29 April 2009

April 29th, 2009 § 21 comments


29 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Yellow cardi – Ann Taylor Outlet, remixed
  • Lace cami – BR
  • Woven belt – F21, remixed
  • Flower pin – jerry-rigged by me
  • Denim skirt – ON Maternity!
  • Floral flats – Target, remixed

End Notes:

So our challenge from A. today is to wear floral. At first I told her I didn’t have anything floral that fits anymore. Then I got all delusional and thought that this shirt might still fit. It doesn’t, really, so I switched to these flats as my floral for the day and then, because I felt bad, added a lace cami (with flowers) and jerry-rigged a little broach together (with flowers). I had a run-in with a cabbage rose print Laura Ashley dress when I was younger and I think that was enough to make me skeptical for flowery florals and more drawn to Asian-inspired or stylized prints.

I love the conversation that S. and A. have gotten started about who you dress for, when it’s okay for style to fall by the wayside, and how you make working from home productive. Like A. said, I’m entering a new and sometimes overwhelming phase of being both mother and grad student. I’ll also be taking a year off teaching, first to focus on my little one and then to more expeditiously finish off the last of my coursework. Although I’ll get to officially take the fall off — and will definitely take a hard-earned mini break! — I do want to be aware of how routines and habits I set then can be conducive to the elusive work-life balance later.

I know that my style will certainly morph with a wee one around, and I’m okay with that. I don’t think that my love of color-mixing will evaporate, and I’ll pull the pencil skirts and big jewelry out when I don’t need to sit on the floor or worry about being clutched at. But I would love to hear from stay-at-home moms about the challenges (or fun parts?) of maintaining style. I’m especially curious if you draw a connection — as Stacy and Clinton of What Not to Wear fame often do — between looking put-together and modeling self-respect for your child or children. Even if a four month old can’t appreciate that, is it important to set the pattern early?


29 April 2009, originally uploaded by academichic.

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§ 21 Responses to 29 April 2009"

  1. Love this outfit. Seeing your outfits makes me wanna get pregnant again, LOL! I have the same flats and love them. I’m a mom to a 16-month old, wrapping up my thesis, and also have a full-time job. It works out. I telecommute these days. I feel better and get more productive when I’m taken care of before everything else starts. Not always easy to wake up, shower and dress before the baby, but it really helps if you can!

  2. Diana says:

    Great outfit! Love the flats and the yellow. I can’t say much about style with little ones, as I don’t have any yet, but I do know that being put together makes me feel a lot better about myself, and it also positively affects those around me, both adults and little guys.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    I had my now-two-year-old as a grad student, mid-way through my dissertation. I have never been good at maintaining any semblance of style while in the library, but I did find it was more important to me to look stylish as a new mom. I just didn’t want to languish into the frumptastic stereotype. I found that having really simple, quick combos was very important, though, because I ended up a baby who would. not. be. put. down. She cried every day while I got dressed for the first year and a half. Definitely not much time to mull over multiple options! But I did feel like I felt and performed better when I looked nice – and, just as importantly, that the stakes were higher now because I wanted to prove that becoming a mother hadn’t made me less smart (in all senses of that word).

  4. T says:

    My kids are school-aged now, but I’ve been home with them since day one. If you plan to breastfeed, that has a huge impact on your wardrobe. You will probably leak milk a lot the first couple weeks (or months!!), and your clothes need to allow for quick and easy access, plus be soft for baby. I love wool sweaters in the winter, but I didn’t wear them at all for 5 years while my children were small.

    I definitely had many days where I was in loose, comfy clothes while we hung out at home. I’m not nearly as stylish as you, but I do like cute clothes and I like to look presentable, so even though we weren’t going anywhere special, I would always buy myself one or two new things each season so that I had something fun to wear if we went out to a museum or the zoo, or to dinner.

  5. Cosmo says:

    I am one of those unfortunate SAHMs/WAHMs who fell into a sloppy rut and I am trying to get out of it now. Which is how I found this blog actually. My DD is almost 3 and she has a very strong and girly personal style. I almost think it is because she is tired of how she sees me looking most days. If I put any effort into getting dressed (like wear a shirt that requires ironing) she tells me how beautiful I am and how she loves whatever it is. I think she picks up on how much better I feel about myself when I look nice, and I think she has since she was able to hold up her head and look around. I think that If I had made the decision to stay stylish right away after she was born it would have been easier than now. I also think my baby blues would have been less bad if I hadn’t been dressed in sweatpants and my hubby’s shirts. Just looking at photos from those first weeks is depressing. The next baby is going to have a stylish mom in all photos even the earliest ones.

  6. Tina says:

    You look beautiful today. I love the lace and the flower!

  7. Clare says:

    I don’t have any mommy advice, but I will say that you look absolutely adorable! I can’t imagine that you will have ANY trouble staying chic and stylish once baby e. is in the picture!

  8. laniza says:

    I’m a mom to two daughters, a 12 year old and a 3 month old!! In addition, I’m also a middle school teacher. I totally agree with the previous commenters advice ie. taking the time before the baby wakes up to prepare and wearing simple, soft, and easy to coordinate pieces. I’d also recommend spending as much time with baby as possible, even when your year break is over. They’re only little once!

  9. Kimberly says:

    When I was in high school my mom gave me a brochure she picked up at a dr’s office about teenagers and pregnacy. One of the reasons it listed to not become a teen mom was “maternity clothes aren’t fashionable” (there were many serious items too but that is the one that stuck with me of course). The authors of the brochure need to revise it because you look stylish and great everyday!!!

  10. Kerri says:

    Your belly is too cute! :)

  11. Sarah says:

    Love the baby belly! You look absolutely adorable in this outfit!

    I have those same exact shoes, and every time you wear them, I dig them out of the back of my closet and try to build an outfit around them. But for some reason I have a strong aversion to wearing bright or patterned shoes. I usually end up in one of my gazillion pairs of black flats. I really wish I could make them work, though, because you look amazing in them!

  12. e. says:

    Thank you, all, for your thoughtful comments. And thanks especially to the moms for your very practical, learned-from-experience advice, especially the bit about breastfeeding!

    @LegacyofPearl and Sarah – I love these flats! Sarah, these were my first patterned shoes and I started out with VERY basic outfits to go with them… like, a white top and a jean skirt or a brown jersey dress. Give ‘em a try again!

  13. Libby says:

    When you first have your baby, you will probably be too busy and in a whole new world to think about your outfits. (As a mother of three, I’d say it takes a minimum of two to acclimate to the new world of Mommyhood.) So just make sure before hand, a.k.a. NOW, that you have a lot of soft, comfortable, WASHABLE clothing in colors and shapes that you love! Than, when you get dressed every day,you’ll be comfy and you’ll feel good about yourself. It’ll make you feel better, and you’ll have an extra smile to give to your baby for it.

  14. Libby says:

    Excuse me for the typo: “it takes a minimum of two months to acclimate the the new world of Mommyhood.”

  15. anna says:

    I am also a grad student with a baby! I totally agree about having quick stylish options to go to without much thought – & definitely washable. I found a button down dress I love (easy access for breastfeeding! I miss wearing dresses, but while you can pull a top up for boob access, you can’t really pull a dress up…) & got it in 3 different colours so if nothing else I can go for that & belt it with a contrasting scarf. My baby is 10 months old & grabs a lot so I miss accessorising.

  16. Mitra says:

    I have three children, and this is what worked for me in the first year of being home and maintaining *some* sense of style.

    The first 3 months after birth:
    I think comfortable and soft clothing is key – stretchy stuff that you can pull up, or down easily to nurse, or to pee (because, uh, you’ll find yourself having to pee one-handed with baby in arms in the early days!). Babies are so gloriously soft and velvety too, you may find you don’t want to wear any scratchy, stiff clothing or things with belts and buckles. They’d just catch on things and get in the way, I found.

    Comfortable or soft and stretchy does not have to mean sweats, of course! I wore yoga pants in black, brown and a denim-y blue, and pretty patterned tops where I could find them. Washable scarves add style, nursing privacy and can be used as a light blanket, if they are cotton or washable wool.

    Also, if you are wanting to use a baby sling, I’d advise tops that can be pulled down for nursing rather than up: that way you are not futzing with the sling or clothing fabric around your waist, baby is secure in the sling, and you can nurse easily while wandering around if you wish! On the topic of slings, I highly recommend a Wrap-style, like a Didymos – there are many variations of these made of all kinds of stretchy fabrics too, these days – they are a bit of a learning curve to use, but very, very versatile and it is easy to nurse discreetly in them. Also, the baby is in there very securely, so you are completely hands-free, which is a huge plus.

    Anytime, and the rest of the year:
    Invest in good Stain Remover -one that is bidegradable, safe on colours and safe for infant wear. You’ll use it every day, I am quite certain, because breast milk and milk spit-up leaves grease stains! I like Ecover a lot, it really works and is inexpensive.

    As to clothing: you have a wonderful sense of personal style, so I am sure you’ll find ways to work your more interesting wardrobe items into the easy-to wear-and-wash basics of mother-with-baby hood. As you and baby get into a rhythm together, you’ll also have a sense of how much time you can afford to take to get dressed in the morning.

    Specific items that i have enjoyed follow:
    A dress with a crossover top, for easy nursing.
    Actually, I had several of these, because I love the ease of dresses, and there are a number of styles that you just cannot wear easily when you are nursing every couple of hours.

    Clothing from BOOB’s nursing line, tops and dresses.
    I loved their tops, they last for ages, are machine washable, and better yet, are stylish and do not look like nursing tops. Because I wore my infants in the wrap sling, I found easy-access from the top was crucial! The dresses are great, because they look good through all the changes your body will go through.

    Pants with very soft comfortable waistbands.
    Including jeans. Non-maternity pants that lie flat against your stomach, that have stretch, in natural fibers, but are dressier than the ubiquitious yoga pants and are NOT elastic-waist pants are fantastic. Oh, and machine wash and dry really helps.

    The key for me was soft, easy-care clothing with style. I hope this helps and isn’t too repetitive a post! Now that my youngest is 4, those days are behind me, but I still change into easy care clothes when I am with the kids, so that I can crawl on the floor and enjoy them, unworried about marker stains, and sticky fingers.

    Oh, and you asked about modeling self-respect through style. . . Well, a 4-month old will not appreciate your style, particularly, but infants do take their emotional cues from your demeanor. So, if you are feeling good, baby will most certainly benefit from your self- confidence.

    Current research has shown:

    Infants’ emotional perception of the world occurs through those held by their attachment figures ( I am doing a Psych. MA, writing my thesis, so if this is wordy I apologize) – the point is infants pick up on how you view the world and respond to it, and so if you are feeling confident and good, they feel safer.

    *Warning* this next paragraph has less to do with dressing and more with brain development:

    Turns out the amygdala (seat of fight/flight/flee reactions and emotional memory) is fully developed at birth, but the hippocampus (ability to make sense and put emotional response into words) not fully developed until 3-4 years) which is why we have emotional and sense-memories of things from a young age, but not a clearer picture of where these fit in.) The point is, from birth, infants respond to the emotional state of the adults around them, and take their cues (“is the world safe? Am I okay?”) from these adults.

    Okay, back to clothing ;-)

    I found dressing well was key for me. It propelled me out of the house, which was good for me and the baby; and I felt better about myself. Given the way a woman’s body changes during pregnancy and especially after birth (lots more squishy bits, “muffinage” leakage and all) it was really helpful to dress stylishly and have confidence in the face that I presented to the world.

    Of course, some days just staying in bed reading trashy novels and nursing lots helps too ;-)

    All the best, and thank you for your blog, I am so enjoying it.


  17. e. says:

    Mitra, THANK YOU for that thoughtful, in-depth reply! That is all great advice and the nerd in me loved how you coupled it with the developmental psychology. I’m glad to hear that you liked using a wrap sling, since that is what I leaning towards now; good to know that it is amenable for breastfeeding. Except for a few suit jackets, I don’t buy clothes that I can’t throw in a washing machine, so hopefully that puts me off to a good start. I will be keeping my eyes open for comfy wrap dresses and surplice tops! Thank you again!

  18. C says:

    Its interesting that breastfeeding moms either love button-downs or hate them. I hate them because they require two hands to open and expose the top of the chest, unless you wear a nursing cami. Even then, exposure depends on the openings in the cami.

    A knit, especially in a true wrap style, is a good option. Under that I wear a cami I modify with scissors (slits that hide on the underside of the breasts) to provide nursing access. Depending on the tops, I might wear another knit layer between the cami and the wrap. Then I nurse, pulling the wrap to the side, but remain covered top and tummy.

    Another option is the cami+top, with a structured blazer or cardi layered over. Anything that keeps my tummy and back covered while feeding works for me.

  19. Laurel says:

    I am a mom of 4 and 2 year old boys – have only recently become interested in fashion – and I definitely feel better about myself when I even make a tiny effort. The interesting thing is my kids’ responses. My eldest son made me some quite nice earrings (with Grandma’s help) that are green and purple and he wants me to wear my purple shirt and green pants (which I don’t own green pants) so it will match his earrings. My youngest son loves bright colors and complements me (and also perfect strangers) whenever I wear brighter colors. They never said these kinds of things when I was doing “survival dressing” (i.e. when they’re really young, if you’re wearing clothes w/out spit-up or boogers, that’s good!)

  20. [...] Several of the young moms who responded to E’s post mentioned the importance of getting dresse… It seems that in this case especially, having a go-to ‘uniform’ would come in handy. Why is it though that we often assume uniforms to be a stifling in style creativity, likely to be bland, and lacking inspiration?  [...]

  21. [...] looking particularly stylish. Ah, hospital educator videos.) Back in April, many of you gave me fantastic advice on caring for your own appearance in those early days of mommyhood and I continue to be so grateful for the affirmation and encouragement to get out of pajamas each [...]

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