Mommy Gets a Makeover, part 1

I come from stylish stock. Yet I have always struggled with my own sense of style. I fondly blame the homestead years. For my entire teens–when most girls are spending extra time in front of the mirror or at the mall, tweaking and tailoring till they discover just the right look for them–I was focused on staying warm and keeping the fire going so I could make dinner. I rarely had reason to dress up, plus I was following strict modesty guidelines (mainly my own). A large, denim skirt or jumper that covered ‘all the bases’ was my default, my goal with my hair was to keep it out of my way, and accessories really got in the way of bailing hay.

By the time we left the homestead we’d transitioned out of our legalistic dressing standards, but I still wasn’t up to spending hours in front of the mirror crafting my personal style statement. What effort I did extend was in the area of my new interest–vintage costume. I could put together a French Revolution-era ensemble that could knock your stockings off, but when tasked at coming up with a modern-day outfit, I struggled to get pants to meet my ankles and shirts to fit my 5’9” frame, much less come up with an outfit that was a confident expression of my personal taste.

Then I entered Motherhood: that blessed season when you are never the same size 3 weeks in a row. Three pregnancies in 5 years and little time for shopping filled my closet with a collection of jeans that spanned 6 sizes, but little else that fit, much less flattered. My fashion statement went something like, “If it doesn’t have spit up on it, it works!”

I knew how to thrift shop, sew for myself, and style my hair, but even when I had the energy to invest in my appearance, I was still lost. I often chose an item just because it actually fit (glory be!), or because it was really cheap, or because it was {what I thought was} my favorite color, but rarely all three. With a closet full of clothes, I rarely felt I had anything to wear, and often found myself in tears on a Sunday morning, struggling to pull together an outfit I could be seen in public in.

Can you relate? Ever cried in your closet? Do you hate getting dressed to go out somewhere special? Um, yeah….Me, too. 

But I have hope! Last fall marked a turning point in my personal fashion journey, and this past year has been one full of surprising discoveries. Joy has replaced frustration: for the first time in my life I’m confidently crafting stylish outfits for any occasion with what I have in my wardrobe, all because of a few simple discoveries. I can’t wait to tell you all about it in the next few posts…

To be continued tomorrow…

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  1. Karen says

    Thanks for the welcome!

    Oops, that Mose should have been Mode…. I use the Bootcamp workouts by the guy who does the Tae Bo ones. Also, you can drop a quick 2-6 lbs the first week by doing the SparkPeople diet online, for free. You can keep track of what you eat, how many calories and have it set up so you know how many calories you should “aim” for when you eat. It also has excersises that include cleaning, yard work, etc. You put in the minutes you did ___ and it calculates how many calories burned. The workouts by Billy Blanks (finally thought of his name) are tough but they WORK and work well! His big thing is that no matter what you choose for your exercise, you control your movements, not the movement controlling you. If not, you are wasting your time. Between kids, I went from 189 lbs down to 173 and went from pants size 16 down to 10, in a little over a month and I did it by being healthy too. No starving myself or unhealthy habits here. Billy is a motivational speaker as well and he gets you amped up and wanting to push yourself but still be aware of not overdoing it. The DVDs can be bought on ebay or amazon: Billy Blanks Basic Training (starting at a penny on Amazon right now(Bootcamp/Billy Blanks Ultimate Bootcamp. Both are really great workouts. Hope this helps!

  2. karen says

    I so hear you on this! My youngest is 5 and I STILL have a big mushy tummy and health probe that prevent me from going hard-core lose the tummy Mose which I had done before. At 5’11″ I definitely hear you on the height thing. Even now my pj pants are more like capries than ankle length. Grrr.

  3. says

    NO!!!!! No fair…I was just getting all excited and then you tell me “To be continued”. Well fine then…I will come back :0)! Looking forward to what you have to say. As a former “ultra-modest, giant dress wearing, made our own clothes out of calico” wearer myself, i LOVE when women find their look and look pretty! I have yet to master the art of a “wardrobe”, but at least I no longer wear shmatas! (yiddish for not so nice looking dresses).

    • Trina says

      sorry, Donna! I can’t post more than twice a week or I don’t have time to chat with ya’ll in the comments!

      love ‘shmatas’–it sounds like the perfect word to describe my former wardrobe, as well!

  4. says

    I’m desperately hoping there will be something in here for me. I just put on a pair of pants that fit me comfortably up until 14 weeks pregnant with my first…I could barely get them closed. My wardrobe consists of yoga pants and a plethora of stained solid colored tees. Seriously.

    I’ve been on a mission to find a pair of jeans that fit, but I haven’t discovered them yet.

    • Trina says

      there is hope, jess–there is hope! I’ve got an idea that must might work for you…post in drafts… ;)
      Meanwhile, have you created a ‘dressing’ pinboard for inspiration???

  5. says

    Good for you! Life takes time and so does dressing for it; it’s easier when the steps are simple. Dave and I finally got to the place where we could travel for three weeks with one carry-on bag and purses…his contained his meds and mine contained everything else we’d need -smile-.
    I’m looking forward to reading your upcoming posts.

  6. says

    This looks like a fun series to read! :) I was just looking in my closet last night and wondering what in the world I was going to wear to church Sunday, a week after having a baby. :P You know – the phase of the “big mushy tummy.” I thrift store shop for clothes, and buy off Ebay. It’s hard though – but that is because I don’t dedicate enough time.

    • Trina says

      oh, Lisa–the first Sunday is always a kicker lol

      My definition of a wardrobe that works for me is one that doesn’t take a lot of time to purchase or assemble! You’re gonna love the upcoming posts. ’cause for me it’s all about speed! :)

  7. Gayl says

    Can’t wait to read the next post! I can really identify with you :) I have always struggled with finding what would actually fit, look good and be stylish. Hope you have to great tips!

    • Trina says

      Gayl, I hope my tips help. It’s about having a personal vision of your own style–with that as a guide, the struggle is greatly reduced.

  8. Kristina says

    Yeah! I am so in need of some help in this area of my life. I always feel like I am soooo OUT of style! I have never learned how to put make-up on either!:)
    Thanks for sharing!:)

    • Trina says

      can I just say that no one is helpless in this area? you, of all people, Kristina, know how far I needed to come in this area, having seen my homestead days! LOL Thanks for coming on this journey with me–it’s gonna be fun!

  9. says

    Exciting exciting – can’t wait for the next post! :-)
    Also, I sympathize – I really struggle to get clothes to fit, but for the opposite reason. I’m 5’1″ and usually end up having to shop in the children’s section… trouble is they assume people my height don’t have hips. Shopping for maternity clothes was also interesting…