Dressing for Confidence at Any Stage of Motherhood

In this video/post, hosted by my favourite local fitness expert, Kim Holmes, we discuss how to dress your body through the different stages of motherhood. This post was originally shared on her blog over at MyFitCoach.ca. Kim’s fitness challenges, classes, and online training are all geared to help mom’s look and feel their best. Learn more.

Our Interview

Today I’m taking a break from the usual fitness/healthy mom thing to talk about something that ALL Mom’s can relate to…Your ever changing body and how to feel GREAT in it right now.

Let’s face it, your body changes a lot from the time you get pregnant to the time you’re done having kids. You own like 4 different wardrobes, not to mention bras. And while it can be a tad awkward and uncomfortable, I believe that its important to love, accept and basically ROCK the body you are in right now!

So I met up with the lovely Christina Proctor, a Certified Style Coach and owner of  “Wear Out There”. I had a lot of questions (of my own AND for you too) about how to dress your ever changing body as a Mom. I want YOU to take care of yourselves from the inside out and sometimes you just feel better about yourself when you take off your leggings (don’t worry there is still room for leggings!) and put on an outfit that makes you feel amazing.

You can check out my interview with Christina here and read on for some of her best style tips for busy mamas at 3 stages of motherhood:

Christina what style tips do you have for the Mom who has just had a baby but is sick of wearing stretchy pants? She’s ready to look and feel good but doesn’t know how to dress her new body.

When you just have a baby, of course your body has gone through some changes and that’s very exciting! While style is important, comfort is also key. Here are a few of the essentials I recommend:

  •  Wide neckline Tops (e.g. deep v’s) which still allow you access to breastfeed if you choose that, or simply move with ease, which is essential.

  • Flowy tops, which skim your silhouette over a camisole are good options as they will help disguise a tummy.

  • Wrap over shirts with some ruching over the tummy look great as well. Button up shirts are another great option. They are versatile, can be dressed up or down and are visually slimming.

  •  Draped cardigan, which is comfortable, of a decent quality and rather form fitting.

  •  Maternity jeans with an elastic side panel is also useful as they will likely fit your body so much better. 

  • Accessories also will be helpful in brightening up a basic outfit. Choose great stud earrings – nothing dangling for baby to pull, or a statement necklace with some weight to it. An oversized scarf is another great option. It can be used as a nursing cover, when needed, but really adds some style to any outfit.

So what about the Mom who’s trying to lose the baby weight? How can she dress her changing body without spending a fortune on clothing?

The most flattering way to dress after pregnancy is to make sure your clothes fit your body NOW. This will also help you love and accept your body just the way it is – which gives you confidence in any situation. It honestly can be so hard to focus on tasks, when you’re worried about your outfit.

Christina’s tips:

  • Straight leg or boot cut jeans are the best choice, worn with a belt so you can bend and move about with ease.

  • Outfits that are monochromatic on the outside can be super slimming. E.g. black pants, black jacket and a colourful top. All you see on the outside is the long slimming silhouette and then this pop of colour.

  • Invest in shape wear  for those form-fitting outfits can help you feel confident in anything.

  •  Find a really great tailor and have them help you adjust your current pieces. They can work wonders and keep your costs down as well.

  • Check out the consignment stores – there are so many in Waterloo Region and the quality of the garments are great. You could also consider taking your own clothes here that you no longer wear, and potentially get some money off of them. .

So what about Mom’s who are done having kids but feel like they’re body is totally different and they have no idea what’s in style after living in the Mom bubble?

Style is a form of self-expression and really is something that should be fun. I think sometimes it really is overcomplicated, but at it’s core, it’s about helping you feel good about your body. Creating a style that works for you is really about 4 things:

1) Knowing your body shape

I truly believe the best first step is to do a body shape analysis, with a professional, or take your own measurements at home. It is incredibly useful after you’ve gone through a change in your body, to determine which of the 5 body shapes you fall into. This helps give you guidance on which areas to play up on your figure and which to downplay. Each and every shape is unique and beautiful.

2) Knowing which colours work for you

It’s helpful to know what colours flatter your most and the ones that don’t. I offer a colour analysis service to help you find the best colours for you

3) Knowing your Style Personality

Get inspired. Pinterest is amazing for outfit inspiration. Start pinning looks you love and have fun re-creating them. You can look at street style photos, or look in magazines. Think of your style as a tool in your tool box to help support you in reaching your goals, and helping you feel great. Style is personal. Have fun with this new chapter.

4) Knowing your lifestyle and goals

When you’re going through your wardrobe really ask yourself, does this suit the person I am now? Life is constantly changing around us and we’re constantly changing as well. Regularly cleaning out your wardrobe is key to making sure you’re actually wearing everything you have in your closet.

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Express Yourself: Using Clothing to Showcase your Unique Characteristics.

Since the earliest centuries, clothing has been used by people to characterize themselves. Textiles have represented our development as a society, reflecting which materials were available and the technologies mastered in each decade. This is as true today as it was in the past. Clothing even has a social significance suggesting characteristics of an individual’s lifestyle before ever starting a conversation.  For example, some occupations can be identified by their uniforms, celebrations by a guest’s attire, or ambitions by an employee’s chosen garments.

Moral of the story?

Express yourself. Who do you want to be? What do you want to become?

We are all individuals with unique facial features, body shapes, and lifestyles. We must dress to suit our own personalities. As such, it is important to study the self. Determine what suits you and what does not; find the colors that flatter and emphasize your uniqueness; and, when shopping, pay particular attention to the fit of your garments.

According to Christian Dior, “simplicity, good taste, and grooming are the three fundamentals of good dressing and these do not cost money.” It is possible to be elegant without spending a fortune on clothes if you choose items that suit your personality. The rules of fashion? There are no rules, only guidelines that aim to flatter your singularity.

So take charge lovelies. Wear what complements you. And do not be afraid to mix your mall finds with those pieces that are completely individual.

You have a story to tell. Share it with the world.

Paris is Always a Good Idea

Paris1All French women are known for their chic and effortless style. Parisian beauties spend their days strolling the Champs-Élysées, sipping on espressos and sampling foie gras. What a lovely life eh?! While these are stereotypes of course, not all French women are polished goddesses, there are some things we can learn from studying Paris street style. Things we can apply to make our wardrobes a bit more timeless! The je ne sais quoi our way.

The allure of the French woman is in the simplicity of her dress. Many see their outfits as dull, grey and beige, but the appeal is in their details. A well-chosen handbag, the perfect pair of shoes, a carefully cut blazer – these style basics are not just for French woman, they are the very staples of a classic, ageless wardrobe. Don’t we all want that?

So what wardrobe friends can we count on to keep us chic through the years? These beauties are our true friends worth investing real money in, without skimping.

The Trench Coat

Choose your trench coat with loving care. Give priority to the material, not the name (although if I had the funds to do so, I would absolutely invest in a Burberry trench :)). Look for a true gabardine, wool that’s rough to the touch or leather (like in the Matrix!). Lucky for us, this is one of the few garments that looks better well-worn. As such, a good place to start your search for the perfect trench is your local vintage store – depending on the era they specialize in.

Pea Coats

Yves Saint Laurent made the pea coat classic. However, much like the trench coat it only looks timeless if it is made of a thick woolen fabric as the originals were made of.

Boots

Boots are essential at any age and well suited for a variety of occasions. You can wear them casually or you can dress them up. A pair is necessary to stave off the cold, to breathe in the summer, and to wear to work on casual days. Having a few pairs of high quality boots in your wardrobe will keep you forever chic.

White Shirts…or Black

Go into your boyfriends closet and “borrow” his nicest black or white shirt – preferably the one without the front pocket and shoulder straps. Simple shirts in cotton are timeless and have the versatility to shift with moods. You can wear them long and belted with nothing else for a uber-sexy vibe, you can dress up a pair of jeans for a hint of sophistication, you can even modernize a severe pencil skirt for today’s work environment. In short, the white or black shirt can do just about everything!

V-Neck Cashmere Sweaters

These are absolutely essential. They can be worn fitted, or loose so they craftily fall off your shoulders. They even suit every body type and build. Fantastic! Be sure to always hand-wash your cashmere in tepid water using a mild shampoo. Tumble dry as gentle as possible until damp, and finish by laying the sweater out flat on a towel.

Chinos

These are the brothers of jeans. Chinos are made of cotton and can be worn with our without pleats, broad, narrow, long, short, or rolled up at the cuff. According to the French, avoid wearing these pants with sweaters and sneakers – that is far too casual! Wear them with men’s shirts, or plaid shirts. Wear them with a fine silk blouse and statement jewelry. Wear them with a vest and a man’s jacket.

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Short Leather Jackets

Choose a supple leather, soft and cut close to your body. These jackets are your second skin. They make you look tough, or uptown chic – so long as the fit is tailored. Don’t be afraid to even wear them with your most romantic dresses – they look amazing on everything!

paris5So what can we take away from our look at Parisian street style? Everything in moderation, that is – not too much colour, pattern, or print for your wardrobe staples. Put faith in accessories – this is where you can have some fun! Cut is important, it’s all about how the garment flatters your figure. Dress to your own style, wear what makes you happy, and invest in the basics mentioned above. These articles have longevity so buy them in a quality fabric.

Now if only I could finish off this post by saying (and truly meaning!) I was leaving for Paris in the morning, I would be a happy girl!  Sigh! Well keep dreaming lovelies and while you’re at it have some camembert for me. Should you be in need of some Paris of your own tonight, may I recommend the classic Funny Face starring Audrey Hepburn. Remember, Paris is always a good idea!

xo

Photos by Diego Zuko – Harpers Bazaar

Prom Fashion is Their Passion… At least Until End of June!

Many of you have heard about the KW Princess Project and the amazing work they do helping girls in need attend prom by providing free formal wear and accessories. If not, check out my blog post on the organization.  I was lucky enough to spend my Sunday (previous) doing what I love most, watching a fashion show of course! Yes, I am a little behind on my posting!

I had the opportunity to meet the lovely Kelly Steiss, current leader of the KW Princess Project, whose passion for the cause is truly inspiring. With a mission like “because every young woman deserves to feel like a princess,” it’s hard not to get behind! The organization pulled off a spectacular event with the support of Gemini Models, Lisa Drew – 570 News, Paul Johnson – CHYM FM, Ms. Oktoberfest, and many others.

While I may be a bit too old to attend prom now, it doesn’t mean I didn’t love the sparkle and bling. What girl wouldn’t?!  With prom fashions from La Crème, Gloss, Valentina Bridal – who made a 50 dress donation to the cause, and KW Princess Project dresses, I was mesmerized. Check out these photos from the event.

Pretty amazing right? No need to fret dear readers, while I took those pictures with my phone, hence the awful quality, I have invested in my first dslr camera to take with me to future events. Prepare yourselves for some serious eye candy. 🙂

You may not be in the market for a prom dress yourself, but La Crème and Gloss have some sumptuous frocks that could be worn for other occasions…say to a wedding? To work? Or perhaps just around the house? Okay, do we really need an occasion to look fabulous? I think not!

If you know someone who needs a dress, be sure to invite them to attend one of the dress days May 5, 6 or 7. No appointment necessary! I’m hoping to be there, along with other style savvy ladies to ensure the girls will look and feel their best for prom. Here are the details:

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Looking to clean out your closet? Be sure to donate any gently used dresses, shoes, and accessories at one of the drop-off locations year round. I know I have a few items to give!

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Well lovelies, enjoy being you and lighting up those rooms. Be sure to sparkle everyday whether it’s prom or not! We all deserve to feel like a princess…even if it’s a grow up version. 🙂

Best wishes.

Winter Blahs. Shows to Brighten Up Your Screen

With another snowy weekend here in Kitchener-Waterloo, many people may opt to stay home, curl up with a nice cup of tea (or coffee) and get to hibernating. Even with the end of January in sight, there is still plenty of winter to come, and you, dear readers, should prepare for those snowy days and evenings. So please, take my advice and check out these stylish shows to beat those winter blahs!

Gossip Girl: The Complete Series

Take a peek into the lives of the Manhattans Upper East-siders and get caught up in the scandals, love triangles, and of course gossip in this 6 season series! With a somewhat sizzling plot and characters, it is the fashion eye-candy that makes this show an absolute must watch this winter (styled by none other than Eric Damon). Love what you see? This website tells you exactly where to buy the clothes you’re coveting, per episode.

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Pretty Little Liars: The Complete Series

Viewer beware! This show is highly addictive – I personally devoured the first season in a week! With a perfect mix of suspense, action, and drama, Pretty Little Liars is sure to keep you coming back to watch. Where is the mysterious A and what happened to her? While still focused on the teenage set, these girls dress with style (have you ever seen teens who dress like this every day?!)! Want the looks? Check out this site for all the details.

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Drop Dead Diva: The Complete Series

A fashion-ized legal show focused on attorney Jane Bingum. Karma catches up to superficial, model Deb Dobkins, who after dying, returns to earth in the body of sassy, and smart Jane. Similar to legally blonde, this comedy brings with it a stampede of colourful characters to the courtroom.

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Ugly Betty: The Complete Series

While not available on Netflix, this series is sure to please and is definitely worth a watch this winter season. Betty Suarez is a quirky and fashion-challenged journalist from Queens who lands a job at Mode, a high-fashion magazine based in Manhattan. If you loved the Devil Wears Prada and stories about underdogs, check out this 4 season series!

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Lipstick Jungle: The Complete Series

Based on the book by Candice Bushnell (author of the brilliant Sex and the City series – also a fashionable watch!), Lipstick Jungle follows the steamy professional and personal lives of three friends living in New York City. With very few episodes, this show is an easy watch over a weekend. For more show with a similar plot, check out Cashmere Mafia which only aired for one season.

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Mad Men: The Complete Series

This period drama, set in the 1960s is anything but short on eye-candy. With incredible clothing (inspiring a limited time clothing line at Banana Republic) and an intriguing plot, Mad Men focuses on the Sterling Cooper advertising agency in New York City. Inspired? Get some of these retro fashions for yourself.

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These are just a few of TV’s most fashionable television series! Are you coveting a particular show? Share it here! I’m always looking for another dose of style to brighten up my screen.

Stay warm!

xx