Style & the SAHM: The Quest Continues

two years later . . . .

It’s been almost two years since I wrote Style & the SAHM: A Quest, the beginning of an on-again, off-again series.  I’ve been less enthusiastic about my quest lately (gaining 20 pounds will do that to you).  Still, the quest continues.  Here are some lessons learned from the past fall and winter . . . which, in April, is helpful to no one in my hemisphere . . . you can bookmark this to read come October.  😉

1. If you try on a sweater at TJ Maxx


and don’t buy it and then find yourself, thinking about it a lot, you should go back and buy it.  You’ll wear it a lot.  Especially, since you’ve been on the lookout for a flattering,  white, non-scratch, cableknit sweater for a long time.

IMG_8242 IMG_8085

2. When in doubt, ditch the bootcut jeans and sneakers and go for skinny jeans (or LOFT curvy straight leg jeans) with boots, especially if you have a drapey top.  Also, those red bowling clown shoes were a mistake.

See example A


vs. Examples B and C



3. But bootcut jeans aren’t always a bad choice, if your top is more on the fitted side.  And even those red sneakers, well . . .

IMG_7660 IMG_76614. If you have a round face and broad shoulders to begin with, and then gain weight, you’ll wish you had bought more v-neck, drapey tops like this one from T.J. Maxx . . .

IMG_8211 IMG_8227and this one from Express (didn’t buy it but should have):

IMG_7639and fewer fitted crewnecks like these.  The pictures were taken when I bought them a year ago–they’re more snug now 😦

IMG_7579 IMG_76385. If you find yourself at a coffee shop wearing the same sweater as someone else, then later notice that she has taken off the sweater and is now wearing just the shirt underneath, take a good look at yourself, and ask

“Would I want be dressed like me?”


Lesson learned: beware the siren song of the elastic waist.  When in doubt, wear jeans.  😉

Also, after two years, it was time for another closet purge.  It’s amazing how much piles up, even when I try to be pretty minimalist.

Most of these things I gave away, or am in the process of giving away.  A few I saved for a different season.  A very very few I couldn’t bear to part with and saved in hopes of losing weight.


Now the extent of my wardrobe is this:


and this:


with one box in the closet of out-of-season or too-small things I’m hanging on to.

The battle against frumpiness and clutter takes constant vigilance.

Keep fighting the good fight

{And click over to Jenna’s blog for more five favorites posts.}

What Should Mermaids Wear to Mass?

Here’s what I wore today:

J. Crew Factory ponte flare dress (no longer available): thrifted scarf

J. Crew Factory ponte flare dress (no longer available):
thrifted April Cornell scarf 

And what I wore last week:

J. Crew Factory ponte dress; Lia Sophia necklace

J. Crew Factory ponte dress; Lia Sophia necklace

Which accessory do you think is better?

Here is what Girl 1’s doll wore to Mass today:

What mermaids wear to Mass

Not recommended.  Although it got me thinking, what should modesty standards be for mermaids?  If all mermaids bare their navels, is it immodest?  Perhaps it would be acceptable at an all-mermaid mass.  At a human, Tridentine Mass, though, it gets a little more dicey.  Thankfully, we didn’t get kicked out.

Here’s what I wore a few weeks ago.


I’ve been less enthusiastic about outfit posts lately, since packing on a few pounds.  But I know I don’t want to see only perfect-bodied people’s outfits.  So here I am, doing my part to keep WIWS real and imperfect.  🙂


Happy Sunday!

Some Sunday outfits of late

Happy Mother’s Day!

In case you’re interested, here are some Sunday outfits I’ve worn lately.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a nap to take and brunch to digest. 😉



Pinspiration from MK of Outfit Posts:

Past weeks (why do I tilt my head for photos?  I’m self conscious about this now):







Linking up with Fine Linen & Purple for WIWS.

A New Outfit: 20,000 Pinners Can’t Be Wrong

I saw a similar ensemble on Outfit Posts blog and pinned it on a Pinterest board.  Since then, it’s been re-pinned over four thousand times.  I figure at least four other people have had the same experience, so that’s . . . 20,000 people who like this outfit.

It’s an odd accomplishment to have one of one’s Pinterest pins re-pinned over 4,000 times.  It was exciting for the first 1,000 times or so until I realized — this is a picture of someone else, on someone else’s blog.  I get the glory . . . how?

Oh, I know how!  By recreating the outfit myself and blogging about it.  That’s better.

Denim jacket, leopard scarf, LOFT curvy skinny jeans, brown boots


I’m linking up for the first time with What I Wore Wednesday at The Pleated Poppy.  Thanks Lindsey!
pleated poppy

What I Wore Sunday + More Pet Peeves + Liturgical Dance

This is what I wore today:

Experimenting with the Gorilla pod
Girl 1 and I experimented with the Gorillapod:


Last Sunday, I took Girl 1 to the Spanish mass (where there’s plenty of room), and she started dancing, arms in the air, to the rousing mariachi music.  To breathe is to dance for this girl.  I’m no devotee of liturgical dancing, but I didn’t have the heart to stop her, at least not at first.  The priest noticed and gave us a big grin.  Then he made a point of shaking hands with Girl 1 and me after mass, asking her name, and welcoming us to come again.

This week we went to 10:30 mass, which is the most crowded at our parish.  We experienced an interesting variant of my favorite pet peeve (the pew end squatter).  The lady near us was good enough to sit in the middle of the pew, but refused to scoot over into the empty space to her right.  “I can see good here,” she explained, indicating that we could sit on the other side of her.

Now, there were no tall people in the vicinity that would have blocked her view.  She just liked being right in front of the podium.  I happen to know that this particular lady is a kind soul and friendly toward young families in other respects.  Still, this sort of seating possessiveness is getting old.  It’s not the opera, folks!

As others pointed out last time, it’s a nice problem to have.  Plenty of parishes have empty pews, and ours is bursting at the seams.

All the same, we’re through with the 10:30 mass.  And I might start brushing up on my Spanish.

Linking up with FL&P.  Happy Sunday!

Related articles

More Style Mishaps + What I Wore Sunday

This is what I wore today:


But actually I kept my coat on all through Mass, so the overall look was more like this:


Which reminds me: I have a tough time figuring out outerwear.  Growing up in Florida, a coat was something I needed only a few weeks out of the year.  I never thought of it as part of my outfit, just something to throw on to keep warm, like a blanket.

Fast forward to first year of law school, and I’m wearing a red, bulky Lands’ End parka with my black skirt suits.  Not the cute, quilted, fitted parkas I see around nowadays.  Just big, bulky, functional.  Fortunately, I caught on and bought myself a dressy wool overcoat (still red!) before I entered the working world.

Okay, so fast forward some more to a few weeks ago.   I went to a Christmas concert with a friend, and the night was cold and rainy.  I got it stuck in my head that I had to wear the trench/ rain coat, and not my standard wool overcoat.  But, I was afraid I would be too cold in just the trench plus my standard church/ dressy uniform of pencil skirt + cardigan/ sweater.  (Plus most of my sweaters are showing their age, and they seemed a bit shabby to wear to the concert).

So, I wore this:


but also put on this my new-to-me blazer, over the sweater and under the raincoat.

This blazer has an identity issue.  Worn with navy, it looks black (as in this outfit from a few weeks ago):

Ralph Lauren blazer infinity scarf pencil skirt brown boots

But worn with black, it is definitely, definitely navy.  I didn’t realize this until I already was at the concert, looking like a color blind Hogwarts dropout:


I was going for something like this:

But I think my look was more:


And I don’t like the logo thingy on the pocket, anyway.  So this thing is going up on Ebay.  (Maybe it will find a nice Catholic owner who will take its newly-converted self to Mass every week?  😉

The whole experience left me yearning after a dress, something that (a) is long sleeved and warm, (b) is dressy enough to wear to church, concerts, parties, etc., but (c) is casual enough to wear with flat boots, and (d) doesn’t cost anything.  Ha!  So, yeah, I’ve been doing a lot of browsing online:

Links available here.

Links available here.

Probably the most frugal/ versatile thing to do is buy a non-shabby sweater.  But part of me just wants a new dress.

But even a warm dress might not be warm enough with just a trench coat.  I can’t figure out how to do outwear.  I just don’t get it.

What about you?  What’s your go-to outfit when it’s wet and cold but you still need to dress up?  Do you prefer dresses or separates?

Linking up with FL&P today.

Related articles

An Episcopal Blazer Enters the Catholic Church {What I Wore Sunday}

This is what I wore today:

Ralph Lauren blazer infinity scarf pencil skirt brown boots

I went on an exhaustive search for the perfect blazer earlier this Fall.  The one I went with was a stretchier, more casual number (without gold buttons *sniff sniff* ).  I mostly was concerned with finding a tailored yet comfy everyday jacket.  I figured it would have to do for dressier use, as well, because I wasn’t about to buy a second blazer. 

THEN I found this baby at the Episcopal church’s rummage sale.  Gold buttons!  Ding ding ding!

Maybe it would better if it were more fitted and a little less boxy?  It’s hard to find fitted blazers that are wide enough for my shoulders, though.  Just reading descriptions of jackets that are a “shrunken” style gives me the willies because they are so uncomfortable for me.

My life: vale of tears, etc. What can I say?

Ralph Lauren blazer infinity scarf pencil skirt brown boots

Linking up with FL&P today.  Happy Sunday everyone!

Related articles

Polka Dots, Denim, and a LBD: What I Wore Sunday

This is what I wore today:

polka dot scarf, denim jacket

Scarf from Walmart; everything else: old.

I’ve been wanting to replicate this outfit for a while:

The girls were running around with balloons during my photo shoot.  Such are the trials of the fashion model mom. 😉


Linking up with FL&P today.  Happy Sunday everyone!


Related articles

A Classic, Feminine Maternity SAHM Wardrobe From Lauren

I’m happy to have a guest post today from Lauren, who shares her SAHM style, maternity edition.   Lauren is the mother of a little girl and a little boy, with Baby #3 coming in January.  She blogs at The O’Briens.

I love the topic of SAHM style because honestly there was almost nothing out there to guide me when I started staying at home 3 years ago.  I kind of figured out my personal style through trial & error and thinking about what in my closet made me feel classic, feminine & put-together – and then slowly buying more of those types of clothes.  Now I have a pretty good mix & match wardrobe of sweaters + skirts, with boots or leggings & ballet flats.  Mainly if I go out with the kids it is to the library, the park, Target/Costco/Grocery store, or church for preschool coop/daily mass.


My favorite accessory is a scarf … I’m not big into jewelry because I feel like the kids just grab it off.  Scarfs / cardigans are easy (washable) ways to add color.  Also I intentionally avoid clothes that need to be ironed, washed in a special way (dry clean only), or can’t be dried. 

Since I am 7 months pregnant right now, most of this stuff is Motherhood Maternity (pink dress), or Ross Maternity (yellow top, navy blue top).  Both scarves are pashminas from Italy & Spain when I traveled abroad years ago.  Boots are from Italy (hand-me-downs from my sister), and the silver ballet flats are from Marshalls.  Everything else is either a thrift store find, or 4 years old from Gap / Ann Taylor Loft / etc.

Fall maternity SAHM style

Here I mixed up some of the styles above for different outfits (& my oldest, Grace jumped in some pictures :-).  The green sweater is from Kmart, beige sweater from Motherhood Maternity outlet (and here I am wearing it last pregnancy during Christmas time).  The teal top and jean skirts are all thrift store finds.  The gray sweater with rhinestones is from Burlington Coat Factory’s maternity section – which I just discovered & love.

So I hope this helps other SAHMs who are trying to find that perfect mix of comfortable clothes for running after kids, while still looking nice & feeling good about how you’re dressed every day!

 Thank you, Lauren!  I  like how you incorporate several different colors that look especially good with your hair and skin tone.  Beautiful!


Style & The SAHM: How To Look Less Bad

Never let it be said I don’t learn from my mistakes.

How To Look Less Bad

After my recent wardrobe malfunction . . .


here’s what I’m doing differently, wearing the same pair of jeans and a similar top:

How to Look Less Bad--AFter

1.  Higher ponytail: Just putting a ponytail higher on my head looks perkier (as one commenter pointed out).

2.  Colorful cardigan:  Neutrals are classy, but I think most of us need some color.  So much gray was too blah.  The scarf, while having color, was not the right color, nor the right shape, nor tied well.  Just wrong in so many ways.  It went in the give-away bin.

3. Trimmer cut: A long, oversized cardigan, obviously, can look really good, but it takes some finesse to avoid looking like I’m wearing a bathrobe.  I don’t have finesse at 6:30 in the morning.  A more moderately-sized cardigan is more versatile.  (The gray, oversized one is going to Twice.)

4. Spiffier shoes: Birkenstocks can look okay but, like an oversized cardigan, they require some finesse.  You have to go all-out boho, I think, or be tall, thin, painfully chic and preferably blonde.    These Top-Siders are a bit more versatile.

So I think I’ve gone from an “F” to a “C” or so.

A more fashionable look with  wide-legged/flared/bootcut  jeans like these would be to wear heels.  But . . . um . . . what kind of a freak would I look like wearing heels to preschool drop off?  Another option is to wear skinny jeans with boots.  But I don’t want to wear boots on these in-between days when temps might start in the fifties but later reach the eighties.

So, my friends, you’ll have to go elsewhere for cutting edge fashion.  But stick with me if you want to peer deep into the depths of frumpdom . . . and then watch me claw my way out.