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10 pieces every mom needs in her wardrobe

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by Tsh

Tsh is the founder of this blog and lives in Bend, Oregon with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.


Miss Britt is a Simple Mom Lifestyle Makeover waiting to happen, as she juggles parenting, marriage, writing and a day job, with an extreme case of Never Enough Hours In The Day. But her closet is absolutely fabulous.  You can find her writing at Miss Britt, and as editor of the Blissful Style channel at Blissfully Domestic.

Remember before you had kids and you spent money beefing up your closet?

Looking good now is just as important as it was before you became a parent.  Taking the time to take care of you can give you the added boost you need to take care of everyone else.

Of course, now that you have multiple wardrobes to stock, you need to be a little wiser about your purchases and make everything in your closet count.  Classic pieces that can provide versatility, longevity and the most bang for your buck are essential for every mother.

10 Pieces Every Mom Needs In Her Wardrobe

1. The Perfect Pair Of Jeans – the size and shape may vary depending on your size and shape, but there are a few rules every woman needs to keep in mind when buying jeans.  Look for a dark wash denim – the darker the better with no bleaching on the hips and thighs.  Most importantly, find at least one pair of jeans that you absolutely fall in love with. (Tsh’s note: Reader Heather left a comment on this post about Zafu, and it looks great!  It’s a site that helps you find the right jeans, pants, and bra for your shape.  Thanks, Heather.)

2. The Perfect White Button Down Shirt – this can be short, 3/4 or long sleeve.  Look for a wrinkle-free variety if possible, like Banana Republic‘s Classic Oxford Dress Shirt.

3. A Tailored Blazer – this may be the top of a 3 piece suit or a piece you purchased on its own.  A jacket that fits well in the ribs and waist added to jeans and a top will “grow up” and flesh out your look instantly.

4. A Stylish Cardigan – layers say you made the extra effort, even if it only took you 3 seconds to throw a cardigan over a tank top.  It also makes your tank tops and t-shirts more versatile for the changing seasons.

5. A Supportive Cami – or as I like to call it, a tank top with a shelf bra built in.  I own about 50 tank tops, almost all of which contain their own built in bra.  This does not mean that I can wear them without a bra (thank you two breastfed babies), but a well made camisole is a vital part of the layering technique.

6. A Pair of Comfortable AND Stylish Flats – and your bejeweled flip flops don’t count.  Every woman needs a pair of shoes that she can walk in for hours while still looking pulled together.  My current favorite is a pair of patent pleather loafers in a deep brownish red color that I picked up for $20 at Target.

7. A Pair of Killer Who-Cares-How-Comfortable-They-Are Heels – you will leave your house without children.  Be prepared with a great pair of shoes that reminds you how sexy you still are.

gp444791_00vliv01.jpg8. Not A Gym Shirt T-Shirt – even the most high maintenance fashionista has a jeans and t-shirt days.  As a mother, you have lots of them.  A fitted t-shirt will keep you from succumbing to the gym rat look that screams “I just don’t care anymore!”

9. Bracelets – accessories, like layers, are a final touch that shows extra effort.  Bracelets are my favorite accessory in part because of how economical they are – and because they are least likely to be yanked apart by a grabby toddler (or curious preschooler).

10. Supportive Undergarments – good underwear can solve a plethora of body image issues.  Eliminate muffin top, conceal a flabby butt, and bring your breasts to pre-pregnancy heights.  Added bonus: regularly wearing bras and panties with proper support can slow down the effects of nature’s gravitational pull.

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Comments

  1. A good basic list, but I’d probably ditch the white button-down shirt and change it to a button-down, wrinkle-free shirt in a dark colour. I’ve given up white tops since they’re almost guaranteed to have some kind of food stain/dirty handprint on them by the end of the day.

    And yay for the supportive undergarments. Now I understand why my mother owns heaps of them. :-)

  2. Love this list. I probably need to get on board becasue I only own maybe 4-5 of those pieces.:)
    I think I will start with the blazer, fitted around the waist.
    Thanks for the insight.

  3. I’m definitely guilty of not having updated my closet since Sweetpea was born 19 months ago {gasp}! Unless ridding it of unused clothes to donate counts? Ok, maybe partial credit there. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. great post (and well needed by me!) – I constantly long to dress/look better, yet find myself so easily slipping back into the jeans/t-shirt look of college days. One of my problems has always been not wanting to spend $$ on nicer clothes when I still wanted to lose 10-15 lbs – now that I’m pregnant with #2, I decided it’s time to get over it, and spend a little bit of $$ to feel better about how I look.

    I would encourage anybody who fits the mold of wanting to lose weight to go on and dress for the size they are now – it’s definitely given me a pick-me-up boost! My new rule is that I can’t do a t-shirt every day, maybe a day or 2 a week. It’s been great for me! Thanks for the reminder of good basic pieces – definitely useful in trying to build a great wardrobe!

    • Jodi – I hear you!!! My first thought when I read this post was how much I miss my “nice” pre-baby pieces that are 2 sizes too small but still hanging in my closet. I also have been refusing to buy nice clothes in my current size because I don’t want to throw in the towel. But 3 kids later, with the youngest now 16 months old, I think you are so right about feeling good now.

      Great post, great comments!

  5. I especially think comfortable but fashionable jeans and a good pair of high heels are important. I don’t wear my high heels about 360 days of the year, but you are right. The moment I am leaving the house without kids, it’s nice to put them on and feel like I am stepping out of my mom role for a moment.

    Great post!

  6. I love this list, but I have to add the LBD (Little Black Dress). I truly think every woman needs one!

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins’s last blog post…Daily Gratitude

  7. Oh and one more think – cute flats are my bread and butter, but for those days you have to get a little more down and dirty I suggest a really cute pair of sneakers (i.e. the same idea as the tee that isn’t for the gym).

    Lucie @ Unconventional Origins’s last blog post…Raising Conscious Children: Using the Ugliness of the Campaign Season to Teach Your Children Tolerance

  8. And then there’s the big, honkin’ purse that fits diapers, water bottles and the plasma TV. Everyone needs one of those.

    Half Assed Kitchen’s last blog post…Split pea soup…economical and yummy

  9. Good list. I am working on this as we speak. Today I put on a skirt instead of jeans, and layered a green tank over an orange polo and put on a ring. It does make me feel just a tiny bit more pulled together and less…stay at home-y. I still need to get some nice comfy flats that aren’t flip flops. Did you say Target??? :)

    rowena’s last blog post…Flying Girl and Things To Do, or Possibilities

  10. I’ve whittled my wardrobe down to a small armoire and it’s liberating. I literally own a few pieces I love, some basics and that’s IT.

    I am a copywriter in the beauty and fashion biz, so I get LOTS of freebies, and used to be a slave to trends. But you know what? Many experienced editors and people at the “top” of fashion never wear what they peddle to the public – both fashion and beauty.

    Okay, I am ducking now. :)

    littlebrownpen’s last blog post…White on White

  11. Great article, I’ve found that having a perfectly fitting bra is my number one essential. After that a decent cashmere jumper and a pair of killer jeans and I’m good to go :)

  12. Little brown pen – I’ve noticed that – how fashion editors usually have the same basic “look” year after year, show after show….I think its funny and clever….I figure – they know from experience what suits them – and also funny as it seems…having a signature style makes someone stick out more than someone following all the trends….

  13. Great List….I would strongly suggest that any woman that wears a bra be professionally measured to make sure they are wearing the correct size. After years of wearing a 38C, my correct size is a 34DD!!! And boy do the “girls” look better! It’s worth the time & effort…I would suggest a major department store (I went to Dillards) & not a “lingere store”……many times they have young, inexperienced girls working that have had a 15 minute “measuring” session…..

  14. What a great list! I’ve forwarded it on to all my friends! :) Please do tell me though, what brands of “supportive” underwear you’d recommend. If it was a slightly budget friendly brand, all the better! Thanks!

  15. Thanks for the simplified list! It makes cleaning out the closet and looking for new pieces seem less daunting.

  16. I have a question about the “supportive” undergarments, too. I have a lovely muffintop, thanks to my twin pregnancy, that let’s face it–isn’t going anywhere. I’ve been looking for something to help, maybe Spanx?, but is there something you can actually wear daily that’s comfortable enough? I can’t even wear regular pants and jeans without a problem.

    Gina’s last blog post…Giant this week 10/17

    • Really the only thing you need to watch is that your waistline (of your pants OR your underwear) don’t sit too low.

      The #1 culprit of muffintop is low rise jeans. Try a midrise in the right size and you should be cured!

      Miss Britt’s last blog post…We Call This The Curly Bob

    • @Gina –

      I’m right there with you, on the muffintop from a twin pregnancy. I think I will probably have all the skin from my pregnancy belly until I die. None of my old pants work, and my twins are 20 months old! But I *highly* recommend pants made by “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.” I have yet to actually get jeans from this brand, but I have a pair of gray corduroys and a pair of plain brown pants that I LIVE in. They are high waisted, but with some stretch, so they’re actually comfortable. And they fully deliver on their claim to make you look a size smaller!

      I, too, would love to hear people’s recommendations of “supportive undergarments”… This is a great post – I have felt pretty low for a long time about my ‘uniform’ of a stained t-shirt and yoga pants!

      Sarah

  17. I had to reply again now that supportive wear was brought up. Sherry is right about proper fitting, in my teen years I was that improperly trained fitting girl! Now, after three kids, I feel comfortable to make at least one recommendation. I’ve always been a natural D cup, natural matters only because of the gravity factor. The best minimizer bra I’ve ever found is the Bali underwire seamless bra, and I’ve seriously tried them all. I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants to smooth out their appearance in that area. I’ve had family members and friends who have turned to this bra as well, it’s that good. I buy them at Kohl’s when Bali is 40% off. (I don’t sell them, I promise!)

    Nikki’s last blog post…The Whole Freaky Face Family

  18. Great list! I agree with it all, especially those great pair of heels – #7. I have a pair of nine-west, black heels that look great with jeans, dresses……I don’t wear them often, but there’s always a use for them!…and they are actually quite comfortable.
    ~Corinne

    corinne’s last blog post…Comfort Soups

  19. Great post. I’m so glad you didn’t just say “anything dark and wrinkle-free”.

  20. This is a pretty good list . Sadly I do not have any of them. Maybe it is time I stop wearing my hubby’s tees and blue jean capris and work on getting the stuff on this list. Except the heels. I would never wear them, lol.

  21. “Remember before you had kids and you spent money beefing up your closet?”

    Yes. And sadly, three toddlers later – those great clothes don’t fit anymore!

    Thanks for a simple list of 10 pieces. No need to redo the wardrobe. Just 10 pieces! And maybe this exercising will pay off sooner rather than later. :)

  22. Super list! It took me WAY too many years to understand the importance of buying good fitting and quality bras. Personally, I can’t do white shirts with a toddler and living in a country full of red dirt, I’m sunk. I’m not a cardigan girl either, but I’m all about a cute blazer or sweater. Thanks for the great insights.

    Julie’s last blog post…Rules and Red Tape

  23. Great list. My little girl is 2 1/2 months old and I am slobbing around the house in jeans and giant t-shirts. I know that almost nothing in my wardrobe will fit/suit me any more; not because I have put on much weight but I have changed shape. I must glam up!
    Re the undergarments… does anyone know of a decent brand of bra that actually fits a small breasted woman like me? Normally I am AAA cup. Now that I am breastfeeding I am an A. When I can find an A bra, it still looks like two golf balls sitting in hammocks. Problems with baggy seams showing through blouses. Any help appreciated.

    • @Kath –

      I have that problem, too… (what a combo!)
      Check out lulalu.com for ‘petite lingerie.’ I’m currently waiting for an order of the Biatta bra, which I’m really hopeful will help! After nursing twins, I’m pretty much concave. But for *during* nursing, I just lived in “glamour mom” nursing tank tops. I could never make the normal nursing bra thing work.

      Good luck! And you’re doing great if you’re tackling glamming up with a 2 month-old!

  24. a little off topic…

    Unless it’s just me, there’s a link “simple mom › Create New Post — WordPress” in the little of number 5…

    Lori Ann’s last blog post…Travel & Tumble

  25. I Always Keep A Sling , Which any Good Gotton Pashmina / Scarve Like Those Shown in the Picture can be Used as Both a Clothing Acessory and / or a Baby Sling

    Mrs.Flam’s last blog post…Sounds of Saturday : Heir of a Dying Day

  26. Great tips! I am huge fan of the fitted blazer look. It can be dressy for work or it can throw over a t-shirt with jeans for a more stylish Mommy look. I have all of these items so I am set to go!

  27. I definitely think a few basic, comfortable dresses are key and a big, classic bag to hold all the crap!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..u-pick =-.

  28. Love this. Fantastic tips for those of us in a different type of working world.
    .-= Linnea´s last blog ..thoughts arrive like butterflies (or shower faeries) =-.

  29. Really enjoyed this list, thanks.

  30. I like this list, but I don’t think it’s really anything different from all the other “wardrobe basics” lists for women in general (not just moms). I was hoping for more of a way to look cute while chasing a toddler. White button down shirts and blazers? I have all this stuff, but it’s not even close to what I’m reaching for when going to the grocery store or the playground. Oh well, the search continues. Thanks anyways!

    • avatar
      mommymcmom says:

      I agree with Kristan. This is a great wardrobe basics in general, but not as practical for moms of preschoolers/toddlers. The items above are only worn sometimes (to date night, lunch with the ladies, or to work). Daily wardrobe staples have to include great looking but COMFORTABLE JEANS. Low rise just won’t cut it because you will be bending down or on the floor constantly. You need to be able to sit “criss cross applesauce” in most of what you wear. I think nice looking solid t’s are important, and a cardigan if it gets chilly. Button down shirts can be comfy, I guess, but long sleeves are impractical as much as my hands are in the water during the day. Short sleeves T’s are more practical, and you can always layer a cardigan over your tshirt when not doing chores. The most used wardrobe staple missing from the list above is a comfortable, cute sneaker. You need shoes you can climb on the playstructure in the park in, or run after your toddler in. Even comfortable ballet flats just aren’t practical for everyday wear. I think mastering a cute, groomed ponytail is important too. I love wearing my hair down, but hate having a face full of hair everytime I bend down to put a dish in the dishwasher.

  31. I personally think number 10 is perhaps the most important. Supportive undergarments are not only good for your looks but also for your health as poorly fitted bras can lead to bad posture and, in some cases, head and stomach aches.

  32. I love all of this but the oxford shirt. Something about it is just too preppy for my Bobo self. Any alternatives?

  33. All great tips, I have trouble finding comfortable fitting garments! lol
    I feel, well squahsed. lol

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