- Sources of Inspiration
- The Fine Print
- And Whatnot
- Tweed Sweater: Vintage Ralph Lauren, mommed
- Heathered Tee: Liz Lange for Target
- Jeans: Old Navy
- Black Croc Wedges: Stuart Weitzman via Bloomingdale’s
- Red Belt: Forever 21
- Necklace: BeadleBop via Etsy.com
- Earrings: Mall vendor
My mom kind of hates this outfit, and she can’t believe I’ve belted her sweater. Sorry, mom. Win some, lose some.
I, on the other hand, kind of loved it. It fit the bill for the first of two blissful, largely-responsibility free days at home with baby m. after I finished my exams last week. I’m a serious skirts and dresses girl for work and school, but on my home-with-baby days, I’m falling back in love with pants: it really is just easier. Other things I love? That this tee is stretchy enough that it’s simple to nurse in without complicated layering gymnastics (and yup, it’s maternity…I’ve got one more day, right?). For purely practical reasons (and sometimes, form has to follow function), it’s hard to beat a sweater that layers well under a waterproof jacket for a rainy day.
…All of which was a really long way of saying, I got to be home (and just at home!) for the first time in ages! And I wore jeans and a tee-shirt! But really, it’s an illustration of a broader kind of boundary-blurring that I’ve been struggling with all term, and am hoping to get a handle on before classes resume in mid-January. While I occasionally fancy myself a high-quality binary deconstructor (though sadly, never as cool as this binary-smashing superhero, who I am apparently the last person on
EarthTwitter to discover), I’m in serious need of some brighter lines between my work life and my home life. And I’m working on ways to get them, both inside and outside my head. I don’t need stone walls, nor am I likely (particularly after having a child, which is a whole other kind of boundary-blurring experience) to have a life totally devoid of the liminal. But I’d like to get to a place where, when someone asks if I’m “home” today, I can just say, “yes,” and not “yes, but I have to …”, both because that’s actually the answer and because it’s one I feel at peace with giving. The first is a time management issue, the second raises broader questions.
But hey! Look at my jeans and tee-shirt! “Home” need not mean unconscious, sartorially or otherwise. Fellow work-at-home types (or work-that-you-occasionally-take-home types): what are your best time managing, balance inducing, head-clearing strategies?
Just in time for the weekend, a quick special feature from a very, very special guest blogger….
On baby m.:
- Dress: Baby Boden, gift from S2. and K.
- “Loose Tights”: Hanna Andersson
Baby m. wanted to show you her Thanksgiving dress, which was a very thoughtful gift from my mom’s very stylish friends. For the most part, m.’s remixing skills are being drastically underutilized combining onesies, footies and various warm outer-layers (often with ears!), so we couldn’t resist getting dressed up for such a special occasion. Thankfully, she couldn’t resist cracking a big, toothless grin at her daddy, either, while he snapped this series of photos in celebration of the holiday and her two-month birthday. We’re planning a weekend of studying and snuggling as the semester hurtles towards its dramatic conclusion on Wednesday, but we’re looking forward to more restful days soon. Have a wonderful weekend, friends, and to our academically inclined readers, best of luck whether you’re marking papers or completing them!
- Draped Cardigan: vince via Nordstrom’s, gift from mom
- Red Tank: Liz Lange for Target
- Boot Cut Jeans: Old Navy
- Red Heels: UO
- Necklace: BeadleBop via etsy
- Teal Earrings: mall vendor
Those of you who follow me on twitter know that it was not exactly a banner weekend around here. But though our Saturday had a less than ideal start, it had an unexpectedly lovely finish: with both baby m. and husband D. on the mend from their respective (and very minor) colds, we were able to take advantage of my parents’ generous offer to babysit and actually go on a (gasp!) date for the first time since m. was born two months ago. We had a delightful dinner at a casual brasserie near us, and while we were only gone for two hours and fifteen minutes (during which m. was sound asleep and my parents were watching the unexpected football resurgence of my alma mater on tv), it was wonderful to be able to indulge in some of those things that have been absent from our lives for a while: unpasteurized cheese, sparking wine, and uninterrupted adult conversation.
I had grander plans for what I was going to wear for this vaunted occasion, including this gorgeous blazer (a pregnancy gift from mom) that I can’t seem to wear without looking like Freddy Mercury, but I ended up wearing an outfit that felt like a dressed-up snuggie. I’d never tried to wear this cardigan with non-skinny jeans before, but I love the way it looks with this boot-cut pair and heels. And what do you know: yet another analogous color pairing, this time of bright red and red-orange (with a pinky-peach necklace thrown in for good measure). Was it the apotheosis of date night outfits? Of course not, nor was it the most glamorous, feminine thing I’ve worn since m.’s birth. But it was appropriate for the occasion and helped me mentally refocus for a relaxing, rejuvenating evening after what had been a very, very long day, which earns it at least an A- in my book!
Long cardigans with pants? Yay or nay? What do you wear when you want to feel glammed up and comfortable at the same time?
- Beloved Black Jersey Faux-Wrap Dress: Ann Taylor
- Black Tights: HUE
- Brown Riding Boots: Franco Sarto via Zappos.com, recently reheeled
- Taupe Draped Cardigan: vince via Nordstrom’s, gift from mom
- Necklace: Gifted
- Earrings: Mall vendor
Given that I didn’t buy any long-sleeved maternity items and was at strong risk of outgrowing my sweaters during the final days of my pregnancy, it was awfully obliging of baby m. to decide to make her appearance just as the seasons changed rather dramatically around here. I’m not quite sure how or exactly when it happened, but some time during the two and a half weeks we were both home full time, getting acquainted with baby m. We’ve had our share of occasional warm days since then, but for the most part, it’s definitely fall: a little greyer, still rainy (sigh), and with that sense of seriousness that accompanies the second half of term.
Of course, fall is also my favorite season for clothes: chilly enough that you aren’t dealing with the drastic imbalance between sweating outside and freezing indoors, but not so cold that you look like the michelin man. Just crisp enough that you can get away with wearing those polished-but-cozy items in your closet that are, for whatever reason, made for days of reading, (baby snuggles!) and pumpkin-spice lattes. Okay, that wasn’t quite what I was doing when I wore this outfit, but bear with me….
I wore this outfit to brunch at my in-laws’ house a week after we brought baby m. home from the hospital. It was only our third trip “somewhere” with her (as in, not out on a walk for the sake of going for a walk), and was my first attempt at nursing in quasi-public (about which more later) while relatively nicely dressed. Enter both old and new(er) favorites: my brown riding boots, re-heeled for the season, my well-worn black jersey dress, dragged out of storage, and this draped cardigan, gifted by mom during my pregnancy but with a great many snuggly glory days still to come. The surplice neckline provided the necessary, er, access, while the cardigan and my Hooter Hiders kept everyone else from getting too adult a show. Meanwhile, baby m. delighted our friends and relatives, and we were able to enjoy out first outing that spanned multiple sleep-wake-eat cycles.
- Printed Knot Top: Banana Republic, on long-term loan from A2.’s closet
- Black Jersey Skirt: Mountain Hardware via Hudson Trail Outfitters
- Brown Die-Cut Flats: Lifestride via Zappos.com
Hey! Look! I’m not pregnant anymore!
At times, I wasn’t quite sure that would ever happen!
This isn’t what I wore on Tuesday, my first day back in classes, but these are my first post-partum outfit photos, taken when baby m. was seven days old (I look—I hope!—slightly less dead-eyed at this point). I’m still getting my bearings in so many ways right now—including sartorially—but this is a reasonable representation of the kind of thing I’ve been wearing much of the time: some vaguely nursing/pumping friendly top (I’m trying not to wreck this one, A2.!), flats, and a jersey skirt of some stripe or another. This formula has pros and cons (gentle on my recovering waistline, but not always so practical for someone who now spends large stretches of time crawling around on the floor), but it fills an important need in my post-partum style vocabulary, giving me the chance to feel “assembled” without having to fret quite as much about whether what I’m wearing fits just so or whether I’m wrecking some beloved and non-machine-washable item with the inevitable baby spit up. It’s not the solution to all of my getting-dressed-post-baby challenges (about which more later), but it certainly helps with some of them!
Those of you who follow me on Twitter know that Tuesday was my first day back in class since baby m. was born, and were kind enough to pass along some much-needed encouraging words as I prepared m. for a fantastic day with my mother-in-law and tried to pull together my deepest thoughts about the horizontal merger guidelines. On the whole, my first day back was great: m. had a great day at home, and I felt, surprisingly, more efficient and balanced for the experience. We’re still working out some of the logistical details of how I’m going to get homework done on the two days a week I’m home with m. (without becoming nocturnal and/or destroying what’s left of our weekends), but almost three weeks in to being a full-time law student and a first-time parent, I feel . . . if not very nearly competent, at least less spastic than I expected. And that’s progress, right?
Still, in the spirit of hilarious comments law students are willing to make, I have to relate by far the funniest moment from my first day back at school. A young woman in my antitrust class, who competes on the moot court team with me and is a friend of friends, turned around at the break and said, at full volume and across about a two row separation in the classroom, “Oh, [S.], were you absent the last two weeks?” My friends sitting in the adjacent seats laughed, and I looked at her a little bit funny and said, “yeah. . . I don’t know if you remember, but I had a baby two weeks ago.” She was rather taken aback (understandably), and the rest of the folks in the room laughed. Of course, she apparently recovered quickly, since a few minutes later, she managed to ask me a rather hilarious variant on “was that planned?” In a way, it was a very funny reminder that as fraught as the embodied experience of being pregnant—and being a parent—can seem to the person living it, more of that struggle than you’d think is completely invisible to the outside world.
Even though I’m [finally!] no longer pregnant, I wanted to wrap up my maternity style chronicles with some of my favorite looks from my last week of pregnancy. Rest assured, I’ll catch back up to the present soon!
Towards the end of my pregnancy, I fought sartorial boredom by reinventing some looks from earlier in my pregnancy, trying to find ways to adjust these styles to take advantage of my slightly-comical shape. In honor of my due date (on which I was very, very much still pregnant!), I took another look at this outfit, the first look from my very first 30-for-30 remix last fall:
It looks a little different now, doesn’t it?
- Skinnies: Gap Maternity
- Navy Tee: Gap Maternity
- Brown Riding Boots: Franco Sarto via Zappos.com
- Red Cardigan: Vintage Michael Kors, mommed
- Necklace: gifted
- Gold Earrings: Lulu’s, gift from Mom
- Metallic Fabric Belt: LOFT
I’m actually pretty fond of the late-maternity version, and not just because of the charming hilarity of attempting to get myself into my first trimester skinnies and those jeans tucked into my boots on what was supposed to have been the last day of my pregnancy. In a number of ways, this version reflects the ways my style has evolved and matured over the last ten months. The accessories are a little more intentional and are a little bit better coordinated. I’m breaking some rules (hello, mixed metallics), and I’m highlighting the things I love best about my shape — even in its temporarily distorted form.
I didn’t end up actually wearing this look all day — after a few hours, it just felt really impractical — but for a welcome-to-town brunch with my parents and my in-laws, it made me feel really put together and like myself, which was worth a lot at this stage in the process!
Have you been able to make a beloved look work in different sartorial circumstances — accommodating a change in shape, lifestyle or circumstance? When you look back at what you were wearing a year ago, how has your style changed — or not changed?
- Striped Tee: Old Navy Maternity
- Drawstring Linen Pants: Old Navy Maternity
- Scarf: Target
- Earrings: Target
- Brown Sandals: Keen via Amazon.com
Let’s be honest: there really are days, pregnant or otherwise, when you just . . . don’t really feel like getting dressed. And yet! Places to be. So what’s a girl to do?
These pants were on sale at Old Navy as I was finishing work at the end of July, when I finally had to give up the ghost on the pre-pregnancy-jeans-plus-belly-band combo. They’re super casual and the fit is far from perfect, so they’re mostly after-work pants — the kind of thing you put on when you get home at the end of a long day but would still like to preserve the option of leaving the house. I hadn’t tried wearing them to an “event” until last Sunday, when we were running late for dinner at my parents’.
To offset the slightly ho-hum aspects of the pants, I went with a bold pattern mix up top and dramatic earrings (thank you, $5 accessories section at Target!). I’ve kept the colors of the scarf and the top in roughly the same family, and letting the lighter-colored stripes almost fade into the background, keeping the focus on the bold floral scarf. To me at least, the combination feels really soothing. Almost enough to make me forget that I was wearing my “I-give-up” pants.
- Peach-Orange Top: Japanese Weekend via eBay
- “Jorts”: Liz Lange for Target
- Striped Flats: Annie via Zappos
- Teal Earrings: Forever 21
I have a confession to make: as I navigate these unstructured days of my quasi-vacation and the strange limbo of late pregnancy, it is all too easy to spend far too much of the day in my gym clothes or in some other slightly-dressier soft, fuzzy equivalent. I was struck by this fact the other day, when I went for an early-morning walk with my sweet friend and neighbor, who gave birth to her third child eight weeks ago. True, she was wearing yoga pants and a tee-shirt, but she managed to strap two toddlers into a stroller and a newborn into a baby carrier and have her hair and makeup done…in the time it had taken me to trundle down the stairs in shorts, a tee-shirt and a hat. In truth, I felt a little embarrassed (and super impressed, A4.!), but I also felt like I was doing a lousy job at something that’s been an important goal of mine: taking care of myself in a way that makes me feel “like me,” despite my changing body and the vagaries of late pregnancy.
So, I’m trying to give myself a little more structure these days, both in terms of my routine and my sartorial choices. It’s not exactly the newest trick in the book, but I’m hoping that trying to get myself to wear one thing that isn’t made of matte jersey will help both my self-image and my productivity during these final days before school starts. Today, I’m giving it a go while trying something else new: these shorts, which are a length I couldn’t really have imagined myself wearing under normal circumstances. I’m not sure I’m 100% sold on them. All the same, I’m appreciating the chance to continue experimenting with new proportions on this unfamiliar body, and challenging myself to appreciate aspects of my body that, like my legs, I’ve struggled to find ways to love.
Also a new experiment? These striped flats, finally found at the conclusion of a very, very long search for a pair of festive, printed flats. While I can (and do!) still wear heels, pregnant or not, I love the way an unexpected flat can add new dimensions to an outfit, and can be both chic and comfortable at the same time. I’m hoping these earthy jewel tones will turn out to be perfect for fall, as well, and will have me nimbly chasing after our little girl once she arrives!
- Teal Ruched Tee: Liz Lange for Target
- Grey Jersey Skirt: Old Navy (non-maternity)
- Necklace: gifted
- Bejeweled T-Straps: Indigo by Clarks via Zappos
- Denim Bermudas: Loft Maternity
- Bejeweled T-Straps: Indigo by Clarks via Zappos
- White Cami: Gap Maternity via gap.com
- Orange Draped Top: Olian via Nordstrom’s, gift from Mom
I’ve finally found my favorite odd battle ground in the mommy wars. It’s not team stay-at-home mom versus team working mom, or team breastfeeding versus team bottle feeding. It’s maternity waistbands: team low rise and team full panel.
I’ve switched teams frequently on this one (a subject I’ll tackle in more detail in a forthcoming series on maternity wardrobe essentials), and not in a necessarily linear way. Many maternity designers advocate the idea that there’s some appropriate progression to maternity waistband choice, that you “should” start out wearing your pre-pregnancy pants with a belly band, and then progress through “real waist,” “low rise” and eventually on to “full panel” styles as your bump grows. And this approach isn’t crazy. The problem? You might change your mind (a lot), and it’s hard to plan appropriately to purchase things that will actually fit for a decent percentage of your pregnancy. While (like everything about pregnancy wardrobe choices) this varies depending on your pre-pregnancy proportions, your digestive symptoms and how you’re carrying, you may also find a tension between avoiding pressure on your belly and avoiding what Sal of AlreadyPretty would call Segmented Worm Syndrome.
As my pregnancy has progressed, my bump has expanded not only forwards but…sideways, which creates not only the strange sensation of feeling baby movements at about the same longitude (yes, I’m feeling…globular) as my hip bones, but makes many low rise styles challenging to wear (see below). Lest you think me helplessly vain, I promise it’s not just because they appear to give me the equivalent of pregnancy love handles, but it actually is a comfort issue. Because I’m carrying low, the stiff elastic cuts not only into my sides but into the lower part of my belly, which just…doesn’t feel good. The outfit below is in some ways a partial farewell to wearing these kinds of waistbands on a regular basis, at least without a longer, more structured layer up top, that permits greater flexibility in waistband placement.
The first of these looks, though, represents something of a breakthrough, simple though it may seem: it actually isn’t a maternity skirt. Seriously: it’s just a plain, ordinary Old Navy jersey skirt with a foldover waistband, free of any crazy spandex/microfiber/elastic pyrotechnics. Depending on the day, it fits either partway below or partway over my belly, with the waistband either folded up or folded down. I’m a little wary about jersey skirts for my particular proportions, since they tend to reveal more than I’d like, and this is certainly not the apotheosis of perfect jersey skirts. That said, the a-line silhouette and relatively sturdy fabric go a long way to preserving appropriate modesty levels, and it works well enough with a slip that I don’t feel uncomfortably bereft of Spanx. The softness of the jersey is a marked contrast to the stiff elastic on most of my “low rise” maternity bottoms, and it’s remarkably more comfortable. And I know I can’t really live in it, but…I might be tempted. Bonus? It might turn into a postpartum mainstay, as well.
If you are or have been pregnant, how did your waistband preferences shift throughout your pregnancy? What about postpartum? If you haven’t been, does the fear of awkward segmentation affect your layering strategies? Under what circumstances?
- Draped Grey Cardigan: vince via Nordstrom’s, gift from Mom
- Blue Sleeveless Tunic: Japanese Weekend via eBay
- Capri Leggings: Ingrid and Isabel (“Belly Leggings”) via Figure8Maternity
- T-straps: Indigo by Clarks via Zappos.com
With my law-firm summer gigs wrapped up and the first round of clerkship applications winging their way through the process, I finally (thankfully) have some free time! . . . Sort of. For the next 22 days, I don’t have to go to work or class, but I have a very long list of personal, academic, and professional obligations (including, you know, getting ready to have a child) to get through before classes start and I’m considered “full term,” meaning it would be fine for the baby to arrive at any time . . . but she could hold out for another five weeks.
While I work through the uncertainty of how to prioritize these days, I’m also struggling to figure out how to dress for them. Days that may (or may not) include manual labor, the desire to take a long nap, running errands, or pondering the nuances of the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act. Today, I went totally for comfort, in an outfit that’s the sartorial equivalent of a deep, deep sigh.
Even this super comfy outfit has a little bit of irreverence to it, as I experiment with dressing my increasingly pregnant and decreasingly familiar body. I’m still not certain I love or am 100% comfortable with leggings-as-pants, but there’s something delightfully relaxed about them. The long tunic + long sweater is an unusual proportion for me, but I appreciated the chance to “surrender the waist” and try out a look that was a bit more hippie earth mama than I’m used to. It’s not something I would wear for a fancy dinner or a meeting or a long day doing any one thing, but for these days of getting dressed for not doing much, I was pleasantly surprised. And now . . . if you’ll excuse me, I have some boxes to break down!
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