Sunday, October 23, 2011

It's Time I Have a "Grown-Up" Wardrobe

In the process of packing up to move from Indiana to North Carolina this summer, I took a long hard look at my wardrobe.  Although I have never considered myself stylish or fashionable, I certainly still try to dress nice and while going through my clothing, I realized that there were many pieces I could say goodbye to for good.  I am a bit embarrassed to admit this, but some of the shirts I had dated back to middle school!  Some clothing was easy to get rid of because I hadn’t worn them in years.

For many other pieces, I found myself using one simple question to decide whether I should keep them or not: “Is this appropriate for a mother to wear?”  Some of the items were inappropriate because they were not modest, although I found that these pieces generally could be grouped with those that I no longer wore.  Over the past few years, as I became more dedicated to my faith and confident of my self worth, I unconsciously gravitated toward more modest clothing.  The vast majority of clothing that I purged from my closet was inappropriate for a mother to wear because it was juvenile, sloppy, or just plain unattractive.  I had grown up, gotten married, and was pregnant with my first child, yet my wardrobe looked like it could have been that of a 15 year old girl.  Embarrassing!

I’d like to say that I’ve remedied that problem and my closet is now filled with classy, understated pieces.  Not quite.  What clothes I do have in my wardrobe is nice, although I have many gaps to fill in.  Getting rid of most of my clothes during pregnancy meant that I have not yet had the chance to acquire new pieces.  I don’t know yet how pregnancy will affect my body size (and shape) in the long term, so it will still be several more months before I look for new clothing. 


My husband and I don’t have a lot of money right now to spend on clothing (we don’t have much money to spend on necessities either!), but I know that when I do buy more clothing that I want to buy good quality pieces.  Instead of buying tons of clothes that wear out quickly or that I rarely wear, I’d rather spend the money on a few pieces of clothing that I can constantly mix and match with one another to make lovely, classy outfits.  For some people, I’m sure that’s easy, but for me it’s a daunting task.  I always wear the same pieces the same way.  Throughout this pregnancy, I’ve been bookmarking Betty Beguiles’s amazing fashion advice (for example this post My Simple Formula for Wardrobe Domination).  I can’t wait to put her advice into action!

Something else I can’t wait for postpartum – to buy an adorable dress from Shabby Apple!  Isn't this one just gorgeous - and the perfect color for fall? Although by the time my little one is born (5 weeks until my due date!) and I figure out what my postpartum body will look like long-term, I will have missed fall altogether!  That's ok though, I'm sure by then I'll have my new favorite Shabby Apple dress. 



 I love virtual window shopping at Shabby Apple’s website because I know that everything they have meets my two non-negotiable wardrobe criteria: modest and classy.  Since I often can’t trust my own fashion sense (believe me on this one, I have worn many a hideous outfit while thinking it was quite cute), I feel like I can’t go wrong with getting something from Shabby Apple.  I need to find a few more stores like this and shop exclusively at them so I avoid more fashion gaffes.

I was really hoping for an excuse to buy one of Shabby Apple's pretty maternity dresses during my pregnancy (why couldn't anyone get married this fall???), but nothing arose and I couldn't justify buying such a pretty dress with no where to wear it.  My favorite maternity dress was "Fruitful".  Isn't the name just fun too? 

If you are interested in shopping Shabby Apple, check out my right sidebar.  They almost always have a promotion going on and I try to keep them updated here on the blog.

Does anybody have any great fashion tips for me to make sure that I buy clothes that 1) I'll actually wear on a regular basis, 2) Look "grown up", and 3) Can easily be mixed and matched into a variety of different outfits?  I know there are many very fashionable ladies out there that have some wonderful advice!


  1. I went through this same thing shortly after becoming a mother and getting a "real" job. My bell bottom corduroys and thrift store message tees were just not cutting it anymore!

    So the first thing I did, because I'm a dork, is to buy a book. Yep. I got InStyle's "Secrets of Style" and read about pant length and shoe selection and accessories and timeless pieces and it. was. AWESOME!

    The other thing I do, because we're on a constant budget, is to look for name brand, quality pieces at Goodwill and the Salvation Army. If you know how to sew, you can alter really nice stuff even if it isn't the right size. So shopping used and knowing how to sew would be my combo steps 2 & 3.

    Good luck, mama! Such an exciting time in your life :)

  2. I read this and meant to comment, oh at least an hour ago, but instead have been browsing Shabby Apple. How have I never heard of it before? Love it!! And those dresses you posted, I'd get pregnant just for that maternity dress alone!

    Also, I like Tim Gunn's Guide To Style for tips. He's big on get 10 or so nice quality pieces that are staples to a wardrobe (i.e. dress pants, a little black dress, black heels, ya know stuff that goes with anything and everything) and then mix and match it.

    My favorites though are Goodwill, 1/2 of 1/2 Store, and garage sales! People get rid of some really good stuff, plus a lot of places have student discounts so make your husband go with you. :) On Monday's at our Salvation Army students get half off! Good luck!

  3. The first thing that came to my mind when I saw that gorgeous orange dress was "*sigh* If only she'd actually be able to wear that postpartum." One thing that didn't even cross my mind while I was pregnant was that pretty much all your postpartum clothes need to be "boob accessible"...if you're going to breast feed, that is. I have a lovely stash of dresses in my closet from over the years that I can't wear because, you know, you can't exactly lift up your entire dress to feed baby! I have exactly ONE dress I can wear right now (well, two technically, but the other one isn't exactly figure-flattering again yet). So, if you plan on having more kids that's something I'd take into consideration when building your wardrobe.

  4. I was in the same situation a few months ago. Now, my baby is here (yay!) and my figure pretty much returned to normal (such a blessing!) (Although, I absolutely second Betsy's comment- I didn't realize how difficult nursing would be in some of my existing clothing). Rachel Meeks at writes extensively on her small, comfortably dressy wardrobe. Reading her practical advice was the inspiration and direction I was looking for in my quest for fewer, better, more mature clothes.


  5. Dwija, I've shopped a lot at thrift stores and actually, it's the pieces that I've bought there that are the only "appropriate" ones I have!

    Katie, sorry I introduced you to Shabby Apple - just browsing their site can be so addictive!

    Betsy, I absolutely did not even think of that! Thanks for the advice - I definitely have a lot to learn as a mama!

    Kari, I am looking forward to checking out that link. Thank you.


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