My Instagram post this morning has got me thinking about mom style again so I thought I would quickly share my thoughts with the hope that y’all find them encouraging rather than discouraging, empowering rather than deflating.

I wish I could ask the moms in runners and dingy t-shirts and workout clothes if that’s *really* what expresses their style or if they feel that’s what they “should” wear or have to wear to the park. Are those the only clothes they find comfortable? As for me, I played at the park perfectly well while wearing a cute comfortable washable CHEAP outfit AND accessories on a grey rainy day. Moms deserve to look and feel great doing ALL that we do! #canigetanamen #momstyle 🙌🏻

Here’s my basic stance on mom style: wear whatever YOU feel great in.  Just because I love dresses doesn’t mean you need to.  Just because I feel naked without accessories doesn’t mean you have to wear them too.  I love makeup, always have always will, and I wear at least mascara and lipstick every day.  Lots of women can’t be bothered with makeup and that is totally fine. I don’t subscribe to rules about how to dress for your body shape or what colours fit your ‘season’, etc. – not that those rules/guidelines/whateveryouwanttocallthem aren’t helpful, but I think how you feel trumps rules.  I could be in an outfit that fits all the rules, but if it doesn’t make my heart sing, I’m going to feel like crap and subsequently look like crap.  Conversely, if I’m wearing a rule breaker colour that I looooovveee, no one will notice it doesn’t suit my skin tone – they’ll be too busy picking up my confident, happy vibe.

The kicker is that YOU *need* to feel great in what you put on your body.  If you don’t, that’s probably a sign that something is off.  If your immediate response to someone else’s mom style is to defend your own, I’m going to suggest that maybe you are not as comfortable as you’re claiming.  We tend not to defend ourselves when we are content with who we are and what we are doing, IMHO.

When I started thrifting and blogging, I aimed to demonstrate that you don’t need money, time or a smaller body to look good.  I considered myself a good example that it CAN be done because:

  • I have 3 children
  • I was  a busy working mother and frequent solo-parenter
  • I worked in preschool and played on the floor with dirt, snot, paint – you name it
  • I had little money to spend on myself
  • I had little time to shop
  • I had little time to get ready
  • I’m grateful for my body but I am not one of those size 4s that can wear a sack and look good
  • I haven’t really had a full night’s sleep since 2005 – it definitely gets easier as they get older but now I’m conditioned to wake up and I do

I know many mothers contend with other challenging circumstances, so I don’t represent everyone.  Still, I think I can find common ground with most moms.  Many days when my kids were all little, my only goal was to get out the door clean, and if I managed that it was usually late with an awful lot of yelling and a trail of debris in my wake.  I’m not proud of that but it’s the truth.  Over time, I managed to fill my closet with pieces that fit my body and my personal style so that no matter how rushed I am, I can put on something that reflects good mom style, i.e., something I feel good in.  I think it’s time to stop glorifying the busy mom who has no time to think of herself.  I think pretending there is no choice is not helping anyone.

Before you start an angry comment, let me say, I am for you.  I’ve been there, I’ve held these attitudes tightly (“I have no time to think of myself, I have no choice, I’m doing my best”).  I now think they’re simply not true and in fact harmful to a mom’s mental health.  I want you to take time to think of yourself – it’s called self-care and it is tremendously important, even before it became a buzzword.  (FYI, OTs have always held self-care dear.)  Depending on your stage, this may be 2 minutes while you lock yourself in the bathroom.  Start wherever you’re at and gradually build up the time for you.  Your kids and your family will be better off for it.  As for choices, assuming you’re not leaving the house naked, you’re putting something on your body!  Why not put something on that makes you feel good?!  If you don’t have anything of that description, gradually find things that do.  No money?  That’s why thrifting is great.  It only takes a few pieces to have tons of variety in your wardrobe.  Start with one pair of jeans – you might have to try on 50 at the thrift store to find one, but you should be able to find a pair for less than $10 secondhand.  You could also host a clothing swap with your mom friends to find some new pieces and add some novelty to your wardrobe.  Even a scarf swap can bring vitality to your style.  No clean laundry?  I hear you Sister!!  That’s what the scarf is for. 😉  If your closet is a disaster zone, bit by bit, get it organized.  If you can afford it, get help.  My girl Jennifer of Life Preloved back in Edmonton is offering this service and I used to.  We are for you and we are here for you.  If you can’t afford it, enlist the help of a bossy friend!  I bet she’ll be quite pleased to help you figure out what to keep, what to donate, and where to put everything.

Every mother I know is doing their best.  And when we know more, we do better – our best changes.  Think about what message you want to share with the world and with what is most precious to you – your children.  Every day that I wake up, I have the chance to leave a bit of me on the world around me.  I want that bit to be confidence, happiness, kindness, authenticity, peace – all of which is easier to achieve when I feel good in what I’m wearing.  I want my daughter and my sons to know that it’s okay to have jammie days, but it’s also okay to want to look your best, to invest in yourself.  That is not pride or vanity.  Putting my best self forward brings glory to the One who created me.

Soooooo, if my insta post or this post is stirring up a response in you, I truly hope you’re feeling encouraged and empowered.  To the trainer who legit wears workout gear all the time, you go girl!  Those are words that will never pass my lips but I love it on you!  To the mom making the choice to get to the park instead of getting put together, my bet is you are put together and you’re making your choices confidently!  Love it!  To the mom in the thick of wee ones, girl, it IS a win to get out the door some days.  It gets easier, I promise.  Let’s just press on so that we have more days where we feel good in our clothes than not, where we are intentional rather than defaulting.  Tip the balance in our favour!  I have yet to meet a woman who regrets making this shift, who doesn’t feel great after finding clothes that fit her body and her style.

I’ll stop now but know that you are always welcome here for encouragement.  I might not be able to go thrifting with you, but I can cheer you on virtually!  I also think everyone should follow Stasia for her motivating style posts.  She can teach you rules if you want them, she can help you figure out what you’ll feel good in, what makes your heart sing, what clothes on the outside match your awesome inside!  Real mom style is growing, slowly surpassing the lovely but unattainable “fashion” of magazines and celebrities.  Join us, we’ll have a blast!

13 Comments

  1. Nicole Lyste Reply

    I love this and thanks to reading your blog, I overcame my own perceived stigma of thrift shopping (small town girl and perception of wealth), and now my closet is becoming filled with clothes I love. I have 2 small children and my body has gone through some crazy changes and thanks to thrifting I don’t have to live in sweats or feel guilty about getting clothes that fit me now. I also get to try styles to see if I like them and if they fit my life. Self care is vital and I have learned not always dressing in sweats and tee shirts does make me feel better. It actual makes me love my sweats and tee shirt days even more. As a side note…I love OT’s. My oldest spent 95 in the surgical Stollery NICU and the OT’s were vital to her development and they also had some great sewing skills in making padding for her car seat. So thanks for what you do, besides opening my eyes to thrifting.

    • Thank you SO MUCH for your comment!! Made my day on many fronts – I was a little worried about making moms feel bad, which was not my intention at all. I love what you said – that being more intentional on an everyday basis makes you appreciate the comfy days more – so so true!! And YES thrifting is THE way to try different styles and trends with little risk. I can only wish that I had known about thrifting when I was pregnant and post-partum. I vividly remember crying in the Reitmans fitting room because I could only find one pair of regular priced pants in a size that I knew I would only wear for a short time, having NO money. Anyway, better late than never! Your words about OT make me so happy!! Bless them for their good work at the Stollery. I can’t practice here in the US and I am in mourning, for real. Sigh. Still hoping I can find another way to use my skills with children and their families. And meanwhile, thrifting fills the void! 😉 Have a wonderful day!! xoxoxo

  2. THIS IS FANTASTIC. IF I WAS REPLYING FROM MY PHONE I’D BLOW UP THE HEART BUTTON – SO MUCH TRUTH AND GENUINE SUPPORT FOR ALL THE RIGHT REASONS. LOVE IT, AND YOU, AND HEART HEART HEART!

  3. Wow, Nicole, what a message of love, so close to Valentine’s Day! It was totally encouraging and I found it full of support, understanding, care and love–not judgemental or critical in the least! I felt your sense of identifying with moms, and your wisdom and care to motivate them to treasure themselves and value the unique gift called “me”. God did create us individual and unique and you are encouraging us to believe that and demonstrate that to the world. Thank you for this beautiful message. I believe that many mothers will be blessed by your tender care today.

    • Thank you SO MUCH for your kind words! You perfectly captured my intentions! xoxoxoxo

  4. Just wanting to share my comment from Instagram here as well to make doubly sure that women who do love their yoga pants and athleisure style understand the point I’m trying to make:

    @pixieandcurls oh I drop my kids off in sweats then get ready after I take the dog for a walk so my neighbours see a completely different person at pick up! ha There is absolutely nothing wrong with having an athleisure style – so many women (including you!) look fab in it! My insta post and blog post are more about encouraging moms who are NOT dressing the way that makes them feel good. And also to show that you can dress in a different style besides athleisure (like my style) and still be perfectly functional and comfortable. I can do everything in a dress that others do in yoga pants! And for those going through tough circumstances, we fare better when we feel better about ourselves, which is linked to what we wear and whether it’s a good fit for our bodies and personal styles. So it’s worth spending time on yourself!

  5. So much yes to everything you said! In judging another mom’s outfit, I’m being haughty about myself…thinking my way is better. You’re so right too about if you don’t feel confident/content/heart singing in an outfit, you feel blah…or I feel blah. It’s so fun when you feel comfortable, content and confident in an outfit…not because you look better than another mom but because your outfit was fun or it was a great buy or it was something you’d never put together before but it had been in your closet for years before getting put together. Love your writing!

    • Thank you so much for your kind words!! Yes, I hope that came through that the good feeling you get in an outfit is NEVER because of how it compares to someone else but ALWAYS because it is congruent with your personal style and current mood. You raise a good point about achieving good mom style by remixing things in your closet – that’s a great way to get novelty without spending anything! Have you done a video on that?!! (love your videos!) xoxo

  6. Amen! And this holds true for all of us, not just moms! I spent several years hiding out in what felt like depression clothes — oversized, dark, bulky (still all thrifted!) items that just made me sad. So glad that’s behind me! Getting dressed takes the same amount of time regardless of garments, but the lift you can get from liking an outfit is so worth it and completely within the realm of possibility for anyone! You tell ’em, Nicole!

    • AMEN! It *does* apply to women in general and it’s not frivolous to pay attention to your clothes and how they affect you – it’s essential. I think this is especially true for women (like myself) who have fluctuated in weight – sometimes we keep wearing clothes that are the wrong size and it just doesn’t do us any favours whether they’re too big or too small OR if our style has changed. I love looking around at big public gatherings because I can spot the people who look great because they feel great – they just shine, and it has nothing to do with their size, their style, their makeup or hair. Just today I told a stranger at church that her outfit was great! 🙂 Thanks for commenting, it makes my day!

  7. Boy am I glad I found you! You’re a down-to-earth, approachable blogger who gives thoughtful advice. Your posts make your readers feel good about themselves. You’ve got a lot of wisdom for someone so young!

    • Well thank you so much for the lovely comment! Makes my day, truly! And I haven’t been called “so young” in about 20 years so I’ll be printing that one out and framing it, haha! You’ve captured my intentions with this blog so perfectly and if I’ve done that for even one person – you – I consider this whole endeavour a success! THANK YOU!! xoxoxo

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