Get Thee a Daily Uniform, Woman!

by Hallie @ Moxie Wife on March 19, 2012

I was recently chatting with a girlfriend of mine about the very cool way that wearing an outfit we love can brighten our day. She bemoaned the fact that she doesn’t have the time or energy in the morning to pick out cute clothes right now. She just had her first baby and–as any Mom can attest to–mornings can be a bit overwhelming.

Later that same day I was thinking about what she’d said and remembering how I’d faced the same struggle when I was a new Mom. This is not something I currently struggle with, though, and it made me wonder what had changed. Honestly, my mornings are no less chaotic than they were when my oldest son was little, I sleep no more than I did back then, and my wallet certainly isn’t any fatter. And then it came to me - I now have a daily uniform!

I didn’t set out to create a daily uniform, but I definitely have one these days. I really can’t overemphasize how helpful this has been. I feel strongly that every woman deserves to have stress-free mornings and to wear clothing that lifts her spirits. For those of us in busy seasons of life, those two things can seem mutually exclusive. They’re totally not, though.

Enter the daily uniform.

I guess the name is a bit misleading. I don’t wear this outfit every day, of course. No, my “daily uniform” is simply my default outfit for those most chaotic of days–the days where you wake up bleary eyed and find yourself doing things like putting the coffee pot to brew in the refrigerator. I know those days well. No woman needs to be wrestling with her wardrobe on days like that.

A daily uniform should meet the following guidelines:

 

  • It should be simple.
  • It should be comfortable.
  • It should be easy to wash.
  • And it should make you happy when you wear it.

 

My daily uniform consists of jeans or a black skirt (I pair the skirt with opaque tights in the colder months), a simple t-shirt (Gap is my go-to retailer for these), a black crewneck cardigan, and my favorite pair of Mary Jane flats.

Shirt ~ Cardigan ~ Skirt ~ Jeans ~ Mary Janes

 

I would never judge a woman who feels the need to stick to yoga pants while in the midst of a survival season. I’ve done it countless times. Having said that, I strongly believe that it’s during the survival seasons that women most benefit from the boost they get when they slip into something that makes them feel beautiful and puts them at ease. I know you girls who read my blog and you are some of the most selfless women I have ever met. You deserve to have peaceful mornings and you deserve to feel pretty. Get thee a daily uniform, woman!

 

Do you have a daily uniform? If so, I’d love to hear about it! 

Kisses!

{ 60 comments… read them below or add one }

Jodi March 19, 2012 at 7:46 pm

I’m changing sizes again and need to revamp my wardrobe with items that fit. It is daunting for me (I HATE SHOPPING!), but coming up with a “uniform” might make the task less painful. … Must ponder this more.
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Come see me in Cinci and we’ll get our shop on! We would have a ball — even if it’s true that you hate shopping (which isn’t something I can really wrap my head around). ;)
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Dacia March 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm

That’s so funny, I’ve never thought about this before but I guess I do! My go to daily uniform on days when I can’t do anything else is a long knit black skirt and one of my favorite comfy shirts. I look nice (at least I think I do) without much effort. I am thinking of getting a nice headcovering (like this one http://www.garlandsofgrace.com/productspage/one-of-a-kind/stretch-meg-in-blue-haze/) for days when my hair doesn’t want to cooperate and I can’t shower.

Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 8:14 pm

I LOVE Garlands of Grace! And I agree, the Meg is beautiful!
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Beth Anne @ The Catholic Couponer Blog March 19, 2012 at 8:17 pm

When I was working I always picked my clothes out the night before. It made the morning SOOO much easier esp b/c I’m NOT a morning person as it is. But also because I usually needed to iron whatever I was going to wear so I did that the night before.

But I agree knowing what I’m going to wear before I go to bed made the morning 10x less stressful and easier to manage (and I don’t even have kids)!
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 8:21 pm

I love this idea! Unfortunately, these days I am so worn out by the time the evening arrives that I worry what special outfits I might choose for myself! ;)
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Diapeepees March 19, 2012 at 8:36 pm

What a cute post idea…I always love to dress up for fancy things, but as of recently, I’ve been trying to put myself a little more together for errands etc. I figure, that’s most of your life anyway. Might as well dress the way you feel, instead of save everything for a few special occasions every month. Because I think when you really feel connected to your style, you want to showcase it every day.
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

I totally know what you mean about wanting to embrace your style every day. My only problem is that my favorite look involves high heels and dresses which don’t always harmonize with mothering five kids under nine! ;)
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Annie March 19, 2012 at 8:47 pm

My work “uniform” is jeans or black pants and a nicer knit shirt since work is a casual place.. I generally layer a tank trimmed with lace underneath for modesty and the bit of lace peaking out makes me feel girly. My issue is finding shoes that are cute, closed toe ( for work) AND comfortable. So I’ve been living in falling apart 4 year old .

Grace March 19, 2012 at 8:49 pm

I love this post and thanks for including the links to your pics.:) My go-to daily uniform is always a flattering tee, jeans, and a pair of Danskos. I always try to have my hair done even if it’s just dried and pulled into a pony. I had it thinned and colored recently which I love! It makes me look younger, up-to-date, and hides my grays. I can always slip on a sweater if I get a chill or whip on an apron if I have to get messy with a household chore. I smiled as I have a similar pair of those Dansko Mary Janes you listed. I just bought my 5th pair of Danskos because I love their shoes so much! Now that the weather is getting warmer….can’t believe that in the middle of March in MN….crazy….I will be donning capris, again a flattering tee, and comfy sandals or flip flops. I’m on the lookout for a cute Dansko sandal. Any suggestions?
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Sarah @ Amongst Lovely Things March 19, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Yup! Mine is a lot like yours: jeans (Gap or Jag are my favorites), 3/4 sleeve tee-shirt (usually with a ModBod layered underneath), striped socks in the spring/summer, wool socks in the fall/winter, dangly earrings, danskos, cute headband. Mascara, eyeliner, little bit of blush, lip gloss, GO. :)

I wear that almost every single day. The only things that really change are the color of the tee-shirt, the socks, and of course my earrings and headband. I’m feelin’ the need to spiff up the earring choices, though. Where’s your favorite place to buy earrings?
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Leanne March 19, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I’m really struggling right now with this! My second baby is nearly a year old, but I’m still losing a lot of the weight I gained with her. Regardless of the weight I have lost, my hips just aren’t slimming down. Therefore, I don’t fit in ANY of my old pants, but I’ve finally lost enough weight/inches that I no longer fit in those post baby pants either. And there just isn’t money to go buy a new wardrobe! So I find myself in yoga pants most days or in jeans that swallow me. I think this is a big reason I’ve been feeling down lately!

Any advice on that one??
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Mamabearjd March 19, 2012 at 9:08 pm

Black jersey maxi skirt – this one is figure flattering, it doesn’t look like a beach cover up, and a tee shirt. I think that a cute skirt and a tee are always easy and almost always doable, even with little kids. I also have amassed a lot of pencil skirts, thinking they would be my uniform, but unfortunately they look silly with flats and I would look silly wearing heels and hauling 4 kids to Costco in them.
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 9:22 pm

You know I love the girly touches! :)
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Meg March 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I’m a student, but an older one, so I try to wear clothes other than jeans, t-shirts, and sneakers. I have multiple pairs of black chino-type pants and a variety of colors of polo-and-cardigan cotton shirt pairs. My shoes vary depending on the weather, but they’re usually comfortable boots. I’ll either have a coat, jacket, or sweater to keep me warm. Since my pants are all black and my shirts are already in pairs (lined up in the closet so each day I pick the next color), I do not have make choices after I check the weather forecast and decide which coat/jacket/sweater/shoes will be appropriate.
(Most of my clothes are from L.L.Bean because they have consistent curvy sizing and the best return policy I’ve found, which makes matching easy.)

Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Aren’t Danskos the absolute best? LOVE them! I haven’t stumbled upon any cute sandals lately but I’ll be sure to let you know if I do! Zappos.com is always a fantastic place to look!
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 9:26 pm

Cute, cute, cute!

Almost all of my earrings came from Etsy. I’m mildly obsessed with that place. That’s where you get those cute headbands of yours, right?
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 9:31 pm

What about jersey knit skirts? Jersey knits skirts absolutely save me during the 4th trimester! Target and Lands End have a few that aren’t very expensive but are super cute. Or I bet you could find some at a local thrift store–though it might take a bit of searching.

Or maybe dresses with cute leggings?

Bella Bands are a lifesaver, too. Do you happen to have any of those already?

I hate that you’ve been feeling down lately! Hugs!
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 9:34 pm

I have the same problem with pencil skirts. Occasionally I’ll pair them with a pair of cute wedges but probably not on tough days like the ones I described in the post. I do love them, though!
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 19, 2012 at 9:36 pm

You are brilliant! I wish I were half as organized and intentional as you are! I love it! :)
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Andrea March 19, 2012 at 10:16 pm

Mine is almost identical to yours, but I’m going to have to check out the Gap shirts!
I really like a simple wardrobe, with solid colors. My accessories are where I add “extras.” I always wear big earrings. What can I say, I’m a Texas gal.
I’m interested in your Mary Janes. What kind are they? Shoes are what trip me up, and I really don’t like going barefoot.
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Andrea March 19, 2012 at 10:18 pm

Also, I just saw Meg’s comment above and I have to agree about black chinos. I LOVE mine, I buy the wide leg version from Land End and I like how they balance me out. Love, love, love black chinos! (But again, my shoes are the quandary!)
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Betsy March 19, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Isn’t it funny how we gravitate towards certain outfits? It’s like we each have our own little groove. I can always tell I’m out of my happy zone when I change clothes halfway through the day! p.s. recently discovered a great place to find quality t-shirts and tanks: shadeclothing.com. (It’s affiliated with Gymboree.) I ordered a couple of their spaghetti strap tanks and the necklines were delightfully modest.

Andrea March 19, 2012 at 10:22 pm

Sarah, I don’t know where you’re located. But, my favorite place to buy earrings is Sam Moon. I live in Wyoming, so I don’t have any sort of normal shopping. But, when I visit family in Texas I always hit up Sam Moon and collect a bunch of earrings. They’re cheap and there are SO many choices.
I’m a big earring junkie. I love earrings.
Another place that I think is similar is Charming Charlie’s.
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Barb S March 20, 2012 at 1:19 am

At home, sweat pants or yoga pants, a tee (short or long-sleeved, weather depending) and a blouse or fleece, again weather depending. When I leave the house, I change into jeans or capris. All-black sneakers or Dansko knockoffs are my “uniform shoe.” I’d stay in jeans/capris all day, but some medical issues can lead to abdominal bloating and it’s just not comfortable to wear jeans or capris when that happens. So I’m constantly changing clothes so I can be comfortable at home, and at least deal with it when I leave the house. My favorite new jeans are actually charcoal gray–a little dressier and that does give a good confidence boost!
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Ashley March 20, 2012 at 2:19 am

Black pants and tank top (if at home) or black pants and (usually dark) solid colored top. …and Toms shoes.

In high school, it was always black slacks, red (or black and white) top and boots or black dress shoes.
Every day…

I wanted to change my wardrobe (pair everything with brown or grey pants… only I couldn’t decide which color) but it (like my weight) is a transition. Black just hides stains better.
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Colleen Martin March 20, 2012 at 6:47 am

What’s ModBod? Is it like Spanx? Do people really wear things like that every.day? I wear spanx when I dress up for a special occasion…but maybe I am missing out on looking good every day?!?! :)

Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 20, 2012 at 7:03 am

Hmmm…just spotted this:

http://awomansplaceis.blogspot.com/2012/03/garlands-of-grace-and-catholics-in-her.html

Kind of bums me out.
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 20, 2012 at 7:12 am

They’re Danskos (the label underneath is linked to their page on Zappos). I adore Danskos! Seriously — they’re expensive but they last forever, super cute, and unbelievably comfortable! Get thee a pair of Danskos, woman! ;)
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 20, 2012 at 7:13 am

Totally! That’s one of the things that inspired me to write this post. I think it’s so fun to see what other women gravitate toward and what kinds of apparel makes them feel beautiful. :)
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 20, 2012 at 7:15 am

I spotted someone in a pair of charcoal gray jeans just the other day! I thought then that they were super cute. :)
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

I was talking to a friend the other day and she said, “I just have to accept that I’m only ever going to wear gray. I’ve tried buying other colors and I never wear them.” I think it’s awesome when a woman can figure out what she loves and embrace it!
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Christie Martin @ Garden of Holiness March 20, 2012 at 7:19 am

Holy cow! You are a genius. It really is that simple. Plan an outfit or two when you have a spare minute or two and you cut a lot of angst out of the mornings. I had done this for days that start with mad dashes out the door, but not for days spent at home. Why didn’t I think to plan my daily wear? Is my husband worth a little preplanning and looking cute? You betcha!

I guess the next challenge, of course, is keeping the laundry up! That’s a whole ‘nother post, though.
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 20, 2012 at 7:27 am

I feel your laundry pain. I despise laundry. I told my husband the other day that I am convinced that I am the worst woman on the planet at staying on top of laundry.

He agreed.

;)
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Kayla @ The alluring world March 20, 2012 at 9:28 am

Thanks for the link. I bought a veil from her a few months ago and it is beautiful. It makes me sad to have to withdraw my business (I had been considering buying from her again) – but I refuse to be a burden.
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Maurisa March 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I love the idea of a daily uniform. I recently bought several shawl collar sweaters in different hues on sale from Eddie Bauer. I pair those with jeans and cute boots. I gravitate toward solids, so I try to accessorize by wearing make up everyday, fixing my hair, and wearing jewelry. When it’s warm I do much prefer skirts. I’ll have to take a look at The Gap for some cute summer T’s.

Sarah @ Amongst Lovely Things March 20, 2012 at 1:20 pm

Yes, that is where I get my headbands. Funny that I hadn’t really thought to look for earrings there.
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Sarah @ Amongst Lovely Things March 20, 2012 at 1:24 pm

I’ve never worn Spanx, but I’m pretty sure it’s not really the same idea. ModBod (themodbod.com) are shirts you wear that are longer (so you don’t get any flesh peeking out from under your shirt, especially when you bend over) and higher at the neckline (Mod Bod stands for Modest Body, I’m pretty sure). I wear them layered under other tops because they make me feel more comfortable, but they don’t “hold things in” like Spanx do. They just cover more. ;) I don’t usually wear mine as stand-alone tops because they are very fitted- more fitted than I’m comfortable with as an outer shirt- but they make for GREAT under-layers, and you can get them in all sorts of styles and colors.

I buy mine at Costco when Mod Bod does their display there (a couple of times per year). It’s cheaper to buy them at Costco than to order from the website.
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Beth March 20, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Love this post! Since staying home with the kids, I have adopted a sort of daily uniform too. I am a hoodie and blue jeans kind of gal, but I choose mostly bright pretty colors to lift my spirits and accessorize with jewelry (not fragile jewelry though- the kids still pull at everything! ). I almost always put on a little make up too as I’ve noticed it makes me feel more ready for the day :)
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Meg March 20, 2012 at 5:11 pm

Aren’t they great? I wear mine EVERYWHERE (well, not weddings, but that’s about it). They go with a t-shirt as well as they do with a button-down oxford cloth shirt. I used to wear the Lands’ End pants until they stopped making curvy sizes; now I stick to L.L.Bean — bonus, hidden elastic waist!

Meg March 20, 2012 at 5:45 pm

Hah! You say brilliant, and my mother, when she visits, says BORING. She’s always been more concerned with fashion than I am, but I really prefer being comfortable to anything else. My beloved black chinos all have hidden elastic waists and I have nice braided elastic belts (they look like braided leather). I make sure my shirts are not wrinkle-resistent, because they’re scratchier (tip : hang wrinkled clothes up in the bathroom when taking a shower, they’ll turn out fine). Thanks to some highly necessary permanent weight gain a few years ago, I had the opportunity to entirely redo my wardrobe (I was working full-time, so I could do that). That let me pick clothes with intention and thought, and I’ve tried to stick with comfortable and machine-washable items which mostly all match.

Alison Solove @ExperimentalWifery March 20, 2012 at 7:19 pm

I like the idea of having a uniform, but my family has it’s own solution. My husband and I made a deal: he gets our infant son changed and dressed in the morning. I get ten minutes to put on something I enjoy wearing and put on make-up. He’s happier because I make an effort to look nice for him. I’m happy because I feel attractive. Thomas is happy because he gets some special time with Daddy. It’s a win-win-win.
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Shannon March 20, 2012 at 7:40 pm

My daily uniform matches yours to a T, Hallie. I find that when my earring holes are filled and I have on a colorful necklace, even the simplest of outfits feels happier. And the addition of a scarf for my hair makes my good mood nearly unstoppable!
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Jennifer March 20, 2012 at 8:51 pm

Hallie,

I am the worst woman on the planet for staying on top of laundry :-).
What is your favorite place to shop for skirts? I really enjoy wearing them, but have given up recently. I truly enjoy your blog and your book. Thanks for writing!
Jennifer

Ashley March 20, 2012 at 9:25 pm

I have what might be a silly question – do you buy several of the same skirts? Or a few different black skirts? Then with the shoes in the spring/summer do you wear socks or anything? I love wearing skirts and I feel so much prettier in them, but I cannot stand wearing tights all day :/ Figuring out a good daily uniform for staying at home has been something on my mind for a long time! Thanks for posting this.

Elizabeth@Family Menu Planning March 20, 2012 at 10:07 pm

Ok, I have a modesty question. What in the world do you do when it is incredibly windy and you wear a knee length or even calf-length skirt? Especially the flowing feminine type like the one in your photo. I’ve been in this situation this spring and wonder, “How exactly do I pump the gas/load the groceries/get the baby out of the car without pulling a Marilyn-Monroe-skirt-flying-in-the-air moment?” Is there some trick that I’ve missed? Do I just wear pants or very long skirts throughout the entire windy spring months? I truly have stood in my closet with much more limited wardrobe choices due to my fear of being windblown at just the wrong moment!
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Nicole March 20, 2012 at 10:37 pm

I love your post- I just wish I could do it. I’m sweatpants and my husband’s tshirts everyday- at home, running errands, mass, everywhere. With a 1-year old and 4-month old I can barely motivate myself to shower. Any advice is appreciated, thanks.

Martha March 21, 2012 at 10:21 am

I know exactly what you mean, Elizabeth!! It’s pretty much windy 24/7 here on the MN prairie, and I’ve asked myself the same question. In a quest for modesty, we end up nearly naked in front of everyone (so much for jeans being immodest, huh?). I haven’t dealt with it well- I tuck my skirt between my legs while standing, or hold it in one hand while carrying the baby, and run into the store or wherever I’m going- not such a graceful plan. I have friends who wear shorts underneath. That’s probably the only option.

Anyone have any other ideas?

Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

I know! I have had many an unwelcome Marilyn moment. Short of wearing leggings underneath, though, I don’t know that there is a solution. Has anyone else found anything that’s worked well?
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 21, 2012 at 10:34 am

If I find a skirt that I absolutely love, sometimes I’ll buy more than one. I’m trying hard to simplify my wardrobe, though, so I really only have two or three skirts right now. (Dresses are another story entirely!)

And in the warmer months, I wear those shoes all by themselves–no socks/tights/etc.

:)
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 21, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thank you so much, Jennifer! I love Gap, Boden, Garnet Hill, and Lands End for casual skirts. :)
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Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 21, 2012 at 10:39 am

You have a lot on your plate right now. Just be merciful and loving toward yourself, Mama! Embrace that you’re in a survival season and don’t waste time beating yourself up. You are doing the most important work on earth! :)
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Nicole March 21, 2012 at 12:52 pm

Thank you. I think that’s the most encouraging and supportive thing anyone has ever said to me.

Sophie March 21, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Chanel style: sew a little chain in the hem of your jacket/skirt to weigh them down.

but I doubt that works in a light, flowing skirt…

Hallie @ Betty Beguiles March 21, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Oh my goodness! Well, I’d say it to you daily if I could! Every new Mom should be hearing this message regularly! :)
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becca March 21, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I like to wear a khaki cargo-style skirt in the summer with t-shirts, and sometimes if I know we’ll be at a park or somewhere where I’ll be sitting on the ground etc, I wear bike shorts under them. It makes the outfit less cool when it’s really hot, but it’s the only solution I could think of!
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Martha March 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Super thought, Sophie- I like it!

Mary E March 22, 2012 at 2:31 pm

This is totally true…I’ve kind of gravitated this way and noticed it as I often am wearing the same 6 or so items over and over during the week. My grad school is pretty conservative so my style has evolved a bit since being here. Right now I’m feelin’: maxi/flowy mid-calf skirts or jeans and chunky sweaters/cardigans that I’ve had since high school. For shoes–depends on weather: Hunter boots (sooo worth the investment), ankle boots, ballet flats, wedges. When I’m at home I’m living in leggings. They are from the Lord, I tell ya! So comfy. I love this blog. Thank you for your witness of womanhood, Hallie!

Maryann March 25, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Re: cardigans…a few days ago, I picked up two Lands End cardigans at my local Sears for about $9 each on clearance. This was in the LE petite dept, but I’m imagining the LE misses may have had some too. They scan as more expensive in the price checker thingie on the sales floor, but they have green stickers, which means they’re about 75% off at the register. There weren’t many left though. (I don’t work for Lands End or Sears, just thought I’d pass this on.)

Amy Caroline October 3, 2012 at 9:48 am

You are so right. During those times, more than ever, you need to feel so control. I know I always feel more in control of the chaos if I am doing dressed and ready! Preferably with some mascara and cherry chapstick too!
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