Okay, let’s be real here today - I am 41. I have three kids. I work full-time. At times, I travel around the world for my job. I am busy. I don’t have a lot of time for me unless it involves a headband, swimming cap, or bike helmet. But honestly, I try - I said try! - to avoid having a perpetual boring-old-mom-style. I try not to resort to stretchy pants every chance I get (hey, nothing wrong with stretchy pants, but not in every circumstance, right?). I try to keep my style fresh and fun. But I still want to stay true to ME and the fact that I’m not a 20-year-old any more. And here’s the really crazy thing – when you lose so much weight, you need all new clothes. I mean everything – from tops to underwear to pants to jackets to skirts to bras to pajamas – and I don’t just have thousands of dollars laying around to build a whole career wardrobe, PLUS a casual wardrobe, PLUS a fitness wardrobe from scratch. I have to be smart about it. I have to be creative.
I have this whole “new body” thing going on and it’s been fun to shop – clothes actually fit now and even look good! I know it’s hard to tell because I am mostly posting workout selfies and pictures with my crazy kids, but I have a few good tips that I’ve acquired for keeping my active (mom) style fresh without breaking the budget.
First, there’s something you should understand. When given the chance, I will always default to a black v-neck shirt and jeans. It’s my standard, feel-good-about-myself outfit. It’s almost like my uniform.
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Nothing wrong with a good black v-neck shirt, but every day? Yes, I have been known to wear a black v-neck every day. But I’ve been trying to spruce it up and keep it fresh as I whiddle down the pants in my drawer from size 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, and now keep the sizes 4 and 6.
Another thing to understand - here’s me on a typical weeknight after work:
Yes, that’s me buried under the pile of kids. I’m SO not fancy on your typical weeknight. So I need a style that can go from work to kids.
I used to bring clothes to the dry cleaner with a baby-oatmeal-handprint on the same spot on the shoulder every day. The woman would raise an eyebrow and I’d say – Hey, I’ve been gone all day long, I’m not going to say “don’t touch me!” when I walk in the door to my sweet kids.
But then there are other times where I have to don a formal black-tie gown, or a professional suit for work. I need lots of clothes in several genres.
But usually? Usually it’s every-day wear. And I tend to gravitate towards black, gray, and black & white patterns. To be fair, I work concerts and black is a great color to wear backstage – the audience doesn’t see you when you’re standing on the side of the stage and the conductor walks out to start the concert. But I’ve been trying to break out of my mold and freshen it up.
5 Tips for Keeping Your Style Fresh Without Breaking the Budget
1. Buy a new accessory.
A new accessory can really brighten up your typical outfit. I’ve gotten into scarves lately, and am learning new ways to use them. I’ve even gone so far as to wear scarves that – gasp! – aren’t black!
Yep, I’m wearing it with a black v-neck shirt. But see how it adds a pop of color and freshens up the outfit?
2. Color your “uniform”.
Okay, this is going to sound really crazy, don’t fall off your chair, but I have a different color V-neck shirt. It’s pink. GASP! NOT BLACK!
If you have an article of clothing that you default to like a uniform, buy one in a different color. That way you’re still comfortable in your go-to style, and you can feel confident in it, but you’ve freshened up the color. And you don’t look the same as yesterday. And by changing just one piece in the ensemble, you’re not spending money on a whole outfit.
3. Have someone else pick your style.
Shop with a friend and have them pick out one article of clothing completely on their own. Walk away, let them go find something for you, and meet at the fitting rooms. Don’t wrinkle your nose at it when they hand it over at the dressing room door – try it on! You just might find that it’s the most compelling piece in your closet.
I’ve been doing Stitch Fix lately – so it’s like having a virtual stylist. Someone else picks 5 items for me and I can keep all or I can keep none. It’s definitely broken me out of my mold, and I wear the pieces more than other things in my closet. And hey, none are black v-neck shirts!
Wait, you got me. That shirt is black. Does this count as a black v-neck? It was in my second Stitch Fix box – it’s loose and flowy, and was a nice way to change up my favorites a bit. And I never would have picked out that color pants on my own, but they are my favorite pants now.
But you don’t have to do a styling service if it’s out of your budget – just take the first suggestion and have a friend pick out a piece for you! Be strong, you can break out of your mold!
4. Add patterned tights.
It will come as no shock to you that my favorite dress is… yep, you guessed it – a black wrap dress. It’s like a v-neck since it wraps. Shocker! I have taken a cue from the younger ladies at work and started to wear patterned tights to spruce it up a bit so that it’s not as plain. It’s an inexpensive way to change the look.
5. Make a statement.
You can do a lot with your jewelry and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Add a “statement necklace” to your outfit and it will freshen up the look. These don’t have to be expensive to look nice.
So there you have it – style tips from me to you. I bet you never thought I had any sort of style beyond running clothes!
Do you default the same favorite top every time you go out?
What’s your favorite accessory?
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This post was sponsored by Carefree, but all opinion are my own.