When I was a teenager, I remember being at church or the library and looking around at the different moms of kids and making a firm resolve to never become a frumpy mom. After my first baby was born, I felt like I had a pretty good handle on fighting the frumpies. But after baby number two came along and I was about six months into being a mom of two, the weight of being a work-from-home mom with two kids under the age of three suddenly hit me. Getting dressed in the morning was suddenly HARD. It was expensive to clothe and feed two children, so I suddenly felt guilty for spending money on my own clothes, I was exhausted from taking care of two little people, and I suddenly realized that slipping into frumpiness is actually really easy.
I spent a couple of months fighting those urges to give up and throw on a pair of sweats, and instead I just took it a little easier on myself and came up with a few solutions to fight the frumpies without spending hours getting ready, ignoring my children while I took care of myself, or spending their entire college fund on my wardrobe.
Step #1: Go Easy on Yourself
Being a mom is challenging on so many levels, so don’t feel like you have to look pulled together and perfect every day. However, I have found that I genuinely feel better when I make some sort of effort on most days. I owe it to myself, my children, and my husband. Putting some sort of effort into my look makes me feel more confident, which is important for my mental health and for my kids to see me feeling happy. Still, I’ve realized that there’s nothing wrong with a day spent in PJs. I just try not to do that every day.
Step #2: Clean out Your Closet
One of my biggest reasons for not getting dressed as a mom is because I often feel like I have nothing to wear or that postpartum, my wardrobe just isn’t fitting like it used to. It’s pretty depressing to stare into a closet full of clothes you can’t wear, so do a closet clean out. Take out everything you don’t wear, don’t like, or that doesn’t fit. Hopefully that’s not everything. Even if there are only five items left behind, it’s better to look in and see five things you love and that look good on you than 50 things that make you close the closet door and spend another day in your sweats.
Step #3: Make a List
Once your closet is cleaned out, it will be easier to see what essentials you’re missing. Make a list of items you want to buy that will help fill in your closet, and start working through that list to create a great wardrobe.
Step #4: Get Shopping
This is the part where we don’t want to spend our children’s college funds, right? Well it turns out that shopping for yourself won’t make you feel so guilty if you just know where to shop. There are lots of great options out there that won’t break the bank. Here are a few of my favorites.
- J.Crew Factory — J.Crew is my favorite, so having a place to buy their clothes at a fraction of the price is a dream come true. They have unique but classy pieces that are well made and feminine.
- Old Navy — I’ve been shopping here since I was 10, and it just keeps getting better and better. Lots of great basics that are affordable and classic.
- H&M — you do have to dig through a lot of teen styles sometimes, but underneath all of those, there are often some hidden gems. They have great outerwear (coats, jackets, and blazers) and pretty good basics as well.
- Forever 21 — again, a lot of junior clothes, but you can find good pieces if you dig. Or just shop online like I do so you can avoid navigating your stroller through the crowds of high schoolers. They also have great and inexpensive jewelry (since you know it will get broken by your 2-year-old after a few wears anyways).
- Target — This list isn’t complete without my beloved Target. I mean, what mom doesn’t love Target? They are killing it with on-trend, affordable, and unique pieces. I cannot go in there without something jumping into my cart.
Step #5: Find Inspiration
So now it’s time to truly fight the frumpies. Once you’ve made your list and purchased some affordable but stylish clothes, let’s make the magic happen.
- Pinterest is your friend — A few years ago I made a “Dressing Myself” inspiration board. I only pin looks with pieces similar to ones I already own because I want these outfits to inspire me, not make me jealous. This gives me fresh and interesting ideas for my closet and makes it fun and easy to get dressed in the morning. It cuts down my getting ready time by a lot because I just pull up Pinterest on my phone, choose an outfit idea, and get dressed — easy peasy!
- Remember comfort — If you’re a stay-at-home mom, I’m very aware that you’ll be sitting on the floor, wiping runny noses, and running after small children all day. I’m definitely not suggesting you should wear stilettos and fake eyelashes every day. When you shop, choose pieces with stretchy, soft, and comfortable fabrics. Choose mid-rise jeans with some stretch so you’re not adjusting all day. Choose shoes that are comfortable and easy to slip on and off (no rubber flip flops though, please!). Make sure your outfits fit your lifestyle.
- Accessorize — Jewelry, shoes, and hair accessories are the pieces that make an outfit truly reflect your personality and make your outfit complete. But be careful with too much jewelry; do either a wrist full of bracelets, a statement necklace, or some flashy earrings unless they’re all tiny and delicate.
- Final Touches — Finish your look off by doing your hair and applying at least a touch of makeup. Low ponytails or messy buns are cute and super fast, and a bit of mascara and lipgloss go a long way to make you look and feel polished.