Fellow working moms – you know how hard it is to get your kiddos and yourself ready to get out the door on time. Taking a few steps with your wardrobe will help you look put together even if you are getting dressed in the dark in minutes. (Or if nothing else, read on to understand that you are not alone in your style struggle — many mamas fall into the “working mom reality” category below.)
Curate your closet
Be ruthless with the clothes taking space in your closet.
Get rid of, or at least pack away, anything that doesn’t fit, that you tug at, that needs repair, or that doesn’t fit your current lifestyle. Have a trusted friend come over to help. Even if your friend doesn’t push you to remove items, having someone else there will help you look at your clothes with fresh eyes. You’ll start to question why you’re hanging on to a shirt you went out to bars in during college.
Unless you LOVE it, get rid of so-so things that can’t be mixed and matched to make multiple outfits.
- Ideal Outcome: You will have a curated collection of clothes that fit well, fit your lifestyle, and can be mixed and matched for easy outfits that make you feel confident.
- More Attainable Goal: Get rid of the things that you hate, don’t fit right, or need repair. Even if your closet isn’t perfectly curated, at least remove the temptation to make something work that makes you feel self-conscious all day.
- Working Mom Reality: Who has time to go through a closet? And get rid of things that you don’t feel 100% in? If you did that, you wouldn’t have anything left to wear. Your body is an unpredictable, unrecognizable thing after pregnancies have left their mark. You’ll try to keep clothes clean so you’re not pulling things from the hamper, hoping they don’t smell or have obvious stains.
Prepare the Night Before
I’m not a morning person. Having my outfit picked out the night before, with shoes, helps alleviate stress.
- Ideal Outcome: You will have a clean, appropriate outfit pulled from the closet. You feel confident in it and will be able to throw it on in the morning.
- More Attainable Goal: Have a good idea of what is going on the next day so you can dress appropriately for a meeting or a blizzard. You may even remember to throw in a load of laundry so that the top you have in mind is clean.
- Working Mom Reality: Exhaustion set in well before you had the mental capacity to figure out what to wear the next day. You’ll just pull something from your overstuffed closet in the morning. Fingers crossed whatever you wear is clean. And doesn’t have holes.
- Ideal Outcome: Get ready in a well-lit, well-organized area. Preferably, take advantage of natural light which will lift your mood and help you spy any problems with your outfit.
- More Attainable Goal: Turn on the lights when you get ready so you can verify you aren’t mixing your blacks and navies.
- Working Mom Reality: At best, you get dressed with one light on only to discover what a hot mess you are when you use the restroom for the first time midway through the morning. More than likely you will have a stain in a prominent place. Fingers crossed your shoes match.
One Last Look
- Ideal Outcome: You will do a fully body check in a full length mirror. As you head out, you will give yourself one more look-over in case your adorable toddler anointed you with banana.
- More Attainable Goal: Glance in a hall mirror as you pick up your keys. That will allow you to at least be certain you can sit through a meeting without a hole in your sweater.
- Working Mom Reality: You honestly don’t have time to change even if you do look a disaster. So why even bother?
Hot Mess Working Mama
I’ve definitely gone to work wearing one gray shoe and one black one. I’ve discovered holes in my favorite cardigans after an important meeting. And I’ve found mysterious stains on my shoulder part way through my work day. But I wouldn’t trade being a mom for all the clean clothes and matching shoes in the world.