Part of my continuing monthly series highlighting stylish mamas. This month I’m thrilled to shine a well-deserved high-beam on Reachel of Cardigan Empire!
Reachel is a force of nature. Her goal in life is to help women (and men!) stop looking at their body “flaws” and instead embrace their individual shape and learn to dress for it. It was through her gentle tutelage on Cardigan Empire that I discovered my own body type (middles, unite!) and what flatters me. It’s incredible how freeing this knowledge can be! She began her Beauty-Full Tuesdays series to encourage women to love and appreciate themselves just the way they are, even if they don’t have a perfect hourglass figure.
Reachel comes with an impressive list of credentials. She was a personal stylist at Anthropologie for six years and is currently teaching a college-level wardrobe strategies class to aspiring fashion consultants while running her own successful fashion-consulting business. This woman KNOWS clothes. Furthermore, she has three of the most stylish children you’ve ever seen.
Mom Uniform 1 of 6
What does your "mom uniform" look like?
I love cotton. Most days I either tuck a knit tee into a midi skirt or marry a cotton button down to a dark pair of jeans. My clothing is generally clean for about three minutes after I get dressed. By five minutes I have spit up on my shoulder and some unknown stickiness smeared across my thigh. Generally, my actual clothing is easy, wash and wear. But I never skimp on accessories. They're built in entertainment for the kids and proof that I consider myself special.
Can’t Live Without 2 of 6
What is the one thing you never skip?
Under eye concealer. By dawn I consistently have two if not three extra bodies in my bed. Between nursing and nightmares, sleep is a beauty ritual I could use more of. For now, we fake it.
Date Night! 3 of 6
Quick! You have 5 minutes to get ready for a hot date with your husband. What's your quick fix for dressing yourself up?
Heels and lipstick. Be it electric coral or oxblood red, I love a powerful lip color. I may still be wearing the jeans I mopped the floor in, but if it includes at least 3 inches of extra height and a strong shot of color, it's date night.
Impractical Item 4 of 6
What's the most impractical clothing item you own?
Probably my silk TIBI sheath dress (see it in action here). I wait until the babysitter shows up to put it on, then I sneak out the back. But the competition is fierce for impractical items in my closet.
Wear What You Want 5 of 6
If you had a whole day when you didn't have to dress practically, what would you wear?
Honestly I wear pretty much exactly what I want, every day. My husband will tell you, I'm not particularly sartorially sensible. I've worn heels sightseeing and I had on chandelier earrings at the birth of our 2nd child. If I want to wear it, I do. And don't try to talk me out of it. I believe clothing exists to be worn and enjoyed. I'm not worried that it will get stained or torn. In fact, I know it will. But it would be much worse if for it to sit dusty at the bottom of a drawer. So, as I told my darling, if I feel like wearing my lace blouse as a cover up to the beach. I will. Life is to be enjoyed; clothing is to be worn.
The Hardest Part 6 of 6
What's the hardest part about dressing as a mother?
The morphing figure. Between pregnancy, nursing, and aging, I think I've had first hand experience with each of the 5 primary body types in the last two years. The chest is in constant flux. The hips are regularly repositioning themselves. The stomach, ah the stomach. And after 7 years of infertility, I am endlessly grateful to have enjoyed the miracle of conception. But it requires strategy. If nothing else, it's good experience for dressing and empathizing with others.