5 Fall Basics That “Work” for Work and Play?


Readers, we've been receiving more and more emails from moms about to go back to work.  While we've been meaning to do a back-to-work article for quite some time, we've been putting it off.  However, we received this lovely email from reader Cathy a few weeks ago:

Hi ladies!
First of all, I absolutely love your blog!  A friend passed it along, and I’ve gotten so many other mom-friends hooked!  And as a mainline mom, I often wonder if I might bump into Shana at the playground or other fun spots around town.  I live in Wayne with my 2 year old little girl, husband, and westie dog.  Hopefully some day our paths will cross – would love to meet you!
Anyhow, I’m writing in with a wardrobe question as I’m thinking ahead to fall.  I have been working from home for the last five years, and a new job includes a little more office time (2-3 office meetings per month).  I’ve been really enjoying getting out of the house a little more, but I haven’t had to think about a work wardrobe in such a long time.  I have lots of summer skirts and dresses that I’ve been able to wear to work this summer, but I need to do some serious updating for fall.  I’d like to invest in some good cross-over pieces … things I can wear at the office, during the week when I’m working from home, or on date nights with my husband.  When in doubt, I tend to buy black work clothes (black suits, black wrap dresses, sheath dresses etc.) so I’m looking to add a little more color.  My office is business casual so it’s pretty flexible in terms of dress code.
Ooooo….what a challenge!!  What could one buy to spruce up their work wardrobe, add some spice to date night AND still run around with the kiddos?
Well.  After thinkin' and thinkin'…I have 5 ideas.

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Want to quickly update your look?  Throw on a pair of slim, cropped pants.  I'm showing a pair in office-worthy brown, but J.Crew is nailing this look in a wide range of colors….I'm kinda partial to the bright fuchsia myself.  If you can handle an even skinnier fit, J.Crew's Minnie pant is a favorite of both M and I.
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I'm currently on the lookout for a fabulous denim shirt.  While I do love J.Crew's (pictured above), I'm still coveting the denim shirt I borrowed from my sister this summer.  It was Miley Cyrus for Walmart…and under $25.  Wow.
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I can't imagine a more perfect do-everything dress than Lesley Evers' Trudy Dress.  It was my favorite of the many, many, gorgeous dresses I found (like this fabulous one from Shabby Apple – one of our affliates).  I'll be happy to share the rest of my favorites if you guys are interested, so let me know in the comments.   And I can't get over the Mia Boots and Old Navy Jacket in the museum look above…so affordable, yet so amazing!
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While I don't typically consider silky little tops mom-friendly, this one from Old Navy is both affordable and machine washable.  I own this shirt and have been wearing the heck out of it. (Why YES.  I am wearing it with my tired old maternity cut-offs that you are sick of.  Yes, I am.)  Old Navy and LOFT are both good sources for pretty, flowy, patterned blouses that you can still throw into the washing machine.  
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Please do not attempt any art projects with your toddler in these pants.  However, they are FABULOUS.  At work, out at night, and any social setting where you want to look cool.  The cool mom in her glamorous pants and a t-shirt.  YES.  I want to be this mom.  I also want to be the mom who wears the multi-colored glitter Kate Spade heels, but, well, one thing at a time.  They kinda look like Raines' art projects as of late.  He is in his glitter period.
SOOOOOO….Cathy?  Readers?  How did I do?  This was one of my favorite articles to work on and has taken up a decent amount of brain space over these last few weeks.  Phew.  Now I can move on….
Happy Fall, Mamas!  (Officially on Friday already…)
ps.  Have you entered our Ov-Watch giveaway?  It ends tomorrow….
pps.  And we're still going to be bugging you guys to vote for us in Parent.com's Blog Contest.  I'm kinda excited about this one…I've been a Parents subscriber since R was born….this just feels so big!


  1. Ok voted for you 🙂
    My fave of these suggestions is the printed button-up shirt (although I can’t really wear button-up shirts right now thanks to my amazing lactating figure without popping buttons…someday I’ll be able to wear them again though! Oh and actually, McCalls pattern company sells a pattern to sew your own button-up shirt with cup size variations from A cup all the way to DDD. I bought it…we’ll see if I’m crafty enough to make it work!)
    PS I think I already told you, but if not, this is “Maman A Droit” but I recently switched my blog & twitter to “Crunchy Con Mommy” instead since it’s about a million times easier to remember and understand! Anyway, still just me 🙂

  2. As a lover of all variations of the Cafe capri and pant, I’m happy to see them make an appearance on your fall must haves! Just one thing to mention…the wool Cafe Capris are not lined. I personally haven’t found them overly itchy, but I could see how some would.

  3. I love these ideas! I am a working-out-the-home mom and have always been, but I’m a high school teacher, so it’s a challenging balance to look professional but not business-y, look age appropriate and be able to pick my kids up straight from teaching without changing.
    Another idea for a sleeveless day dress is to layer it OVER a long-sleeve t for a weekend look. I have a grey wool sleeveless dress that I wear with a thermal t underneath, tights and boots for weekend get-togethers, etc.
    Also, the slim cropped pants can be extended into winter with boots. I wear my black Minnies with tall boots all winter long.
    What you didn’t include is a blazer or cute jacket. I have some great ones that extend summer dresses into the fall.

  4. SO spot-on. Especially with the denim shirt, which has become an absolute staple for me.
    The only thing I’d think I’d add would be a colorful jacket of some type–not necessarily a blazer, but something that would be suitable both with a pencil skirt and with jeans. Maybe in velvet or corduroy?
    Love everything, especially all the options. And I’ve been eying those glitter Kate Spades, too. Sigh.

  5. Love this. I started reading your blog while pregnant last year. Now I’m a nursing momma, and back at work 2 days per week. I’m searching for a solid list of fall attire that work both at home and at work, with the added necessity of being able to nurse in public and pump easily (i.e. without getting completely derobed 😉 ) It’s tough criteria on an itty-bitty budget, but totally possible! 🙂

  6. S, thank you SO much for this! What a wonderful way to start the week yesterday. I LOVE your ideas – especially wouldn’t have thought of the denim shirt for the office, but it totally works! Can’t wait to do a little shopping. And I’d suspect I’m not the only mama looking for wardrobe pieces that can multitask, so hopefully everyone finds this as helpful as I did!

  7. Some great ideas, but some of these are not very breast feeding friendly. Would love some options on stylish clothes that also lends itself to pumping and breastfeeding.

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