Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beyond Mom jeans

My friend Lynsey (The Sassy Southerner) has asked for help revamping her stay at home wardrobe.  She says:
I have three (young) kids and haven't gotten out much, so just about all I have in my closet are jeans, shorts, sweats, and t-shirts. As my oldest daughter is in school now, I need ideas for casual, comfortable outfits that don't scream "I am a stay at home mom", but I don't need a corporate wardrobe, either, as that is impractical for my current lifestyle.  Oh, and I don't want "mom jeans" either!!
Given that Ms. Lynsey was plenty stylish during our days at Texas A&M, I think she'll be just fine with a few new basics.   Here is my criteria for the stylish mom wardrobe:
  • Wash and wear clothes that require little ironing and no dry cleaning
  • You can bend over and pick up a small child in every outfit
  • Outfits are easy to put together, but still look like you chose them and didn't just throw something on
  • Nice enough to chat with your daughter's teacher without wishing you wore something else
For tops, I chose casual pieces that can be layered and paired with jewelry to get a lot of wear.  I think that everyone needs a selection of solid tees and tanks that can be paired with a big necklace when you're in a hurry or layered under cardigans when it gets cooler.  Don't be afraid of colors or tone-on-tone pattern, but be sure you've got a black, white and navy top in the mix.

Old Navy Crochet Hem V-Neck Tee - $19.50
Lands End Canvas Pleat Front Tank - $24.50
Lands End Canvas Rib Tank Top - $14.50
Lands End Canvas Heritage Crewneck Tee - $14.50
The Limited Knot Collar Tank - $24.99
Down East Basics Empress Top - $26.99

Next, you need to have a few of these Timeless Vee sweaters from The Limited in your closet.  The range of colors is great, the material isn't too thick for spring time in Texas (or anywhere else for that matter) and you can wear them with tailored shorts, dark jeans, dress pants or skirts.  Plus, they can go in the dryer and still come out without pilling or shrinking.  It's like wearing a t-shirt, just a little more polished. (And only $19.99!)

And of course, you'll need a couple of cardigans.  I recommend black, blue and at least one jewel tone.  Ann Taylor LOFT has great options for under $40 and they hold up well in the washer and dryer.

For bottoms, make sure your jeans have a uniform dark wash (you all know I recommend Gap's Long & Lean jeans) and then find a knee length denim pencil skirt to work into the rotation along with some dark khaki/brown, gray and black knee length shorts, which are more flattering than you may think. (If I can wear them, so can you!)  You can mix and match pretty much any of the items above with dark jeans or the bottoms below.  When it gets cold, substitute the long shorts for cotton trousers in the same neutral colors.  Just beware of the cargo and yoga pant...

Down East Basics Hot to Trot Skirt - $44.99 
Old Navy Perfect Khaki Bermudas - $24.50
Lands End Canvas Womens Boot Cut Chinos - $39.50

Finally, I think the most important part of looking pulled together and not too casual is the accessories.  Even the most basic pair of khaki shorts and navy tee shirt becomes a cute outfit when you add the large turquoise necklace.  You should also consider a long, chunky silver necklace and another in gold tones.  Grab cuff bracelets and fun earrings as well.

Hopefully this has been helpful and will help Lynsey navigate through a busy spring and summer looking like the stylish mom that she is.  If you'd like some help picking an outfit (or a new wardrobe) let me know and I'll give it a shot!


  1. I think these suggestions are great for teachers, too. Comfortable, easy to maintain, stylish, yet still professional. Great choices!

  2. You did a great job, Haley. LOVE the suggestions. Still coming back to them a year later! Sorry I didn't comment and tell you before--I just noticed that I didn't!



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