Growing up with three older sisters was a terribly fascinating experience especially when it came to clothes. At an early age, I would pay close attention to the types of clothes they would wear and that had a huge influence on how I thought I wanted to dress. I would sometimes "borrow" their clothes without them knowing as well as try to shop around for items similar to what they wore. For most of my childhood and well into my teenage years I dressed myself pretty much according to what my older sisters were wearing. I always knew it didn't feel right because it felt too much like a struggle keeping up with their looks. My fashion sense was a shadow to theirs because I never really knew my own personal style.
To know how to dress with one's own personality in mind is learning first about who you are inside and then having the clothes work for you. Clothes shouldn't make you stressed out or make you feel bad about yourself. Clothes should be your armor that guides and represents the way you see yourself. I've learned through the years that you don't need to follow the trends (or your sisters for that matter) but to just pick what feels true to yourself. It took me a long time to find my personal style and when I finally did I felt transformed! Of course several years after that transformation I got pregnant! And for me, dealing with post-baby belly (twice) and getting use to my new figure was not easy! There are some women who get back their figures in several months to a year but I am definitely not one of those mothers. My figure, especially my belly area, has not graciously receded back to pre-pregnancy days and it's been 6 years since I gave birth to my youngest son.
However, I do take pride that my mommy belly is my reward for having two awesome boys and would never trade anything else in the world for it. So most days I take in my reflection and know that this new body is still just as beautiful. And luckily, I have the most wonderful husband who reaffirms that idea every day.
Initially, though, after having my boys, I did feel a bit lost in learning how to restyle myself and my new body. I was a mother now and of course most of my time was focused on my family, working part-time, and handling the everyday chores, so learning to find my style again was not high on the priority list. I knew I didn't feel great though and I knew I didn't want to be one of those mothers who let go of themselves because they have no time. Of course, my kids are my first priority but I don't believe in putting a mother's needs consistently last. Mothers deserve to feel great and having an unhappy mama is not good for anyone.
So with my boys both in grade school now (Paco, a 4th grader, and Tomás, a 1st grader), I have really used my solo time to re-cultivate my personal style. First, I will not forgo style just because I am a mother. And second, I will accept my body and lifestyle. I am at this period of my life where I want to feel effortless when I step out of the house. To be able to just throw on an outfit that's both comfortable and flattering in little time, that's how I want to be and that's how I am working on being.
I've also learned through the years that you don't need a huge wardrobe but to just pick pieces that make you feel good. From knowing myself and my own sisters, we tend to wear our favorite pieces of clothing at least a couple of times a week and will wear them until we find our next new favorites. It's the quality not the quantity! Moreover, the smaller collection of clothes the easier it is to pick from...think effortless!!!
Asserting my femininity is also a new and welcomed part of my 38-year old style. In a house full of boys, the need to feel a bit more feminine (even with my pixie-chopped hair) has firmly planted itself in me. I now tend to buy more dresses and skirts and flock towards the flowy and more colorful threads. Before my boys, I would often wear just pants and dark clothing. Having children has definitely liberated my fashion sense and I feel more open and confident with my body.
Supplying my latest clothing addiction is the shop Anthropologie. It is a fashionable escape for me that is tinged with elements of romantic travels, nostalgic charm, femininity, texture, patterns, and effortlessness. In addition, their clothes fit a girl with curves! Oh, how I love Anthropologie!!! Unfortunately, I can only purchase their clothes during promotional events like additional percent off sales rack. Prices for their clothes are definitely a bit too steep for me! And even sale prices for items I love are not always at a cost I feel comfortable paying for. However, I have justified my purchases by the fact that I wear it everyday and will continue to wear it everyday!
Here are some of my latest Anthropologie grabs:
The Lisbeth Tank - I bought this simple, asymmetrical tank in both black and green on sale for less than $10 each. Total steal for Anthropologie prices. The material is a linen rayon and the cut of tank has a nice, unique drape that helps hide the tummy area yet flatters my body. The Lisbeth Tank has been my go to top during the hot, sticky summer days due to it's airy but not too thin material. It's so comfortable yet so versatile. It can be dressed up or kept casual. I love wearing both colored tanks with this great skirt that I also bought the same day (see below) but I can also see myself wearing it with jeans as well.
Sea-lined Skirt - I've been wearing this linen/cotton skirt with both the black and green Lisbeth tank. It cost about $25 which is pretty manageable since I do love wearing it a lot. The material is so soft and comfortable with an elastic waistband for easy, effortless pull on styling. I love the vertical striped pattern with sunken pockets too. I adore pockets! Even though it's considered a mini skirt it's not too mini for me and my short 5' 1" stature! It hits right above my knees and hugs nicely against my hips. I can also see myself wearing this skirt not only for summer but well into Fall.
The Lisbeth Tank (in black & green) by Pure & Good. (Source: Anthropologie)
Sea-lined skirt by Ace & Jig. (Source: Anthropologie)
In a Day Jumpsuit - I absolutely love this cropped linen-cotton one piece jumpsuit! The cobalt blue color is gorgeous and reminds me of a Matisse painting. It's also very versatile and transitions well from casual mornings with sandals to dressed-up evenings in heels. It's so comfortable, stylish, and a total statement piece. I even convinced one of my older sisters to try it on and after she did, she loved it! She later purchased it with me during their additional 25% sale. The jumpsuit fits like a charm and when I wear it I feel like I should be walking around the streets of Spain! I guess San Diego will have to be a close second for now.
In a Day Jumpsuit by Corey Lynn Calter. (Source: Anthropologie)
Topock Halter Dress - This pull-over styling, easy shift dress made from viscose/cotton material is wonderful for the hot, summer days. The price was right at just $30 on sale. The material is light-weight but not flimsy and even has a built-in bra. The flowy dress is shorter in the front and longer in the back (dress mullet) which gives it a unique cut. The pattern and color is pretty and flatters my skin tone. Also, it will be a great piece to wear with a cardigan for cooler days.
Topock Halter Dress by Maple. (Source: Anthropologie)
Embroidered Sleeveless Tank - This sleeveless, light cotton denim tank from GAP has a lovely embroidered detailing on the front bodice. It has a relaxed, easy silhouette that is very figure flattering. The tank is perfect for summer with endless options and will be a nice layering piece for the Fall.
Sleeveless embroidered tank from GAP. (Source: GAP)
Café Capri - J. Crew's capri pants and its dusty rose color are a great buy and addition to my wardrobe. These cotton pants are perfectly tailored and crisp with a bit of stretch which is a must in comfort for my curvy proportions. It also sits just above my hip allowing my mommy belly to be unrestrained and therefore more comfortable. I love wearing my café capri pants with my GAP tank mentioned above and will continue wearing my capris throughout all the seasons.
J.Crew Dried Rose Cafe Capri Pants. (Source: J.Crew)
So now, what should I wear? I tend not to struggle with that question much anymore. It's not worth my time to stress about such things and it shouldn't be worth your time either. Just remember to be kind to yourself and keep things simple. Go with clothes that flatters you and only you. Questions like that matter a little less when you dress for yourself. When you dress for no one but yourself, you are at your most comfortable, and therefore your most confident.
Go out and feel effortless!!!