
“Every time I step out the door, it’s an opportunity to look fabulous,” she says. “I’ve got to put myself on my list of important people to take care of.” c
– Dalia Baseman Faupel
The fashion experts we consulted name these pieces as wardrobe essentials.