Friday, November 7, 2014

Discovering YOUR Look After The Diaper-Bag Years

Recently, I admired an acquaintance’s shoes while we were waiting on the blacktop. “Oh yeah,” she said. “I decided, now that my youngest is in kindergarten, to finally get 'grown-up' shoes again. It was a lot harder than I thought. I don't know how to find a new look!” I immediately understood. Once a mother is past the diaper-bag and toddler stages of her littlest one's life, she often realizes that that all of her clothes, shoes, and accessories are utilitarian, rather than fashionable. They're designed to hide spit stains, are easy on/easy off, good for wrestling and chasing children in, and have enough room for diapers, snacks, drinks, extra clothes, toys, etc.

Discovering your look at different stages of your life can be VERY challenging!

In Charise's case, not only were her clothes more practical than pretty, but she had no idea who she is now. We aren't the women we were before we had our children. We're older and possibly in a different decade of our lives. We may not be working while our wardrobes are still predominately business attire. We often have a better idea of what the other people in our lives think we should look like (husbands, partners, parents, friends) rather than knowing what WE like.

So how to you discover your look NOW? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Look at magazines and websites. Put down the parenting rags and look at sources designed for people of your own age and situation. For example, Charise is no longer a working, 30-something Wall Street manager; she's now a 40-something stay-a-home mother whose needs are different than they were before. She wants stylish clothes that fit her daily life. You'll find a list of helpful sites at the end of this post.

  2. Take some time to yourself to investigate stores you like and try on different clothes. Yes, this is time-consuming and I, for one, find it unpleasant, but it's necessary. You don't have to buy from those stores, but trying garments on will give you an idea of what looks good on you and what you like. Take pictures with your camera phone. You can always order styles online, often at a fraction of the cost of store inventory.

  3. Notice women you admire who might be in situations similar to yours with similar body types. I've admired women on the blacktop, in the grocery store, and even waiting for my daughter at gymnastics. I keep watching them to see what pieces they have in their wardrobe that I like and try to remember for when I do go shopping for myself. 

  4. Don't be afraid to shop in the mens or other departments. Some of the best flannel shirts I've ever bought, good for hanging out in on snowy days or wearing over leggings to a friend's house have come from the mens section of a store. 

  5. Look for multi-purpose pieces. Large scarves are not only fashionable, but can be worn as shawls on cold days. Scarves themselves add a sophisticated touch to any wardrobe. Intimidated by how to fold them? Here's a link that will show you 38 (!) ways to tie a scarf.

  6. For hairstyles, again, check out websites or go to a hair salon you trust and ask what they suggest. Now that you're no longer limited by the prospect of a baby hanging on to your locks for dear life, you have many more options. (One of my most liberating moments was when I realized that could, once again, wear dangle earrings without the fear of a baby tearing off my earlobe.)

  7. Find out what a store's return policy is before you buy those heels. I think fashion should be practical and without pain, so even though you don't have to dash after a toddler anymore, nor should your feet suffer with blisters just so you can look good. 

  8. Don't forget to check your closet for pieces you can use. I have so many purses that are still useful. I've glued on flowers or other decorative pieces to update them and make them coordinate with what I'm wearing. Here's where you can put your creative juices to good use!

    My formerly-stained purse.  I just glued a flower over the stain and now it works!

And again, think about what YOU like! Just because your mother says you should dress in black because “it looks slimming, Dear” doesn't mean you have to. If your husband wants you to wear heels when you go out, but they kill your feet, invite him to wear them instead! Your appearance says everything about you, the real you, not the “box” others have placed you in. Embrace yourself for the person you are NOW, not the shadow who you once were. The diaper-bag and toddler years are over – go find yourself!

Here are some resources to find the look you want at any age:

Hairstyles For Fall/Winter 2014: (Hint: variations on the pony tail are hot this season!)


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Please note that this post originally appeared, as a guest post, on the website htttp://

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