Today we have uber stylish Mum, writer and forum member Laura reporting on how my original Mum-on-the-go outfits worked for her. Laura will do three posts on this topic and I’m excited to hear what she has to say.
As the working mother of two young sons, I have a true confession: As much as I love YLF, I was skeptical about Angie’s flop-proof outfits for “mom on the go.” (outfit 1, outfit 2, and outfit 3). The prospect of so much wardrobe change left me bewildered. Wear dresses during the day? Try skinny jeans and their warm-weather counterpart, clamdiggers? I hadn’t worn skinnies since the 80s! And casual skirts? Skirts were reserved for dressing up, in my world. My “mom” uniform consisted of boots, jeans (and yes, corduroys!) and sweaters. In warm weather, that was translated into sandals, lightweight cargo pants (often with pockets in the most unflattering locations) and t-shirts. No button-downs. No scarves. Other than wearing a cami under a sweater, I did no layering, period.
Since then, I’ve road tested a slew of Angie-recommended casual and smart casual outfits to see how they worked in real life. Moms are notoriously hard on their clothes (think toddlers smearing smashed banana on your premium denim) and notoriously discerning about their budgets. My sons’ need for new jeans usually trumps mine, since my jeans rarely get actual holes in the knees or become three inches too short overnight. As a writer, I work from home or from whatever cafe will have me (thank you, Starbucks!), so mom-on-the-go clothes are the bulk of my wardrobe. Sometimes I dress up to meet a client, but the majority of my clothes are smart-casual and casual. My clothes need to work hard, be comfortable, and fit into my family’s budget. The ensembles must be appropriate and stylish. A tall order!
Six months later, you can imagine that I am as surprised as anyone to admit that Angie’s flop-proof formulas covered my most demanding “momwear” requirements, and then some. Best of all, I feel better about myself in these ensembles than I did in my boots-jeans-sweater uniform. I’ve learned how to dress my outfits up or down a notch to fit whatever my day demands (one tip: if you want to make an outfit instantly more casual, add a pair of hoop earrings and/or a piece in denim, if you aren’t already wearing jeans). I am now a mom-on-the-go-flop-proof-outfit believer!
In the first of a three-part series, I’ll feature the best of the best. These are the outfits that have taken me from school parties, to coffee with friends, to working and running errands, and to the playground or play dates.
The most worn ensemble in my wardrobe for winter, hands down, has been this one: Tall boots + jeans (if jeans are skinnies, tucked into boots) + girly blouse or graphic t-shirt + cardigan or jacket + tote bag. Wearing boots over jeans is not for everyone and might not be for you, but it works well for me and was especially practical for our snowy Chicago winters.
This ensemble has taken me everywhere in my daily routine, with style, and feeling completely appropriate. And it’s an ideal transitional outfit, as boots are still practical here until at least mid-April, and I can easily pop a trenchcoat over the outfit, or leave off outerwear entirely, as we ease into the first days of spring.
Here’s how I’ll update the formula as Spring officially arrives and temperatures rise: Flats + jeans + girly blouse or graphic T-shirt or tank top + cardi + tote.
In summertime I’ll be swapping jeans for clamdiggers in dark or white denim, and trading my long-sleeved cardi for a short-sleeved, cropped version, or for a vest (check out this post from Angie on the graphic T + vest look).
Don’t worry if the colors in these ensembles aren’t your favorites, or the styles don’t suit you. Simply substitute items that fit your color preferences and body type. For more inspiration, check out some of the fashion-forward moms who post their outfits on the forum, like Patience, Dani, Shiny, and Nicole, or others who aren’t moms, but have the casual look nailed, like Tanya.
Let’s hear from all the stylish mamas out there. What are your favorite go-to ensembles? How can I improve my outfits?