In keeping with my New Year’s resolution to be smarter about my purchases and to really hone my style, I thought I’d take a look at what I actually wear. I think most of us build a Pinterest board of looks we like and stuff we like to help us find out style (just me?). But I’m not convinced that approach is all that helpful. It’s something most brides to be do for their weddings, or people do when redecorating, and it can help when you’re working with another professionals to give them an idea of your style as terms like “rustic” “elegant” etc. can have very different meanings to different people. However, I find that when it comes to your wardrobe, or mine at least, there’s a pretty big discrepancy between what I like and what I actually wear and what would actually fit with my lifestyle. My goal is to define my actual style, one that’s wearable for my life and me, so I can buy pieces I can live in that will look chic and feel good rather than a closet full of great pieces that I don’t ever wear and raggedy or clothes I don’t love that I end up wearing the most because they’re what fit my lifestyle better than cute stuff I buy. That means, cuter loungewear for after work and weekends, sweaters and jeans that fit perfectly and won’t show everything James smears all over me, coats that can survive NYC winters and still look chic, shoes with heels that I can actually walk in but give me some height and polish at work, etc.. I know there are some items like those I just listed that I am always in need of in my closet or that I wear the most, but I also think it’ll be a helpful exercise to look back on the clothes I actually wore the most in 2017 and turned out to be my best purchases so I can make similar smart buys this year. Turns out, they some things in common — practicality and comfort and/or just make a really chic statement.
Before I came back to work after my maternity leave, I decided to treat myself to a new work tote. I was apprehensive about starting work again and not totally psyched about leaving my baby/sweatpant bliss, so I thought a new work tote would help get me a little more excited. Plus, after giving birth to a human and keeping a baby alive for four months and surviving on no sleep for those four months, I figured I deserved to treat myself. I really needed a chic, black tote and I had been eyeing this Mansur Gavriel bag for months. I love how it’s low-key, not immediately identifiable but really sturdy and well made. I got a small and it actually fits my laptop and stuff, but in retrospect, considering how much I use it (practically every day), I could have gotten a large and used it for a baby bag as well. I usually invest in one good bag a year, and I’m thinking this year, I may get a larger version of it in tan or another color. My only complaint is that it doesn’t close, which can be annoying. I have a fear of being robbed on the subway (Midwestern girl coming out in me) and then if it gets knocked over under my desk, everything spills out, and then if Dakota jumps up on the table, it’s easy for her to raid). Still, I carry it every day and I’m amazed at how well it holds up, how easy it is to wipe down and clean when something gets spilled on it or whatnot, and how it really goes with everything. I had hoped I would change up my bag more, but honestly, I just don’t have time for that anymore and even when I try to be super organized and have pouches for everything so I don’t forget stuff, I have so many essentials now I carry that it’s just easier to grab the same bag than to think about what else would work with my outfit and repack. As I look for my next bag, though, it’s clear that neutral, roomy fit, super sturdy quality material, top closure or less open up top when carried are key and now I just need something a little bigger for days I’m carrying shoes, gym clothes, laptop, diapers, you name it.
I treated myself to some new jeans when I finally got down to my pre-baby size, and these J.Brand cropped flares were worth it because I wore them to death. They’re stretch and soft and not too heavy so they were forgiving when I first squeezed into them but haven’t stretched out too much now. I love that they show the ankle and offer a nice flare, which made them perfect to wear in spring and summer and fall with cute shoes, and I’ve been trying them with ankle booties and socks now that it’s winter and I’m liking the look although I feel like my legs are a little short for the trend, but fashun. I bought these on sale (like pretty much everything else I buy because why pay full price?) but considering the cost per wear, I would say these were well worth the investment. While the silhouette is trendy, it doesn’t show any sign of letting up, and worked well in different seasons with different footwear, and isn’t too trendy (like printed jeans or the cropped flares with ruffles at the end), so they have a longer wear. But generally, I’d say investing in a trendy denim piece (as long as it’s not too too trendy), is usually worth the splurge because you wear jeans so much and if you’re like me, wear that one new pair to death before falling for a new one.
Another pair that I lived in this year was these high-waisted Levi’s. They seem to make everyone’s butts look good and I wanted something to lift my saggy mom ass post-baby that was also high-wasited, which I actually find more forgiving on me because I’m naturally high-waisted. These jeans made my legs look longer, I like how they give shape to my mom butt, and are structured without being too stiff. I get compliments every time I wear them, and they make me feel good every time. Also, they fit PERFECTLY. I did actually buy these full price (though I think there was an extra 20 percent promo at the time), but they’re a really good price point that I’m considering buying them in a darker wash as well. My one thing with these jeans is that they don’t feel perfect for every outfit. The high-waisted mom style definitely has a vibe to it that I’m still trying to figure out how to style sometimes.
Upon returning from maternity leave, I decided to invest in some cute shirts for work that I really loved. I started pumping when I went back to work, and that really shifted my wardrobe from dresess to shirts and pants, which I found easier with pumping. I loves this shirt because it was very on-trend but also fit my style and neutral enough to go with everything, but also very forgiving of my post-baby pooch and mondo nursing boobs (which have since disappeared and then some. Where did you go guys?!). I also liked this shirt because it worked just as well for the office as for a night out. I ended up getting it in a medium because I like things not too tight, my boobs were huge, and honeslty, I found it on super sale (I was hesitant to spend $300 bucks on a shirt – they always get spilled on and dirty so I just can’t bring myself to spend a lot on tops) only in a medium. It worked great for nursing (I didn’t’ have to take it off to pump) and was flattering while my body was still changing. It’s a little big now though tbh, which I bummed about. I’m sort of swimming in it. However, If I pair it with super tight pants on bottom and add a necklace or fur vest for balance, it works. But I guess it speaks to how much I love it that I wore it all the time last winter, fall, spring and am still trying ways to make it work even though it’s pretty big on me now. I guess it would be great for concealing a burgeoning bump next time around and then nursing again so there’s that. It’s definitely classic enough that I can see wearing it again for years.
I decided to really invest in some good pieces that I wear all the time and always need. A simple, classic coat that’s not too heavy but heavy enough was one of those, and this navy Vince coat proved to be one of my best investments of 2017. I wore it all. The.time. As outerwear, sometimes as part of my outfit, whenever I was cold at work, I’d keep it on and was chicer and more polished than a cardigan but didn’t’ look ridiculous to wear inside all day. It’s worked great with work outfits, polished up jeans, and been nice to wear with dresses for Mother’s Day brunch or parties. I’ve been looking for a heavier winter coat that makes a bit more of a statement to purchase on sale this year, as this one is great, but a little too light for the really cold January, February days, and I think I’m going to bite the bullet because as this jacket proves, a) you wear our outerwear all the time so it’s worth investing in and b) if you really love a coat, it’s worth buying because you will wear all the time. I haven’t found one yet that I really really love but this is one instance, where I really think it’s worth investing in a really nice coat and splurging because of how much it gets seen and how the wrong coat (like the parka I’ve been wearing with everything) can sometimes make you feel dumpy even when you have the cutest outfit on underneath.
This was another post-baby purchases that served me well. I wanted some really easy dresses and tops that I could throw on, look like a boss, and yet not worry if I still had some post-baby pudge or have to worry about getting undressed/redressed to pump. This striped dress fit the bill. I love shirt dresses like this — they’re easy, polished and forgiving. This one is classic but a little unexpected with the vertical stripes and easy to style a million ways – with boots, heels, sandals, etc. It really served me well. I wore it to death tbh, but I still wear it on the reg, and it would be great for early pregnancy as well. Oddly, this is kind of turning into a post-baby essentials list, but now that I’ve gone through trying to dress when pregnant and post-baby, it’s really changed how I dress and made me think about clothes in terms of going through it again, because if you plan to have a baby again, it’s nine months plus at least a few months of post-baby pudge, so it’s something to keep in mind when investing in tops, pants, dresses if you plan to have kids not too far apart. Honestly, I didn’t buy this and really haven’t bought anything with the next kid in mind — I’ve been too excited to wear stuff that I couldn’t when pregs and to fit into stuff that I couldn’t immediately post-baby (and actually for the months after it took me to get back), but I’m noticing that these immediate post-baby looks would also work in early stages of pregnancy which could be a plus if you’re trying to dress in the early stages of pregnancy, which in my opinion is the hardest.
I splurged on this bright dress this summer when it went on super sale, and I’m so glad I did. I really wanted the maxi version, but sadly, when it went on sale it wasn’t in my size. However, this short version got a ton of wear — almost every week this summer and into the warm days of fall. The color was a little bright for me, but I’m glad I went for it. I got compliments every time I wore it, I always felt cute in it, it’s super comfy and it’s great for the beach, summer parties, even the office. It also easily masks any spills, spit-up, etc. I can’t wait to go on vacation later this spring so I can whip it out again.
I love me a a cozy sweater and this was one of my favorite sweaters I bought last winter. I practically lived in it on weekends, but also layered it over dresses, skirts and pants for work. It’s so comfy, not at all itchy and just what you want to be wearing when it’s freezing out. It was also great for going out with the fam on weekends and not too pricey that I was concerned about ruining it from overwear or baby vomit/spit-up… you get the drift. I also just really like Everlane as a company and what they stand for/how they’re run, so I was excited that their sweaters and clothes are really well made and great neutral pieces to have in my closet.
I have always had tired eyes to hide, but after having James, I really do, and I also have noticed some fine lines forming around my right eye (is that normal to have one eye that’s more wrinkly?), and I want to stop that in its tracks so I decided to invest in a really good pair of sunnies. I get sent a lot for work, but they’re never really my style and sometimes they’re just cheapies. I have always been hesistant to spend a lot on sunglasses since they’re so easy to lose and break, especially with a little one who loves pulling them off your face, but honestly, I just love how an awesome pair of sunglasses can make an outfit look, hide tired eyes, allow me to take outfit pics and cute pics on the go with James without worrying that I don’t have makeup on, etc. etc. And for so many years, I’ve just worn cheap or rando ones I got, and never lost them, so I figured I should invest in ones I really love and had been coveting a tortoise rim pair forever. These Bottega Veneta sunglasses make me feel so glam, protect me from more wrinkles, hide my dark circles/makeup less face, and honestly, I wear them every dya so I’m so glad I invested in them. This year, I want to invest in a slightly more fun pair — maybe mirrored ones but rather than cheapies, I’m going to invest in a high quality pair again both to protect my peepers and because I really think it’s worth it from a style standpoint, especially if I end up wearing them every day.
Boots are another purchase I try to invest in every year. They get really beaten up during the wintertime and I still have a list of winter boots that I would like to invest in for my closet. I wanted a cute pair of black ankle boots with some height but that were basically flats. Last year was my first full year as a working mom, and I really didn’t have time for heels, especially after taking four months off on maternity leave. I loved how Chelsea boots looked, how classic they are and leg lengthening and loved them with short dresess and skinny jeans a la Kendall and Gigi (you know, my besties, Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid). These got worn to death so they definitely were a worthwhile purchase, although recently, I haven’t been as into them. I feel like maybe they make my legs look shorter and my feet look too big with the pointy toe? Idk. Probably my own complex or a bit of both, but that’s just to be honest. But the takeaway here is that it was worth filling a void in my closet. I was constantly complaining that I needed a flat black ankle boot, and I’m glad instead of trying to get dressed and not having the right footwear, I invested in it instead of a more trendy statement boot that while I would have felt really chic wearing, wouldn’t have gone with a lot in my closet and would have forced me to pick out outfits to go with the boot instead of helped me wear what I already have in my closet but don’t have the right footwear for.
I finally bit the bullet in 2017 and bought these after eyeing them for awhile. I was really temped to get the fur Gucci slides and for awhile, I had them in my cart on the reg and scrolled The Real Real for people selling theirs in my size, but then decided that you probably sweat a lot wearing them so it’d be gross to wear someone else’s and decided to invest in the loafers instead, which felt less trendy and something I could wear for a billion years and pass down to my daughter one day. That was definitely a smarter purchase although I still dream of the fur slides sometimes and it has served me well. I have another pair of velvet mules I love and love the ease of getting them on especially as a mom who often has a kid, dog, groceries or all three in my arms, but sometimes I find them hard to walk in and I’ll randomly lose a shoe while walking and it can be embarrassing so I went with the classic loafers. Plus, I felt like they were a better investment. They truly have not steered me wrong. I wear them all the time with everything and love them. They’re comfy, chic, and go with everything. Only thing is, if I ever have a daughter, I’m not sure I’ll be willing to share with her.