A Season-less, Starter Wardrobe For Moms

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Many of you have been asking me for a wardrobe starting point.  A mom-uniform capsule collection, a small set of items that can get us through most of our days.  I wanted to source a set of items that were current, easy, yet with timeless appeal.

So I’m thrilled to announce that I partnered up with a dear friend (and amazing artist), Jess, to pull together a starting point for anyone wanting to build up a wardrobe that plays as hard as we do.  I researched (no really I did!!) and agonized and added back in and crossed out….and in the end, I came up with eighteen key pieces.  (I really wanted it to be fifteen pieces, but Ok.)  I described each item in vague, general terms, “sunglasses, but not a boring pair of sunglasses, something glamorous.  A perfectly drapey tee that you never want to take off….”, and Jess listened and went away and drew.  And when she was done….I was kinda blown away by the results.

Jessbobesscollage (2)


The most important point here are the pieces, not the style.  If your look is more boho, swap out the chic trench for a seriously cool army parka.  Preppy?  Instead of a vintage-inspired blouse, a gingham-check button-down might be just the thing.  The key is finding pieces you love, pieces that make your heart beat fast.

When pulling together your perfect wardrobe, start small and BE PICKY.



Why these specific pieces?  I wanted this capsule collection to not only be practical, but flexible.  So one can find something cute to wear during a messy art project at home, throw on something else for a run to the store, and then, when it’s time to dress up, tweak a few go-to outfits into something a little sexier.



This is just a starting point.  In the summer, you might want to swap the “comfortable flats” for a cute pair of sandals, the “day dress” for a breezy maxi.  The “collared shirt” might become a pretty tank (I’m obsessed with this one), and a “large bag” might be straw or canvas.



But you know what Jess really nailed?  The concept of interesting pieces.  Since every. single. one. of these pieces came from Jess’ boundless imagination, they have a freshness that’s so often missing in wardrobe collections.




Even if your style is decidely more minimalist [raises hand], even if you find yourself in a particular color rut [raises hand again]….you can still look for interesting pieces.  If white, button-down shirts are totally your thing, awesome.  Just find one with perfect fit, perfect drape – find one that makes your heart beat fast.  I mean you could grab yet another boring cardigan at Old Navy….or just wait and buy something like this.  If you are going to start over, start building up a collection of play-hard pieces, why not find ones that are also fabulous?  It makes getting dressed so much easier.



Since Jess’s collection is so crazy-fabulous (I dream about that orange/pink drapey sweater), I did my best to re-create with shoppable pieces, just for fun.



Day Dress | Upscale Sweatshirt | Glam Sunnies | Interesting Sweater

Comfortable Heels (or these!!) | Flat Boots (also here)


Easy Black Pants | Cute Hat | Going-Out Clutch | Drapey Tee (gray)

Drapey Tee (coral) | Cute Comfy Flats (or these?) | Graphic Tee | Cool Sneaks | Go-To Denim


Large Bag | Collared Shirt (this one is also true to Jess’ style)| Trouser Sweatpants | Chic Jacket


Want to see more of Jess’s amazing work?  She has an Etsy store with all kinds of gorgeousness.  My favorites are her bird paintingsseriously stunning.  Or you can visit her blog, Sunlight Is Their Fashion.  (And if you are in the Chicago area, Jess is in the process of pulling together amazing art classes for kids!  Stay tuned….)


Happy Mother’s Day, Mamas!





About Author

Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and denim-underwear, always.

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  1. I always read, never comment, but just had to break my silence to say: this. is. amazing. LOVE the illustrations and that you added shoppable pieces. Such a beautiful post in many ways. Thanks for inspiring my creativity on this springy Friday!

  2. I agree-this is AMAZING!!! I love all the pieces and how they work together so well! Great inspiration and I realize I have most of these pieces but have never put them together in many of these ways. Thank you!!!!!

  3. Axon Parker on

    This is so, so helpful! Thank you so much! I’m going to put my country girl spin on this and then try to find some quality consignment stores to fill in the blanks….

  4. LOVE this- if only Jess could illustrate my ideal wardrobe and then a fashion fairy godmother could *poof* turn the illustrations into the real deal- that would be a dream come true!
    I always love these concepts, but the shopping and finding the ideal pieces is what gets me.
    Fabulous post!

  5. This is GORG! Your last oh-so-practical/helpful starter mom-drobe post was what introduced me to (hooked me on) your blog, but THIS? THIS is a whole other level of fabulous-ness….

  6. Love, love this post. I have a lot of work to do and self control to work on to not fill my closet with “whatever” pieces.

  7. Love! I tend to avoid items that are too “interesting”….I feel like it will be less noticeable that I’m wearing the same things over and over if I stick to basics. But you’ve convinced me that life is too short to not invest in trouser sweatpants!

  8. Fantastic! I love this. Beautiful illustrations. Looks like the trouser sweatpants are sold out on H&M. Any other suggestions? THANK YOU for the inspiration!

  9. This is great. Thank you. i am also in love with that Top Shop tank. Just “bookmarked” it yesterday 🙂
    – Mad

  10. What a beautiful post and a fabulous mother’s day gift for us. Thank you, S! You’ve inspired me to be more bold and more picky. And like magic, today I found some cool sneakers that really did make my heart beat faster when I saw them:
    Love! I had to order them the instant I saw them, partly because I could kind of imagine Jess drawing them 🙂
    Have a wonderful Mother’s Day, S!

  11. What an amazing post! So beautiful and so helpful! I’ve gotten so many positive comments on my clothes since I’ve been dressing according to your advice (pooch-hiding tops, interesting sweaters, layering jackets, mixing styles.) I can’t wait to add a few more pieces to my wardrobe per this post. I need some flats and an upscale sweatshirt!

  12. Anthropologie also has tons of cute sweats of this type (along with outfit inspiration) in their loungewear section!

  13. mccoynoel@yahoo.com on

    Thanks you! Just ordered the “easy black pants” from JCrew and a few other items that follow the “key pieces” rule. The price of the pants was definitely a splurge for me but I know they will get a tone of wear so the price makes sense.(also they are offering 25% off) This is a great article and so practical!
    Happy Mothers Day!

  14. I am quite impressed by your shopping abilities. Pretty close matches to all those beautiful illustrations! Thanks for this wonderful post!

  15. I love this post & you’ve inspired me to put together my own look. My only question is, what would you suggest to carry as a handbag for those of us who still use diaper bags? I have Petunia Pickle Bottom bags, so they’re not frumpy looking, but I still don’t feel comfortable carrying all my son’s snacks & his sippy in a regular handbag.

  16. Okay, just going to chime in with another HOORAY! Loved this post. Such a good reminder to stop settling for “meh, it works” pieces when I need something new. Why do I do that, anyway? G’rrr. Gotta stop.

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