2012 Spring / Summer Trends For Moms


Mamas, we've been getting requests from our readers to update last year's article on the 11 Mom-Drobe Fashion Essentials for Spring/Summer 2011.   In it, we advised our readers to get a great maxi dress, find one perfectly chic Spring jacket, figure out how to rock shorts, and to embrace flare denim, stripes, printed tops, TOMS, cool, flat sandals and scarves.  

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A year later, that article continues to be the best place to start for mamas rebuilding their wardrobes. Trends really haven't changed much.  You can still count on a maxi dress, a chic jacket will always save an outfit, flares are hard-rocking, and I wear my TOMS daily.  Also?  A shout-out to printed tops.  Still going strong.

So what has changed for 2012?  

In a word, color.  

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(photo credit: Gap.com)

This Spring brings new, colorful, approaches to getting dressed that even the most color-adverse can love.  And there are a couple of new silhouettes whose mom-drobe possibilities have me excited.  

Go Get Some: Colorful Accessories

Whether or not you bought into the bright-denim trend (and I love it for Spring/Summer)…you can still perk up your existing summer basics by rocking a few bright accessories.  And by "a few" I mean at least three.   Three bright accessories keeps the look cohesive.   My new favorite accessory combination?  Bright sunglasses + bright pedicure + a big 'ol bright bag.

 But, you know.  Do it your own way.  There are really no wrong answers here*.



 J.Crew Selina Sunglasses | J.Crew Skinny Leather Belt | Lucky Brand Laced Fringe Abbey Road Cross-body Bag |  Dannijo Lindsay Friendship Bracelet | Carlos Santana Tye-Dyed Bag | Stella & Dot Serenity Necklace | Essie Mango Bango  


*Another right answer?  Do the whole thing in soft pastels (perfect for color-haters).  Or even…neon.  But if you are a neon-loving Mama, I'd keep the neon accessories to a max of two.  Otherwise…walking highlighter?

Add In:  A Chambray Shirt

This shirt was on fire last year, and probably should've been part of my original list.  However, it took me some time to realize the staying-power (and the usefulness) of this light-weight denim shirt.  The secret to it is this:  it is THE perfect counterpoint to all of the bright and patterned.  And bonus?  It looks amazing with shorts. 

Find one that that is soft, and has sleeves that easily roll up.  I love Madewell's, below, but these shirts are currently available everywhere.

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Try: A High-low Skirt

Ive also heard these skirts referred to as "mullet skirts"…but they are actually the exact reverse of a mullet:  party in the front…all bizness* in the back.

*moms are the bizness, amiright?

Here's the thing:  these skirts show off cute shoes, a little bit of leg, but won't leave you anxious about accidental bum exposure while picking up the kiddos, bending over to tie shoelaces, babywearing, etc.

Just make sure that the fabric is printed on both sides.  Some of the cheaper versions are only printed on the outside…letting the white liner show in the front view. 



 Free People at ASOS | Forever 21 Sheer Floral | Target Knit Skirt


Trust Me:  A Peplum Top*

This trend can either be sharp and sophisticated or flowy and boho.  Both are fabulous.  And both will transform your old momiforms.  Wear this top with shorts, pencil skirts, flares, cropped denim – anything, really.

Curvier mamas should look for a structured peplum top that shows off a tiny waist.   But no matter what your body type, finding a peplum top that highlights the smallest part of your torso (even if that's your rib cage) is the key to wearing this trend.  So if one top doesn't work….try another.  You might be surprised.

*Or?  A peplum skirt.  Looks rad with a plain white tee and flat, fun sandals.



ModCloth Coral Coasts Top | NY & Co. White Peplum Top |  Marc by Marc Jacobs Striped Peplum Top | ASOS Orange Floral Lace | Tahari Knit Top


Be Happy:  In Happy Pants (aka Printed Denim)

Denim makers are finding new ways to make us covet denim (damn them!!).  They've colored it and waxed it and now?  They've printed it.  With fabulous, fabulous prints*.  There's leopard, snake, tye-dye, ikat, floral, graphic, polka dot and some prints I don't even have a name for.  Scared?  Try this trend in baby steps – Forever 21 has a very toned-down version of leopard print jeans for $25 and Target is still stocked with my favorite 80's floral-print shorts for $17 and Delia's has a pair shockingly similar to Current/Elliott…but for $40 instead of $200 (I make no promises about fit, Mamas).

This trend is, hands-down, the easiest way to perk up a t-shirt and jeans mom-uniform.  Why?  Because printed denim looks best with a simple white tee.  (Although, M has some other fabulous ideas on how to wear printed denim here….)  Come winter, throw a dark, fuzzy sweater on over these happy pants and be…uh…happy? (Clearly, I have a way with words.)

Here are my current favorites….


Current / Elliott Lemongrass Dot | Joe's Geranium Tribal Print | Joe's Baltic Wash |  Paige Verdugo Leggings in Tumble

*I have the Paige's in Tumble wash.  They are, hands-down, Raines favorite pants that I own.  "WOW MOM!!  YOUR PANTS ARE AWESOME!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!"   Yeah.  Mom is cool.  Not sure why that's so hard to believe, however…. 






  1. Love it! One question–can a mom who is curvier in the thighs wear colored and/or printed denim? I have a hard time finding denim that isn’t skin tight on my thighs, but I do love the colored denim look.

  2. I’m nervous about the printed/bright denim thing because I’m unsure of how much of my wardrobe it would “work” with. Is a white t-shirt the only style option? And, a digression…where can I find a “perfect” white tee shirt? (You know, not too tight, not too loose, not see-through? I probably need three with all the spit-up and peanut butter fingers going on at my house!)

  3. Love both of these posts. I always find spring the most exciting time to think about fashion, and I love color! This year is fun because I’m plotting a warm weather maternity wardrobe (baby #2 due in September) and trying to incorporate as many of these trends as possible. ASOS maternity has some cute colored skinny jeans (with the side panel that you guys love). I ordered some in mint green and am now trying to figure out how to wear them everyday! Also loving the spring dresses from Hatch Collection, thinking of getting their striped tank maxi dress to wear every day that I don’t wear the mint jeans. Now i just need a coral pedicure to tie everything together!

  4. Amy – Of course!!  For colored denim, try Indi Custom.  Each jean is made to your measurements, and you can specify the types of legs you have.  They JUST released a bunch of colors, and they are all gorgeous. Also, you can choose between skinny, straight leg, flare, etc.
    For printed…hmmm…try either Citizen's or Joe's.  Both brands often make denim that is more forgiving in the thigh area….

  5. Oh, also– where are your favorite maxi dresses from? I’m 5 ft, so I’m afraid of being dwarfed by one 🙂 Thanks!

  6. Amber, your maternity wardrobe sounds GORGEOUS.  I totally second the mint jeans and Hatch Collection…well…anything by Hatch, actually.  Damn that Hatch – totally swaying me to baby #3.  LOL  But DO send pics!!
    Bonnie & Lauren – I'm a big, big fan of StyleMint tees (they have cool details, great fabric and are only $30)…James Perse (pricier at around $50, but FABULOUS…buy them in a few different sizes so you have some that fit and some that slouch)…and J.Crew's tissue tee line in a pinch.  Splendid's tees aren't bad either, but I find their long-sleeve versions too short in the arms.  I also tend to buy a size (or two!) larger in Splendid because they shrink so much. 
    Stylemint: http://stylmnt.me/ABT9ih
    James Perse: http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/james-perse-scoopneck-cotton-tee/2925178?origin=category&resultback=1366
    J.Crew Tissue: http://www.jcrew.com/womens_category/knitstees/shortsleevetees/PRDOVR~33284/33284.jsp

  7. Great post! Um…I have a shorts problem. I only own one pair of shorts that are not for exercising. This one pair were $4 madras shorts from Target’s sale rack that my husband HATES and hid from me this morning. So my question: where does a momma buy cute shorts that provides good bum coverage without breaking the bank?

  8. April, I think it's a madras problem.  🙂  Guys are funny like that.  I do like Target's shorts (try the junior's section)….or Gap.  I love Gap's canvas shorts: http://www.gap.com/browse/product.do?pid=134976
    Also J.Crew Factory does some great printed ones (they are only open weekends online).
    But my favorite, by far, are denim cut-offs.  And for those, I'd either choose Madewell Midi Shorts, or just make your own from an old pair.  Here are Madewell's: http://www.madewell.com/madewell_category/DENIM/shorts/PRDOVR~65390/65390.jsp

  9. For shorts, I know this sounds weird, but try American eagle outfitters. Not their super short varieties, but the midi and Bermuda lengths. They are very forgiving on my baby pooch and not too expensive. I thought my days of shopping there were over, but as it turns out, the low cut and proportions for a lanky teenager work well for not digging in my pooch and accommodating a less than desirable waist to hip ratio.

  10. Bonnie, Emily & Shana – I don’t usually comment on posts but I thought I’d help out as I am 5’1″ and I always have a hard time finding clothes that fit! My absolute favorite maxi dresses are from Urban Outfitters by a brand called ‘Coincidence & Chance’. They have the cutest, most flattering summer dresses with adjustable straps (like bra straps) that are perfect for petites! I bought a couple last summer when I was pregnant and I will be adjusting the straps shorter to wear them again this summer, sans bump! I can’t find the exact dresses online, but here is a romper version from the same brand:
    If you zoom in on the back view, you can see the adjustable straps. I hope this helps!
    PS- I recently found this blog and I’m really loving it! It is my “go to” on my iPhone while I nurse my baby 🙂

  11. Someone asked about the perfect tee: I am in LOVE with Madewell’s v-neck pocket tee. In LOVE, I tell you. I have four of them. (white, navy, electric pink, navy/white stripe). I buy them a size up so they’re slouchy…

  12. I was looking at the 2011 essentials posts, and you mentioned using Foot Petals with sandals. There are so many shapes. What do you recommend? Do you use them with all of your sandals?

  13. Back to the maxi dress dilemma… trying to find the perfect one to get me through a post-partum summer. And I’m talking VERY post-partum, as in having the baby this month and then want to live in this thing until Sept, or forever maybe if these varicose veins don’t go away. 🙁
    I would love to hear which of these you think would be best at hiding the pooch!…
    Peppy color (but might not be able to wear as often due to the color…): http://shop.nordstrom.com/S/caslon-racerback-jersey-maxi-dress/3294655?origin=category#BVRRWidgetID
    Your classic pick: http://www.shopbop.com/maxi-dress-lanston/vp/v=1/845524441894870.htm?folderID=2534374302176558&fm=browse-brand-shopbysize-viewall&colorId=12816
    Or, a great basic: http://www1.bloomingdales.com/shop/product/velvet-by-graham-spencer-goddess-racerback-maxi-dress?ID=524225&upc_ID=884926&Quantity=1&seqNo=1&EXTRA_PARAMETER=BAG
    Help me please! 🙂

  14. Kate, I couldn't do anything with a waist until Pax was 9-ish months old, and even then it was tricky.  Very post-partum? I'd try the last one (velvet's)
    Sent from my iPhone

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