Monday, July 19, 2010

stay at home mom style: redeeming yoga pants (?)

My wish has been granted.

I had time tonight to play around with style boards, which is always fun. I wanted to try to put together some ideas for those of you who are hoping to wean yourselves from baggy t-shirts paired with sweats or yoga pants. This is known elsewhere as the ubiquitous "mom uniform", and anyone who refers to it as such isn't doing so affectionately. As I said before, girls, I've so been there. I've ranged in size from a 4 (when we were married) to a 16 after a few pregnancies close together, and I've stood in the closet that had literally nothing that fit me. Nothing, that is, but those elastic waist exercise clothes. If this is you, you are not alone. Countless moms have been there with you, including me.

But, now what? Now you're thinking maybe it's time to shape up your style, but where do you start? I can tell you that, for me, things came along gradually. The first step was getting out of my husband's tees and into something that at least acknowledged that I was a woman! I picked up inexpensive tshirts that looked halfway decent in colors I really liked. My favorite was a gorgeous bright turquoise from Lands' End. It fit generously enough to accomodate my rather poochy middle but still gave me that shot of happy (and flattering to my skin tone) color around my face. I loved that t-shirt.

So, this post is all about redeeming the yoga pants and making them more feminine and injecting a little more style than hubby's frat tee. I put the question mark in parentheses there because I don't wear yoga pants and these style boards were a little challenging for me. For those of you who are already breezing your way through the stores picking up chic clothes left and right, this post isn't really written for you ;) I'm glad you're reading it, of course, but please don't say anything negative about Lands' End cuts or criticize any of the looks. It's pretty hard for anyone to go from sweatpants straight to white pants and silver wedge sandals!

A small step in the right direction is still a step in the right direction.

I wanted to say, too, that some ladies are just naturally athletic. That is their style. If you wore athletic pants and hoodies before you had children and you've always felt wonderful in them, this post isn't really for you, either. This is all about giving ideas to those who wear athletic clothes often, just because they don't think they can wear much else right now. We're talking yoga pants, and wearing them in a feminine way that says you've put some effort in.

Ready? (by the way, the yoga pants featured in most of these boards are the Athleta
Chaturanga yoga pants, recommended by Shana.

Okay, first up - the really natural look. This is for moms who have been wearing over-sized tshirts and yogas or sweats. This is a step in the right direction :)

The first thing to notice is the shoesies. Blog post after blog post and online article after article reinforced the assertion that running shoes should be reserved for... wait for it... running. Lace-up shoes that are intending for actual exercise are best worn only when at the gym or going to and fro. There is an entire other category of "sneakers" out there, gals. And, some of them are actually pretty cute. I'm partial to the Mary Jane styles (probably because they feel akin to a flat), but there are plenty of options. Piperlime is a great place to browse to get an idea of what's out there. Clicking firstly on "sneakers" and then on "fashion" will take you here. Happy browsing!

For this style board, I took a cue from the shoes and went with several very conservative, basic tops in shades of blue. (Remember to keep in mind your body type and what cuts look best on you. If you aren't sure, see if you can take an evening to go to Barnes & Noble, sip a drink, and flip through Stacy & Clinton's highly readable book, Dress Your Best.) Nearly all of the shirts were from Lands' End, with the exception of the turquoise-y one from Athleta. I chose Lands' End because their shirts generally have a little more length to them - something I'd recommend with yoga pants unless you're super proud of your derriere. They also fit real women, not teenage daughters ;)

Do you wear earrings everyday? I know, the JCrew models don't wear earrings. But, trust me, a little jewelry close to your face really has impact. If you usually wear earrings but they are often very, very small - consider trying something just slightly larger. You can still wear stud earrings, for instance, but something with a little more presence can really help you look put more together. I wear big earrings sometimes, but most days this spring and summer I've been wearing these large ball studs from The Limited. They're a jump if you're used to diminutive studs, but they're fun once you get used to them!

Did you know that a stylish pair of sunglasses can help you look chic even when the only makeup you're wearing is chapstick? It's true! Sunglasses and good hair can totally take a decent outfit and improve upon it 100%. Ann Taylor has reasonably priced options - it's worth a visit just to try some on. Don't be afraid to ask the sales assistants for feedback! If the AT prices are still a little too high, just study up there and then go see what our old stand-by (Target!) has for you.

Okay - there was a lot of info in that one little photo! But, I want to throw a bit more out there before I call it a night.

This is another basic look, but I "girled it up" just a little more than the last one. The shirt, Athleta I think, actually fits fairly close to the mid-section with scrunched up shirring on the sides. The result is a rather feminine silhouette. A necklace & bracelet watch were added for more femininity & dressiness. I think you can dress yoga pants up a little. As long as they're still in good condition and not too faded or stretched out - this look should work. That lovely necklace is from CMaille on Esty.

I really like this next one...

I think I may have to get pink pearl earrings soon :)

In this board, I switched out the "fashion sneakers" for wedge flipflops from Old Navy. A black sandal would be even better, but if you've been wearing running shoes or canvas tennis shoes around, consider something like this to shake things up a little. You'll have to paint your toenails, but if you do a good job with 2 or more coats, they should last for a while. The cardigan is jersey knit, so it's a similar fabric to the yoga. (I'm not listing sources because links will be obsolete in no time flat anyway - but you can always ask in the comments if you'd like a source). Just as an idea of what might work - the vneck white tee & jewelry would be fine when you're home, but if you were going out you could add the cardi. I don't generally wear all my layers in the house. I often add a few things before we step out, though.

Don't forget your sunglasses! ;)

Isn't this one cute? Really, though, if you can at all bear it, black sandals or even the flipflops above would be better than the sneaks in the photo. (But, the sneaks are better than running shoes.) The jewelry here has more sparkle and sophistication because I felt like the striped top and cardi in those neutral colors were already taking the yogas in a more grown up direction. I know, horizontal stripes are every woman's enemy - but the cardi serves to break them up and actually adds a vertical line down each side of your mid-section. There's only a peek of stripes showing. Promise. Hair & makeup here would need to be very simple to keep from feeling like you were trying to dress up the yogas too much - a sleek pony with a far side part maybe and just a little mascara & gloss. Isn't this a much better look than University tees?! You'll want to remember with a tee like this, though, that fit really matters. Stripes like this won't do anyone any favors if they're too tight across the tummy.

Okay. How ya doin'? Get ready, all right, because I'm going to throw in another accessory and I know not everyone is comfortable with these guys. Have you ever worn a scarf?

You think I'm on crack now, don't you? Putting a scarf with yoga pants? But, if the scarf is lightweight cotton, and if the scarf isn't too embellished, and if the rest of the ensemble is fairly subdued, then I think you can pull it off. Scarves really aren't scary once you get used to them. Just like larger stud earrings :) You wouldn't wear it around the house - just throw it on if you need to head out somewhere. Oh, yeah, and I also threw in silver sandals when you weren't looking. Those are from Target, they're cheap, and they just might be good for you to branch out and try! Painted toenails, of course. I left the polish out of the pic. The shirt is jersey again, keeping things casual enough for the yogas.

Okay, I've been emboldened by the scarf. I'm going sleeveless! Lookout!

Actually, I almost never go sleeveless in public, except for the pool. My arms just aren't my biggest asset. I'd wear a cardi with this, personally. But some of you might have great arms, so for you - sleeveless. I think this cowel neck tee is just lovely. Old Navy, no less. I think I'm going to see if my sister wants to try some of these on when we go out shopping soon. They come in beautiful colors, and I think the neckline would really flatter her. My sister has a very elegant look & style. She'd wear the pendant and earring set I featured two photos up and she'd look drop dead. If she winds up buying one of these, maybe she'd let me take her photo in it with her yoga pants :)

There you have it, ladies. The best I can do with yoga pants. Now, can I say just one thing more? Some of these outfits might have turned out pretty decent looking with the yogas, but - trust me - they would look infinitely more put together and chic with something other than an athletic pant. In fact, I took a couple of these boards and replaced the yogas with other options. I'll share those with you next.

Thanks so much for reading, guys. This has been a ton of fun!


Jen said...

What is the source for the flower necklace with the pearl center? I love it!
Great style boards. Very inpiring :)

Jacci said...

I love that one, too :) It's from Etsy - from seller PiperBlue - and it's only $24, which I think is really reasonable for handmade jewelry! Here's a link[]=tags&includes[]=title

Glad you like the boards! :)



Oh wow, were you reading my mind? I've gone down steadily the last 6 weeks getting rid of baby weight (Jonathan's just three months, but my sister's getting married Oct 2, so I have quite the deadline!) but for some reason I got really discouraged yesterday. Might have something to do with trying on a pair of shorts that were not any looser on me than they were a month ago! Anyway, I really liked this post! It's nice to read an exact description of what I've gone through . . .