This article is the second in a multi-part series based on "rules" I've applied again and again when doing style consultations / closet clean-outs with moms….
Gang, I loved reading all of the comments on our first Style "Rules" for Moms article last week. If you missed it, be sure to check out both the article and the hysterical, insightful comments.
Doesn't M look great in this pic? She's a perfect poster child for the topics I'd like to discuss today. While last week we chatted about fairly easy updates – the importance of longer camis and more interesting sweaters…this week we're really going to get to the heart of the matter: waists, hips, and the importance of cute shoes. Oh-oh.
So without futher ado…here are my additional Mom style "rules" up for discussion:
3. Embrace Your Waist
Without fail, virtually every closet clean-out I've done includes some variation of the following discussion:
Them: "You want a belt where?"
Me: "Around your waist."
Me: "No – that's your hips. Your waist."
Them: "Way up here????"
Them: "Now I look fat." (they don't) or "Now my butt looks huge!" (it doesn't) or "I look too dressed up!" (they aren't)
I think the rationale for this line of reasoning simply stems from the fact that most of us are used to seeing the female form in some rendition of low-waisted bootcut jeans. The low waist of the jean bypasses the actual waist entirely, giving the impression (muffin-top notwithstanding) of a ruler-shaped body.
Which few women actually have.
As styles have shifted over the years, there's been a larger emphasis placed on the waist. But for many moms, this constitues a radical shift in thinking: we've all been so busy trying to look like rulers for the last 10 years, that hourglass now equates to fat. At least when looking at ones' self in the mirror.
"I like belts on everyone else" said one Mom. "Just not on me".
But trust me on this: belts are fabulous on just about everyone. They are an easy way to add a whole bunch of style to your look. Style is something many moms equate with dressiness, but it doesn't have to be so. For example: Try a brown leather boyfriend belt, like Nicole S (pictured at right), a "26 year old misanthrope from Vancouver". I love the nonchalant way she belts a man-style shirt over leggings and flats…and throws it all together with a fab Marc Jacobs bag.
So give the belts a try — pick up a few cheap options (Forever 21 sells all widths for under $5) and layer them over your cardigans or under your blazers. Try them in varying widths to find which looks best on you. (Not sure where to start? Let me know in the comments if you want more details on getting started with belts).
4. Consider Your Last Bootcut Jean Purchase…to be Your LAST Bootcut Jean Purchase
Now before you start spitting and throwing things…notice that I didn't say that one must abandon all bootcut jeans. I'm merely pointing out that most of us have more than enough bootcut jeans to go around. And since this is one area where styles have seriously shifted, enough is enough. Bootcut jeans, while something of a classic…are starting to feel a bit tired these days.
Even worse, as LA Stylist Mom asked last year…Are Bootcut Jeans the New Mom Jeans? The comments on her question were very illuminating. As one of her readers put it, "I just took 5 pairs of Seven and Paper Denim boot cuts to a consignment store and had to do the walk of shame out of there, still laiden with every pair. Hipster lady at the counter said ‘yeahhh. we don’t take thooose’."
So what to do? (You know where I'm going with this)
Girls, skinny jeans aren't going anywhere for a looong time. And why am I so confidant about the longevity of this trend? Well, for one, while we've been off having babies, skinny jeans have been coming on in full force. And just when the stores try busting out flares, or wide-legged trouser jeans….the skinnies just keep getting skinnier. We've gone from straight-leg styles, to skinny styles, to super skinnies to jeggings.
And the biggest reason I see skinnies sticking around? Even uber-conservative Banana Republic Men's are starting to offer a "slim" fit for their pants. Once corporate Joe-schmoes start rocking the skinnies, it's all over, baby. It takes a looong time to get the guys on board. I don't see the skinny trend changing anytime soon.
But I honestly believe that just about anyone can wear skinny jeans. Really. We did an article a while back, featuring fellow fashion blogger FashionAddict, looking hot in her size 12 skinny jeans. Now, almost a year later, she is still rocking her skinny jeans and looking completely adorable (recent pic at right).
If, however, after reading this article, you find yourself in tears, chanting, "NO! NO!"…then I encourage you to embrace the flare trend. Whether you just add a bit of fun '70s styling to trick out your bootcuts as flares, or invest in an actual pair of flares, is up to you…but either would work. And boyfriend jeans, of course, are another good alternative.
Note to Moms over 55: ignore this advice. Just find some cute jeans that make your bum look good, and don't worry about skinnies, flares, boyfriend, bootcut, whatever. (Mom, I'm talking to you).
5. Play With Your Pant Hemlines
I'm not sure if you've noticed…but pant hemlines are all over the place. Whether cropped or rolled, one way to breathe new life into a tired mom uniform is to show a little ankle.
The first question I get, when working with moms, is often, "how high do I roll them?" followed by a demo of how silly they look with their pants rolled to their knees. Ummmm….yeah. That's not what we're talking about.
The most flattering height of roll is just above the ankle bone. STEER CLEAR of rolling these babies half-way up your calf. The goal is to show off a skinny little ankle, not the widest part of your calf. The pics above illustrate this point perfectly.
The good news is that some of your bootcut jeans may be able to be rolled. Look for you older, slightly softer bootcut denim, or denim that has just a slight bootcut (petite girls, you are in luck. Most of us have tailored much of the bootcut away). The overall look is still a bit slouchier than the looks pictured above, but it works.
You can just barely see my bootcut-masquarding-as-boyfriend jeans in the pic at left. At officially 8 months preggo, I currently can't fit into any of my old jeans, so am making due with an old pic! And besides…I like to see myself without a ginourmous belly. Vanity, I know.
Of course, the real answer to the rolled leg trend is a straight-leg or skinny pant option. M's pic at the top of this article shows how great straight-leg jeans can look when cuffed…and is a good way for the nervous to ease into the skinny jean trend.
The one trick to this trend? Footwear. The cuffed look was made to show off cute ballet flats, oxfords, mocs, sneaks, or short boots. Make 'em Fall-ready by messing around with socks. And when the weather gets really cold, the sleeker pant styles will tuck nicely into tall boots.
Sooooo….Moms, what do you think? Ready to take the plunge? Or are you sticking by your bootcuts this season? And are you feeling the belted look yet? (I know M is a convert – she swears belts are a post-partum mom's best friend).