Archive by Author

Mom Must-Haves From Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale

18 Jul

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of Nordstrom

Photos courtesy of Nordstrom

We’ve said it over and over and we’ll say it again: SHOP THE SALES. Doing so is the best way to get quality items you want and need without feeling guilty about the cost. Nordstrom, one of our favorite stores (for their stellar customer service, incredible return policy, free shipping both ways on online orders and, of course, their on-point fashion), is having their Anniversary Sale starting TODAY. Don’t. Miss. It. In fact, shop early (like now) because great pieces at such great prices will sell out quickly.

We got a sneak peek at the sale and found some fantastic items that will work with a mom’s tight budget, busy schedule and ever-evolving figure. And you don’t even have to leave the house! Remember that Nordstrom ships for free BOTH ways so you have nothing to lose. If you don’t like something it’s super easy to ship it back with the pre-printed label included with your purchase.

Now, let’s shop!

BP. Plaid Cotton Shirt (now $24.90/reg. $38): Why? Because moms need a bevy of basic yet stylish tops they can throw on at a moment’ s notice. You’ll look cute and feel comfortable. Plus, it can take you from work to play, and the unique color will make you stand out from the crowd (but not in an obnoxious way, in a stylish way).

Halogen Bouclé Knit Jacket (now $45.90/reg. $69): Why? A casual moto-style jacket will turn any plain ‘ol outfit into a chic ensemble. Stay warm at the kids’ games or going out for ice cream after dinner.

Trouvé Colorblock Moto Sweater (now $59.90, reg. $88): Why? The details on the sleeves keep this from being your standard run of the mill top. But it’s as comfy as an old sweatshirt.

1.State Pleated Lace Midi Skirt (now $64.90/reg. $98): Why? Midi skirts are in. Lace is in. Black is always in. Wear it dressy with heels and a blouse or casual with ballet flats and a white tee.

Enzo Angiolini ‘Eero’ Leather Boot (now $134.90/reg. $199.95): Why? Because you will wear the hell out of it, it’s super cute, it can work with just about any colors, dress it up or dress it down. Plus, the flat heel will allow you to stand comfortably on the sidelines, in the school yard, or at the fair. Remember, knee-high boots can be expensive so to get them on sale is definitely a smart move.

BP. Print Tassel Trim Poncho (now $24.90/reg. $38): Why? The chevron pattern adds fun to your outfit while the style is contemporary. You’ll look effortlessly chic.

Natori ‘Element’ Full Fit Contour Underwire Bra (now $43.90/reg. $66-$68): Why? Because you know you need new bras. Because these are smooth they can be worn under any kind of top without showing lines or patterns (a HUGE no-no). If these don’t work for you Nordstrom has many others on sale so be sure to take a look.

Biala ‘Alyssa’ Lace-Up Wedge Boot (now $79.90/reg. $119.95): Why? Because it’s never too early to shop for fall, especially when you can get a cute, functional quality boot for $40 off! The wedge will provide stability, comfort, and style.

BP. High Waist Seamed Moto Leggings (now $24.90/reg. $38): Why? These can work for the office or the playground. The details make them much cooler and more expensive looking than regular leggings.

TMS Poll: What Do You Want to See on The Mommy Stylist?

14 Jul

By Kristin Hull

Hey Moms!

The Mommy Stylist wants to know what you’d like to see more of on our site. We are here for you – to help you look and feel better, inexpensively and easily – so let us know the best ways to do that and we will! Give us your input in the poll below and we’ll get right on it. You can answer more than once so if there are multiple things you’d like to see more of don’t hesitate to answer.

Thank you for being loyal Mommy Stylist readers!

Stylist’s Secret: How to Make a Manicure Last

10 Jul

By Kristin Hull

new pic 2

Mamas, we know you need nail polish that lasts. What’s the point in even getting a manicure if it’s going to chip within a day or two? In a previous post I discussed gel manicures which are definitely an option, but they still require a trip to the salon, so save them for a special occasion or vacation. For all the busy days in between, we’ve found a way to do them yourself, have them dry in no time, and last for almost a week.

It began with the search for a shiny top coat

Now, what I am about to tell you is based on my own experience. There is no fancy press release or over-enthusiastic salesperson feeding me information that may or may not be true. This trial was done over a period of a few weeks on my very own hands.

As I started my quest for a super shiny top coat two names kept coming up Seche Vite ($4.60/Amazon) and Vinylux ($6.55/Amazon). Additionally, both had rave reviews for being fast-drying and long-lasting as well. Score! I was happy to find that they were available from Amazon. I needed to order a few other things from the site and was relieved I wouldn’t have to run yet another errand to get them.

The experiment was really quite simple

First, I painted my nails with my current favorite color and didn’t use a base coat (because I didn’t have one, but I hear they make manicures last even longer – I’ll try that out another other time and report back). Then, I put a coat of Seche Vite on one hand and Vinylux on the other.

Drying time

My main problem (and probably yours too) with at-home manis is not getting the polish on, it’s keeping my hands still while waiting for it to dry. I was thrilled to find that within 10 minutes both top coats were dry to the touch. They weren’t gauge-proof but they were definitely dry enough for me to get on with my day.

Shine factor

Both polishes were shiny (which is a big part of what makes a mani look its best) and while they dulled a bit after a couple of days, they still remained shinier than most, especially the Seche Vite.

Five days later…

By day five both hands still had pretty intact manicures. Maybe there was a small piece missing here or there but it wasn’t very noticeable. In the end though, the clear winner in durability was Vinylux. By day seven both hands were ready for a re-do but the Seche Vite nails were much more chipped (although they were still shiny!).

The results

Overall, I like both of these products equally. I only wished the Vinylux had stayed shiny longer and the Seche Vite lasted longer. But then, I had the genius idea to combine them! So, the next time I painted my nails I put a coat of Seche Vite over the Vinylux. It worked!

With no extra time or money for a manicure these days I am enjoying being able to have one that looks somewhat professional (due to the shininess) and, aside from a gel mani, lasts longer than any from a salon. (Note to self: Next time I get my nails done at a salon, take my Vinylux and Seche Vite for them to use.) No, it isn’t perfection but it’s definitely close enough.

TMS Replay: What to Wear to the Fireworks

1 Jul

Now that The Mommy Stylist has been around for a few years, we decided to occasionally re-post some of our earlier blogs as TMS Replays so that new readers can benefit from them as well. (And they can serve as reminders for those who have been with us from the beginning). Enjoy!

By Kristin Hull

what-to-wear-fireworks-finalThe best time to dress hippie chic is well, when you’re acting like a hippie. And what’s more hippie than gathering up the whole brood, filling up the picnic basket, lounging on a blanket and gazing into the sky? But don’t worry – hippie “chic” doesn’t mean donning tie-dye and floral hair wreaths. It means taking a cue from the “children of the earth” by wearing pieces that are conducive to sitting on the ground, chasing the kids around, and eating with your hands while looking super cute and on-trend. It’s fun to dress in a certain style especially when the situation calls for it. The key though, is to not look costume-y or like you’re trying too hard. That said, we’ve put together an easy outfit to wear to this year’s 4th of July fireworks.

A hat will keep the sun at bay until it gets dark (and after that, it will serve as cute fashion statement and cover up the hair that you didn’t have time to do before leaving the house). Maxi skirts are a dream come true – not only are they comfortable but you can sit with them pulled up off your legs during the warm evening but then cover them when it cools off. And don’t just wear any belt – for the sake of comfort, and to be able to get up and down a lot, a stretchy elastic one is a must. The jean jacket will keep you toasty on top; the flat sandals are easy to walk in (because you’ll most likely have to make a few trips to and from the car); and the bag is large enough to carry the plethora of “stuff” an outdoor event with the family requires. The best part? All of these versatile pieces can be rotated into different outfits that are already in your closet.

BP. Straw Fedora ($20/Nordstrom)

Mossimo Women’s Cap Sleeve Core Fashion Tee ($10/Target)

Beaded Bracelet ($4.80/Target)

Silver Feather Adjustable Cord Bracelet ($14.99/Target)

Fringed Eagle Necklace ($4.80/Target)

Sonoma life + style Wide Stretch Belt ($18/Kohl’s)

Mossimo Women’s Denim Jacket ($29.99/Target)

Roxy Tall Tale Sling Bag ($42/Zappos – free shipping both ways!)

Swingy Maxi ($79.95-89.95/Coldwater Creek)

Christin Michaels Yani Sandals ($40.99/Zappos – free shipping both ways!)

(Did you like this article? If so, sign up for an email subscription to The Mommy Stylist – on the top right-hand side of the home page. You can also follow The Mommy Stylist on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.)

Win the Perfect “Mom” Watch in Our Lyke Watches Giveaway

26 Jun

By Kristin Hull

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Photo courtesy of Lyke.

How often have you needed to check the time but can’t get to your phone because your hands are too busy carrying [insert any number of items here like: children, soccer equipment, groceries, wet bathing suits, diaper bags, etc.]. While we’ve come to rely on our phones for almost everything, it’s time to remember the value and convenience of the tried and true watch – especially for moms.

Got kids? This watch is for you

When we first discovered Lyke watches the value in them for moms was apparent. First of all, they’re only $59. And for that price you can pick three different colors that each component of the watch will come in so that they can be mixed and matched in just a few seconds. Choose colors that represent your children’s sports teams or schools. Or, just pick some favorite hues and let the kids come up with a combination to wear that day. They’ll be so proud to know mom is wearing something they created.

Don’t forget that a watch is an accessory

Besides being oh-so-helpful, a watch can serve as an accessory which, we always say, are items that can easily and inexpensively take an outfit from drab to fab. Lyke watches have a more sporty look so they’re perfect for everyday activities. They can even work with an business casual office ensemble.

Enough already! How can I win one?

Enter here to win a Lyke watch in the colors of your choosing. Raffle ends on Thursday, July 3 at 11:59pm PST. Winner will be notified within five days via email. Good luck!

The Fine Print Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected by at random and be notified by email. Winner has 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that The Mommy Stylist is not responsible for sponsor’s fulfillment of prizes. We have represented each sponsor with the expectation that they will fulfill the prize in a timely manner. We will contact sponsors regarding prize(s); the winner will not. The sponsors, in most cases, will ship prizes directly to the winner. We will make every effort to assist in obtaining the prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify The Mommy Stylist at themommystylist@mommysylist.com within 30 days for assistance. Products provided for review have been provided free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge. Our opinions are our own and have not been influenced by any form of compensation. (Did you like this article? If so, sign up for an email subscription to The Mommy Stylist – on the top right-hand side of the home page – so you don’t have to remember to check the site. We’ll just email you whenever we post something new.)

Stylish One-Piece Swimsuits That Flatter And Hide In All The Right Places

5 Jun

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Summer brings with it so many wonderful things – longer days, warmer weather, time with the kids, bike rides, picnics, vacations and pool parties. Whoa, back up. Pool parties? If the thought such an event sends chills down your spine and puts fear in your heart you’re not alone. Fortunately though, designers have gotten on board and started to make swimsuits with real women in mind, not just those whose age ends with the word “teen.”

Our bodies aren’t what they used to be

Whether it be age, having given birth, or both, our bodies have definitely changed. And instead of fighting these changes we need to learn to work with them, especially when it comes to being seen in public in a bathing suit. As you can see in the photo above, we’ve found some excellent options that are not only body-friendly but stylish too. Keep in mind that dark colors, busy patterns and ruching all help to camouflage flaws, and that most strapless come with removable straps. Lastly, absolutely, positively do NOT skimp on quality.

Why it’s worth it to pay more

If you’re going to spend a little more on any garment in your wardrobe, it should be the swimsuit. When you’re going to be practically naked in public, you want something that will make you look your best and not expose anything the world shouldn’t see. Most inexpensive swimsuits are made with fabrics that will sag, wear, stretch out and fade. None of those things are even close to being okay. And as a mom, your bathing suit has to do double duty. You often don’t have both hands free to hold it in place or pull it up when it starts to stray so quality is essential.

Now, let’s shop!

(top row, left to right)

Simply Be Bandeau Swimsuit ($59.95/Simply Be): This slimming suit comes in sizes 8-28. It not only offers tummy control but the white side panels give the illusion of a narrow torso.

Commando Ikat Maillot ($188/Commando – free shipping over $100): Get two suits for the price of one with this reversible style. One side is a trendy, vertical ikat print (can you say slimming?) and the other, classic polka-dot. The v-neck helps to elongate the body. Funny, the description on the website says, “This is definitely not your mom’s one-piece.” Why? Because it’s actually cute? We’ll show them!

Beach Blanket Bingo One-Piece ($89.99/Modcloth – click here for sizes 4-14 and here for 16-26): Go for the vintage look with this adorable polka-dot bathing suit that comes in sizes 4-26. And from the number of positive reviews and customer photos it seems like a great buy that’s universally flattering.

(middle row, left to right)

Lauren Ralph Lauren Strapless Bandeau Swimsuit (now $81.75, reg. $109/Bloomingdale’s – free returns!): If you’re not happy with your mid-section, a loose, drapey style will help hide that area.

Solid Rita Miraclesuit ($114/Miraclesuit – free shipping and returns on U.S. orders!): This is actually a tankini, and one of the few that we approve of. Most of them are too matronly, and they fall just above the gut exposing one of the parts we want to hide the most. This one, however, is long and the ruffles help keep that dreaded area hidden away. Plus, it’s a Miraclesuit which means it will hold you in all over. Pick from over ten colors.

Net Work Jena Miraclesuit ($152/Miraclesuit – free shipping and returns on U.S. orders!): I own this bathing suit and loooove it! The sheer panels give it some sex appeal but it’s still appropriate for a family outing. Plus, it holds in all my jiggly parts.

(bottom row, left to right)

Ella Moss Floral One-PIece Swimsuit (now $88.50, reg. $118/Bloomingdale’s – free returns!): Pretty pastel flowers and slimming side panels make this suit trendy and flattering.

J. Crew Grid Dot Wrap Tank ($98/J. Crew): Like the famous Diane Von Furstenburg wrap dress, this bathing suit will work on most body types. It comes in three colors – orange, blue and black.

Profile by Gottex 2013 Tutti-Fruitti Rose Bandeau Swimsuit ($81.92/Nordstrom – free shipping both ways!): The ruffle on this cute, retro swimsuit goes all the way around helping to camouflage the butt and hips but giving it a flirty feel.

How to Wear: Wide-Leg Trousers

29 May

By Ebony Benson

Wide-leg trousers are making a comeback. We’ve seen them slowly sneak back onto the runways over the last few seasons and now they’re hitting the mainstream. Why should you be excited about this? Because wide-leg pants elongate the legs, flatter all body types and create a sophisticated, tailored look. You probably haven’t worn anything but skinnies for a while but don’t be intimidated by the wide-leg trouser because there are many styles and fits for all!

Why wide-leg trousers are good for moms

In a single day a mom could go from the office, to lunch with the girls, to chasing her kids in the park, to dinner with the in-laws – and wide-leg pants can go with her. They can seamlessly transition from business appropriate to casual comfort.

Tips for wearing wide-leg trousers

  • When paired with a form fitting top, wide-leg pants accentuate the waist creating an hourglass shape. Add a belt for extra emphasis.

  • They’re an especially good match for pear shapes as the hips appear narrower due to the flare.

  • Don’t fret if you have a petite frame, donning all one color from head-to-toe will make you appear taller and balance out the fullness of your lower half. Wear with wedges or heels.

  • Taller women are lucky, they can pair their wide-leg pants with flats or heels.

  • Pleated or palazzo-draped pants along with bias cuts work best for women with larger thighs or hips.

  • A lower-rise wide leg trouser can be paired with a looser top as long as the top isn’t too long. It should fall just a few inches below the waistband of the pants. Tuck a small portion of the front of the top into the pants for a chic but casual feel.

Need some outfit inspiration?

For some cute outfit ideas, be sure to check out our Pinterest album called, “How to Wear: Wide-Leg Trousers.”

This Formia Designs Pendant May Be My Favorite Piece of Jewelry Ever

27 May

By Kristin Hull

andy-owl-final-for-photoshop-8

You may have seen our recent post (which included a 10% discount code) about Formia Design’s adorable jewelry and keepsakes made from children’s artwork (like this perfect-for-Father’s-Day bottle opener). Well, the nice folks at the company sent me a pendant made from an owl my nephew created and all I can say is that I. Am. In. Love. Swedish designer and mom of two, Mia Van Beek, managed to capture all the little details that make it unique, including Andy’s signature (which she engraved on the back). At about the size of a quarter, the pendant is big enough see in all its glory but not so large that it runs the risk of looking costume-y. And because Van Beek is a stickler for quality, she only uses sterling silver and gold that is 14-karat or higher, so I have no doubt it will look as good as new for years to come.

Even if you aren’t ready to get something made now, follow Formia on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter so when the time comes you’ll be able to find them quickly and easily.

Let Formia Design Turn Your Children’s Drawings Into Jewelry or Keepsakes

15 May

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of Formia Design.

Photos courtesy of Formia Design.

We were blown away when we discovered Formia Design’s adorable (and stylish) pieces made from children’s drawings. And they’re not made from just any child’s drawing, they’re made from YOUR child’s drawing. Simply upload a photo of  the artwork you want to use and choose from a number of jewelry or keepsake items to have it made into. Think necklaces, rings, earrings, cuffs, bracelets, money clips, eyeglass chains, keychains, charms, tie clips, golf markers, cuff links and more. (I spy an amazing Father’s Day gift!)

Well Worth the Cost

Depending on the piece and the complexity of the drawing, prices can vary greatly from $79 to upwards of $700. Their most popular item, the keychain, runs between $89 and $139. Perhaps you could split the price with someone else, or opt for a silver pendant instead of the the 14k gold. If you think about it though, pieces like this are priceless and unique, making them well worth spending a little more on.

Special Discount for Mommy Stylist Readers!

Still concerned about cost? Well, the kind folks at Formia understand and have offered a special discount just for our readers. Simply enter code fdmom1 during checkout for 10% off. Offer ends June 15, 2014 so don’t wait!

Share Some Style Names The Mommy Stylist “One of the Top 10 Mommy Blogs Who Know Fashion”

12 May

By Kristin Hull

share some style

What a pleasant surprise to find that Share Some Style, a company offering online and in-person styling help (for a very reasonable price!), names The Mommy Stylist one of the “Top 10 Mommy Blogs Who Know Fashion.”  Need a closet overhaul or shopping help? Check them out!

Our Favorite Spring Pieces for Moms From Make Me Chic

8 May

By Kristin Hull

make-me-chic-final

As writers dedicated to helping moms look put-together without spending a lot of money, we’re always in search of sites that offer on trend items that are actually affordable. Makemechic.com is one of those sites. In fact, I purchased my favorite pair of ankle boots from them last year and get compliments on them all the time.  In fact, we featured those boots in this post as well as one of their cute fedoras here.  So, if we’re liking their offerings, from clothes to shoes to accessories to handbags, you just might too. Continue reading

Ask TMS: How to Dress Stylishly After Fifty?

5 May

By Kristin Hull

Reader, AnnMarie and her son, Max (with her own portraits of her children in the background).

Reader, AnnMarie and her son, Max (with her own portraits of her children in the background).

Dear Mommy Stylist,

I just began perusing your blog. I don’t have any real fashion sense, though I hate to admit this as I’m an artist and should know better. I was wondering if you have anything, or have done anything, geared toward the “50 years-young and up wanna be stylin’ crowd”?

My kiddies are in their teens, I give private art lessons, write for the local paper and am a substitute teacher (the older the students, the higher my heels get; I like walking in the classroom at six feet tall when subbing at our local high school). I’ve learned on my own that comfy shoes are a must; it only took a few blisters and several throbbing toes to figure that out!

Thanks for thinking of this blog, it makes us moms feel kinda special.

AnnMarie
Newbie blogger, oldie mom

Continue reading

How to Wear: Full Skirts

24 Apr

By Kristin Hull

Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan

Photos courtesy of Cosmopolitan

As you may have seen in my recent post, “Mom’s Spring Shopping List” full skirts are a big trend for the spring and summer (and will most likely trickle into fall as well). And what a blessing as they cover the pooch, the butt and the thighs! Heaven sent, right? Continue reading

Congratulations to the Winner of Our Jamberry Nails Giveaway

21 Apr

By Ebony Benson

Melissa-and-Kelly

Congratulations to Melissa Foster from Houston, Texas for a winning our Jamberry Nails Giveaway! She is a stay-at-home mom with one daughter, 13 months old. We asked Melissa a few questions to learn a bit more about her fashion choices and her mom lifestyle.

The Mommy Stylist: What activities does an everyday outfit have to function for? Continue reading

Mom’s Spring Shopping List

10 Apr

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Photos courtesy of retailers.

As a mom, you don’t have time to read magazines or watch runway shows to keep up with the current trends. But fortunately, we do. And each season we sift through them to bring you the ones best suited to a mom’s lifestyle. Continue reading

Win a Set of Easy-to-Apply, Long-Lasting Jamberry Nail Wraps!

20 Mar

By Kristin Hull

Jamberry-try

Photo courtesy of Canines and Couture.

As a mom, having a pristine manicure is almost as elusive as finding the mate to every solo sock in your house. Even if you do find time to get to the nail salon, the polish usually only lasts a few days.

The Holy Grail of Manicures Continue reading

Ask TMS: Casual Hot Weather Outfit Ideas

13 Mar

By Kristin Hull

Mommy Stylist reader, Marlize, with her adorable girls.

Mommy Stylist reader, Marlize, with her adorable girls.

Dear Mommy Stylist,

We recently moved to Dubai. I am loving the warm weather, but I am desperate for some new ideas for clothes. Relocating from France, I have been wearing jeans and tops with scarves for the last few years since I’ve stopped working and had my three kids (six, four and two years old).

For me, it is too hot to wear jeans, having to wait for the kids outside in the sun after school. Currently I am wearing shorts and a few summer dresses. Could you please provide me with stylish alternatives, I want to look stylish, but not as if I tried too hard. 

I am of average height and build (with a ‘mummy tummy’) and 41 years old.

Thank you, Marlize

Continue reading

Styling Giveaway Winner Look 2: Sophisticated Comfort

27 Feb

By Kristin Hull

emily final 2 ps

Photos courtesy of retailers.

A few weeks ago, we posted the first look for our styling giveaway winner, Emily Ragsdale, created by our executive editor, Lisa Miller. Now, it’s my turn. Like Lisa, I tried to keep Emily’s body shape (apple) and lifestyle (junior high school counselor with two young hockey-obsessed sons) in mind when picking out her pieces. See the credits below for specifics on why I chose each particular item. Continue reading

TMS Giveaway: Daniel Green Totally Wearable Slippers

13 Feb

By Kristin Hull

Enter to win a pair of these functional, versatile slippers. Photo courtesy of Daniel Green.

Enter to win a pair of these functional, versatile slippers. Photo courtesy of Daniel Green.

Let’s face it. With kids, life is rarely dull. And often chaotic. Whether it’s a trip to the emergency room (again), having to cover for the carpool mom whose car breaks down on the way to school in the morning, or running out when your 16-year-old gets into a fender bender and calls in hysterics, a mom often has to get out the door in the blink of an eye. The fact that she hasn’t brushed her hair, isn’t wearing make-up, and is in her pajamas and bunny slippers is of little concern; when duty calls, she’s on it.

There are times when fashion isn’t important Continue reading

25 Stylish Ways To Wear A Scarf

6 Feb

By Kristin Hull

As our loyal readers know, we here at The Mommy Stylist are big proponents of scarves. They’re inexpensive and versatile, and will amp up almost any outfit. And when old man winter rears his ugly head, or when the air conditioning at the office is going full force, they’ll help keep you warm. But did you know there are dozens of ways to wear them? Continue reading

Valentine’s Day Dresses: Get Designer Style (Without Dipping Into the Kids’ College Fund)

16 Jan

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of Rent the Runway

Photos courtesy of Rent the Runway

Valentine’s Day is the time to be your sexiest self. Pull out your highest heels and some fab jewelry, give yourself a smoky eye (learn how from Talia Castellano,  the amazing little girl who lost her battle with cancer but made a huge impact in her 13 short years) and slip into a dress that will make your significant other do a double take.

Go all out

Think romantic like sequins or lace, and sexy like super short, low cut or form-fitting. Don’t be afraid to go all out for the person you chose to be your partner in life. Don’t they deserve it? Even if you’re going to have dinner at home, take the time to get all gussied up. You will make your mate feel special, as well as yourself. If you’re headed to a restaurant that isn’t formal but want to wear a dressy dress, just put a blazer or leather jacket over it to tone it down.

It’s not too cold for sexy

And for those of you who live in a cold climate, add a pair of opaque tights to your ensemble and drape an overcoat over your shoulders (it’s the new trend, you know). Skip the shawl. They’re passé - for now. They’ll probably be back in at some point, so store them away until then.

There’s no shame in Spanx

Don’t let those bumps and bulges keep you from feeling good in your dress. Show them who’s boss by wiggling into some shapewear. Spanx may be the most well-known brand but there are a lot of others out there these days. Find one that works for you. It is worth the price; you’ll wear it over and over and over.

Now, onto the dresses!

If your first thought is that all of your dresses are too worn, out of style or don’t fit, fear not. Afraid you’re going to feel guilty for buying a new frock because that money really should be saved for your daughter’s ballet lessons? We’ve got a guilt-free answer. Always wish you could wear a designer dress? Now you can.

What? Rent a dress?!

Yep, rent a dress. Rent the Runway is a fantastic service created by women who understand what women need. They offer dresses for as low as $30 by designers like Temperly London, Shoshanna, Robert Rodriguez, Tibi, Dolce & Gabbana and many more. The price includes TWO dresses (one in a second size in case your first choice doesn’t fit) and a four-day rental. (A standard shipping charge of $9.95 will be added to your bill.) Your package will arrive by 8pm on your chosen rental date. Return it in the pre-paid envelope provided.

Gross. Are the dresses dirty?

Each dress is dry cleaned before it is sent out, and don’t worry about what will happen if you get something on it. Normal wear and tear is covered by a $5 insurance charge. Totally worth it.

It gets better

An extremely helpful feature of the Rent the Runway site is that customers can upload photos of themselves in their rented dresses along with a review. So, not only can you see how a particular item looks on real people but also read about what they thought of it.

Have more questions? They’ve got everything covered here.

Join the free site now and get $25 off your first rental.

Let’s shop!

Top row, left to right

Martin Grant Paris Mod Draped Dress (rental price, $30/retail price, $1,300): Wondering what color shoes to wear with a blue dress? Black can work but even better would be silver, gold or something in the brown family. Pumps or high-heel booties will work best this time of year. The diagonal line of the fabric will make your waist look smaller.

Cushnie et Ochs Illuminator Dress (rental price, $30/retail price, $1,495): One reviewer said her husband couldn’t stop looking at her in this dress. If you have a small chest consider yourself lucky, the deep V will look classy and sexy on you.

Milly Chained to You Dress (rental price, $30/retail price, $385): Straight and apple figures can rock this gorgeous frock – although if you have a large chest it may look too hoochie.

D&G by Dolce and Gabbana Leopard Looker Dress (rental price, $30/retail price, $625): You don’t have to be the size of a model to rock this dress. Some of the renters who posted photos and positive reviews are sizes 6, 8 and 10 – and it looks great on them because they have curves.

Lilly Pulitzer Shauna Tunic Dress (rental price, $50/retail price, $198): Another great dress for apple and straight shapes. This short shift will highlight your gorgeous gams.

Bottom row, left to right

Halston Heritage Rocket In the Sky Dress (rental price, $65/retail price, $375): The shoulders on this dress will help balance out a pear shape and emphasize the pretty curves of the hourglass figure.

Robert Rodriguez Black Label Pretty Package Dress (rental price, $30/retail price, $525): The gathered fabric at the waist of this dress will hide a tummy. It will flatter hourglass figures and give straight bodies the illusion of curves.

Tibi Reality Versus Dream Dress (rental price, $40/retail price, $485): A busy pattern helps hide bumps and bulges. Complete the fashion-forward look with pair of booties or pointy-toe pumps.

Rachel Roy Pencil Me In Sheath (rental price, $30/retail price, $428): A sheer panel and diagonal angles make this a little black dress for the 21st century.

Robert Rodriguez Sequin Disco Romper (rental price, $40/retail price, $432): Stand out in a sexy, not sleazy, off-the-shoulder romper. If the shorts are too short, or you’re worried about cellulite, simply add a pair of opaque black tights and pair them with black pumps or booties – the higher the better – to elongate your legs.

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Stylist’s Secret: The Only Mascara You’ll Ever Need

3 Jan

By Kristin Hull

mascara-final

Photos courtesy of YSL.

If there’s one beauty item I can’t live without it’s mascara. Even if I have no other make-up on I try to take a moment to apply a coat or two to open up my eyes and keep from looking like I just rolled out of bed. That said, I am always on the hunt for quality mascara at, of course, a decent price.

Take it from someone who’s tried them all

Throughout my years in the fashion industry, I’ve tested just about every mascara on the market and found that most often, the ones that cost a bit more are worth it. Sure, every now and then a drugstore brand comes out with a decent formula but all too often it ends up discontinued, or “improved” in a way that isn’t an improvement at all. Then, the whole trial and error process starts again. You know, the one where you keep going back to the store to buy another brand because the one you got yesterday didn’t live up to any of the claims made on the packaging. Before you know it, you’ve got several tubes of crappy mascara sitting in a drawer where they will remain, gathering dust, until you find time to clean out said drawer – most likely after your youngest has left for college.

Don’t like it? Return it!

Higher-end/department store brands on the other hand, are pretty consistent in their quality. And if your favorite is discontinued, there always seems to be another good one to replace it. The best part though is that most department stores, as well as Sephora, will allow a return on an item that has been opened/used. Think about it: for the cost of those three sub-par drugstore mascaras in your drawer you could have purchased a super-fabulous formula that will actually do what it’s supposed to do – and if it doesn’t, simply return it and try another!

Yes, you can afford high-end mascara

In general, $30 is not a lot of money. But when there are $10 mascaras out there, spending $30 on  a tube feels like a splurge – a splurge you shouldn’t make. But when you find one that does its job correctly, it’s less about a splurge and more about a smart investment. And when you think of it that way, you have to admit, it’s a pretty good deal.

And the winner is…

YSL’s Baby Doll. While it darkens and thickens a bit, it really comes through with lengthening. It also goes on smoothly and cleanly, and lasts all day. How many times have I looked in a mirror mid-afternoon on a work day to find that my mascara has somehow made its way to the skin under my bottom lashes? I always wonder how long I’ve been walking around with the “raccoon look,” how many meetings I’ve attended like that, and why none of my friends told me! Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that anymore because with Baby Doll, it never happens. Now, I just apply it in the morning and don’t think about it again until it’s time to take it off. That’s my kind of make-up.

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What to Wear: New Year’s Day

19 Dec

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Ah, New Year’s Day. The end of the holiday season. After several weeks of craziness, most of us are ready to tone it down for a while. It’s time to put away the sparkles and heels (temporarily, of course!) and get down to some casual comfort.

Comfortable doesn’t mean dumpy

Whether you’re having friends over to watch football or are hitting up some post-holiday sales, you can combine a few current trends to keep yourself looking stylish without sacrificing comfort. Even if you managed to gain a few pounds over the last month, don’t fret. First, give yourself a break. You’re human, and the holiday season is a wonderful one. It’s a time to celebrate and what would celebrating be without a little overindulgence? Don’t get mad at yourself. We ALL do it. And second, our New Year’s Day outfit will provide a little extra room and a little extra coverage to camouflage any evidence of said indulging.

Fall in love with boyfriend jeans

Why should you love boyfriend jeans? Plain and simple, they’re loose. Some even say to buy one size up for just the right “look” but go with whatever you feel works best. We often recommend mid-rise pants to prevent the dreaded muffin top but many boyfriend jeans have a low-rise. However, because they are roomy, gut spillage shouldn’t be a problem. But, if it is, we’ve got a solution.

How to hide your muffin top

Tuck the front five or six inches of your sweater into your pants. This creates a blousing effect which hides that excess flop of tummy, even when you’re siting down. And the tuck will make you appear slimmer. See an example here.

Roll your boyfriend jeans up the right way

If you want to be up-to-date, the fashion right now is give your jeans a medium to wide roll. Like this:

bf-jeans-rolled-up

Photos courtesy of Style Bakery.

If it’s too cold to go without socks

Some of our readers live in climates that don’t allow for even a smidge of skin to be exposed to the elements. If this is you, then have fun with socks. I’m short so I like to keep mine the same color as my shoe to elongate my legs but, if you are the experimental type, feel free to try colors or even patterns like this:

Photo 1 courtesy of Grazia Daily. Photo 2 courtesy of Style Bakery.

Photo 1 courtesy of Grazia Daily. Photo 2 courtesy of Glamour.

Wear it again

Running errands, chaperoning a field trip, to a sporting event, to the park.

Get the look

Mossimo Supply Co. Plaid Wool Anorak Jacket (now $29.99, reg. $39.99/Target): This may just be the cutest anorak we’ve ever seen. It’s casual and represents one of the year’s hottest trends, plaid. Plus, put it on over any ho-hum outfit and you’ve got instant cold-weather style.

Boyfriend Jeans  ($29.95/H&M): You may need to wear a belt with your baggy boyfriend jeans and, if so, by all means do it. It’s not a requirement though. Also, because they are loose, try to keep your top a little more fitted or use the partial tuck-in method mentioned above.

Number 38 Sweater (now $16.99, reg. $24.80/Forever 21): Sure, you could wear just about any sweater with boyfriend jeans but why not get into the spirit of the New Year’s Day games by taking on the sporty trend with a vibrant piece that shows your spirit (even if you don’t really have any)? You can definitely wear it again throughout the season and even into spring.

Pieces Emonda Beanie (now $9.07, reg $16.33/Asos – free shipping both ways!)

Aqua Fox Mittens ($58/Fancy): Yes, these are a little pricey but they’re so cute we just had to share them with you. If you consider that you’ll wear them for a few years then they’re worth the investment.

Chism Wedge Sneaker ($38.49/Aldo): You can really wear any kind of sneaker or short boot with a boyfriend jean. I decided on these to keep the outfit more on the casual side.

Kipling Rizzi Cross-Body/Waist Bag ($59/Zappos – free shipping both ways!)

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What to Wear: Family Holiday Gathering

5 Dec

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers

Photos courtesy of retailers

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule or Kwanzaa, dressing for a December family holiday gathering isn’t much different than dressing for Thanksgiving. A mom wants to look cute, but at the same time she must be able to maneuver around the kitchen, eat to her heart’s content, sit on the floor to play games, cuddle on the couch to watch a movie and of course, feel warm enough outside and cool enough inside.

However, the Christmas/Hanukkah/Yule/Kwanzaa time of year allows us to be more festive than usual. So, why not embrace it? A simple metallic shoe or red sweater will help to make the day feel even more special. And, true to our Mommy Stylist commitment, we’ve found pieces that can be used to create a variety of outfits for a plethora of occasions (winter school event, play date, holiday lunch, etc.).

Want more ideas? Check out our still-stylish looks from last year and the year before.

Get the look

Knit Turtleneck Sweater ($19.95/H&M): This sweater will become your winter BFF. It will look effortlessly chic with just about anything from skirts to jeans to leggings (as long as it is long enough to COMPLETELY cover your bootie and crotch area).

Textured Geo Earrings ($3.80/Forever 21)

Hooded Wool Coat ($139/Zara – free shipping both ways!)

Lauren Jeans Co. Classic Straight-Leg Corduroy Pants (now, $74.99, reg. $99.50/Macy’s): The mid-rise waist on these cords will keep that muffin top where it belongs. However, you’ll no doubt get a bit bloated from all the holiday goodies and although these pants have some stretch, it’s never enough. But, we have a brilliant solution – your pregnancy belly band. Who says you can only wear these when you’re expecting? We wear them under loose tops (like the sweater above) to keep our mid-section warm and to hide our unbuttoned pants when we’ve over-indulged. And because a belly band looks like a shirt peeking out from under the garment on top of it, you’ll look like a layering pro. Would you rather have your pants feel like a vice around your stomach or enjoy the day looking stylish and feeling comfortable?

Rhinestoned Bow Ring ($3.80/Forever 21)

Big Buddha Alexia Handbag ($33.23/6pm)

Fur-Cuff Rubber Wedge Bootie ($42.50/Charlotte Russe)

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Mom’s Personal Shopper: Holiday Dresses (Under $200)

14 Nov

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers

Photos courtesy of retailers

As a mom, you may be looking at the upcoming holiday season with trepidation. It’s not that you don’t enjoy it, it’s just that there’s So. Much. To. Do. And since most of the “to-dos” have to do with everyone except yourself, guess whose needs get relegated to the bottom of the list? Right.

On top of it, you’re probably getting invited to all kinds of soirees from the office holiday dinner to the neighborhood cocktail party. And you really want to go. After all, you haven’t been to a dressy grown-up party since well, probably last December. But, who has time to find something to wear that is stylish, doesn’t have little hand stains on it, and actually fits? Well, we do. So, we’ve done the shopping for you.

Put a look together in no time

The best thing about all of the pieces in the photo above is that they can be worn with black tights and black shoes so putting together an entire outfit is easy. If your choice is a solid color, try some patterned tights. As for shoes, pointy-toe pumps are back with a vengeance but if you’re feeling a little funkier try a pair of high-heeled booties.

Don’t Be Afraid to Show Those Gams

Cocktail dresses are often fairly short but don’t let that stop you from wearing them. As long as most of your upper body covered, it balances out. Plus, it’s sexy – and you deserve to feel sexy every once in a while. And the beauty of colder weather is that tights are required so there’s no need to worry about not having a tan or highlighting your cellulite. You can even buy Spanx tights to help camouflage the tummy, thighs or butt.

How to Cover Up

To keep the chill away, try pairing your holiday ensemble with a blazer or a leather jacket.

Wear It Again

If your parties involve different groups of people, you can wear your dress again and again and no one will be the wiser. On the other hand, if it looks great on you (and you feel hot/sexy/pretty in it) does it really matter if you are seen in it more than once?

Now, let’s get to the shopping part!

(top row, left to right)

Lace Side Jumpsuit ($125/Warehouse – free shipping and returns!): This is from a British company so chances that someone else will be wearing the same thing are slim. Also, give yourself plenty of time for it to arrive since it has to travel from afar. Body types it flatters: straight, hourglass

Pink Wrap Dress ($50/Miss Selfridge – free shipping!): This is another British company so order soon to ensure it will arrive in time. Amp it up with some long necklaces and a sparkly black belt. Body types it flatters: straight, hourglass

Steel the One Dress ($214.99/Modcloth): Stand out in this gorgeous twenties-inspired frock. Body types it flatters: straight, hourglass

Sister Jane Crystal Crown Shift Dress ($121.03/Asos – free shipping both ways! British company, order early): If you’re looking for simplicity with a little wow factor consider this sleek shift dress. Body types it flatters: apple, straight

Lace Skater Dress ($105/Oasis – free shipping! British company, order early): Add a skinny patent leather belt to this dress to give it a designer feel. Body types it flatters: pear, hourglass

(bottom row, left to right)

Sequined Chiffon Dress ($189.99/Mango – free shipping!): Look sassy and chic in this sparkly shift. Body types it flatters: apple, straight

Barcelona Balcony Dress ($52.99/Modcloth – free shipping!): The fuller skirt on this dress helps hide the tummy while the black waistband adds curves. Body types it flatters: straight, hourglass

Tinsle Metallic Dress ($50/Chloe Loves Charlie): A dress for the modern Audrey Hepburn-type. Body types it flatters: hourglass, straight, pear

Adrianna Papell Snakeskin Embossed Crepe Sheath Dress ($118/Nordstrom – free shipping both ways!): Snakeskin is a big trend right now. Mix it with a vibrant red and you’ve got the perfect holiday frock. The cap sleeves draw attention to the shoulders and away from the hips. Body types it flatters: pear, hourglass

Hi Lo Black Tube Dress (now $55.99, reg. 99/Chloe Loves Charlie): My hourglass figure is jealous it can’t wear this super-contemporary, totally comfortable design. Apple bodies rejoice; you’ve got it made with this dress. Body types it flatters: apple, straight

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Our Favorite Fall Shoes For On-The-Go Moms

1 Nov
TMS FALL SHOES wider

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Thoughts of autumn often conjure up images of brightly-colored leaves, crisp, cool air and trick-or-treating. But for fashionistas, this time of year brings visions of something much more exciting – fall shoes! Who doesn’t love a great pair of boots or a funky sneaker? Not to mention that closed-toe shoes allow us to re-allocate the funds from our summer pedicure budget to our winter shoe budget! Ha!

Moms Have Limitations

As always though, dressing for moms is different than that of any other creature on earth. Moms have a serious list of limitations too plentiful to list here, but what it boils down to is functionality, comfort, versatility, price (the lower the better) and style (which is just as important as all the others but is all to often neglected).

We’ve Done the Shopping For You

We’ve carefully curated a chic collection to meet all your needs from business dinners to a trip to the zoo. They’re all on-trend so you’ll look polished and put-together in even the most informal situations.

It’s a Boot Free-For-All

And one last thing regarding boots. It’s a rare time in fashion history when anything goes and right now is that time for boots. Just about any heel height (from flats to wedges to cowboy heels to stilettos) and any boot height (bootie, ankle boot, riding boot, over-the-knee) works.

1.Coconuts Rifle Boots ($54.99/Famous Footwear): You don’t have to be a cowgirl to wear these boots; they’ll look cool and modern on even the most urban of us.

2. Merona Kadence Wedge Ankle Boot ($34.99/Target): If you want a little height with more stability than a heel, look no further than a stylish wedge.

3. Women’s Tassel Rain Skimmer Shoe ($29.99/Target): Navigate the puddles without getting soaked in a cute pair of rain loafers.

4. Tommy Hilfiger Brinley Bootie ($79.95/DSW): A feminine interpretation of a classic menswear look, these gorgeous heeled oxfords will make you feel as sexy as you look.

5. Zara Ballerina Shoe ($79.90/Zara): Pair these blue leopard print flats with jeans, khakis or an a-line skirt for a thoroughly modern ensemble.

6. Chelsea Crew Rush Hour Boot ($44.94/DSW): A pair of black flat boots this cute and versatile is sure to become a wardrobe staple.

7. Lace-Up Brogue Combat Boot ($45.50/Charlotte Russe): It’s impossible to look any less than sophisticated in a pair of riding boots.

8. Distressed Zip-Back Combat Boot ($42.50/Charlotte Russe): Madonna may have started the lace-up boot trend in the eighties but it’s back with a vengeance and this time, it’s not just for teenagers.

9. Standout Chained Booties ($39.80/Forever 21): The shiny finish on these boots make them look much more expensive than they are.

10. Mia Nashville Bootie ($54.95/DSW): If you’ve always wanted to try red shoes but were afraid, these burgundy ankle boots are the perfect solution.

11. H&M Sneakers ($24.95/H&M): Fall in love with these uber-chic kicks (we did!) that are both versatile and unique.

12. Sorel Joan of Arctic Wedge Mid Boot ($240/Sorel): You can’t put a price on warmth, comfort AND style. Sure, these might cost a pretty penny but when it comes to keeping toasty and dry it is worth spending the extra money.

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What to Wear: Trick or Treating With the Kids

17 Oct

By Kristin Hull

Wear these pieces together for a effortless, casual cool ensemble. (Photos courtesy of retailers)

Wear these pieces together for a effortless, casual cool ensemble. (Photos courtesy of retailers)

Taking the kids trick or treating is one of the joys of being a mother. Getting them ready for it however, often isn’t. By the time you gather all the necessities for their costumes, and get them all made up, the last thing you want to do is put together a cute outfit for yourself. But, the thought of having every neighbor see you in old sweatpants that feel like a sausage casing and a torn tee from your college sorority isn’t your idea of fun either.

Plan in advance

So let’s get a simple, stylish outfit ready ahead of time. That way, when the ticking and treating commences you can revel in your children’s joy – instead of focusing on which tree or bush to hide behind as you move from house to house.

Use what’s in your closet

Grab your favorite pair of skinny jeans and a casual shirt that flatters your figure from your closet. If you don’t have those then it’s high time you went out and got them. Having these as wardrobe basics will help you get dressed and look cute in a pinch (and aren’t moms always in a pinch?).

Lessons in layering

Next is where the fun starts. In order to keep warm, you don’t always have to hide under a coat. For variety, learn to layer and you’ll be able to adjust your level of warmth based on your climate and/or where you are going (indoors, outdoors or both). Just make sure that if you anticipate removing layers at any point that each one is wearable on its own. In the example above, all of the pieces are meant to be worn together but can be utilized separately as well. The jeans and checked shirt are fine by themselves but the skull sweater adds interest. (Be sure to let the bottom of the shirt and sleeves peek out from underneath.) Chilly? Add the military jacket. Roll up the sleeves one or two times to reveal those of the shirt and sweater under it.

Add style with accessories

Once you have your basic outfit it’s time to amp it up with accessories . A jacket or vest, comfy boots, and a hat will add as much style as if you were wearing an expensive designer top.

Use and re-use

The best thing about this outfit is that it’s not only inexpensive but every piece is functional and versatile enough to wear over and over. Try different combinations with other treasures in your closet or, because they are all stylish and cute by themselves, let them make a solo statement.

1. Studded Checked Two Pocket Shirt ($59.90/Express): This shirt isn’t just for casual days; try it with a pencil skirt and pumps at the office.

2. Faux Leather Baseball Cap ($18/Nordstrom - free shipping both ways!): Leather, even faux, makes anything cooler.

3. Skull Print Pullover Sweater ($28.99/Charlotte Russe): Yes, it’s Halloween but you can wear this playful sweater all year long.

4. Big Star Women’s Alex Soft Brush Skinny Leg Jean ($39.41/Amazon): A mid-rise jean is a poochy stomach’s worst enemy – and a mom’s best friend.

5. Coffee Shop Women’s 3/4 Sleeve Jacket ($45.99/Target): Look good running errands or cheering on the team in a trendy military jacket. They’re versatile, functional and super cute. This one comes in plus-size (link above) and petite.

6. White Mountain Women’s Fido Boot ($64.99/Famous Footwear): I want these boots. And you should too. The flat sole offers stability and comfort, while the style is current and uber-cool.

7. Joe Fresh Puffer Vest ($39/Joe Fresh): Don’t hate the puffer vest. It just wants to look good and keep you warm. Give it a chance by pairing it with pieces like button down shirts and fun sweaters. Skip the fleece jacket, baggy jeans and sneakers.

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TMS Replay: Stylist’s Secret – Hats (Yes, you can!)

3 Oct

By Kristin Hull

Now that The Mommy Stylist has been around for a few years, we decided to occasionally re-post some of our earlier blogs as TMS Replays so that new readers can benefit from them as well. (And they can serve as reminders for those who have been with us from the beginning.)

Note: Some of the items may not still be available but we wouldn’t post anythng that’s out of style, so use them for reference and keep an eye out for something similar when you’re out and about.

If you’re going to be a stylish mom you’re must get over your fear of hats. One of the easiest ways to instantly add panache to even the most ordinary outfit is with a hat. But not just any hat. It has to be a fashionable hat (see photos above).

The right way to wear them

Unless you want to look like Debbie Gibson circa 1984, don’t wear hats on the back of your head (the only exception is the beanie which is sometimes called a beret). Most should be worn covering the forehead, especially fedoras. Vanessa Minillo wears it correctly in this photo. For cold weather, try this style (worn by Paris Hilton). If the thought of wearing a hat scares you, why not start with a military or newsboy cap in black or brown? Then, once you get more comfortable you can move on to a fedora or cloche.

A word about baseball hats

Whatever you do, don’t put your ponytail through the hole in the back. Wear a low ponytail (like this) or simply let your hair hang down (like this). Don’t tuck it behind your ears. (In fact, don’t tuck your hair behind your hears when wearing any hat.) You can even try pony tails or braids like this.

They’ll save time

The biggest bonus of wearing hats? You don’t need to do your hair – a major time-saver for moms. Who doesn’t want to save time and look good?

(Starting with top row from left to right)

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Fall Trends for Moms: Camouflage

19 Sep

By Kristin Hull
camo final

Camouflage has been in the fashion scene for quite a while but this fall, it seems to be even more in the spotlight than usual. This is a good thing for moms who seek on-trend clothing that is both versatile and casual, and are bored with their mostly solid-colored closet. The camouflage pattern will add personality and variety to your everyday ensembles without being too “loud” or obnoxious.

Try Some Color

Camo is most often seen in hues of earthy greens and browns but, this season, designers are offering it alternate hues like blue and pink. Don’t be afraid to give them a try. Again, because the patterns are often made with different shades of the same color family the result is subtle yet interesting.

Accessorize With It

If a camo shirt or dress is too much for you, then show your fashion know-how by accessorizing with it. There are plenty of scarves and jewelry, and even hats and shoes, that represent the trend.

How To Wear It

You can always wear camo with other pieces that are the same color, or in the same color family, as those in the pattern. A green- or brown-based pattern can work with similar shades of green, brown, beige, black, white or grey – basically all the neutrals. Looking to pair your neutral camo with a color? Choose hues that would pair well with the camo colors if they were solids (i.e. pink with green camo, orange with brown camo).

(from top row, left to right)

Pretty-Tough Camo Shirt ($29.80/Forever 21)

Worn By Sweatshirt With Camo Sleeves (now $49.78, reg. $92.82/Asos) – free shipping both ways!

Asos Camo Army Parka (now $58.22, reg. $97.88/Asos) – free shipping both ways!

Knit Cardigan ($34.95/H&M)

Neon-Tipped Camouflage Haircalf Skinny Belt ($34.90/Express)

Olsenboye Camouflage Print Striped Scarf (now $13.99, reg. $20/JC Penney)

Camouflage Hinged Bangle Bracelet ($22.90/Express)

Mega BDU Pink Camo Hat ($13.95, Amazon)

Women’s Xhilaration Lisa Flat ($17.99/Target)

With Love From CA Stud Camo Sunglasses (now $9.99, reg. $14.95/PacSun)

Khaki Camouflage Biker Jacket (now $59, reg. $69/Dorothy Perkins) – free shipping!

Angie Camo Print Belted Shirt Dress (now $31.50, reg. $45/Amazon)

Ankle Zip Cargo Legging ($79.90/Express)

Camouflage Covertible Sleeve Portofino Shirt ($59.90/Express)

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Fall Trends You Can Actually Wear: Moto Jackets

4 Sep

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Photos courtesy of retailers.

If you thought moto jackets were just for punks and bikers, think again. Even the preppiest of moms can have a moto jacket all their own. The style remains the same but the patterns and fabric run the gamut from conservative khaki to feminine lace to everyday denim. No matter what your personality or taste, there’s a moto jacket for you.

Why should you want one? Because they are ultimately cool, always chic and one of the hottest trends of the year. For moms, they are as versatile and functional as a blazer. Dress yours up with a pencil skirt and booties, or go casual with a maxi skirt and t-shirt. No matter what you wear it with, you are bound to look (and feel) just a little sassier with it on.

(top row, left to right)

Short Sleeve Moto Jacket (now $31.50, reg. $61/Tulle)

The Camo Twill Moto Jacket (now $45.95, reg. $92/Karma Loop)

Free People Moto Jacket (now $64.99, reg. 148/Macy’s)

(middle row, left to right)

Fillmore Faux-Leather Moto Jacket (now $99, reg. $139/Last Call)

Mossimo Moto Jacket ($34.99/Target)

Denim Jacket ($49.95/H&M)

(bottom row, left to right)

Studded Moto Twill Jacket (now $35.97, reg. $83)

Moto Plaid Wool Coat (now $24.99, reg. $69.50)

Faux Leather Panel Hooded Jacket ($64/Nordstrom – free shipping both ways!)

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Stylist’s Secret: Bra Confessions (Or, Learn From My Mistake)

21 Aug

By Kristin Hull

Don't let this be your bra disaster.

Don’t let this be you.

Well, it seems I need to follow my own advice. You know how sometimes life just gets away from you and after telling your readers over and over how important it is to have a good bra your sister says, “Why do your boobs look so saggy?” and you realize you’ve been wearing the same two bras for FIVE years? Ok, maybe your scenario isn’t exactly like mine but I figure if the person who is preaching to you about quality undergarments can’t even keep track of her bra status then you, with your softball games, school orientations, play dates and general mom duties, may be in a similar situation and not know it either.

Look, we’re all human. Even stylists don’t look perfect all the time. So let’s give ourselves a break. That said though, once we do notice that something is amiss, we need to do ourselves a favor and take care of it, especially where breasts are concerned.

If your “girls” don’t look their best, what you wear won’t matter one bit. Take the photo above for example. The one on the left is me with the new bra on. Notice how the top lays perfectly and flatters my curves. On the right, I’m wearing the old bra. Yikes! It makes me look much wider on top and therefore, heavier. Additionally, my breasts appear saggier (more saggy than they actually are!). I am mortified by how long I was walking around looking like this. Lesson learned. Gulp.

In my previous bra post, I mentioned the store, Intimacy, which is still a great option for quality bras. However, since then, Nordstrom has started carrying European sizes and if you catch them during a sale you can get some high-quality bras for a fraction of the original price. Keep in mind though that it is WORTH THE MONEY to get a bra that fits correctly. You’ll look thinner and clothes will fit better which will make you feel more confident – and you can’t put a price on that.

For some excellent detailed info on bra fit and care, check out this article from bra expert, Linda Becker.

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Get the Look: Button-Downs and Cut-Offs

7 Aug

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Photos courtesy of retailers.

Don’t let the fact that you’re not a twentysomething supermodel keep you from dressing like one. Ok, so maybe you won’t wear the same bathing suit but you certainly can take a cue from Alessandra Ambrosio’s cute everyday mom style.

A button-down shirt is always classy and sophisticated, and when paired with this summer’s trendy cut-offs you’ve got an ensemble that says “casual cool.”

If you prefer longer shorts, consider getting a sleeveless button-down to balance out the fact that more of your legs will be covered. Or, at least, roll long sleeves up above your elbows. Then, just add some simple accessories like beaded bracelets, a watch and sunglasses.

If you want to elongate your legs and you won’t be walking far, try a pair of wedges. Otherwise, as Ms. Ambrosio shows us here, a stylish pair of flats will work just fine.

Nordstrom Titanium Watch ($20/Nordstrom – free shipping both ways!)

Lauren Ralph Lauren Button-Down Shirt ($89.50/Bloomingdales) – Sure, this is a great blouse but any button-down can work well with this look. They’re easy to find in cute patterns and at reasonable prices.

D Frame Sunglasses ($5.80/Forever 21)

Flower Stud Skinny Belt ($7.99/Tilly’s)

The Diva Cut-Off Denim Shorts (reg. $22.94, now $10/Old Navy)

Brown Bodhi Seed Beads Bracelet ($2.99/Amazon)

Purple Bead Peace Charm Bracelet ($3.98/Pier 1)

Sam Edelman Gigi Sandal ($65/Zappos – free shipping both ways!)

Milloo Shoulder Bag ($75/Etsy)

(Did you like this article? If so, sign up for an email subscription to The Mommy Stylist – on the top right-hand side of the home page – so you don’t have to remember to check the site. We’ll just email you whenever we post something new.)

Ask The Mommy Stylist: Tall and Well-Endowed – Help!

26 Jul

By Kristin Hull

tall

Simply Tall offers cute workout clothes in long lengths. Photo courtesy of Simply Tall.

Dear Mommy Stylist,

I have been desperately trying to figure out styles for myself, but have had no luck. Clothes are either too trendy, too pricey, or don’t fit right. It’s really discouraging and frustrating, to say the least. I was wondering if you could help.

Here are my stats: Mom of two (9 and 7), 36 years old, 6 ft, 175 lbs (straight body type, but with a little pudginess around the belly), 36 DD (large busted!). I typically wear solids – blue, black, sometimes purple or green. I’m stuck in jeans that don’t fit (too short, too tight), and shirts that don’t look good either. 

I really don’t have any style sense. I try to mimic my friends, but they are all petite, small breasted girls, so when I copy their styles I just end up looking pregnant. My husband likes me to wear shorts to show off my long legs, fitted shirts that don’t hide my bust, and a more natural look. But I also am a stay-at-home mom who is at the elementary school every day picking up my kids and/or volunteering or substituting. So I don’t feel comfortable rolling up to school looking like a teenager. Anyway, what would you advise? I feel so overwhelmed! 

Sincerely Desperate, Amber

Hi Amber!

It sounds like you have two main things to address, your large chest and your height.

First, let’s address the breasts.

As much as many women envy large breasts, those of us who have them know that they make dressing extra difficult. It is almost impossible to find tops that don’t make us look sleazy or pull open between the buttons. Unfortunately, people with large breasts have to get much of their wardrobe tailored because most shirts are made boxy and we look best when they are nipped in at the waist.

Try these tips to help make dressing your “assets” easier:

Get a good bra: Read our post about the importance of getting good bras. They can make you look 10 lbs lighter. No joke.

Try a scarf: If a particular top makes you feel self-conscious about your chest throw a long scarf on to cover it a bit. Like this. That way you are still flattering your figure but not showing it off to the world. Scarves also work to cover cleavage when a top is too low cut. But make sure the scarf is made of a thin material so it doesn’t add more bulk. 

Wear black tops: They’ll make you look smaller. I know, who wants to wear a black top all the time? Well, you don’t have to but it’s a great thing to fall back on. Add color with accessories.

Choose v-necks: Crew necks will only emphasize your chest while a v-neck will flow better with your curves making them stand out less.

Tuck loose shirts: One other thing I do when I have a flowy shirt that makes me look pregnant, I tuck in just a small portion of the front of it. That way, it shows your figure a little more but still hides any muffin top. (That’s another hard thing for women with large chests, we have to wear fitted shirts but then our muffin top shows. I bought a pair of Spanx undies that work pretty well but just make sure you can’t see the line of them under your shirt. If so, don’t wear them.)

Find your celebrity body double: A good way to get outfit ideas is to find a celebrity who has your body shape and do an image search for them. You’ll be able to see in one fell swoop what flatters their figure and what doesn’t. Then, start trying to mimic some of those looks (well, just the good ones).

You definitely CAN be a stylish mom without looking like a hoochie.

Now, on to your long legs.

First of all, lucky you. Those of us who are short would kill for legs like yours! But, just like being well-endowed, being tall has its problems too, not he least of which is pant length. Making pants shorter is easy but there isn’t much you can do to lengthen them. And nothing says “I have no style” like a pair of floods. Fortunately, many stores are now getting on the “tall” band wagon. Here are just a few:

Alloy 

Ann Taylor

The Gap

Height Goddess

J. Crew

J. Jill

Loft

Long Tall Sally

Old Navy

New York & Company

Simply Tall – They have a nice selection of cute active wear and leggings in long lengths.

On another note, regardless of how tall a woman is, none of us can wear the same pants with flats as with heels – unless they are skinny pants or the currently trendy, ankle pants. We all just have to accept that some of our trousers and jeans will have to be reserved for flats and others for heels.

Thanks for writing! I hope this info was helpful!

(If you have a question for the Mommy Stylist editors, email us at themommystylist@mommystylist.com. If yours is chosen as a post we will be sure to let you know.)

Time-Saving Tips From My Hairdresser Husband – Part 2

11 Jul

By Kristin Hull

hair styling part 2 finalIn our first post about ways to save time doing your hair we covered washing and drying. This week we’ll focus on styling.

Knowing my inability to get up in the morning, my husband has taught me many valuable time-saving tricks over the years that have helped get me out the door quickly without sacrificing style. Try them out and let us know what you think!

Wake Up With Soft Waves

Remember how we said in our first “Time-Saving Tips From My Hairdresser Husband” post to wash hair at night and let it dry? Well, if you want to wake up with pretty, soft waves there’s one more step involved. Well, several steps, but they’re easy. If your hair is long enough (and you may just have to find out by trial and error), flip your head over and comb hair out with a wide-toothed comb while you are still in the shower. Wrap hair in a towel and let it soak up the extra water for about 15 minutes. Then rub about a quarter’s worth of styling gel between your palms. (The hubs says to never just put product on your fingers, it must be rubbed between hands for a few seconds in order to activate it and evenly distribute it). Flip head over again and apply it to your locks starting at the ends. You really don’t need much at all at the roots. Then just let hair air dry for an hour or so. (The timing on this may take some trial and error – if I don’t let it air dry for a while my hair will still be wet when I take it down in the morning and that just adds more time to my routine because I have to blow it dry).While hair is still damp, flip head over yet again and split hair into two sections, one on the left and one on the right and twist each section over and over until you’ve created a little Princess Lea-type bun. Put a hair elastic around each bun to hold them in place through the night. Sleep on it and when you wake up you’ll have soft, sexy waves. (Note: I like to put my buns as far up near the top of my head as possible so I don’t feel them when I lay down to sleep. Also, you can make as many little buns as you’d like – the more you make the curlier your hair will be.)

Embrace Ponytails, Braids and Buns

When time is a factor, ponytails, braids and buns can be your best friends. Whether high or low, in the center or to the side, ponytails can be fun, sophisticated or sexy. If time permits, pull a small section of hair from underneath the ponytail and wrap it around the rubber band. Then secure it with a bobby pin or clear hair tie to camouflage it. Braid a ponytail and you’ve got yet another look or, braid the piece you wrap around to conceal the rubber band.

One of my favorite quick styles is a sock bun. With a touch of Mad Men and a dash of Audrey Hepburn, it can’t not look good. See my video on how to do it here. Have trouble getting your hair smooth when pulling it back into a ponytail? Me too. Well, here is a trick to get rid of those annoying “bumps.” Stick the pointy end of a tail comb (they are easy to find and very inexpensive) under the hair where the bump is until the point comes out on the other side. Then, slide it all the way to back to the ponytail holder. You may have to do it a few times but for the most part it will make the bump go away.)

Accessorize

Hair accessories are an inexpensive and easy way to do something different with your hair. I personally love the half up, half down style. Be sure to fasten hair in back with a simple barrette, tiny clip or bobby pins (no scrunchies or giant banana clips!). Integrate braids into it for a modern touch. To amp up a regular ponytail add a hair band or headband. Or, try one of those without a ponytail and just let hair hang free.

Part Ways

Change up your part once in a while, even when putting your hair up in a ponytail or headband. Move it further to the side or try it down the middle. It can make a big difference.

Check Your Rear

This may not be a time-saving tip per se but it is the most important tip of all. If you don’t do it, you could end up spoiling the work you put into getting ready: Do not ever leave the house without checking the back of your head (and really, the back of your whole body). How many times have you seen someone who looks like polished perfection from the front but when they turn around there is some embarrassing faux pas for the all world to see (a flat spot at the crown, a tag hanging out, panty lines)? Don’t let that be you.

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TMS Replay: Stylist’s Secret – It’s All In The Bra

2 Jul

By Kristin Hull

Here’s what a bra-fitting at Intimacy can do for you.

Now that The Mommy Stylist has been around for a few years, we decided to occasionally re-post some of our earlier blogs as TMS Replays so that new readers can benefit from them as well. (And they can serve as reminders for those who have been with us from the beginning). Enjoy!

Ladies, let’s face it. As much as you love your children, and as much as you bonded while they were breast-feeding, those little angels wreaked havoc on your breasts. It is for that reason that a really good, well-fitting bra is a necessity! If your “girls” are saggy, no one needs to know. And believe me, when you have an ill-fitting bra, everyone knows. Most women, in fact, wear the wrong size bra, even those who haven’t had children. But don’t think you can just run over to Target and grab a new one. In fact, that’s the last place you should buy a bra.

There aren’t going to be many times when we tell you to spend a little extra money but in this case it is vital. A good bra could cost you $50-$100. MAKE THE INVESTMENT. A quality bra should last years and can make you look bigger if you’re small on top and smaller if you are big on top. The wrong size bra (especially on large-breasted women) can squeeze breasts out to the side, making you look wider. A bra that fits will keep that from happening which will make you look thinner. (Trust me, I speak from experience.)

So now that you’re convinced you need a good bra where do you get one? Well, for those of you who live in a city that has an Intimacy store, make some time to go there ASAP. They carry European sizes which have a much wider range than American sizes. Doesn’t that make more sense? How can every American woman fit into one of five or six sizes? Ridiculous. Intimacy has bra fit specialists who come in the changing room with you and make sure you leave with a perfect fitting bra. Don’t let the fact that another woman, who has insecurities about her body too, is going to see you topless. They are very professional and even have little silk robes in the changing room for you to put on while your “specialist” is out on the floor gathering bras for you to try on. Like I said, you will have to spend a bit more but it is totally worth it. You can be wearing the most gorgeous outfit ever but if your breasts are saggy you may as well be sporting a potato sack. It will ruin the entire outfit. Oh, and Intimacy does free alterations for the life of your bra so if they ever get stretched out or break, you won’t have to buy a new one. You can even make an appointment for a free bra fitting on their website. Since you are a busy mom that might be the best option for you. Then you won’t risk having to wait.

And for those of you who don’t have access to Intimacy, try Nordstrom, Macy’s or Victoria’s Secret. Ask someone to measure you and have them check the bras after you put them on to help assess if they fit correctly. Don’t trust yourself. You aren’t a bra expert, they are.

By the way, did you know bras are supposed to be hooked on the widest clasp? Then as the elastic gets stretched out (which it will in any bra) you are supposed to move in to the next set of hooks. I always bought mine in a size where I had to wear it on the tightest hooks. Totally wrong. Waaaay too big. Now you know.

And lastly, don’t ever wear a lacy or textured bra under a smooth, fitted top. There is nothing tackier than seeing lumps and lines under a shirt. And if you can see the line at the top of the cup through your shirt, you’re either wearing the wrong size or wrong style for that kind of shirt. I suggest getting a smooth black bra and a smooth nude bra. Those can be worn with anything and will be comfortable on a daily basis.

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What to Wear: 4th of July Fireworks

26 Jun

By Kristin Hull

what-to-wear-fireworks-finalThe best time to dress hippie chic is well, when you’re acting like a hippie. And what’s more hippie than gathering up the whole brood, filling up the picnic basket, lounging on a blanket and gazing into the sky? But don’t worry – hippie “chic” doesn’t mean donning tie-dye and floral hair wreaths. It means taking a cue from the “children of the earth” by wearing pieces that are conducive to sitting on the ground, chasing the kids around, and eating with your hands while looking super cute and on-trend. It’s fun to dress in a certain style especially when the situation calls for it. The key though, is to not look costume-y or like you’re trying too hard. That said, we’ve put together an easy outfit to wear to this year’s 4th of July fireworks.

A hat will keep the sun at bay until it gets dark (and after that, it will serve as cute fashion statement and cover up the hair that you didn’t have time to do before leaving the house). Maxi skirts are a dream come true – not only are they comfortable but you can sit with them pulled up off your legs during the warm evening but then cover them when it cools off. And don’t just wear any belt – for the sake of comfort, and to be able to get up and down a lot, a stretchy elastic one is a must. The jean jacket will keep you toasty on top; the flat sandals are easy to walk in (because you’ll most likely have to make a few trips to and from the car); and the bag is large enough to carry the plethora of “stuff” an outdoor event with the family requires. The best part? All of these versatile pieces can be rotated into different outfits that are already in your closet.

BP. Straw Fedora ($20/Nordstrom)

Mossimo Women’s Cap Sleeve Core Fashion Tee ($10/Target)

Beaded Bracelet ($4.80/Target)

Silver Feather Adjustable Cord Bracelet ($14.99/Target)

Fringed Eagle Necklace ($4.80/Target)

Sonoma life + style Wide Stretch Belt ($18/Kohl’s)

Mossimo Women’s Denim Jacket ($29.99/Target)

Roxy Tall Tale Sling Bag ($42/Zappos – free shipping both ways!)

Swingy Maxi ($79.95-89.95/Coldwater Creek)

Christin Michaels Yani Sandals ($40.99/Zappos – free shipping both ways!)

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Time-Saving Tips From My Hairsdresser Husband – Part 1

21 Jun

By Kristin Hull

Fortunately, we don't have to dry our hair like this anymore. Photo courtesy of Life.

Fortunately, we don’t have to dry our hair like this anymore. Photo courtesy of Life.

I’ve learned many things being married to a hairdresser. One thing is that they have a much harder job than I ever imagined. They’re on their feet doing the same repetitive motions all day long, every day (not good on the body); they have to always be cheerful no matter how they feel personally, or how crabby or rude a client might be; they have to understand the geometry of a sphere (which is why I could never do the job); and they don’t get paid vacation or sick days – missing work means missing out on income. On top of all this, they need to have the skill to pull off a fabulous haircut or color job. Easy, right?

I do have to say though that being married to someone who does this for a living has afforded me some insider tips I wouldn’t otherwise have been privy to. In fact, there is so much information to share with you that I decided to break this post in two parts – washing and drying, and styling. The second installment will be published in a few weeks. If you haven’t already, sign up for an email subscription on the top, right-hand side of our home page so you don’t miss out on any future posts!

Washing and Drying Made Easy

I am NOT a morning person so anything that can help shorten the time between when I get up and when I leave the house is quickly adopted into my regimen. I want to look as good as everyone else, only in 20 minutes or less – and most moms are lucky if they get even that much time. The tips below have helped me immensely and they’ll hopefully do the same for you. Happy primping!

Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow

This is not short hair discrimination. In fact, my husband and I both love short hair. But the truth is, unless you have a pixie cut, short hair is not “easier hair.” In fact, a cropped coif takes more time and effort. Not only do you have to get it cut more often, which depletes time and money, but in order for it to look right you actually have to DO it. Longer hair however (at least below your shoulders), can be cute and stylish in mere minutes.

Do your wash at night

Skip the annoying blow dry process altogether and save yourself a lot of time (and cuticle damage) by washing your hair at night and letting it air dry. Then, in the a.m. all you need to do is a little styling.

Discriminate

This is one time when discrimination is good – only wash the parts of your hair that are dirty. Most of us first show grease at the roots while the ends can go without cleaning much longer. If you don’t want to go the dry shampoo route (see below), put your hair in a ponytail just below the crown. Then, place a shower cap over the ponytail (to make this easier, tuck in the ends of your hair into the ponytail holder so it is more of a bun) and then put a ponytail holder around the outside of the shower cap so, basically, it is only covering the bun. Then, in the shower, just get the top of your head wet and wash it. When you get out you’ll only have to dry that part.

Make friends with dry shampoo

We have all heard that washing and drying our hair daily causes damage, not to mention how much time it takes up, so learn to love dry shampoo. There are many brands out there now and even the least expensive ones work well. Just don’t spray them too close to your head or you’ll have a big messy blob to contend with. Bumble and bumble offers dry shampoo in a variety of natural shades from light yellow to red, grey, brown and black. A matching color isn’t really necessary but it is nice. Scratch your head and you’ll have to clean it out from under your fingernails but hey, that’s a small price to pay for saving yourself an hour in the morning.

Blow Dry Immediately

I used towel dry my hair a bit (especially my bangs) right after getting out of the shower. Then, I’d wait until after doing my make-up to blow-dry it. Both of these are no-nos. Towel drying is damaging, and the longer you wait to dry your hair the longer it has to start to dry on its own, in the wrong direction. Once I stopped doing these two things my hair looked infinitely better.

Go all the way

Does your hair ever look good right when you finish blow-drying it but within a few hours it’s going in all kinds of odd directions? That’s because you didn’t completely dry it. Hair can look dry even when it isn’t. The hubs says that once you think it is time to turn off the dryer, don’t. Keep at it for several more minutes. Otherwise, all that work will be for naught.

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The Six Purses Every Mom Should Own

6 Jun

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers

Photos courtesy of retailers

How many times have you carried a purse you knew didn’t look right with your outfit simply because 1) you didn’t have one that would match, 2) you didn’t have time to change purses (we can help you with that in this post), or 3) you didn’t have one appropriate for the occasion. We’ve all been there but with just a few basic handbag styles in your arsenal, you should be able to avoid that fashion faux pas in the future.

A mom needs a purse that is versatile, affordable, stylish, big enough to carry all the necessities, and small enough that it won’t weigh her down. There are  a million options out there and we’ve narrowed them down to six that should cover all your needs. Let’s get started.

The Everyday Handbag

For an everyday “go to” handbag, something in a neutral shade will serve you best. Look for black, grey or variations of brown (chocolate, camel, nude). These colors will be the most versatile and compliment just about any outfit. Either a shoulder bag or satchel (my personal favorite – they just make me feel more sophisticated) will work – it just depends on your preference.

1. Latique Mallorca Convertible Hobo ($68.60/Kohl’s)

2. Kelly & Katie Jorden Woven Scoop Tote ($44.95/DSW – free shipping for Rewards members)

An Evening Bag

For a plethora of reasons, many of us buy our dressy dresses in black – they’re slimming, don’t show stains, and are less noticeable when we wear them again and again (which really shouldn’t matter anyway but hey, we all think about it). Wearing black provides the perfect opportunity to go all out with your handbag. Bright colors, shimmery sequins, beads, and patterns will all work well with basic black.

3. Contrast Lace Snap Baguette Clutch Evening Bag ($26.99/PacificPlex)

4. Lulu Townsend Sequin Pattern Munaudiere Clutch ($29.95/DSW – free shipping for Rewards members)

A Patterned Bag

You know those days when you look in the mirror after getting dressed and realize that everything your wearing is a solid color? You wish you had the time to put something more exciting together but Emma has to get to soccer practice and you have a thousand errands to run so you just “deal with it” and feel a little dumpy all day. An easy way to counter this is by toting a fun, patterned purse. Find one that you love, one that makes you smile, and watch those “outfit blues” fade away.

5. Franco Sarto Lexington Hobo ($49.95/DSW – free shipping for Rewards members)

6. Warehouse Leopard Satchel ($50.91/Asos – free shipping both ways!)

The Everyday Crossbody

For those times when carrying a satchel or shoulder bag will look ridiculous (i.e. a street fair, a sporting event, a picnic) the cross body swoops in to save the day. I prefer a larger style as they can accommodate a water bottle, a light jacket, etc. but the size is up to you and your needs. Like the everyday handbag, a neutral tone may serve you best but sometimes a touch of color or a fun pattern will do the trick. Just make sure it matches your outfit.

7. Kelly & Katie 2 Tone Cross Body Bag ($25/DSW – free shipping for Rewards members)

8. Rosetti Cross-Body Bag ($19.99/Kohl’s)

A Day Clutch

Every woman needs a day clutch for “girly events” like showers and luncheons as well as things like afternoon weddings and graduation parties. They’re just a little dressier than your everyday handbag and add an air of city chic to your look. (Although they’re called “day” clutches they can be used at night for events that are too informal for an evening bag.)

9. Zigzag Raffia Clutch ($16.80/Forever 21)

10. Aldo “Spotted” Cluch ($45/Aldo)

A Colorful Bag

Colorful handbags can serve the same purpose as patterned ones. However, they’re easier to pair with busy clothing so you’ll be out the door, feeling fabulous, in no time.

11. Mondani Audra Ostrich Tote ($52.50/Kohls)

12. Apt. 9 Brooklyn Straw Hobo ($29.40/Kohls)

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Try the Trend: Ankle Pants

29 May

By Kristin Hull
ankle pants finalFollowing the trends (in a grown-up and sophisticated way, of course) is one of the best ways to look put-together. One of our favorites this season is the ankle pant. Longer than cropped pants but shorter than regular pants, this versatile style can be worn by any body shape. Even better, they’ll work with a wide variety of shoes from  high-heeled or flat sandals to pumps, oxfords or Mary Janes. And because of this, transitioning them from work day to weekend couldn’t be easier.

As you can see in some of the photos above, rolling long pants up to ankle length is just fine. If you already have some skinnies or straight-leg pants in your closet, you can easily get the look without spending a cent.

And lastly, for outfit ideas, take note of what the celebs in the photos are wearing with their ankle pants. Blazers, sweaters and tees all mesh well to create a sleek, chic ensemble you can be proud of.

(Did you like this post? If so, sign up for an email subscription to The Mommy Stylist – on the top right-hand side of the home page – so you don’t have to remember to check the site. We’ll just email you whenever we post something new.)

Stylish Swimsuits That Flatter and Hide in All The Right Places

22 May

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers

Photos courtesy of retailers

Well ladies, we’ve once again come upon that dreaded time of year  - swimsuit season. But, it needn’t be as bad as you think because we’ve found some figure-flatting and forgiving (i.e. gut- and butt-hiding) styles to make you feel like your nineteen-year-old self again. Remember though, you’ll have to shell out some extra dough for a quality bathing suit but it will be well worth it. After having kids (as well as getting older) those $10 bikinis at Forever 21 won’t quite do the trick. This is one instance where you absolutely must splurge for quality’s sake. Plus, a good swimsuit should last you a few years. And it will no doubt make you look better than you thought you could. And when you’re practically naked, it doesn’t get better than that.

Be sure to read the descriptions below to find out which designs will show off your best qualities and hide your worst.

(from top row, left to right)

  •  Anne Cole Striped One Shoulder Swimsuit ($112/South Beach Swimsuits – free shipping on orders over $100): The angled, narrow stripes slim the mid-section.
  • Betsey Johnson Beauty Mark Swimdress ($148/Everything But Water): The black vertical lines help elongate the body while the non-frumpy skirt hides the hips and rear.
  • Karla Coletto Red Draped Bandeau Swimsuit ($281/South Beach Swimsuits - free shipping on orders over $100): If you’re bigger in the middle this is the suit for you; the loose, draped material hides just about everything between the chest and hips.
  • Tommy Bahama Scroll Paisley Swimsuit (now $85.20, reg. $98, South Beach Swimsuits - free shipping on orders over $100): The busy pattern and rouching in the middle will make you look smaller than you are.
  • Black Tie” Skirted Swimsuit ($138/Nordstrom – free shipping both ways!): We love the way the retro look is modernized on this adorable style. Cover your upper thighs, rear and hips while showing off your assets. Again, rouching will camouflage.
  • Athena Harbor Island Swimsuit ($81.99/Zappos – free shipping both ways!): Apple body types will love this swimsuit as it covers their main problem area.
  • DKNY Chic Stripes Spliced One-Shoulder Maillot ($112/Zappos – free shipping both ways!): Diagonal stripes are always slimming and will add curves.
  • Motel 50s Style Halter Swimsuit ($59.40/Asos – free shipping both ways!): The black vertical panels on the sides of this design will make you appear narrower.
  • Michael Michael Kors Racerback Scuba One-Piece ($140/Neiman Marcus - free shipping through 5/31 with code MAYFS): Like the previous swimsuit, the white vertical side panels are slimming as are the grey panels on the legs.
  • Carmen Marc Valvo Malawi Floral-Print Swimdress ($159/Neiman Marcus – free shipping through 5/31 with code MAYFS): This bathing suit is a triple threat: the fifties-style fitted skirt, busy pattern and rouching will keep those soft spots well hidden.
  • Betsey Johnson Shirr Delight Swimdress ($148/Everything But Water): A cute skirt will cover those lower body problem areas.
  • Magicsuit Draped Swimsuit ($148/Macy’s): Another great suit for the apple figure; the loose, draped material will camouflage the middle.

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Ask The Mommy Stylist: What Should I Wear to a Semi-Formal Business Dinner?

8 May

By Kristin Hull

ask tms dresses

Photos courtesy of retailers

Dear Mommy Stylist,

I need to find a dress to wear to a semi-formal dinner when I accompany my husband on a business trip. It’s a golf weekend in Pebble Beach in June for executives and their spouses. I know how to dress for my job, for being a mom, for hanging out – but the corporate wife thing is totally out of my comfort zone. I want to look nice, but still like me. I already have a black dress so I’d like to find something colorful as an alternative.

Julee

(We contacted Julee to get a little more information about her likes and dislikes and found out her favorite stores are Zara, Loft and H&M; her favorite designer is Marc Jacobs; she likes the fifties “Mad Men” style, prefers solid-colored garments and is not into florals, pastels or anything too trendy. She has a slim apple-shaped figure and needs a style that will hide her post-baby tummy.) 

Dear Julee,

Based on everything you told us, we’ve found some great dresses that fit the “business-appropriate” criteria and are under your $200 price limit. The important thing is to look attractive but not sexy, and stylish but not flashy. And because you’re child-free for the night, take the opportunity to wear high-heels, or at least wedges. If you need something to keep away the chill at night, try a waist-length blazer or cardigan. Lastly, be sure to apply moisturizing cream to your legs; it will make them look, and feel, silky smooth all night.

(top row, left to right)

Lines of Poetry Dress ($89.99/Modcloth – free shipping):

Ignite the Night Dress ($52.99/Modcloth - free shipping): 

Moonlight Marvel Dress ($177.99/Modcloth - free shipping)

‘Tis a Shift to Be Simple Dress ($52.99/Modcloth - free shipping):

Suzi Chin for Maggy Boutique Pleateed Front V-Neck Dress ($138/Nordstrom – fre shipping both ways!)

(second row, left to right)

Donna Morgan Colorblock Peplum Dress ($49.50/Last Call):

Linger a Little Longer Dress ($177.99/Modcloth - free shipping)

Red Fifties-Style Dress ($170/Stop Staring)

Azure Allure Dress ($52.99/Modcloth - free shipping): 

Vince Camuto Draped Tunic Dress ($128/Nordsstrom – free shipping both ways!)

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Ask The Mommy Stylist: How To Quickly and Easily Add Color To Your Wardrobe

24 Apr

By Kristin Hull

Photo courtesy of retailers

Photo courtesy of retailers

Dear Mommy Stylist,

I wear a lot of black. In fact, my closet is filled with black clothes. I’d like to wear more color but don’t have the budget to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. How can I brighten things up without spending a fortune?

Denise

Dear Denise,

Have no fear! Your problem is easily solved – accessorize! Inexpensive accessories are everywhere. From Target to TJ Maxx, you’ll find scarves, jewelry, hats, handbags, shoes, jackets and more. And the best part is that these pieces can be utilized over and over with various outfits, dressy or casual. We’ve put together some examples in the photo above. So next time you’re feeling blah in black, dig into your new bag of colorful tricks for a pop of color that will put a spring in your step.

  1. Coral Colourblock Flats ($44/Dorothy Perkins)

  2. Nine West Immunity Wedges ($79/Zappos – free shipping both ways!)

  3. Endzone Orange Gingham Headband ($20/High Cotton)

  4. Studded Enamel Cuff Watch ($12.99/Charlotte Russe)

  5. Treasured Friend Necklace ($29.99/Modcloth – free shipping both ways!)

  6. Blue Perforated Duffle Cross Body (sale $35, reg. $49/Dorothy Perkins)

  7. Sasha Samba Belt ($15.99/Modcloth – free shipping both ways!)

  8. Mossimo Sateen Blazer ($34.99/Target)

  9. Xhiliration Star Print Scarf ($14.99/Target)

  10. Sally Hansen Salon Effects Nail Polish Strips ($4.99/Ulta)

  11. Olivia + Joy Tracker Satchel ($59.95/DSW)

  12. La Mer Watch with Layer Wrap ($39.99/Target)

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What to Wear: Graduation Ceremony

12 Apr

By Kristin Hull

Photos courtesy of retailers

Photos courtesy of retailers

Graduation parties often run the gamut from casual get-togethers to sassy soirées, but graduation ceremonies almost always fall into the dressier category. We’re not talking cocktail attire but rather, a pretty daytime ensemble that would also work for a shower or luncheon. Think sundresses with high-heeled sandals or a pair of bright-colored ankle pants (not jeans) with a white blouse and some nude pumps. Or, think like we did: try an a-line above-the-knee skirt with a lacy top and a skinny belt. Since those pieces are the picture of femininity, we balanced them out with a motorcycle-style bouclé jacket and modern accessories. A leopard print wedge finishes off the outfit a classic touch.

Bouclé Moto Jacket ($32.80/Forever 21): Too rock and roll for you? Try a cardigan or a blazer – just make sure they don’t fall past your waist.

Make the Mocha of It Top ($57.99/Modcloth – free shipping both ways!)

Wroughts of You Earrings ($12.99/Modcloth – free shpping both ways!)

Chain Patterned Hinge Bracelet ($8.80/Forever 21): Do the unexpected and wear this bracelet on the same wrist as the watch.

Square Buckle Hip Belt ($4.80/Forever 21): This skirt comes with a blue ribbon attached at the waist. If the color doesn’t work with the outfit, simply cover the ribbon with a belt that does.

Midi Skirt in Texture ($58.19/Asos): The texture of this skirt gives it the “wow” factor.

5th Avenue Watch ($26/Pitaya)

Calvin Klein Saxton Leopard Print Shoe ($71.99/6pm – free shipping!): Wedges are easier to walk in than heels, especially when chasing little ones around or traipsing through grass.

Julia Envelope Clutch (now $44.99, reg. $88/Victoria’s Secret)

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Spring Trends Moms Can Get on Board With: Florals

27 Mar

By Kristin Hull

mom magazine, mom fashion, budget fashion

Photos courtesy of retailers

Before you dismiss florals as too frou-frou or too “old lady” take a look at our picks and you may just change your mind.  From vintage prints to modern, there’s something for everyone. Florals come in varying sizes, colors, patterns and styles; they work on all body types and will last through spring and summer.

1. Eye For Ikebana Shirt ($69.99/Modcloth – free shipping both ways!)

2. H&M Top ($17.95/H&M)

3. Garden Floral Oversized Glasses ($5.99/Charlotte Russe)

4. Essential Watercolor Shorts ($15.80/Forever 21 – free shipping on orders over $50)

5. Placed Floral Halter Top ($34.90/Express)

6. Victorian Floral Print Oblong Scarf ($8/Dots)

7. Search Hibiscus and Aloha Dress ($49.99/Modcloth – free shipping on orders over $50)

8. Floral Print Trim Fedora ($13/Make Me Chic)

9. Everyday Daisy Flat ($39.99/Modcloth – free shipping both ways!)

10. Watercolor Floral Skinny Belt ($9.99 includes a skinny black belt/Charlotte Russe)

11. High-Waisted Floral Print Pants ($19.8-/Forever 21)

12. Floral High-Waisted Denim Short ($24.99/Charlotte Russe)

13. Floral Dot Canvas Backpack ($26.99/Charlotte Russe)

14. Belted Romper (on sale $49, reg. $119/Charlotte Russe)

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Spring Trends Moms Can Get on Board With: Brights

13 Mar

By Kristin Hull
 

mom magazine, mom style, mom fashion, budget shopping, cheap clothes

Photos courtesy of retailers

Do you always see other women wearing color and envy them? Do you wonder if you can pull it off? Well, you can. This spring one of the hottest trends is bright colors so now is the perfect time to step out of your comfort zone and dive in. One of my favorite pairings is a bright hue with a neutral like black, grey, white, khaki or navy blue. You don’t have to be a neon sign, just one piece of color will do. We’ve gathered up some of the cutest Mommy Stylist-approved pieces we could find. Click the links to order them online or print the photo and put it in your purse to look for them, or something similar, the next time you’re out and about. 

People love color in general. And we can bet that if you do try the trend you’ll get compliments all day long. You may even inspire a few other moms to do the same.

1. Twist of Lime Top ($34.99/Modcloth - free shipping and returns!)

2. Green Denim Jacket ($24.97/Old Navy)

3. Soludos Original Dali Espadrilles ($28/Shopbop)

4. Style on the Wild Side Dress ($74.99/Modcloth – free shipping and returns!)

5. Colorful Personality Bracelet ($14.99/Modcloth – free shipping and returns!)

6. Pink Blazer ($19.95/H&M)

7. NCLA Nail Lacquer in Pick Me Up at Melrose Place ($16/Shop Sosie)

8. Life in Progress Tuxedo Stripe Skinny Jeans ($24.80/Forever 21)

9. Calvin Klein Jeans Ikat Printed Short ($19.99/6pm – free shipping!)

10. Joe Fresh Print Screen Coat ($49/JC Penney)

11. Ebb and Billow Top ($37.99/Modcloth – free shipping and returns!)

12. Raise the Sandbar Sandal in Citrus ($49.99/Modcloth – free shipping and returns!)

13. Joe Fresh 2-Tone Pleated Pull-On Skirt ($49/JC Penney)

14. Color Pop Modern Skinny Jeans ($24.88, reg. $59.50/Loft)

15. Casual and Effect Flat ($39.99/Modcloth – free shipping both ways!)

16. Zip Pocket Cross Body Purse ($19.80/Forever 21)

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Spring Trends Mom Can Get On Board With: Colored Lace

1 Mar

By Kristin Hull

colored-lace-finalSometimes, when people think of lace they think of grandmothers and bygone eras. But the truth is, that when done right, lace is lovely, super-feminine – and yes, even fashionable. This spring the classic fabric has been modernized with color. Blues, reds, pinks, greens, oranges and yellows abound. And it doesn’t always have to be dressy. Try a lace top and jeans for a play date, lace shorts with a tee for a picnic, or a casual dress with a pair of lace flats for running errands.

1. Navy blouse (Modcloth, $44.99)

2. Pink flats (Charlotte Russe, $22.50)

3. Yellow top (Forever 21, $17.80)

4. Pale blue skater skirt (Modcloth, $47.99)

5. Pink dress (Modcloth, $127.99)

6. Burgundy cardigan (Banana Republic, $64.99)

7. Tangerine peplum top (Accents, $42)

8. Cloche Hat (Zappos, $38.99)

9. Ombre scarf (Dorothy Perkins, $21)

10. Peach Skirt (Modcloth, $37.99)

11. Blue shorts (Tulle, $21.50)

12. Purple flats (Nordstrom, $57.95)

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Spring Fashion: Trends That Will Work For Moms

13 Feb

By Kristin Hull

runway


Spring trends moms can get into (literally): Asian Influence at Etro, Sheer Fabric at Sophie Theallet, Sporty Dresses at Rag and Bone, Ruffles at Givenchy.
(Photos courtesy of style.com)

Even though some of you are still bundled up in a winter coat, spring will be here before we know it. So, now is the perfect time to familiarize yourself with the upcoming trends. I know, I know, you’ve already got enough on your mind. But, don’t worry; we’re here to give you the bullet points and make it easy. It’s vital that you know what the trends are in order to be “that mom” – the one who always looks modern and sophisticated, even when she’s dropping the kids off at school. To that end, wearing outfits that are current is the most effective way to look (and feel) your best.

Each season brings many trends, but not all of them are appropriate for a mom. So, we’ve sorted through the list and singled out the ones that will be most conducive to your lifestyle. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll be able to identify the latest styles in stores and make purchases with confidence. (Watch for our upcoming shopping posts focusing on some of these trends in the coming weeks.)

Wearable spring fashions for moms:

  • Stripes (of all colors, not just black and white)

  • Sheer fabric

  • Ruffles (especially unique, architectural ones)

  • Leather

  • Floral/botanical prints

  • Colored lace

  • Black and white patterns

  • White (depending on the age of your children, this may or may not be an option)

  • Asian influence

  • Sporty dresses

  • Bright hues (especially royal blue)

And speaking of colors, every year Pantone sets the standard for the colors  for each season. Below are the shades for spring 2013. Keep these in mind when shopping for your new on-trend clothes and accessories.

P1colors
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Stylist’s Secret: Changing Purses To Match Your Outfit Is Easier Than You Think

30 Jan

By Kristin Hull

make-up-bags

Storing essentials in pretty cosmetic bags makes switching purses quick and easy. ($14.99-$34.99/Target)


For most women, changing purses each day seems like more trouble than it’s worth. I used to feel that way. My biggest fear was that something important would be left behind in a pocket or a hidden corner. I felt this way for good reason; it had happened to me on several occasions. But the more I started to work in fashion, the more I realized what a difference matching my handbag to my outfit made. It’s just as important an accessory as any other. And a mismatched one can ruin even the most stylish ensemble. Additionally, a purse shouldn’t just work with an outfit based on color or pattern; size, shape and appropriate-ness must be taken into account as well. There’s nothing tackier than seeing a women in her workout clothes carrying a dressy purse or, God forbid, vice versa.

Fortunately, most of us know the difference between a casual and a dressy purse and when to carry each. I think the problem lies in the fact that no mom has time to switch out her purses. It’s not that she doesn’t want to or doesn’t know that she should, it’s that she’s usually running out the door with nary a moment to brush her hair. But, if you want to be the cutest, most stylish mom you can be, it would behoove you to swap purses at least some of the time. As you’ve seen, we at The Mommy Stylist always try to offer handbag options that are functional and versatile so that you don’t have to make the switch every single day, but on the occasions that call for it, we have a simple solution that will ensure you won’t leave anything behind: You need to become a bag lady.

No, not that kind of bag lady. But a bag lady nonetheless. Basically, you’re just going to put everything from your purse into smaller bags.You can use one big cosmetic bag for the whole shebang like I do, or try a few of varying sizes. The whole point is that when it comes time to change purses you won’t have to dig through every last pocket to transfer it all over; just move the bags from one purse to the next. Voila! I like mine to be clear so I can easily find what I’m looking for in them but you can use whatever color or pattern you prefer. But no Ziplocs! The whole point is to make you look (and therefore feel) better. You will not feel confident shuffling through a mishmash of sandwich bags. Another bonus is that this system will actually keep your purses more organized. And what mom couldn’t benefit from little more organization?

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Mom to Mom: Mommy Stylist-Inspired Look

16 Jan

By Kristin Hull

mom fashion, fashion mommy, budget shopping, cheap shopping, mom style, mommy stylist

Mom, Bethany Warren, recently sent us some photos of an outfit she put together based on our suggestions. We think she did a great job and wanted to share her success with you so that you may be inspired to create a similar look. Bethany’s entire ensemble was less than $90 and consists of versatile pieces that will work with all kinds of outfits. See the cost breakdown below.

Note: For the full-length picture, Bethany couldn’t find her hat, a problem I’m sure many busy moms can relate to. So, we’ve included a close-up shot she took of herself a few weeks earlier. Either way, we think she looks adorable!

  • Matching hat/scarf combo is Calvin Klein from TJMaxx, $15.

  • Red plaid shirt is Mossimo Red from Target, $12 clearance.

  • Blue t-shirt is Gap Outlet, $8.

  • Jeans are Vigold from TJMaxx, $13.

  • Boots are Madden Girl from Victoria’s Secret, $39 clearance.

  • The red bag was passed to her from a girlfriend “who thought my diaper bag could use some style.”

Do you have an inexpensive, cute, functional outfit you’d like to share with other moms? Send us a photo and you just might be featured in our next “Mom to Mom” post.

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The Mommy Stylist Mission Statement

31 Dec

By Kristin Hull

Hey Moms,

With the new year approaching, we decided to make a resolution of our own. In an effort to let you know where we’re at and what our goals are we came up with a mission statement that reflects what we’ve been doing all along and what we intend to keep doing in the future. We hope you’ll continue to gain insight and learn from our posts and be the hot mom on the outside that you are on the inside.

Wishing all of you a wonderful 2013!

The Mommy Stylist Mission Statement:

The goal of The Mommy Stylist is to help busy moms on a budget find quality, on-trend clothing and put together outfits that make them feel stylish and confident.

Anything we feature must:

-Be functional: A mom needs clothes that will allow her to bend, twist, lift, carry, sit on the ground, get in and out of the car, etc.

-Be fashionable: Being on-trend doesn’t mean having to look like a teenager; it means looking sophisticated and put-together.

-Be inexpensive (but not cheap-looking): Who wants to spend a lot on clothes that are likely to get tears, drool, dirt, etc. on them?

-Be forgiving: Pieces that help camouflage the butt, gut and problem areas in between are what moms need, not skin tight dresses worn by size 2 models. We deal with real people and real bodies – and we make them look good!

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