New Style Rules For Moms, Part 3


IMG_0445 This article is the third in a multi-part series based on "rules" I've applied again and again when doing style consultations / closet clean-outs with moms….if you are just joining us now, check out our New Style Rules For Moms, Part 1 and Part 2.

Lest we take ourselves and our "rules" too seriously here at Ain't No Mom Jeans…please direct your attention to the picture at left.  This picture is of my little sister Scotti (aka the makeup maven who wrote 5 Easy Tips To Look Your Best in Photos)…who is showing how well interesting sweaters, skinny jeans (and now tall, flat boots) can make you look amazing whether you are going out for lunch, to the playground, or, in her case, catching the Hogwarts Express.

(Oh-oh…she's totally going to Wingardium Leviosa me once she sees this pic…)

Which brings us to our last two "rules" for moms:

6.  Get Some Tall, Flat Boots Already!

To me, tall, flat boots are a momiform (mom + uniform) staple.  They are the key to successfully wearing skinny jeans or leggings once the weather turns cold. While the fashionista-mom is undoubtable rolling her eyes (yes, this Fall is showing a ton of fun, short boot options), tall, flat boots are still my top pick for Fall & Winter footwear for moms.

And…for some reason, the tall, flat boot is still a glaring hole in many a mom's closet.  Why?  Because they really go hand-in-hand with the skinny jean / legging trend.  If you haven't fully embraced the skinny, you probably haven't embraced the tall, flat boot.  Also, many moms seem skeptical that tall, flat boots are really a good choice when running around with the kiddos.  So when nervous about a new trend, many moms either skip it altogether, or shy away from high price points.   And boots can be an investment.  However, tall, flat boots have been around for long enough that there are some seriously affordable, yet seriously fabulous options out there. 

A few words about keeping you tall, flat boots mom-friendly: 

  • First of all, keep 'em flat.  Yes, a two inch heel will make you look taller, but you will not be reaching for heeled boots when on your way to the playground. 
  • Secondly, if the bottom of your boots are slippery, get them to a cobbler to add a better bottom.  It's not very expensive, and again…when running around with the kiddo you will not be reaching for the boots that make you fall on your bum.
  • Lastly, buy tall, flat boots large enough to wear with some serious wooly socks.  I only buy boots that fit over top of my Smartwool hiking socks.  Period.

So girls, it's time.  Here are my top pics for tall, flat boots, all under $200 (for those of you still nervous!)

Tall, Flat Boots Under $100

Steve Madden Criskros
$99 -
Flat boots »


Nine West Cookin
$99 -
Nine west boots »


Blowfish Jasper Boots
$74 -
Biker boots »


Very Volatile Savannah
$75 -
Flat boots »


Coconuts MacKenzie Boots
$99 -
Wedge boots »





Tall, Flat Boots Under $200

Mia Stratford
$139 -
Flat boots »


Indigo by Clarks Proctor
$170 -
Flat boots »


Hive and Honey Haley
$179 -
Flat boots »


Nine West Tobeornot Boots
$169 -
Nine west boots »


Nine West Contico
$149 -
Nine west boots »


Steve Madden Roady
$160 -
Flat boots »


Unplugged Carlo
$139 -
Flat boots »


Jessica Simpson Katyia Boots
$129 -
Flat boots »


Chinese Laundry Night Owl
$109 -
Flat boots »


7.  Let Go of Your Previous Style "Rules" and MIX THINGS UP

For some reason, many moms I've worked with are having trouble letting go of long-standing fashion tenets such as, "never wear white after labor day".  Or "one can never mix black/brown/navy together", or they balk as mixing metals (gold, silver, rose), or….the worst one…that their one "good" sweater can ONLY be worn on special occasions with their "good" skirt.  Or "good" tux pants.  Or whatever.

Please stop.  Not only are you seriously limiting your wardrobe, but you sound like a grandmother in the 1950's.  Yes, a good sweater can look nice with a good skirt…but it's not that interesting.  A good skirt pairs equally well with a cool t-shirt, and a good sweater can look amazing with destroyed jeans.

For the last few years, styles and fashion have been all over the map.  Case in point?  Here's an excerpt from an article I wrote last Fall on 2009 Fall Trends:

The 2000s have been an interesting decade from a fashion perspective.  In recent years, the look of the moment was "anything goes".  We paired military trends with 1920's dresses, boho 70's tunics with 80's riding boots, wore curve-hugging dresses reminiscent of a 1950's housewife, and re-invented the skinny jean.  It's like this decade has featured the greatest hits from the 20th Century, remixed.  Which is so liberating: find the most flattering shapes for your body (is your body type a skinny 60's mod or a curvy 50's housewife?), mix with anything else that strikes your fancy, and you have self-expression through fashion at it's best.

TieThis season, mixing trends is still relevant….what is new(ish) for Fall 2010 is the fact that mixing has been taken to a whole new level.  Think menswear and ruffles (like the J.Crew pic at left).  Sequins and khaki.  Denim and lace. Gorgeous jewelry with sweatshirts (see last week's article).  While fancy materials like sequins or lace are not very mom-friendly, the key here is to keep an open mind.  

So how to translate for moms?  First, look at your closet with new eyes: 

  • Can you use that "work" blazer as a stylish fall coat over denim shorts and tights?  (Or…let's start slowly:  over your new skinny jeans and tall boots?)
  • Do you have a cool scarf that would look fantastic with a simple t-shirt?
  • Can you add some fun, ruffled shirts to your boyish cords?  (We talked about mom-friendly ruffles last Fall).
  • Can you make a girly dress mom-friendly by adding some cozy tights and a denim jacket?
  • Cashmere sweaters are all virtually hand-washable…so who says they aren't mom-friendly?  I love soft cashmere paired with tough, studded belts or motorcycle boots.

If you have a personal style you love, I'm not saying you must throw it out to look current.  I'm merely encouraging moms to extend their current closet staples by mixing things up a bit.  

Need more mom-friendly mix inspiration?  Let me know in the comments…but I suspect "mixing" will be a theme throughout the year.






  1. Is it bad that I’ve wanted grey suede over-the-knee flat boots since Serena wore them with a mini and a grey vest (I own that one) on Gossip Girl in season one?
    I think I just admitted way too much about myself.
    also – I’m feeling the need for skinny jeans now, too.
    You are an enabler. An awesome, awesome, shopping enabler.

  2. I *just* bought Steve Madden Intyce boots in cognac so I’m super excited to start wearing them. But what color leggings go with them? That part has me stumped. These are the questions that will prevent me from trying a new style all season! 🙂

  3. I have always loved that picture! 🙂
    I didn’t know there WERE boots besides, tall, flat ones! Or rather, maybe I am just stuck in a rut, because that’s all I seem to be accumlating!
    Maybe this year, once I eject this baby, I will try to work the tights with shorts idea…I’m scared.

  4. i’m scared of it all too! my body is so different now. i have no waist and am basically apple shape. so i have to get a whole new closet (hubbs not on board with this yet). every morning all i want to do is put on sweat pants and i’m way cooler than that!
    vent over.

  5. Thank you for doing my tall boot stalking/shopping for me! That’s an awesome list!
    I’m so behind rule #7 it’s ridiculous. Mostly because I’m from the South, where people still hold on to those old sayings, and I watch my sisters and my friends grab on to all of these useless rules, terrified that they’re going to do something “wrong.” And because I now live in DC, where people mistake “professional” with “uninteresting.” Therefore, these women end up wearing boring jeans with boring sweaters and boring jewelry and boring shoes….every single day. It’s safe, but it’s certainly not very fun.
    Bring on the mixin’!

  6. Crazy! Ordered the Very Volatile Exeter in gray & got them for $49 with Piperlime Coupon code TREAT4U (10% off on top of the sale price!). Can’t wait, love all your picks!!!

  7. I have really wide, muscular calfs and can never find tall boots that fit. The only ones I’ve ever found I bought last week from Payless. Payless is the only store I’ve come across that carries wides (the calf part is wide, not the actual shoe). I bought the “Marley Flat Boot” in black. Do you know of any other companies that make wide boots?

  8. Yay! This might be my favorite post!!! If you’re in the market for boots that will last forever (but spend a decent amount more) Frye makes the best boots! I LOVE and LIVE in my Paige Tall Riding boots with my 7 skinny jeans. If I’m not in my Frye boots I’m in my Hunter Wellies…they’re perfect for cold and wet! Plus Hunter makes fleece socks just for their wellies in lots of adorable, crazy warm prints.
    Frye has tons of different styles and don’t forget, if you have bigger calves a shoe shoe smith can stretch the opening if you need it.
    Hunter Boots:

  9. Emily – I too, have a Gossip Girl addiction. In a bad, bad way. And your comment about being a “shopping enabler”? OMG – cracked me up for at least 20 min this morning! LOL
    Lisa – Cognac boots are my favorites. I wear mine with denim (or denim-colored leggings) – light or dark wash. I wear mine with gray, with lighter tan, and with black. I know it sounds strange, but cognac and black is one of my favorite combinations.
    Lane – Me too. 🙂 She’s probably going to kill me. But seriously – no other Harry Potter geeks? I was hoping SOMEONE would mention platform 9 3/4!! And yes – you MUST try the shorts/tights/boots combo. You would look amazing in it.
    Cindy – You ARE way cooler than that. 🙂 And for whatever it’s worth…I’m someone who tends to wear the same outfit over & over & over & over & over until I’m sick of it…which might take months. So “whole new wardrobe” *could* be communicated as “a few key pieces”…if that helps. 🙂
    Amy – Those rules exhaust me. And it’s always so nice/funny hearing that DC hasn’t changed much since I left, LOL!
    Mol – We need to start ordering in a big package. I too have another huge box coming to my house with a pair of grey Very Volitiles in them…but I ultimately blame you and your fab OTK Grey Fryes for my new grey otk boot addiction…
    Jaime – Cute pick! But if you are looking for others…J.Crew has extended calf styles ( and so does Piperlime (…but I’ll post this question on our Facebook page and see if there are any other ideas out there…
    Julia A – Girl, M and I both have a serious Frye boot addiction…and the quality is amazing. Two of my Fryes are vintage pairs from the ’70s…and in great shape! Thanks for the reminder about both Fryes and Hunters! BTW – have you ever stretched the calves out? Any idea how far you can get them to stretch?

  10. How tall does a boot have to be to qualify as tall? Also, how tall should a shortie (5ft!) go? I have wide calves and obviously short legs and after years of looking for a boot that fit my calves but didn’t hit at the bend of my knee, last year I found 2 pairs of great Bandolino boots (in cognac and black) that are mid-calf…but sometimes I feel like they are not really “tall” boots.

  11. Susana – I have a pair of Frye’s that fit somewhere between mid-calfish and below-my-knee. They are much shorter than most of my others. However, I still wear them in the same way – over skinnies, leggings, etc. I think they count! Proportion is always key.

  12. Susana has posted a good question: How tall does a boot have to be to qualify as tall? Can I wear a boot that is only midcalf and still be in style? What is your recommendation for a pair of boots for someone like me who has very thin calves and very short legs?
    PS: I love that picture of Scotti. Too bad you can’t work in the one of Mike.

  13. In my first pregnancy, I lived exclusively in leggings or tights and tall boots. Pregnancy jeans were hideous and unflattering. Now, in my second, Heidi Klum has blessed us with stylish maternity skinny jeans. Yes, three words you never thought would go together: stylish maternity skinnies. I can rock the skinnies and boot combo, even in my enlarged state. And, hey, if I can do it with a baby bump, any one can!

  14. What brand/style boot is Scotti wearing in the picture? Love the way they look…kind of aged and vintagy, but not slouchy. I want some that’ll wear w/out wearing out. Hers look perfect.
    LOVE these rules. Your site & rules have really helped be get my groove back! Thank you. Keep up the good work!

  15. Love this post, I’m getting ready to finally order a pair of tall boots! (And going shopping this weekend to finally commit to the skinny jean/leggings trend.) I’m wondering about the short boot trend – I love the look of them, but what does one wear them with?

  16. Mom – It’s really hard to make a hard and fast rule on this one (without seeing it)…but in general, if the boot hits above mid-calf, consider it a tall boot. If it hits below…a short boot. And both, BTW are totally acceptable, and go over skinny jeans, leggings, etc. Send me a pic! 🙂
    Amber – LOVE this! I’ve also been living in skinny jeans this pregnancy. They make me feel…skinny? Weird, I know.
    Mercedes – LOL! Thanks for the comment, chicky. Scotti can’t remember: “Ummm…that one store in Paris where we bought jeans?” Personally, I think it was Zara. And I agree – her boot color is my absolute fav boot color. If you don’t mind spending $$, check out Frye. They seem to come in such a wide range of spot-on color, all with that “I will wear in perfectly” vibe.
    Samantha — Good for you!! Feel free to send pics of your successes!! We love those! BUT…SIGH. The short boot trend. After so many years of tall boots, it feels like I’m changing religions. I have invested in a pair…and am currently working on an article about that very topic. Stay tuned.

  17. thanks for the extended calf suggestion – I’m in that boat, too. (and how much do I hate the term, by the way?) makes me feel like I need to ask for a seat belt extender on a plane, when in fact I’m quite average sized – just with meaty calves! : )

  18. Kate – I hear you. It’s like shopping at “Dress Barn”. Who thought that name was a good idea? Anyway, check out our Facebook page – I posted the question there and several readers weighed in with good suggestions!

  19. As a recently transplanted Southern Californian, can you tell me if it’s ok to wear long boots here?? I’m not sure how to translate winter style to this climate.

  20. I totally requested little sister Scotti’s awesome boots for Christmas & got ’em! Hubby found them at Sears on sale – lucky me! Pre-kid, I had zero cute shoes that were not also 4″ heels. Perfect for my new lifestyle, thank you!

  21. cebow – YES. Tall boots totally work in SoCal. In fact, unless you are really, really inland, I always end up freezing my butt off in SoCal. My advice is to work the layers – you might end up wearing a tank + skinnies + tall boots for a bit, then needing the long cardi as the day goes on.
    Amanda – What a good boy! And I was in the same boat…even my husband would look at me in surprise when bare-footed, “Babe. You are TINY.” Great. It gets better once you get used to your real height. I no longer feel 2 inches tall in flats, LOL!

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