CHUB LOVE: Being a mother needn't mean just giving up on looking good.
Nothing takes a young, hip girl out of her low-rise jeans and into her tired sweatpants faster than the advent of motherhood. At no time in a woman's life is it less easy to stay fashionable than when the baby's been wailing into the wee hours, your 10-month-old is throwing peas, and the breast-milk police are insisting that you can't even have a decent glass of wine to drown your stress. Yep, definitely not a super-stylish time.
In midfashion crisis, it's wise to get advice from an impartial party (say, someone who doesn't have Cheerio dust in her hair and bottles of formula in her purse). Enter none other than Ru Scott, owner of Punch in Santa Rosa. Scott has been bringing fashion to the people for 12 years, and as the head honcho of a thriving retail business, definitely knows about keeping it stylish under a time crunch. Here are a few gems of wisdom that just might get you to throw your husband's T-shirts back into his drawer and move into the wonderful world of sexy momma.
"Get a babysitter!" Scott admonishes. "Take one hour of the day, and make an appointment with a personal shopper." Boutiques like Punch offer personal shoppers, meaning that you will get the benefit of a trained eye who knows which clothing will look good with your body type. Personal shoppers will gently guide you into the understanding that just because those jeans looked good on Rihanna in People magazine doesn't always mean they will be a knockout on you. But some other pair definitely will be perfect for you, and the personal shopper makes it her mission to find them. "People are afraid to ask for help," Scott says, "but that's the point of a boutique, that one-on-one service."
OK, but what about the mom who prefers to go the independent route and shop privately? Scott has tips for the five basic items that every woman needs in her clothing repertoire. The first is no surprise: jeans. Everyone loves jeans. Dressy jeans, casual jeans, ripped jeans—but no one should love the dreaded "mom jeans." You can be a mom without the 'mom jeans,'" Scott says. (The dreaded "mom jeans" usually consist of an extraordinarily high waist and tapered legs, accompanied with socks and an unflattering pair of Keds. This simply will not do for the fashion-conscious mom, and designer jeans are here to save the denim day.)
According to Scott, baggy jeans deemed "boyfriend jeans" are raging into style now made popular by such fashionistas as Katie Holmes. Boyfriend jeans are perfect for the new mom with baby weight still hanging on for dear life. If boyfriend jeans aren't your thing, there are other styles of jeans casual enough for daily wear that still have the necessary touch of style to keep you current.
Must-have no. 2: the maxi-dress. Think long, flowing bohemian dress with an interesting print. Not all maxi-dresses need to be tentlike. Many are fitted snugly on top and through the middle, giving a flirty feminine look that can be dressed up or down depending on shoes and accessories. Throw on some ballet flats and a dainty necklace, and you've got the perfect outfit for a play date with friends. Cowboy boots lend the maxi-dress a trendier air and flip flops give a "straight-from-the-beach-sexy" look.
No. 3: tank-tops. Every mom who calls California home needs a steady stack of well-fitting tank-tops at hand. A nice quality tank-top can be a layering tool worn under a long-sleeved T-shirt or camisole, or can be worn alone with pants or a skirt.
No. 4: flowy shirts. Very versatile, very flattering, very comfortable, which really is all you can ask from a piece of clothing. Flowy shirts have made many a preggo sigh with delight, not to mention the postpartum moms who are a little curvier than expected.
No. 5: cute flats. Flats can be worn with practically anything. Jeans, shorts, dresses, skirts, you name it and an adorable pair of flats in a bright color will make it just that much better.
Not all moms can afford the "must-have" items. Some women find it a personal accomplishment to throw a couple of T-shirts into their cart while at Target buying baby wipes. Some scoff on principal at paying designer prices at trendy boutiques.
For these moms, good news is here. The economy, though crappy in a lot of ways, brings with it the little unexpected treat of lower clothing prices. According to Scott, many stores are offering large discounts on merchandise, and designers are actually lowering the original price of clothing to fall more in line with what people are willing to pay. "We have a whole line of price-conscious jeans," Scott says. "[You can get jeans at] practically Gap prices, but still wear designer brands."
Some moms have the funds but are lacking the fashion inspiration. Scott encourages moms to stay tuned into fashion, and believes that when you do, the inspiration will come. Paying attention to fashionable women with eye-catching style is a great place to start. Deconstruct their clothing to figure out what you like about it and how you can emulate it. At your favorite coffee shop, at a restaurant, in magazines, on television, these are all places to get ideas.
"Some women get into ruts or they're afraid to try new things," Scott says. "You can dress conservatively and practically and still be current and in style." Sometimes a well-fitting tee, jeans and a sweet little pair of flats can be just the thing.