Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring Style Week: Building a Mom Wardrobe

 Welcome back to Spring Style Week!  Check out Monday and Tuesday's posts here and here!
You went to college.  You got a suit your senior year for job interviews.  You got a job and bought plenty of office appropriate attire.  Fast forward a few (or several) years.  You are married.  You have had a baby.  You've decided that working outside of the home is not what's best for you and your family, so you're going to be a stay at home mama.  Congrats!
As you prepare for your days full of spit up on your shoulder, crawling around in the floor playing, and countless other tasks requiring an apron and/or knee pads, you realize that your work clothes are not going to cut it in your new position as Domestic CEO/SAHM Extraordinaire.  You don't have enough casual clothes and you know you need new stuff, but where do you start?
Sound familiar?
This was me about two years ago.  I had a lot of clothes perfect for work, but not as much that I could comfortably run errands in, make lunches in, run around the yard in.  So I started accumulating pieces that were going to work for my new career, and began building my own Stay at Home Mom Wardrobe.
So two years in the making, I have created a simplified way to build your own SAHM Wardrobe.  There are "levels" that contain pieces appropriate for different things you maybe doing, different events, and once you have every piece in each level, you simply move onto the next.  Once you have all the basic pieces of each level, you have all the basic building blocks of a mom wardrobe that will provide you with a collection of outfits fit for any occasion.  Make sense?  A little confusing?  Take a look:
SAHM Wardrobe Level 1

 These are your basics.  These are the items you build the rest of your wardrobe off of.  This level consists of:
Black Yoga Pants- They are better than your pajamas.  You can feel at least a bit more respectable in the carpool line in black yoga pants rather than your plaid pajama pants you've had since high school.  Not that I would know.
1 Pair of Great Fitting Jeans- If you only have 1 pair of jeans, make them a dark wash, with a bootcut.  They will never go out of style, you can wear any shoes with them, and they can be dressed up or dressed down.
Basic T Shirt- My go-to t shirt is a gray v neck from the Gap, but this could be a white scoopneck, a black t shirt, a neutral striped t, or whatever you're comfortable with.  But, as you see, the t shirts could go fine with either the yoga pants or the jeans.
Lounge Jacket- Now this jacket is variable.  It could be a fleece zip up jacket, a gray drapey cardigan sweater, a classic khaki trench coat, a hooded yoga wrap jacket, etc.  The important thing is that you can grab it when you're running out the door if it's chilly.  And it's not your husband's huge oversized sweatshirt.  Not that ANYTHING is wrong with that, but we're building a solid wardrobe here!
BIG tote bag- Key piece.  This will function as a diaper bag, purse, lunch box, bottle cooler, first aid kit, etc.
A Pair of Flat, Comfortable Shoes- Most people would gravitate towards athletic shoes or sneakers here, but I am not a huge sneakers kind of girl.  Given the choice, I will usually choose the ballet flat.  Either would be fine just depending on the look you're most comfortable with.
From Level One, you can build a few outfits that would work for your most casual outings.  Taking the kids to school, going to the grocery store, days at home when you don't want to stay in your jammies, but you're not really doing much but work around the house.  If you're looking for more, than on to level two...
SAHM Wardrobe Level 2

 Level Two is all about elevating your basics, adding a bit of color, but still giving you simple, neutral go-to casual outfits.  It consists of:
Scarf- The key piece of this level.  You can add it your t shirt and yoga pants or jeans in level one,  and automatically look more put together.  A bright color will jazz up your outfit a bit, and color close to your face will brighten it up!  Which we know all tired mamas need!
A Few More Basic T Shirts- My choices in this level for t shirts are still pretty basic, but they can both be worn with the yoga pants and the jeans (and the jacket, for that matter) in level one.  See folks?  Building...
Button Up Shirt- My fave here, the chambray shirt.  Goes with anything, you can wear it on it's own or over a striped t.  It can really function as a shirt or a cardigan.
Skinny Jeans- Another good option for bottoms.  You can wear them with your flats from level one, or...
Boots- I wear tons of skinny jeans with a pair of boots tucked in during the winter.  Cozy and chic!  You can wear them with jeans and dresses, and a good flat brown pair will be very versatile.
Adding Level Two pieces will increase the number of outfits and add some color to your wardrobe.  These outfits would be good for casual playdates or trips to the zoo/museum, and running errands around town.  Need a little more pizzaz??  Check out Lever Three...
SAHM Level 3

 Here is where you start adding personality.
Colored Denim/Patterned Denim/Trouser Jean- An option to turn up the color!  As I posted yesterday, colored denim is huge for spring.  Wear the jeans with any of the shirts listed so far.
Necklaces/Bracelets- Jewelry can change your outfit so much and the bubble necklace can really go on everything here, layered on the t shirts, over the chambray shirt.
Casual Dress- Sometimes pants are just not what you want.  Enter the casual dress!
Wedges- Just because you are a mom doesn't mean you have to wear flats all the time!
Jacket or Cardigan- This is just another option to the wrap in level one.  I chose a jean jacket because it's such a neutral.  Cute over your t shirts, dress, sweaters.  Very versatile.
A Few More Tops- Adding some more color and outfit options!
Level Three pieces, combined with one and two would work for lunch with a friend, out shopping, even a local girl's night out!  And last but not least, Level four...
SAHM Level 4

 Level Four is all about topping off the basics.  Level Four will provide you with pieces too add to the rest of your collection tht will give you options for weddings, baby showers, church, and dressier occaions.
Clutch/Fun Bag-  For those times when the kids aren't with you and you don't have to lug around your huge diaper bag!
 Pretty Dress- A very versatile dress you can wear to wedding, church, or any other place with a more formal dress code.
Dress Pants- One more pair of pants for more options with the blouses and shirts from the previous steps.
Statement Jewelry- A gorgeous necklace, a cuff, chandelier earrings.  Pieces that will add a bit of drama, and items you can wear with tops and dresses in each of the different levels to add personality.
If anything, the steps to building your mama wardrobe will provide you with a good base of outfits and pieces for your everyday life.  You will most likely be adding to it and adding to it, and having those basic pieces to work from will hopefully make it easier.  And the whole point is to mix and match pieces from the different levels to acheive looks perfect for any and every occasion in your mama life.
Stores that I have been lucky in finding good pieces from: GAP, Old Navy, Target, LOFT, Kohl's, Shade.
What do you think about my wardrobe building system?  What are some of your mama wardrobe necessities?
Hope you're enjoying Spring Style Week, and hope you'll come back tomorrow for more info on spring outfits!
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  1. i love this!!! i want to see some of your choices for spring/summer that DON'T include shorts :) this momma does not wear shorts....even when i'm not a large and in charge preggo.

    1. LOL, Amy, I am right there with you!! Shorts and I just don't get along so well. I am going to be putting together some more outfit ideas and posts, and I will certainly have some sans-shorts!

  2. I love these outfits. I just bought some new clothes for my spring wardrobe at Berlington Coat Factory. I got some great deals on everything and was able to put together a great new look.

  3. ok I LOVE THIS! I made the mistake of stretching out all of my old before baby cloths and now I have next to noting except my more dressy cloths I have been searching for mommy wardrobe guides however the only ones that are out there are saying I should own things like a blazer......I didn't wear a blazer to work let alone when I am at home chasing my kids, I love the step by step thing too, it doesn't over whelm me with 50 things all at the same time, this is awesome thank you so much haha

    1. You are so welcome! :) Glad you like the choices and hope you can easily build a good mommy wardrobe!

    2. Love this. I am struggling to lose the baby weight after my third child. I don't want to spend too much but I love fashion.

  4. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I have been searching high and low and I keep buying things that just don't work. We are on a super tight budget and my poor hubby is sick of hearing that I don't have any clothes and that I need to spend the money he works so hard on things that I don't even end up wearing :/....I am seeing that I have a few key pieces here and there....but I don't have key pieces in every category, so I need to start from the bottom. I have a question...I just had my second baby a few months ago, and am nowhere near the weight I'd like to be, so I don't want to invest in anything too expensive...I'm walking 3x a week with my best friend and slowly working to get rid of the extra pounds, but I know we are not done having kids, so even once I get to my goal size (I have quite a ways to go), I know I'll be (hopefully) pregnant in the next year or two again...So, because I am still carrying some baby weight and I forsee my weight fluctuating over the next few years from pregnancy to postpartum, etc and because we are on a super tight budget so I can be a stay at home mommy, do you have suggestions to modify this list so that I don't have to invest a ton, and the wardrobe will grow with me over the next few years? I was thinking lots of leggings, fold over yoga pants (found some at I really want to order!), jeggings vs skinny jeans, jersey skirts and dresses (did those a lot in my previous pregnancies and they accommodate weight fluctuations), and keeping things pretty simple and changing it up with you have any other tips?

    1. Girl, I TOTALLY understand! My closet contains about 6 different sizes of clothes, depending on if I bought them before kids, between kids or after kids! I have been buying things this summer with no intention of wearing them next year, hoping that I will have lost the rest of my baby weight by then. So I have been buying a lot of inexpensive items from Target, Wal Mart, Old Navy, and TJ Maxx. Luckily, the big box stores have really stepped it up as far as trendy pieces go. Like you said, dresses are great for weight fluctuations, especially maxi dresses. You can wear a maxi dress well into your pregnancies too, instead of having to buy a maternity dress, and then you can wear it again after the baby is born. Tunic length tops with jeggings or leggings are also good for weight fluctuations. Also, if you buy one good pair of jeans, one quality pair of yoga pants, etc., you won't have to buy as much and spend as much money. But I am terrible at that, and would rather have a bunch of cheap things! Ha! I hope this helps, and good luck!!

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  6. I love this! I can't wait to start shopping and building up my wardrobe

  7. Hi Amanda! This is great. I've been a stay at home mom for almost 3 years now. My closet is an array of sizes and styles. I want to start building a mix and match wardrobe. Do you plan on making a Fall Mom Wardrobe?

    1. Hi Shelly! I actually had someone else ask me about a fall wardrobe, and I'm going to be working on that in the next two weeks. So check back very soon! :) Thanks for visiting!

  8. Thank you so much! I have been looking for some kind of sensible formula to create a wardrobe slowly instead of spending a thousand dollars all at once. I printed out your stages and I'm off to the store for the rest of level 1!

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