Tuesday, July 20, 2010

stay at home mom style: better than yoga pants

Did you glam up your mom uniform today? If you did, I'd love to hear how :)

I wore my swimsuit all day, and I have the pink nose to prove it.

Now, where were we? Oh, yes! I told you that I had taken some of the yoga pants style boards and changed out the yogas for more stylish (but still comfortable!) options. I also switched out the sneakers for shoes that are only slightly less comfy, but loads cuter. Those are the only changes I made! Switched out the pants & switched out the shoes. Easy! I think you'll like the results :)

But, first, we might as well go ahead and talk about comfort and get that out of the way. Comfort is often a tired mom's #1 priority in clothing. I'm not at all in agreement with the famous French philosophy that adheres to the "you must suffer to be beautiful" line of thinking, but on the other hand, I do think that too much comfort during the day can amplify feelings of sluggishness, low energy, and even the blues. Moms need to think through what they want when it comes to comfort. Super cozy clothes make you want to take a nap! Dress codes are in place in work situations for more than one reason, but among them is the thought that clothes that look the part make you feel the part and that makes you act the part. If you're dressed in clothes that might as well be jammies, what's that going to do to how you feel about yourself and your day? The answer isn't the same for everyone, but it is something to consider. We all have days where we just want to snuggle up on the sofa with the kiddos and watch 3 videos in a row (those are great days for actual jammies), but most of us have things we need to accomplish each day. However small our list, I believe that the clothing we choose will influence our attitudes more than many of us realize.

So, comfort? Yes! But within limits and kept in its place? Definitely!

I think, too, what we find to be comfortable is somewhat learned. It's what we're used to. Men, for instance, that never wear neckties practically die when they have to put them on. They hate them. Men that have been wearing neckties regularly for years still may not love them, but they don't wince at the idea of them, either. High heels are in a similar vein for women. I have friends who aren't used to them at all and can't fathom choosing anything but tennis shoes for a date night. That's fine if they're good with that - but I think if they gradually worked their way out of their comfort zone, they might find that they could try a flat or a stylish sandal without much fuss. Sometimes all it takes is breaking (or even just stretching) a habit or preference.

Yoga pants and sneakers are undoubtedly comfy. I know that my suggestions in this post are not exactly comparable in the coziness arena. They are, though, still reasonably comfortable for a mom who will be bending, stooping, crawling, sitting criss-cross-applesauce, running, and standing all day long, every day. Worth a try, anyway.

The first item up is jeans. Very familiar. Very standard. Easy.

Easy except for that whole fit thing. I can hear the scowls and growls now. If you're really starting from the bottom (no pun intended) with finding a fit that's right for you, I'd recommend spending a little time online reading up on a google search like "jeans for body type" or "right jeans for you". I often will click through two or three pages of results before I find a site that's actually useful, but - if I persevere - there's almost always a helpful article or two to be found. I mentioned in a previous post that Stacy London and Clinton Kelly have a great little book called Dress Your Best. It has lots of valuable info for dressing for your body type.

Now, you know about the Mom Jean. If your jeans are a light color, possibly pleated, with a tapered leg, and a high waist (or even an elastic waist!) - they might very well be Mom Jeans. The jeans I have pictured above are going to be a leap of faith for some gals, but they're the direction you want to head toward if you're trying to get out of Mom Jeanville. Keep the wash dark if you have any doubts, even very dark, and look for a nice, thick denim that will help smooth out and flatter your shape. I have a softer middle, so I steer clear of low-rise jeans, opting instead for a medium rise. This basically just means that my softer areas are not pooching over the top of my jeans (not much, anyway - ahem), all of my drawers stay covered when I bend down, yet the waistband is still below my belly button. If you're postpartum, though, or if you wear a larger size, I think a higher waist is totally fine as long as your shirts come down low enough so that no one really knows the difference.
These Lands' End jeans in "dark denim" are good examples - on sale now, too! I had two very similar pair this past winter when I had a few extra pounds on. But, you should be warned, all Lands' End "classic", "traditional", and "natural" fit jeans should be regarded as highly likely candidates for Mom Jeanhood. Oh, and another hint: don't tuck your high waisted jeans in with a tiny flower print shirt. Lands' End. Tread carefully.

The jeans in these mood boards are from Banana Republic, I think. I have a pair of their medium rise jeans and they actually work just fine for my mom body. Now... getting to the style boards. Here's one of the yoga pants boards that turned out pretty cute. It could be much cuter, though, if our hypothetical mom would trade out those yoga pants for a pair of well-fitting jeans and some comfy, but more stylish, shoes.

Here's the yoga board. Cute enough?

Now, only changing the pants and shoes.

We've crossed over into Stylish Mama territory. Maybe it's hard to tell from the photos, but in person those changes would make a huge difference! Do those sandals look like torture for your feet? (I bet they aren't bad once broken in), but here's another option with flats instead.

I would totally feel cute in this! Where would I wear it, you ask? Well, I think this is an area similar to ideas about comfort in that it's learned. I dress up way more than all of my friends when we do "normal" things together. I'm just used to it now. I would wear this - silver shoes and all - to the library, the grocery store, the mall, a kids' museum, lunch at a fast food place, you name it! If I were going to a park where I'd be likely to walk a lot or climb on the playground with my children, though, I'd opt for a cross between the yoga look and this one. I'd wear the jeans instead of the yogas, but I'd wear the sneaks instead of the flats. No scarf at an active park, but the necklace would be fine.

Actually, you know what I'd wear? I'd wear these.

With broken in black flats, since the silver flats seem more than a tad overdone for a park situation. What do you all think of these jeans? I actually own jeans like these. I roll my cuffs a little more neatly and my jeans aren't quite as distressed (meaning - I have fewer tears and holes), but I have 'em. And I love 'em. Love them. They keep my dressier tendencies in check and give a relaxed, youthful feeling to my preppy side.

Plus, they're very comfortable.

I know, I know. Someone wants to know why jeans with holes and tears are more chic than yoga pants. If you can't wear yoga pants in public, why can you wear torn up jeans? Good question. I will say that I was careful to buy distressed jeans that didn't show skin. My tears still have all of the cross threads, so they're technically not holes (as I explained to my 9 year old). But mostly, the answer is just marketing. These jeans are trendy right now. Somethings are just the way they are because that's the way they are.

You know I'm not one for lots of trends, but one here or there is fun. These jeans were a great buy for me this summer :) Here they are replacing the yoga pants along with those black ballet flats I mentioned. But, first, the yogas...

I actually do wear this. My cardi is a lightweight sweater, but it's about this shape, length, and color. And I wear a black tank beneath, because I haven't bought that adorable striped Lands' End Canvas tee, yet. These shoes and jeans took those yoga pants and made this look almost French inspired. So cute for any errands or meeting up with friends! Not to mention, of course, at home.

Another look with the trendy jeans.

The gray striped tee would look adorable here, too. Gray and pink are so sweet together. Could you guys imagine running to the post office in this? Is there anything about these style boards that just seems totally NOT mom friendly to you? Even if these sandals turned out to pinch your feet, there are definitely comfortable metallic sandals in the world. Everything in this board seems very easy and manageable to me. But, that's me and I'm the one who threw it together. What do you think? Too much?

Well, if it is, you may not like this next suggestion. I'm putting it out there, though. Lots of moms steer clear of white because it gets dirty so easily. I admit, there are certain places I wouldn't wear white to, either, and there are certain stages of momhood where it maybe isn't the best plan. BUT, there's a good chance of an appropriate white day sneaking in here and there for most of us, and when those days come, you might want to take advantage of the opportunity.

White is so crisp and scores big time chic points instantly.

Mine are from New York & Company (and I wear them ALL the time), but the ones in the photo are Ann Taylor, I think. White jeans. White cropped pants. White cotton trouser pants. You pick :) But just check out how sophisticated and elegant they make this yoga pant ensemble look. First the yogas...

Then, the yogas swapped out for white pants and stylish shoes.

Ba BAM! You'd feel like a million bucks :) This outfit is now straight up ready for date night!

3 pants made those changes - dark jeans, trendy/casual jeans, and white pants. Just three pants! And just 3 shoes, too. Silver sandals, silver flats, and black ballet flats. All reasonably comfortable, relatively easy to find, and not too pricey. So, tell me - does all of this just sound totally unrealistic to you? Which part seems the hardest? What would make it easier?

I'd love to hear your feedback! :)


Renae said...

yowsa! I want it all! I just ordered jeans from lands end (regular ol' blue jeans) and landsend canvas (in-gasp!-white) the other day I can't wait to get them!! Love the little accessories and i'm totally digging flats lately. Not to mention my shopko shades that I LOVE!! Gonna have to look into that cardi...pleae keep the ideas coming!! :)

Renae said...

BTW, I have those skechers but in brown. Oh, and did I miss where you pointed to that cardigan? I simply MUST have it!

Jacci said...

Hey, Renae! Glad you're enjoying the style posts :)

I can tell from the mannequin thingy that the cardi is from Piperlime, but I can't find the exact one. Weird. Maybe I saved that image earlier in the season and now it's gone (?). At any rate, Piperlime has lots of great gray cardigan choices. Here's a link to them -


I'd also check out their sister stores with "cardigan" searches - especially Gap. Hope you find something!!!

By the way, I've been wearing my gray boyfriend cardigan to death since the spring, and I got mine at Target!


L said...

Love this blog!! (How do I follow it?) Also, how did you make those fashion boards (I saw something similar on some website but i can't remember the name; Gabby Reese is on it.)

I'm a 42 yo sahm, but I've always tried to dress nice and not frumpy. KUDOS to you for dressing nicer than your friends! When I did that, sometimes I felt weird, but now I don't care.