April 25, 2011

Reader Question: 11 Mom-Drobe Fashion Essentials for Spring / Summer 2011

We've been inundated, over the last few months, with request from readers who want to know exactly what to buy.  Right now.  With budgets ranging from under $200 to much, much more than that.  Figuring out exactly what one needs is a fairly strenuous exercise, dependent on your own personal style and existing wardrobe.  It's hard for me to say, on a personal level, what one person might need.

However.  I've been giving this topic some thought.  And while I realize that everyone has different styles, different needs…there are a few items that I would recommend to *most* moms.  

First of all, I'm assuming that everyone already has a few basics: a pair of jeans they love, basic flip-flops and some long, layering camis (or shaper camis). Good?  Good.

My list then, contains the 11 items that I think can be most easily mixed-n-matched for a cohesive, cute, and functional mom-drobe that's totally on-trend for 2011.  Ready? 

Essentials
1.  A Maxi Dress

Maxis are insanely flattering, and shockingly versatile.  There is one out there for all body types.  For the most mom-friendly version, hem yours for flats.  Wear with TOMS to the park, flip-flops to the pool and pretty flat sandals to dinner.  Accessorize with a cuff bracelet.  You will always look great.

2. Flares

Flares look good with everything – little tanks, long flowy layers, boxy tops.  Flares do look best with a bit of a heel (wedges work) so decide which shoe you'll be wearing with your flare and hem appropriately. 

3. Something Striped

While stripes are having a BIG BIG moment now, stripes are always a classic.  The good news is that stripes are everywhere – striped tees, dresses, skirts, shorts, shoes, etc.  My favorite way to wear stripes is a casually slouchy lightweight sweater, like the one above from J.Crew.

4. Amazing Sunglasses

We've talked about the importance of good sunglasses before (check out Rachel's in our Mom Street Style article)…but I can't harp on this enough.  Not only will they save your vision, but a good pair of sunnies can pull a whole look together.  Rachel is a great example.  And beware try polarized lenses – you will never go back. (Thanks a lot, J).

5. Lightweight Scarf

A scarf is so much a part of my entire existence that I should print it on business cards: Shana Draugelis, Scarf-Wearer.  But seriously.  Scarves, regardless of the season, make any crappy 'ol, spit-up stained tee or tank look good.  And they can even double as a nursing cape, and, in a pinch, a baby sling.  While I don't usually throw on a scarf in 90 degree weather….a lightweight scarf is pretty perfect for Spring's fickle weather, and cooler summer nights.  My favorite places to find lightweight scarves are Echo Designs, American Eagle/Aerie, Ruche and Shopbop.

6. Gorgeous Flat Sandals

I love my rubber flip-flops, but the easiest way to add polish is to swap them out for a pair more glamorous.  Don't be afraid to be picky – there are a ton of options to choose from, so find a pair that makes your heart beat fast and are comfortable to walk in. And don't forget to add Foot Petals.  They make a huge difference, especially during a hot, hot summer.

7. Patterned, Tunic-y Top

Tunics are great.  They hide stomach pooches and arm flab, and many will also flatter a large chest (look for styles with a v-neck and/or a slightly nipped in waist).  Tunics look amazing with virtually all silhouettes (skinny, flare, and cropped), and are a no-brainer with shorts.

8. Lightweight Jacket

Whether it's a trench, army, biker, or Rag & Bone's short-sleeved safari inspired jacket….if you can only get one piece this Spring, get a gorgeous jacket.  Throw it on over everything (looks especially cute with shorts) for instant polish.  Regardless of your style, there is a lightweight jacket for you.  And if the thought of wearing anything structured makes you squirm, try a sweatshirt/knit iteration of a jacket.  Madewell has a cute moto-inspired knit jacket, currently on sale.

9.  Comfy Canvas Shoes

For playing soccer, long walks around the park, and climbing up the monkey bars to rescue your kiddo….it's hard to beat a pair of TOMS.  Really, any comfy, canvas shoe will do…but I've yet to find a pair as comfy as TOMS.  Even better, for each pair of shoes purchased, TOMS donates a pair to a kiddo in need.  Love that.  I wear mine with denim, shorts, skirts, dresses…everything.

10. Shorts

Girls, shorts aren't going anywhere.  Right now I'm on the hunt for a slightly baggy, higher-waist pair with a tie belt and pockets.  However, slim chino shorts or printed short-shorts, or denim cut-offs, or trouser shorts or even cargo shorts all work, too. 

11. Something Crochet (or Lace or Eyelet)

Find some kind of crochet/lace/eyelet topper.  It could be a tank, like the Free People eyelet one above, or the lace tank I bought for pooch-hiding.  It could be a vest or little sweater.  Just make sure it's something beautiful.  Throw on over any 'ol hubby-beater tank.  Layer over a maxi to make it more interesting.  This is a great way to layer in the summer without getting too hot.  And will seriously help with pooch-hiding.

Notice that all of these pieces can be mixed together.  Here are a few combos I'll be rocking this Spring and into Summer…

Mixed

 

One last note for those of you on a budget.  Most of these pieces can be found at Target, Old Navy, Kohls, H&M and Forever 21.  Or, just choose a few key pieces to invest in and wear them over and over.  If there's one thing we all should've learned from pregnancy, it's that we can get through a season wearing the same thing over and over and over and over and over and over….

Hope this helps!!

xo,

S

 

27 Comments
  • DoRena
    April 26, 2011

    THANK YOU!
    I bought a new sundress for Easter (first new outfit since I was pregnant . . . baby is 13 months!), and my husband said I looked so cute that I needed to go shopping! I’ve got the best guy ever, no? Saturday I’ve got a date with this list at the mall!

  • Lisa
    April 26, 2011

    I have picked up a variation of almost all of these items for spring (I just can’t bring myself to switch out my skinnies for flare jeans). My two cents:
    I’m only 5’4 but live in flats – didn’t think I could rock a maxi, but this one from old navy was the perfect length no tailor necessary
    http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=15292&vid=1&pid=826111&scid=826111012
    I also second the TOMS LOVE! I got a pair of the Toms heels (three and a half inches) and rocked them walking over a mile in Vegas last week. After that I made a beeline to Nordstrom to order the grey flats (they’re coming this week and I can’t wait).
    I also just picked these up last night with my DSW $10 off coupon and they’re super comfy
    http://www.dsw.com/shoe/r2+lima+sandal?prodId=217960&category=dsw12cat440004

  • Shana
    April 26, 2011

    I think this my favorite part of the blog – seeing reader's picks.  Gorg shoes, Lisa!  Wow!  And I've been wondering if the TOMS wedges were comfortable….thanks for sharing your finds!!
    DoRena – you are one lucky girl.  Have fun this weekend!!
    Sent from my iPhone

  • Molly G
    April 26, 2011

    You mentioned the foot petals for summer….is this the sporty soles?
    Thanks!

  • Kelley
    April 26, 2011

    I ADORE that Rag and Bone jacket. NEED IT! I really, really want some flares for the summer, but I have thicker thighs, and I’m not sure if it’s a trend I can pull off.
    I bought my first pair of TOMS, and while my husband hates them, I think they are great! No longer will I have little bits of wood chips stuck to my feet after playing at the playground with my kiddos.
    Shana, I have been meaning to email you back…thank you so much for the tips for my upcoming trip to Nashville. I checked out your cowboy bar post, I’m thinking hubby beater, boots tucked into skinnies and tons of bracelets. Now, can I justify the Rag and Bone jacket for my meetings?

  • Shana
    April 26, 2011

    Kelley – Yes.  Yes you can.  It would be perfect!!! ;)
    Sent from my iPhone

  • Tegan M.
    April 26, 2011

    Yay! So excited about this post! Thank you!!!

  • Madeleine
    April 26, 2011

    Shana – I love this post. A couple questions – I haven’t tried the Maxi dress thing yet – but I’m tempted. Like DoRena I am on the shorter side – 5’3″. Do you really think us short girls can pull this off and look GOOD, not just OK? I’ve always focused more on shorter skirts.
    Also, you really don’t like flats with flares? Or do you just prefer a heel with them? I got a great new pair of flares (william rast) and had them hemmed for a low/flat heel – I just wear heels so, so rarely – like the odd night out. And I often still choose a strappy flat sandal.
    - Madeleine

  • Madeleine
    April 26, 2011

    Whoops – it was LIsa who said she is short like me :)

  • Cedar
    April 26, 2011

    Genius! You are so helpful (as always).

  • Shana
    April 26, 2011

    Molly G – I just looked up the Sporty Soles…WOW. No – I’ve never tried them. I typically just use their Tip Toes: http://www.footpetals.com/Tip%20Toes.html Hunh. Would the sporty soles show through on a sandal? They do look crazy comfy.
    Tegan & Cedar – So glad you liked it!
    Mad – Flares look best with heels, but they can work with flats…they just need to be hemmed properly. I actually ended up getting 2 pairs of flares…one for heels and one for flats. Now…the maxi question: I actually LOVE maxi dresses on petite gals. Especially if the color of the maxi is uniform. It tends to create one long, lean line….even more than a short skirt does. Just make sure it’s hemmed properly. I actually like them on the long side – only a couple of inches off the ground, hitting the top part of your foot. Gorgeous with a flat sandal.

  • Megan
    April 27, 2011

    LOVE this post! I just found your blog a week or so ago and I can’t stop reading it.
    Madeleine, I was going to ask the same question about flares! I just splurged and bought a pair of the J Brand Lovestory petites, and can’t figure out what to do about hemming them. I am 5’4″, and being at home with 4 small kids, end up regretting wearing heels any time that I do put them on. My youngest is a heavy nine month old and carrying her in my platforms is a bit tricky ;) It’s so hard to decide… keep them for a special night out jean, and hem for some great wedges? Or pick a shorter inseam so I will reach for them more often? Hmmmm…. maybe I need to find a pair of lower wedges and go with something in between?
    I grabbed this dress from Old Navy las night. Reviews are great, so we’ll see when it gets here:
    http://oldnavy.gap.com/browse/product.do?cid=15292&vid=1&pid=839433
    Thanks for all the great tips!! Now to try to find some other great spring pieces using this inspirational post. Any tips for shopping with 4 little ones?! LOL!

  • Christy
    April 27, 2011

    This is such a great post.
    Here is a pair of shorts like you described above, but for much cheaper at Gap: http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=834200002&tid=gosp1r&kwid=1&ap=14
    Also-I wanted so badly to love the JBrand Love Story, but I just did not have luck with them as the sizing was off for me. However, I did actually just buy the Current Elliot you have above ( I have them on today) and I LOVE them!
    Megan-if you see this…try out Clarks Indigo line. I have a pair of the most amazing wedges that are more comfy than my slippers and I wear them while balancing my 3 year old and 10 month old. They are the Clarks Indigo Plover. They have a whole new line targeted to younger women. I feel fantastic in my flares w/my clarks and I get compliments on the shoes all the time!

  • Megan
    April 27, 2011

    Christy, thank you so much for the Clarks Indigo suggestion!! Thinking I might just order a pair this afternoon ;). They sound perfect!

  • Mandy
    April 27, 2011

    I love this post–I really think you should do this every season. So helpful! Thanks!

  • Shana
    April 27, 2011

    Megan – I couldn’t decide either, so ended up getting two pairs. Keep your eye on Gilt Group – I picked up one of my Lovestories there for $50! No joke! And I LOVE the Old Navy maxi dress – nice find!! Thanks for sharing!! And I echo Christy’s Clark’s love. Clark’s Indigo line is the shoe I’m wearing here: http://www.aintnomomjeans.com/2011/04/yes-i-did-thigh-highs-suprisingly-perfect-for-babywearing.html
    Christy – Thanks for the shorts link! I LOOOVE them. Might be my next purchase…and the Current/Elliot’s: Are they sweatpant soft? I have two other pairs of their denim and they are SO soft…I was wondering about their flares…
    Mandy – Good idea! Noted!!

  • Christy
    April 27, 2011

    Yes-The current Elliots are so soft! I purchased them at Nordstrom over the weekend. They had some little strings hanging off them (for the worn look) that I preferred not to keep and I had to have about a 1/2″ hemmed anyway so I had them take the strings off! I just love them. They haven’t stretched out either and I have been in them for about 8 hours now!
    I hope you get the shorts and show them to us! I am going to get some myself!
    Another shoe I just got and love is Nicole Able: http://www.zappos.com/nicole-able-grey-tin (I got mine in a cognac color from Endless.com) and they provide a good 4″ platform wedge, but are so light weight and comfortable! If you dig around long enough…you can find style and comfort!

  • Kate
    April 27, 2011

    The only thing I would pretty much ever pay to have on this list are those super comfy-looking yellow shoes!! Those are awesome.
    Everything else is either a “duh” wardrobe staple (sunglasses, light jacket, scarf), too trendy (cami, bell bottoms? I’m still lovin’ my skinny jeans, yo), will get ruined by spit up (cute blouse), impractical for the heat of my Texas summer climate (sweater and jeans), too casual – as in lingerie/pool-esque (again, the cami, the maxi), or just not my style (everything else). Which you addressed by saying everybody should go for their own style, so I hope this isn’t too harsh, because this blog is so great. It’s just…I usually love the stuff you come up with on this blog, but for me at least, it kind of felt like you just succumbed to the style lords and forgot that your audience is normal moms who live in the real world where utility is high on the list of priorities and spillage of all kinds of wet substances is inevitable, and not some fantasy world full of perky boobs and washboard abs where people buy gorgeous yet uncomfortable sandals. If I want a list like this, I’ll buy instyle magazine, and dream about the day when I am done having babies, all my kids are toilet trained and in school, and I can work out and *hopefully* achieve my perky boobs and washboard abs so I can feel good in these kind of clothes. Because right now, the clothes that feel and look good on me are so not like anything on this list.
    In my defense I’m pregnant, so please take this opinion with a grain of salt! I really love your ideas, and I’m not angry so much as just vaguely disappointed, and I’m not sure if that tone is coming across. It takes a lot of guts to write your style opinions on a blog, which I commend you for!
    Anyway, those yellow shoes look awesome, and if that’s all I got out of today’s post, I’m still glad. And I will keep reading your blog even if I disagree with it sometimes! :)

  • Anitra
    April 27, 2011

    I am desperately searching for a maxi dress that will flatter, allow me to nurse, and not show cleavage down to my bellybutton. I’m going to a wedding in 10 days and I have nothing spring-y to wear!
    I’m 5’8″ and a size 14/16. The non-maxi dresses this season all hit me just above the knee and look dumpy. :(

  • Yogita
    April 27, 2011

    Thanks for this post! I’ve been debating whether or not to request one such post from you and someone did it! It is time to shop for the new season and I appreciate the tips that you give.

  • Amy (BiblioMOMia)
    May 4, 2011

    PSA: The new Calypso St. Barthe line for Target has 2 adorable crochet vests, lots of flattering maxi dresses (check out that amazing coral caftan!), embellished sandals, cotton scarves, AND tunics. Seriously, it’s gorgeous–one of the best designer lines for Target in a long time. The fabrics are lovely (cotton and silk), the patterns are tropical but sophisticated, and the cuts are totally flattering. If you need a one-stop shop for a lot of this list, just walk through Target.

  • Amanda
    March 15, 2012

    Can you pleeeeease do this exact same thing for Spring/Summer 2012??? I live in the South and Spring/Summer are the same season :)

  • melissa
    March 18, 2012

    I second Amanda’s request! It would be great to have this type of list again for 2012. It is so helpful!

  • S
    March 18, 2012

    Got it – working on it now. :)

  • melissa
    March 18, 2012

    Great! I’ll hold off on my shopping for a bit longer. Can’t wait to see what you come up with this year. Thanks so much!

  • Amy
    March 19, 2012

    I was going to ask for an updated list too! Recently found your blog and I LOVE it! But I was reluctant to go off this post for 2012. Can’t wait to see your post or this year. I’m in Southern California, so we are ready for warm weather clothes.

  • Jenny
    April 6, 2012

    Can’t wait to see the updated list! I need it for sure!! :D

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