Many moms devote their entire lives to taking care of their kids. The role of mother is demanding, all-consuming, and without weekends, holidays, or PTO. Many moms also work while raising little ones and the days are long and hectic. As a mom, the first thing on your mind is how to get the baby to sleep and the last thing is what to wear the next day. Your thoughts have shifted to keeping another human being alive and there's little time to think about anything else. Your calling as a mother is a high one and it comes with tremendous sacrifice.
But when given a moment of silence, you may begin to feel lost in your new identity. When given a moment to look in the mirror, a feeling of shame may creep up. "I want to feel beautiful. Why do I care so much? It's selfish of me to want to feel beautiful. There's no time or money for me to spend on myself." When it's about survival and staying sane, who has time to shop for clothing? Who has time to care for quality pieces when all you have time to do is change diapers, clean the dinner smeared all over your mini me, and soak in the sweet times while your little one is still little? What's the point of caring for yourself as a mother? Does style play a role at all?
I've heard about this struggle from many of my Style Shop Denver clients. Within the first few years of having a child, many women feel as though they've lost a piece of themselves they once expressed in their wardrobes. Many of the pieces in their wardrobe no longer make sense for day-to-day as they've transitioned out of a corporate job. Or perhaps they work out of their home and don't need to dress up for work anymore. Their wardrobe consists exclusively of yoga pants and sweats. Survival gear.
How should a mom go about expressing herself in the clothing she wears? What makes sense both practically and aesthetically for her role as mother?
Victoria Shipman is a close friend of my sister's and a mother of two in Phoenix, Arizona. Upon befriending her on Facebook, I was instantly impressed with her attention to style. She's intentional with her wardrobe and has fun with the pieces she selects for her stay-at-home lifestyle with her littles. How does she do it? I got with her to ask all about her style strategy, mindset, and perspective on spending time on her outward appearance as a mother.
Q: What can you say to introduce us to you and your style?
I am a wifey, mommy of 2, avid coffee drinker, and a lover of high heels! Though I am busy, busy and frankly, “smeared on” more than once a day, I absolutely love feeling and looking feminine and “hip." Day to day, I like easy, comfy things that have some structure to them so they look clean and neat without my having to try too hard. Weekends I step it up a bit with a full face of makeup and heels. I love looking and feeling “pretty,” and though I am fully aware my value and beauty come from the truth of God which lies within me, I also can’t resist a cute floppy fedora and fitted dress. There should be freedom in being a mommy and feeling and looking like a WOMAN!
Q: How does the way you dress affect your family?
The way I dress has changed a bit since I had my daughter. I want her to have a strong, Godly, beautiful example of womanhood. I am aware that what I wear speaks to my kids (whether I want it to or not), and I want them to see positivity, godliness, intentionality, and care in what they see mommy and daddy wearing. Taking care of yourself is very important when you're setting an example for your littles.
Q: Have you always been stylish or have you had to work on it over the years?
My style has been a slow transformation. I believe the root of the change is based in my growth as a person and less about my focus on what I wear. Years ago, I didn’t necessarily see myself as lovely, graceful, or like a “real” woman. I didn’t know how to express who I was because I didn’t fully know who I was. Now I am far more confident because God has brought me through so much, and through those experiences, I have learned that valuing myself is a healthy thing and not a shameful thing. I also have learned to wear what I am comfortable in. Years ago I would have worn something because it was on a hanger at the store and I felt I should wear it. But now I can proudly say, "if I don’t love it, I don’t wear it." And that applies to clothing, makeup, and other beauty brands.
Q: What's the most practical outfit you own as a mother and why?
My small but fabulous collection of jeans! Jeans are a great way to make it look like you tried really hard on an outfit. I have several different kinds of jeans but only 1 pair of each “kind” to keep things organized. Some of my collection includes an olive pair, because olive is basically a neutral and goes with practically everything in my closet! I have some high-waisted, higher quality jeans with no rips (great with heels). I have some ripped up hipster jeans. And of course, a black pair because black rules my world! Almost every pair can be worn with sandals, heels, or tennis shoes and a blouse, tee shirt, or tank. Versatility for the win!!
Q: What motivates your style and how you choose to dress?
A few things motivate me in my style:
1. Practicality. I don’t wear a long dress and floppy fedora to take my kids to the park. It will drag, and I’ll be overheating (#ArizonaLife).
2. Morality. I love to feel feminine and sexy, but I keep in mind that Jesus sees me always and what I wear should honor Him.
3. Functionality. I choose pieces for my closet that work in several ways with several other pieces. I only have a small selection, and I love each thing I have.
4. Adorableness (Is that a word?). I love unique pieces that make me feel pretty and compliment the parts of my body I love most.
Q: How did you lose your baby weight and what do you do to stay healthy now?
Baby weight takes time to put on, so it certainly takes time to take off! I've had to show myself a lot of grace. I try to be intentional about activity and don't sit much as I'm often up and about with the kids. I don't have a rigorous workout routine because when you're a mommy, other things tend to come before that. However, I do try to be as active as I can! We walk or jog at the park and do a lot of family hikes or just "horse-play" at the house. Kids love to get involved so anything you can include them in is great! I am also very intentional about what I eat. I try not to purchase things at the store that I wouldn't feel good about after eating them. We are mostly Paleo in our home, a lifestyle that has helped me detox and take care of my body. However, I am still a hard-working, hormonal, busy, exhausted, blessed momma and sometimes this momma needs Ben and Jerry's to help her end her day! I don't stress too much about it. I've formed healthy eating habits over the last several years but I also live in a lot of grace. The balance is quite enjoyable!
Q: What message do you believe your clothing sends about you?
I am very feminine and love to dress in a way that captures and celebrates that quality! I am also super laid back so the ease of my clothing represents that well. I wear what I love, and though I love fashion and most trends, I do not wear something unless I love it. Camo is in but you still won't catch me dead in it!
Q: Do you ever find yourself feeling guilty for spending time and money on yourself and your wardrobe?
Maybe in past years. But at this stage in my life, not only do I value what I put on my back but my husband also values and supports me in that. So I have a lot of support, which is great! Moms deserve time to do something for themselves and this is a category that allows some fun. I do not frequently spend a lot of money on myself because we have two kids and that is not something we can do. However, I have learned to be strategic! I take advantage of sales and occasionally shop resale as well. I ONLY BUY PIECES I LOVE! If you have 30 outfit choices but only like wearing 6 of them, you have wasted a lot of time, money and resources, such as space in your closet, etc. The saying “less is more” is brilliant and reigns so true when it come to wardrobe selection. I choose pieces slowly and methodically. I also take advantage of my birthday or holidays and request gift cards to shop or purchase things I normally wouldn’t spend our budget on.
Q: What's your morning routine like? Is it hard to find time to get ready in the morning?
Sometimes it is hard. But usually it is hard because I neglected another part of my routine and am now behind schedule. Sometimes my morning routine is quick and easy with very little work, and other days I get fully READY. The main difference in the two is the amount of makeup I wear. I almost never “do my hair” in the morning. Usually, I barrel crimp or curl it in the evening the day before and wear a modified version of that for 2 days or so (dry shampoo is my best friend). On “fast days,” I wear my hair up with a baseball hat or bandana and makeup is limited to BB Cream, some powder, mascara, and my eyebrows. On days that I have a little more time, I fluff the overnight curls and wear my full face of makeup. My outfits do not vary greatly on planned days vs. rushed days because my wardrobe is very versatile and easy to pick and choose something out of.
Q: Where are some of your favorite places to shop? Favorite brands?
I love quality clothing, but I’m also a mom on a budget. Nordstrom Rack is great because you get good quality at affordable prices. I also love Urban Outfitters and occasionally resale. A couple weeks ago, I bought a $250 pair of jeans for $28! I also firmly believe every woman should own sexy undergarments. There is a confidence in knowing there's a sexy bralette underneath your tee shirt! Victoria Secret is great and as a mom, you are allowed to feel sexy. You brought a life into this world! Own that beautiful body, sister! I also enjoy Target, Ross, and Express. Anywhere I can get a good deal on a versatile piece of clothing!
Q: Do you think being stylish as a mom is important?
I think that we underestimate the power of self-care, self-value, and personal style. As a mom, there are so many other things staring us in the face on a daily basis! It IS crucial that your kiddos are fed well, feel loved, get to school on time, that dinner is ready at 6p, and the list goes on. But when we don't make an effort to care for ourselves, we are teaching our littles that how you present yourself is not important. Which is simply not true! Nor is it a godly perspective. It is our job to shape moral men and women into thoughtful contributors of society and an important part of that is self-care.
Q: What's your greatest bit of advice when it comes to enjoying your wardrobe as a mom?
I can’t say it enough - don’t wear something you don’t totally love! Enjoying your wardrobe is your gift to yourself, so it should be fun!! Feel pretty, sexy, and occasionally have a “mom moment” and wear that favorite tee 2 days in a row. Being a mom and having a great style doesn’t have to be either/or! Rather, each should complement the other.
Q: Do you think it's important for moms to spend time on their wardrobes?
Absolutely!! I feel more confident when I look confident! And honestly, my family benefits a ton when I look my best. When I look good, I feel good, and it helps me to take on my daily tasks with more intention. This is not to say that occasionally I don't wear a top knot and sweats all day. Sometimes you need to throw your hair up and get stuff done! Be free and enjoy learning about yourself and your style. Remember that whether you're in sexy high heels or a top knot, you're a daughter of the King and that is most beautiful!!