Showing posts with label Fashion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fashion. Show all posts

A Commentary On Postpartum Shopping



Postpartum Shopping, how do I loathe thee!  Let me count the ways.

Do you remember on What Not To Wear, how Stacy and Clinton found that mom of x-number of kids who got all frumpy, and during the wardrobe trashing session they found that she was still wearing maternity pants when her child was two or three years old?  For the first time I understand that lady, and I fear I could become her.

Right now I have exactly three pairs of jeans that fit me.  One of pair are really no longer flattering on me and generally not fit to be seen in public.  One pair fits wonderfully (thank goodness) and are a wide-leg bootcut.  One pair are my skinny maternity jeans.

And that's it.

I might be able to get away with the one pair of wide-leg jeans until I can squeeze back into my regular pants again, but the problem is that this doesn't work with a lot of my wardrobe.  I basically learned how to dress in part from What Not To Wear, and I remember all the tips for how to pick flattering clothes that hide the not-so-favorite parts of your body.  Well, after five kids, let's just say my stomach will never be the same, and I'm okay with that.  I do have skinny arms and thinner legs, so what I usually do is wear skinny pants, and long shirts with a flowy or semi-loose fit through the torso.  Then I do a handy little half-tuck into the front of my pants, or a nice knot on the side of the shirt, and wholla!  I camouflage that little post baby-flab around the middle.  

For this look to work though, I need a good pair of skinny jeans.  A lot of my looser-fitting shirts are too voluminous to wear with my one pair of wider-legged jeans.  And you might remember that my only pair of skinny jeans that currently fit are maternity pants, which aside from being maternity pants, are not so good for tucking.

I will not be that lady who wears maternity pants too long.  Stacy and Clinton are echoing in my brain.

So, last Friday I packed up all five kids and headed to the mall.  I needed to make a return anyway, and I thought, why not see if I can find a pair of skinny jeans while I'm there?  It should be easy!  In and out.

I probably should have recorded some Instagram Story videos for you all while I was out, because it's been a while since I shopped like that, and I have thoughts.  Here is what I would have said if I had been shopping with a good friend by my side.

1. First, we stop at the front of JCPenny to return a sweater I decided I didn't want.  We have to wait a while because the line is long and there are only two store clerks.  I spot some velvet ribbon choker necklaces next to the line, which catch my eye.  I pick one up and turn it around and realize there is no necklace clasp in the back.  It is literally just a velvet ribbon tied onto a piece of cardboard for $7. Let's just put aside the fact that I could buy the exact same piece of ribbon at Joann's for a dollar and take note of the fact that this is a very dangerous style.  Yes, let's just tell young girls that it's a good idea to tie something around their neck in such a way that any psychotic adolescent or serial killer could just give a good yank and choke her to death!  Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?  I don't even tie my scarves around my neck in a way that would make it easier for some stranger to choke me.  Safety first.  You never know when you might come across a psychopath. 

2.  We make the return and head to the back of the store, where the brand that looks most like my style resides.  I look around and grab a few pairs of skinny jeans.  Plus, you know, a sweater or two.  We head to the dressing room, and I have the kids sit right outside the door.  Note to self: bring the iPad loaded with a movie next time.  I hand them my phone so they can play a game instead.

3. I forgot how awful postpartum jeans shopping is for my self esteem.  On the plus side, I only have to go one size up from my previous size.

4. I try on about 10 pairs of jeans three different times, while calling out every 60 seconds or so to make sure none of my children have wandered off.  If there is one thing I picked up from Stacy and Clinton, it's to dress the body you have, not the body you want or think you might have someday, but that's kind of hard to do when you know that you're going to get skinnier as things shift back over the next few months.  I'm kicking myself again for getting rid of my size-too-big jeans that I wore after previous babies.  I should have hung onto those last year instead of purging my closet!  Then I wouldn't be here sucking air in to button a pair of pants because I know I should buy the tightest pair I can so I can get the most use out of them while losing the baby weight.

5.  When did low rise jeans go out of style?  Seriously, when?  I haven't had to buy jeans in a while, and it's like a whole new world.  All I can find are mid or high-rise jeans.  They are all hitting me right in the middle of the post-baby flab, which 1) is uncomfortable, and 2) is super unflattering.  Maybe if I wear a smoothing undergarment...

6.  I try on the most promising pair of denim again and sit down for a second.  That's when I remember why I always buy low-rise jeans.  My stomach pooches out where the jeans should be sucking it in, and there is a funny wrinkle in the crotch.  No.  Oh no.  It's the return of the 1980's style mom jean!  Who decided bringing back high-rise jeans was a good idea?  Because these are all basically high-rise jeans to me, even the "mid-rise" jeans.  High-rise is the new mid-rise, and I've never met a pair of high-rise jeans that didn't look funny on me when I sit down.  Is this the best we can do now?  Haven't we grown beyond 80's jeans as a society?  What is happening!

7.  I chuck all the jeans and decide to try another store.  Maybe H&M.  That's where I got my (great) pair of maternity pants after all.  Why can't I just wear my maternity pants again?  Oh yeah, Stacy and Clinton come back to remind me.  I head across the mall with my brood trailing behind me.  Georgie is thankfully sleeping like an angel through all this.

8. H&M has the same problem.  I grab a pair of "shaping" "mid-rise" jeans that look suspiciously like the high-rise denim I just left behind.  Then I find one pair of low-rise pants buried in the racks.  Hooray!  Off to the dressing room.

9. All duds.  Not only do we have the same funny-looking-when-I-sit problem, but I realize H&M's target audience (at least for jeans) may be slightly younger than me now (scary), and the difference between jeans geared toward juniors and jeans geared toward misses are how they make your derriere look.  I don't want to draw undo attention to my derriere, thank you.  So even the low-rise pants are a no.

10.  I realize that the aforementioned "mid-rise" skinny jeans at JCPenney may be my best bet after all.  They were better than the H&M jeans, and they were cheap since JCPenney was having a big 60% off sale.

11.  I buy the JCPenney jeans.  They are only transition jeans after all. 



On the plus side, I found four tops and a skirt (remember, 60% off!) on my quest to find ONE pair of jeans.  Insert sigh.  At least my top half will look good.  Cross your fingers for me that I can actually fit into my collection of low-rise jeans at some point in the future (or tell me where you've bought flattering jeans recently!), because otherwise the future of denim is looking pretty bleak for me.

How To Transition To Fall Fashion (Without Melting)

Note: I received the dress below from PinkBlush in exchange for a blog post. All opinions are my own.)


Do you know that pumpkin spice flavors hit Starbucks this weekend?!

I can hardly believe it, but autumn is upon us.  I am not sorry to say goodbye to summer and welcome fall, because it means we are that much closer to meeting our baby girl!  (Plus, I love fall.)

What I am not so excited about going into September is playing the "what should I wear?" game.  I always want to break out the long sleeves and boots this time of year, but the truth is, the technical season of summer doesn't end until September 22nd - and the weather knows it.  It's hard to infuse a fall vibe into your wardrobe without also melting in the heat (especially when you are largely pregnant).



I have developed a few guidelines over the years though to help me walk that tricky summer-weather, early-fall line.

Switch to fall colors.  

For early fall, I look for lighter-weight pieces in fall colors or patterns - then I feel fall-ish without resorting to my sweaters and sacrificing a comfortable body temperature.

Add in a brown leather or suede bag.  

I have summer bags in various colors, but I save the brown leather bags for fall.  It's amazing how just switching the color or fabric of your bag can make an outfit seem more pre-fall appropriate.

Go with the booties.  

Avoid the tall boots until it actually gets cool enough to not melt your feet, and invest in some warmer-weather booties.  I like the ones with cutouts so my feet can still breath when the temperature is summer-like.

Wear summer on top, fall on the bottom (or vice versa).  

I think during these early fall days it's totally appropriate to go with different seasons for each half of your look.  Wear some shorts with a light top and cardigan, or wear something short-sleeved with long pants and boots.  Just make sure the colors are all fall-appropriate to tie it together.

Don't put away the dresses!  

I rely on dresses a lot in the summer heat, and I see no need to change that in the early fall when the weather is still warm.  I just apply tips #1 and #4 to my dresses and go from there.  I'm really liking this new dress from PinkBlush going into this fall!  It's short enough to keep me cool, but the long sleeves with the crochet really give it a fall feeling to me.









Does anyone else have as hard of a time knowing when and how to transition to fall fashion as I do?  What works best for you?






Capsule Wardrobe While Pregnant - Why And How




I've mentioned that I am feeling the need to organize everything right now, and a few weeks ago that manifested in the decision to create a capsule wardrobe.

I did a 30x30 challenge several years ago, but beyond that I have never tried putting together a capsule wardrobe.  I think the last straw for me was realizing that I have been wearing the same 10 pieces of clothing for the past few weeks, mainly because my dresser drawers are stuffed so full of clothes that it is too much work to pull everything out and see what's going to work while I'm pregnant.  What's the use of having all these clothes if I don't wear them?  Why do I even have all these clothes anyway?  I haven't worn some of them in years.

So I spent a couple days listening to podcasts about capsule wardrobes, which were really popular a few years ago.  I think the trend has faded some, but the underlying idea is still really useful - which is to create a mix and match wardrobe with a limited number of pieces.  To get the full experience, you are supposed to wear only those pieces for 3 months and not buy anything new.

Why?

I decided to give it a go with a couple goals in mind:

1. To clean out the old clothes that just aren't doing it for me anymore.  I tend to hold on to old clothes much longer than I should, hence why my wardrobe is outrageously large right now, even though I only wear probably half  of it.  I don't want the extra clutter around after baby comes, so this seemed like a good time to tackle it.

2. To give me some space from the things I'm holding on to "just in case".  My situation is a little unique since I'm pregnant - I don't want to get rid of everything right now, since some of it may be what I need for that postpartum transition when nothing fits.  However, once I'm over that stage after the baby comes, I'm hoping that working with a smaller wardrobe for so many months will give me a good idea of the things that are really useful in my wardrobe, and the things I can let go.

3.  To have less things.  The end goal (which will probably take me a while to achieve) is to have a MUCH smaller wardrobe with only things that I really like, and to give me more specific parameters to work within when I'm buying new things.  This will be a process because of factors like the need to have different clothes for different seasons, and not being able to afford to replace "meh" items all at once.



How I'm Doing This While Pregnant

When I first started feeling like I wanted to try a capsule wardrobe, I thought maybe I should wait until after baby before attempting this.  But the clothing excess just got to be too much and I decided to go for it.  My friend Cassidy made a good point that pregnancy is actually the ideal time to start a capsule, because you are already working with a limited wardrobe anyway!  

The capsule I ended up creating is largely made up of things that I can wear whether I'm pregnant or not, with just a few maternity items mixed in - I think this will be perfect to give me more of an idea of what items would be useful in my wardrobe after baby.  I can replace the maternity items I really liked with non-maternity alternatives - either from my closet or the store.

One thing I am NOT doing while pregnant is actually giving away my "meh" items.  I do remember what things I liked before I was pregnant and what things I never wore, but that postpartum time can really throw you for a loop.  I want to have options when I'm working through that transition phase, before my body goes back to normal.  I'm putting all my "maybes" in storage, and then after I feel relatively normal again post-baby, I'll go through them and get rid of the things that I still don't want.



My Process

Here is what I did to assemble my capsule wardrobe.

1. Pile everything on the floor and start sorting.  

For my purposes, I sorted into a "Like It" pile, a "Maybe" pile, and a "No" pile.  The "No" pile was pretty small, sine I'm not getting rid of too much until I see what fits after delivery.

2. Store the "Maybe" pile, get rid of the "No" pile, and organize the "Like It" pile.  

I sorted the "Likes" into categories, so a pile for cardigans/sweatshirts, a pile for tops, a pile for pants, etc.  Since I'm doing this for a maternity capsule, I did a separate step in here and sorted each category pile into a group of things that would work during pregnancy, and things that won't.  I put the things that don't fit back into a separate drawer until after baby.

3. Think it through.  

At this point I was left with a bunch of clothes that I could wear while pregnant, so now the goal was to narrow it down to the things that I WANT to wear while pregnant.  I sat down with Caroline's capsule planner, and thought it through a bit before I started.  Some of the pages in this planner didn't quite fit my situation since the goal was to make a maternity capsule, but it was still helpful to slow down and think it through before I started.  

4.  Start narrowing it down.  

The capsule planner suggested to pick 8 items that you like and that you find yourself wearing a lot, so you can see what it is you like about them.  I did that and ended up with a basis for my capsule!  After I had those 8 and had thought through the rest of the planner, I grabbed the list in this post to fill some things in.  I tried to think through each item I added to make sure that it would mix and match with more than one other item, and to make sure I really did actually like it.  It's crazy how confusing a large wardrobe can get when it comes to my affection for certain pieces.  I had to think about whether I really liked the piece as a whole, or whether I just liked one aspect of it (the color, or cut, or whatever).

5.  Commit to the capsule.  

After all that sorting, I ended up with 40 pieces, not including shoes or accessories.  This is pretty large for a capsule wardrobe, but I allowed myself some wiggle room because 1) this is my first attempt, 2) I am working with a growing belly and changing seasons at the same time, and 3) I fully intend to further narrow it down as I figure out which pieces are my go-to's within this capsule.

Here is the final selection (excuse the fact that these items were hastily laid out and aren't exactly wrinkle free - done is better than perfect):

Tops






Pants


Skirts


Dresses




Finishing Pieces


Hopefully you can see how these will all fit together, but if not, expect to be wowed by my outfit-making skills! I'll try to post periodic updates on Instagram and this blog over the next few months.

What Now?

My goal is to only wear these 40 pieces until after baby comes!  I will allow myself to switch out a couple items when the weather turns cooler (short for pants, tanks for long-sleeves, etc.), but for the most part, this is it.  I am actually really happy and excited about the items I ended up with, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that I didn't have to purge my closet of patterns and color to make a capsule wardrobe!

(Update: It's been a few weeks since I wrote this post, and I've been sticking to my capsule.  I can already see which pieces are working for me, and which ones aren't, and I'll be allowing myself to make a few adjustments in the next few weeks as the weather gets cooler and the belly gets bigger!)

Have any of you tried a capsule wardrobe?  
(If you are a blogger, post please!  I'd like to see!)










My Summer Makeup Favorites





It's summertime, and for some reason in the summer I always feel the need to change up my makeup.

I'm a makeup kind of girl, and I love to try new products and colors - it's one way I express my creativity I guess, through my makeup (and my clothes), and summer always seems the perfect time to switch things up.  Maybe it's because the heavier foundations start to feel a little too heavy (and melt off in the heat).  Maybe it's because I have this weird idea that each season deserves it's own colors (in clothes and makeup).  Whatever the reason, I started off this summer with buying a few new makeup products to try...and I lucked out because all of them are working out just as I hoped they would!  

(Some affiliate links below!)

I thought it would be fun to share with you my summer makeup favorites, so here are the products I'm loving (and why).


Whether it's the summer or the winter, I've learned the hard way that your skin can still be damaged under makeup that supposedly has SPF.  This sunscreen is a staple of makeup routine, whatever the season.  I like this one in particular because it's not as oily as normal sunscreens, so it doesn't feel like I'm greasing up my face and then slathering makeup on top of it.  It really is "dry-touch".


Is it just me, or does that name make it seem like I bought this mascara at Victoria Secret?   Ignore the name, because this really is a nice mascara.  I put on my mascara before anything else.  I usually go with my Loreal Cat Eyes mascara, but I decided to try this one and I'm glad I did!  It has a super-skinny mascara brush, and a formula that doesn't go on too thick all at once, so I feel like it stretches out my lashes while still looking natural.  If I have to try a new mascara, I always look for one with a skinny brush, and I've been happy with this one!


I am not one of those people that can go without some sort of foundation or concealer - I have a bit of melasma from two pregnancies ago (that's how I learned the hard way to wear a sunscreen under my makeup, even in the winter).  However, I hate putting on a thick foundation in the summer - it just feels like summer is a good time to go more natural and let my skin breathe.  Enter this BB cream, which is amazing.  It covers surprisingly well for being so lightweight!  And the bonus is that the "fair" shade actually works for me - I have very pale skin and usually have a hard time find makeup in my shade, but this one blends with my skin tone.


I always wear a powder over my concealer or foundation or BB cream, because without it I get black mascara smudges under my eyes.  The oil in those products makes even my waterproof mascara smudge unless I dry it out with some powder.  I just tried this stuff for the first time this year, and I love it.  It not only smooths and sets my BB cream, but it does seem to act like a "corrector" too, and fades my melasma spots even more.  With the BB cream and this powder, I really feel like you can't see my skin's sun damage at all.


I also always use some sort of highlighter/shimmer powder.  It brightens up my makeup and draws attention to my eyes somehow - you wouldn't think a thing like a highlighter would make such a difference since it adds no color and is not very noticeable, but I'm telling you, it makes all the difference.  I've tried many, but this is my current favorite.



6.  Ulta Eye Shadows (Colors pictured here: Luxury, Whatevs, Roaring 20's, Frozen, Peekaboo).  

In the winter I like to play with my eyeshadow colors, but in the summer I like something more subtle and natural looking.  I'm not sure why I included Luxury (the purple shade) in the picture, because I've mostly been using the other shades in the summer.  I usually do Whatevs or Peekaboo on my lid (the yellowish neutral shade and the pinkish shade), Roaring 20's or Peekaboo in my crease (taupe shade and pink shade), and Frozen right under my brow (the white shade).

7. Tarte Blush in Warmhearted (not pictured).  

If I'm going out in the evening or just want to look a little more put-together, I'll swipe on some of this blush, which came included with a Tarte eyeshadow palette that I use in the winter.  My advice with blush is to not be afraid to go with the shades that look ridiculously bright in the packaging, because they are usually very flattering when you put them on with a light hand.  I like my bright colored blushes better than my more neutral shades, personally. 

Are you a makeup kind of girl like me?  What are your summer makeup favorites?



Maternity Fashion: My New Favorite Park Day Dress

(Note: I received the maternity dress I am wearing here for free from PinkBlush in exchange for this feature post.)


For this pregnancy (and my pregnancy with Clarice), I've received several comments to the effect of "Poor you!  Is it hard being pregnant through the summer?"

To which my answer is: no.  I actually enjoy being pregnant in the summer better than in the winter, and the major reason is cute maternity dresses!



When you are pregnant in the winter, you still have to dress winter-appropriately, which means lots of layers on top of my belly.  I hate that.  Summer pregnancies mean lighter fabrics, and comfortable, flown maternity dresses - and that's a huge plus in my book!

We took a quick trip to the park the other day, and I broke out my new favorite maternity dress from Pink Blush.  This dress is seriously the most comfortable dress I own.  The fabric is so soft, it doesn't restrict me at all while covering everything comfortably - which makes it the perfect park-day dress, because I can run after the kids and move around so easily in it!




















I dressed it up a little with the white leather vest for church, but I abandoned the vest pretty quickly at the park - I actually like the look of the dress even better without it.  The best part is that I think this particular dress is roomy and comfortable enough to last me through the rest of this pregnancy, and I'll be able to wear it post-baby too!

Where is your favorite place to buy maternity dresses?  
Have you ever tried PinkBlush maternity clothes?  And what do you think, aren't dresses the best part of being pregnant in the summer? (Unless you're not a dress kind of girl, in which case the "poor you!" might actually be applicable!)




Growth Spurt! 18 Weeks (Baby #5)




I read somewhere that babies start to go through a growth spurt around 18 weeks, and I believe it - I've been feeling it this last week!  I don't think you can tell from the outside yet, but some of my symptoms make me think there is definitely some growing happening.



I'm suddenly tired again (but thankfully not nearly as tired as in the first trimester), and I have had a couple days last week when I felt nauseous.  I have never felt nauseous in the second trimester before, so I wondered at first if it was a stomach bug, but I dismissed that idea when it happened twice on separate days in one week.  Weirdly, I think I might have figured out that I feel worse when I drink milk - do people develop food sensitivities while pregnant?  This has never happened to me before!  I am crossing my fingers that it's not the milk because I love my dairy, but I have cut it out for a few days and will have a bowl of cereal tomorrow to test it out.  Whatever is going on with that, Baby is making his/her presence known!



Baby is still moving daily now, but the movements are pretty soft and down low.  Movements down low in my belly make me worry that baby is breech (Clarice was and I always felt her kicks lower), but if this baby is breech, he/she is comfortably breech.  I haven't had any backaches at all this pregnancy, which is unusual for me and so nice! Overall, this Baby has been very gentle with the pregnancy aches/pains/symptoms, and that has been a blessing.  I thought it might be harder being pregnant this time since I'm getting ever older, but this pregnancy has been easier than some of my others!  Now I'm just hoping for some stronger kicks from Baby in the next few weeks, because it's so fun to feel them from the outside.



Sitting here typing this post, I feel like I've almost felt a couple Braxton Hicks! They started around the middle of my pregnancy with Clarice as well, but I was kind of surprised to feel them anyway.  It's a good thing because my uterus is toning up for labor, but that still seems so far off (even though it's not that far off, actually - five months will fly by)!

Gender reveal party plans are in full swing now (we find out on July 3rd!), and we're going to have the party the weekend after the 4th of July.  So obviously we'll go with a 4th of July/Americana theme!  The 4th is in the middle of the week this year, so I think it'll work out just fine.  I'm going to be on the hunt for sparklers, because where we are they always sell out way before the 4th - and when I say we sell out, I mean every place I check in my state is out of sparklers and fireworks after a certain date.  If I can't find any, Baby and I will be taking a little trip across the state line!  



This week is also my birthday week, so we celebrated last weekend.  I always like being pregnant on my birthday!  It's just fun to celebrate with another little one along for the ride, and I feel blessed.

I know I promised a belly comparison picture this week, but I changed my mind and I'm going to save it for next week - along with all my symptoms, etc, and maybe even a little gift card for someone who guesses the gender right!  Stay tuned!

(Note: Affiliate links below.)

Swing dress: Jane.com
Kimono: Forever21
Sunglasses: Jane.com
Pineapple Necklace: Christopher & Banks

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