Thursday, May 17

The Mall and the SAHM...

It really is possible to look good and be a SAHM. And this is possible without spending much more time every day. It’s all about mindful shopping. I know I have written about this before, but this is something that is important to all women, no matter our lifestyle or responsibilities.

As I walked down the mall, I had two women in front of me pushing strollers. They were friends, chatting with each other as they window-shopped. They were both in their 30s, both of average size, both with straight blonde hair and I believe even had the same strollers. That was where the similarities ended. One was in baggy over-washed black cotton capris that ended at the widest part of her calf. She paired this with a pink, black and white horizontally striped polo shirt that hit right at her waistband and with it a pair of black flip flops. Her hair was half up in a claw clip, though most was slipping out and fanning out around her head. She looked dumpy, disheveled and her clothes looked cheap. Her friend was also in black capris, but they were of a very heavy knit and fit her frame quite well. Paired with it was a turquoise boatneck ¾ sleeve top that hit at mid-hip. On her feet were black ballet flats and her hair was held back with a black elastic headband. Her outfit was just as low-fuss and easy care, yet she looked slimmer and more polished. Both wardrobes can go in the washer and dryer. Both outfits were comfortable and easy. The difference was that the woman in the turquoise seemed more mindful of what she was purchasing.

1. Don’t buy 100% cotton unless you love to iron. It wrinkles, and even an extra 10 minutes in the dryer won’t get those wrinkles out. Also, cotton is known to fade after many washings. Cotton clothes soon look rumpled, old and worn. You don’t have the time and money to replace them, so don’t buy them in the first place.

2. If your tummy is not your best feature, then don’t showcase it. Tops that hit right at your midsection draw attention to that area. Tucked-in tops emphasize the lower abdomen, and tops that are too tight do not flatter anyone. Look for tops that hit around mid-hip. This length is slimming to the torso without making the legs look short. No need for baggy tops – they often add bulk instead of hiding it. Look for something that either skims the body or sits pretty darn close. This will show you have the figure of a woman, not a sack of potatoes.

3. Flip flops are for the beach, not the mall. I say this often on here, but flops are bad for your feet. Your arches sink, you pull muscles between your toes and they do more harm than good. They are great when hopping in the car to drop the kid off somewhere, tooling around the garden, the pool or the shore but that’s about it. To preserve your feet for your future and not look sloppy, invest in some real shoes. Ballet flats are a great alternative and can be found for less than $20 at retailers like Target. A leather sandal in tan will go with 90% of your wardrobe and be more structured and attractive than a flip flop. This change affects your personal style as well as your personal health.

4. With skirts, dresses, shorts and capris, have them end at a slim part of the leg. Your thigh and your calf are the widest parts and when clothing ends there, it gives the appearance that your entire leg is that size. Do your figure a favor and if the garment is perfect except for the length, take them to the tailor. For about $5 they can hem it to a better place.
5. Consider solids. Stripes and patterns may add variety and you may think they hide stains, but they often look cheap and quickly look dated. A solid polo in French blue can look crisp with a pair of khaki Bermudas; a striped one can make you look bigger and often looks cheaper. The best way to make your bargain piece look more expensive is to buy it in a solid color, free of garment-dyed finishes, contrast stitching or elaborate details. Go for simple and you’ll go for gold.

6. Read the label. If it says Dry Clean Only, don’t buy it unless you have time and money for such a service. If it tells you to dry flat, it’s telling you not to buy it. You don’t have the time for this, and if you don’t follow the instructions you will probably ruin the shape or finish of the garment.

7. If it’s great, buy two. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I went and bought two more pairs of pants that I already owned and loved. They were the right length, color, fabric and fit. No one is taking a tally of how many styles of garments you own, all people notice is if you look nice. You found a great wrap top that flatters and fits and is easy care and perfection? Get it in black, pink and teal. Found a wrap dress that can hit the dryer as well as the dance floor? Get it in solid black and also in the red print. This is also true for shoes – get them in the neutral you wear most often (black or brown) and then get them in one other color (tan or a contrast shade like red pr green). If they are awesome, they are worth it.

8. Adjust your hair to your life. If you don’t have time to blow out your hair every morning, then get a cut that allows you to wash and wear. If you have bad hair days, you are human. Work with it with flattering accessories. Claw clips seem like a quick fix but look sloppy more often than not. Headbands are hip right now – great time to stock up. Also nothing is wrong with a low ponytail; side parts are flattering on rounder faces and a little hairspray on your brush or comb will help battle flyaways.

9. Buy a new bra. Whether or not you breastfed, your breasts will not be the same as they were pre-baby even if your waistline is. With any weight changes, your breasts change as well. Nothing makes you look firmer and fitter than a supportive bra. Also nothing makes you feel more like a woman than to have a gorgeous red satin and lace number under your standard tee shirt.

10. Keep the active wear for the gym. Knit shorts, baggy tee shirts from a vacation destination, matching hoodies and pants are not appropriate for “the real world.” It is just as easy to buy a feminine cut of tee shirt than to buy an oversized one.

11. Don't shy from a skirt or dress. If it hits around the knees, you can still crawl on the floor and run around without trouble. A skirt is always more polished, and a great tee-shirt style dress is easier to put on in the morning than a whole outfit. The one pictured is less than $40 by Jones New York, I found it at Nordstrom.

12. Show your personality. You are more than a mom, you are an amazing and vital woman. Wear your favorite colors, buy a leopard print shoe or a bold necklace. Small touches take your standard day wear from uniform to amazing with little work.

Read this whole article at the blog, What Every Woman Needs in Her Wardrobe


Mommy Bee said...

Fantastic tips, thanks so much! I will need to buy basically a whole new wardrobe after I have my baby (no idea what size I'll be and I think I'll print out this list to help me out.

Daniel said...

I think your tips are so great. I talked it to my friends on we are sure from now on we will to do as what you said. thanks for your goode suggestion.

Darcy said...

Such good advice! I love these kinds of posts.


Anonymous said...

AMEN! :)

It amazes me how many women wear those chunky clunky 4" high flip flops. If you're clothing is chunky, that's how you're going to look.

I've started switching to skirts and the same thing goes for sewing. Love the pattern you've just made? Make 3 more!

Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

This is a great post.

I often remind my daughter of this. She's a mom to four children from newborn to five but she's also the wife of a professor.

She was felt guilty last year investing in a few new clothes so wouldn't look frumpy and I told her I was proud of her!

Nancy said...

Beautiful blog! Great post, though I'm sad to say that I own hardly any of the pieces mentioned. And off-topic....where do you get all your beautiful graphics? I'm new to blogging.

Mimi said...

I very much agree with this, in fact I was thinking about it this morning (although I work so I do wear work clothes).


Anonymous said...

Great post! I know that I specifically need to work on this when I am around the house. I dont even leave the house looking dumpy and I usually try to look good for my hubby when he gets home from work (unless I am feeling sick due to my pregnancy). But as for the rest of the time, I am usually running around in flipflops and my hubby's boxers. Not very feminine at all. I am hoping that a second child will force me to have more of a schedule about this. :) I know I will soon have to make a concerted effort to actually get ready each day.

Jess Connell said...

Great tips, thanks Emma!

MamaBirdEmma said...

I'm glad that you all liked this article! Though I bend the rules this author puts forth (yes, I wear a claw clip, A LOT!), I thought her point was great!

Hi Nancy!

I search for all of my graphics on Google images. It almost always works like a charm!

Anonymous said...

I think these are good tips indeed, but as a fellow Christian, I honestly feel that God wants me to not dwell so much on my wardrobe to this extent. And besides, I do not believe he intended for us to be carbon-copies of one another. Are we not originals with various tastes and talents?

I have spent too much of my time trying to look like other ladies (all that neatness - it's just not me). I look horrible in lipstick and choose to spend my $$$ on quality shampoos and skincare instead of make up. I go for clothes I feel feminine in as well as clothes that make me feel like the person God created me to be instead of buying into generic looks that every contempo Christian woman is wearing these days. Barf when I think of that horrid shag made popular by so many contempo Christian authors, speakers and artists!

I think we ought to teach our children to take care of their bodies (that God gave them) but not to dwell too much on this commercial, material appearance available at the mall. We need to quit looking at others clothes and start looking at their hearts and souls.

Why do we spend so much time knit-picking the trivial of a person? These "frumpy" dressers may need love more than ridiculous criticism and judgment. That woman may not have the resources or support at home to dress better OR perhaps she doesn't care to dress just like you or other women. . . maybe she likes what she wears and feels most confident in clothes you wouldn't be caught dead in.

I'm trying to imagine Jesus as the author of this entry, and honestly, I just can't imagine He's at the right hand of God talking about this subject with the Father.

You may be hurting someone who needs to know they are loved by God. And He doesn't really care if you're dressed like a ragamuffin or a royal.

Sherry said...

These are good, general rules to avoid frumpiness, and don't require that much time to implement. Skirts are definitely in now, and really are comfortable. I think a lot of us kinda forgot that.

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