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Monday, October 15, 2012

Mama Style - Guest Blogger Lauren

When I started thinking about this series, I thought about other women I know and how they, too, can inspire. I certainly can't give advice that will work for everyone, so I asked different mamas to contribute. Some are working mothers, some mostly stay home. Some have a newborn for the first time, others are doing it a third. Today's guest blogger is Lauren, who I've never met in real life, but with whose husband I attended Jr. High. How's that for random? It's the beauty of blogging, bringing us all closer together.
 
I was really excited (not to mention flattered) when Liv asked me to contribute to her "Mama Style" series, probably because I've been interested in fashion for as long as I can remember. I mean, let's just say that growing up, I did not have one, but TWO drawers full of bows. Easter dresses were always big, floral and accompanied by a hat and gloves. And maybe I started asking my mom at age five if I could wear heels. (Plus, I used to make some of my own clothes in elementary school... and let me tell you, there were some gems.) I also tend to identify stages of my life by what I was wearing at the time. Leggings! With and without stirrups! Jumpers! Vests! Faux Fur! Doc Martens! Laura Ashley-inspired florals! 

Since then, I grew up, went to college and started my post-collegiate career in advertising. After working in the industry for six years, I recently made the decision to stay at home with my 14-month-old daughter full-time, and mix in some freelance writing on the side. I also blog occasionally, both at gregandlauren.blogspot.com and the-l-list.blogspot.com.

Liv posed the question, "What makes you feel fabulous as a mama?" which, admittedly, I had to mull over a little bit. Probably because, especially when you are at home a lot, it's easy to feel pretty un-fabulous the majority of the time. It's hard sometimes to make time for the little things (ahem, showering) when you're chasing an active child around all day, but definitely worth it (I think).

So, without further ado, here's a list of things that help me feel fabulous:

1. Getting ready. Every day.
I don't know about you, but I feel so. much. better. when I get ready for the day. Even if "getting ready" means I'm putting on actual clothing at noon after my daughter goes down for a nap. I make an effort to put on makeup, style my hair and don an outfit (that I could wear in public) every day. Sure, there are days when I kind of maybe wear the same outfit I wore the day before, "style" my hair in a bun or side braid and forgo the mascara. But getting ready still happens. Daily. I find I have so much more energy and feel a lot better about my self when I make an effort to look my best. Or, at the very least, presentable. 

I also love heels, but they have the potential to be a little less-than-practical whilst out-and-about with a busy toddler. For this reason, I am a huge fan of wedges. Particularly those of the TOMS variety (hooray for philanthropic opportunities). Sometimes all it takes to give an outfit a boost is adding a little bit of height to the equation. 

2. Investing in versatile pieces that can be worn multiple ways.
With a husband fresh out of law school and student loans to be paid, there isn't a lot of money left over for clothing. However, I think that sometimes it's worth saving up your pennies and spending more to get a higher quality garment. My recommendation is to invest in pieces that you can see being incorporated into your wardrobe in various ways, and hopefully for years to come. Currently, for me, it's this shirt. I've worn it over everything from floral/colorful/regular denim to maxi dresses and midi-length skirts (and pretty much everything in between). I can button it up or down, tuck it in, tie it at the waist or wear it loose. And the best part? It's insanely comfortable. So I manage to look a bit fancy whilst feeling as comfy as I do when I'm in my pjs. (Never underestimate the power of great tailoring and great material.) It's a win-win really. 

If you're craving a trendy (but potentially spendy) piece, check places like TargetForever21 and H&M. Chances are, you'll find a comparable (if not better) item that satisfies your trend craving, and at a reasonable price. Like the $25 lilac jeans I scored back in May. Or the $13 red pair I scored last winter. And can you really tell the difference between these and these? Me neith. These types of stores are great at examining what's current and providing it at an affordable cost. 

Shirt: J Crew; Skinny Jeans: DownEast Basics (old); Shoes: TOMS

3. Coordinating outfits with my daughter. 
And I'm not talking about in an Arrested Development-esque Lucille and Buster at Motherboy way. I think it is important to infuse a bit of fun into the daily grind, and this is one of the ways I prefer to do it. Oft times I have more fun planning my daughter's outfits than I do planning my own. Since I always get her dressed first, there are days when I use her outfit as an inspiration for mine. Whether it's matching saltwater sandals, skinny jeans or even just a color scheme, it brightens my day. Also because, at this stage at least, it can be pretty adorable. (Don't worry... I won't be doing it when she's 15.)


Lauren, thanks again for sharing your tips for feeling fabulous. I 100% agree that getting ready for the day makes a huge difference when you're staying home with a little one (or two) every day. And I'm definitely guilty of accidentally-on-purpose coordinating outfits with Aspen multiple times a week.

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