A Real Mom's Rules for New Clothes

I know I am not, and will never be, a style icon. I am way too frugal, and just not quite that cool. I do have goals of looking put together when I leave the house, though. It is so easy to fall into a rut of comfortable yoga pants and a t-shirt (which is what I wear at home most of the time), but I know that I feel so much better when I leave the house if I look like I took some time on my outfit.

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It was about 90 degrees the day I had these pictures taken, but I really wanted to dress in fall layers! Jacket: Has been in my closet for ages. Shirt and jeans: Macy’s. Shoes: Tradehome. The entire outfit cost maybe $60 thanks to sales and clearance!

Buying clothes is so much harder than it used to be! When I was 20, I could walk into Charlotte Russe or Forever 21, grab whatever XS shirt was on clearance, and know that it would look pretty good. Now, at 29, I am differently shaped and have to buy shirts that are compatible with breastfeeding. Plus, I am no longer an XS at those stores. . . I’m not going to say that breastfeeding has given me massive mammaries, but I’m at least not the leading member of the Tiny Ta-ta Troupe anymore, and that makes shirts fit a little differently.

I’m trying to be much more mindful of my purchases now that we are a one-income family, so I made some rules for myself for buying new clothes so that I don’t end up with a closet full of random items.

  1. Must be breastfeeding friendly. My little guy is almost one year old, so hopefully he’ll transition to cow’s milk smoothly and we can wean. Until then, I use the two-shirt method. He HATES being covered because he is such a sweaty little baby, so I mostly wear flowy tops over a cami so that the draping shirt can help keep me modest.
  2. Grab and go. I want my outfits to require as little effort as sweatpants and a t-shirt. That means no ironing. I’ll iron something on a special occasion, but 99% of the time, if it needs to be ironed, it won’t leave the hanger. I need to be able to just go to the closet and pick out a cute outfit without any more effort than taking it off the hanger. This also means that I can wear the outfit with whatever underwear/bra I am already wearing. White pants and strapless shirts are not going to make it into my closet!
  3. Comfortable, but not frumpy. THIS. This is huge for me. I don’t need to look edgy like the moms over at The Mom Edit, but I do NOT want to look like I have no clue what my body shape is. I have fallen into the trap of buying shirts too big because I overestimate my size postpartum. The shirt will work for a while, but then the larger size ends up looking worse than a more fitted shirt, and makes me feel frumpy. Comfortable also means that I have to be able to chase kids, kneel on the floor with them, and carry the baby without constant adjusting or worry about modesty.
  4. Durable/ machine washable. I have two small children. At any given time, there are 1-4 sticky hands coming at me, threatening whatever feeling of cleanliness I had. Wearing an item multiple times in between washings just doesn’t happen, unless i get lucky with my jeans. I do hang a lot of my “nicer” (read: not $2 t-shirts) items up to dry to extend their life a little bit.
  5. Affordable. I have always been, and probably always will be, very frugal when it comes to clothes. Most of my closet comes out of the off-season clearance rack. It is just so hard to justify spending too much on clothing when there’s always a chance of it getting ruined by the kiddos. Also, I don’t want to spend too much on one item when I might not be that same size (due to pregnancy, breastfeeding, nosediving metabolism that is probably coming soon. . .) the next year. I’ll spend a little more on the staples, but anything too trendy is going to be under $10. This year, I grabbed some end-of-summer clearance tops that I can layer with jackets and sweaters during the transition to fall and winter!
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Flowy top, check! Outfit that can last the whole day with the way Southern Indiana weather changes, check!

Do you have any “rules” for your closet? Share them in the comments!


9 Replies to “A Real Mom's Rules for New Clothes”

  1. I am completely changing my wardrobe so I want to follow your tips. I want to look stylish without trying too much because I feel like I now look my best just 4 months after giving birth, thanks for the tips.

  2. Oh…this is one area where I still lack, I just can’t decide my wardrobe, not even before the baby and now not even after having one. I suck at maintaining wardrobes. It’s full of oversized tees and loose shorts which I rarely touch. Thanks for sharing these awesome pointers.

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