Mommy Gets a Makeover, Part 3

I came away from my Personal Pinterest survey with a surprisingly short list of items I needed to add to my closet to revamp my wardrobe:

1. A skinny belt
2. Long Skirts
3. A pair of riding boots

The skinny belt was simple. I went to the thrift store, found a worn-but-genuine-leather belt, and paid a quarter.

Skirts were more of a challenge. I knew I’d have to custom make them to get them floor length — most skirts I find don’t reach the elegant length due to my height. But sewing a full, floor length skirt takes lots of time and cloth — two resources I don‘t have a lot of.

Again, thrift store to the rescue: I found a humongous, button-up, long sleeved dress in a fine-wale, brown corduroy. I cut it off right under the armpits and held the edge to my waist—it reached the floor—perfect! I cut off the buttons and button hole plackets and sewed up the front seam to close up the skirt. Then I just put it on inside out and pinned pleats and darts around the waist narrowed enough to stay up on my hips. I added an invisible zipper in a side seam, bound the waist edge and – viola! A full-length, one-of-a-kind skirt with fascinating detail and flattering flow. Cost: $3 and 2 hours of sewing.

Finally, the boots. Because my feet are a size 11 ½ to 12, shoe stores (much less thrift stores) rarely stock my size. I’d already been looking for boots for several years, but even when I was finally willing to spend a bit more to get a good pair, I couldn’t find a style I liked (no heels or busy details for me) nor a store that sold my size – even online! I faced another winter bootless. But my loving husband, aware of my predicament, was keeping his eye out. We found a brand (Born) who’s sizing was generous (I fit the 11!) and then he found a style he knew I would love and – joy! – ordered them as an early Christmas present.

 

 

The last step was to take what I had learned from my new friend, Pinterest, and create outfits from what I already had in my wardrobe. Hayley has tips for this in her book, too–for getting a fashion plate look from similar elements in your own closet. I was astonished at the possibilities that opened up with the right inspiration and a few, core pieces. Suddenly I found my shorter skirts looked much better when paired with boots. My new belt added definition to a previously frumpy outfits, and when I wear my floor-length brown skirt I feel like I’m finally being true to my personal style. I feel lovely and confident which allows me to take my mind off myself and think of others more.

Another benefit to my newly defined style is that my closet is clean and organized–no longer clogged with things that don’t coordinate or that I never wear anyway. One can create many outfit combinations with a few good pieces, and I’ve found I don’t mind wearing the same ensemble twice because I feel so good in it!

It’s a lovely feeling. I thank God for the simple joy He gave us in clothing ourselves, and the fulfillment we can find as we endeavor to live out the individuality and creativity He instilled in us when He created us.

So, be encouraged—your closet is not hopeless, and your style is in there somewhere! I hope my journey inspires you, and that you can find some real help in “The No-Brainer Wardrobe” eBook, as I did. You may be just a few accessories or one staple piece away from a new era in your own wardrobe!

Coming up…choosing a personal color scheme and favorite wardrobe basics for mommies! All posts in this series are under the tag, Mommy Gets a Makeover.

Have you created a personal Pinterest style board yet? I would love to see it! Share the inspiration by sharing the link to your board in the comments! Remember what I learned–to get realistic inspiration, you need to be pinning photos of actual women who are your same shape, not just those collages of outfits meant for Miss ‘Size 2′!

 

Mommy Gets a Makeover, Part 2

Yesterday I described my personal style struggle. Today I’ll share what jump-started my personal fashion revolution:

Fashion Revelation #1: It’s OK to be a Copycat

All my life I’ve been inspired by the styles and tastes of the woman around me, yet I struggled to translate the looks I saw into an outfit for myself. I’ve always loved the outfits my mother puts together, but she’s 30 years older than me, and would be the first one to tell me that it wasn’t the best idea for me to copycat her. It’s the same with my sisters–both have unique and adorable senses of style, but they are 6 and 10 years younger than me. Neither can I glean fashion inspiration from my circle of girlfriends ‘cause our tastes and body styles often differ too much — did I mention I am 5’9” — the tallest woman I know?

I was left with the mistaken thought that I had to craft my personal style from thin air–come up with it on my own. Well, that deemed impossible, and my sense of fashion failure grew each season…Until the day I figured out it was ok to copy: I just had to find the right person to follow. Someone near my same age, with similar build, and well-developed fashion taste. That’s when I found her…Pinterest.

Fashion Revelation #2 Pinterest makes a great {fashion} role model.

Have you met Pinterest yet? I am indebted to Hayley Morgan’s “No-Brainer Wardrobe” for introducing me to how Pinterest could function as my own personal wardrobe assistant. Her simple advice finally gave me someone to craft my personal style after.

Following Hayley’s tips, I browsed through boards, first of friends on Pinterest, then doing keyword searches for name brands I liked (Garnet Hill, J.Crew), and then jumping over to other people’s boards with similar tastes as mine. Every outfit that caught my eye, I pinned in a category I called “Dressing”. Soon I had a collection of styles and fashions I knew I loved.

The next step Hayley instructed me in was to find the reoccurring themes on my pin board. This was easy.

  • I saw immediately that I was very attracted to long skirts- despite being liberated from the ankle length skirt rule I‘d lived under through my teens, I still loved the long, willowy look of a tall woman in a full length skirt. And there were many women wearing long, full skirts without being frumpy!
  • I also noticed that I actually liked belts– especially thin ones, layered over cardigans or button-up shirts.
  • I liked layers, neutrals, and classic lines in traditional styles.

Fashion Revelation #3 Your style is just that: YOUR style!

All those years of half-heartedly attempting to follow the trends of shorter skirts, bright colors, or punk-style accessories were a waste of time. None of that mattered since I’d finally found MY style!

Firmly identifying what I love has minimized the draw to fit into seasonal trends or waste money on fads that just aren’t me. I have learned to embrace ‘my’ style over being ‘in’ style and it has given me absolute freedom and joy in dressing.

Learn how I revamped my wardrobe for fall with the addition of just one article of clothing, one pair of shoes, and one accessory  in next week’s post. Meanwhile, if you want your own personal fashion adviser, get your copy of Hayley’s awesome ebook “The No-Brainer Wardrobe”. It’ll change your life.

*I’m an affiliate of the “No Brainer Wardrobe” so if you purchase a copy through the link I’ve provided, you bless both Hayley and me!

(Oh, and YOU—don’t forget what it could do for you!)

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…