Fashion Tips

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Our company’s annual holiday party is tonight.  It’s my third party, but first as a mom, so I think the rules are a little bit different for me.  Some dos and don’ts for moms at work holiday parties:

Do feel free to dance to the music; it’s a good chance to show your coworkers that you’re still alive.
Don’t get caught karaoke-ing “Like a Virgin” – you never know who’s got a cell phone camera out there and where your children may find those photos online (this is NOT a personal experience).

Do get dolled up for work that day; spend the 15 extra minutes to wash and dry your hair!
Don’t wear anything remotely similar to the photo to the left (Thank you, Tamara and Jeffrey).

Do gorge yourself on all the party apps. I’m quite sure they’re better than any dinner you were going to have at home.
Don’t stuff the dinner rolls in your purse for lunch tomorrow.  That’s not being a resourceful mom, it’s just tacky.

Do have a drink, or two (or three), if you please. You did get the night off for a reason.
Don’t overdo it. Your husband will NOT be sympathetic tomorrow and get up with the kids when you don’t feel well.

Enjoy the holiday party season!

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If the eyes are the window to the soul, then your nails are the window into how bad of a week you’ve had.  This is especially true this season.  That’s because this season is the season of dark nails.  From burgundy to black, darker shades of polish are what everyone is wearing.  From WAHMs to SAHMs, I’ve seen dark nails lurking in every corner of the mom world.

It used to be that we could get by easily with our “Sugar Daddy” and “Sweetheart” and be as hands on in our mom life as we could.  That’s the thing about light nail color, it doesn’t show squat.  A chip, a smudge, no one can tell.

Not so much with the new fall palette.  So while there’s no doubt that Chanel’s Vamp looks great on a teenager, I wondered, how do these dark colors work on a mom?  So I put dark nail polish to the test, wearing various shades over the past few weeks.  The results? Read on:

I’ve actually been wearing Essie’s “Wicked” for a little while, but I hadn’t yet gone to the true dark side until last week, when I tried OPI’s “Lincoln Park After Dark.” A purple/ midnight hue, it looked fabulous in the bottle.  My nails looked great when I left the salon and I thought I had found my new regular color.  But when I tested the color out doing mom duties, Lincoln Park After Dark ended up looking more like Lincoln Park With a Bad Hangover (Exhibit photo to the left).  

Chip after chip after chip occurred as I typed on my computer, washed my son’s bottles and attended play groups.  I was ready for a new manicure after only 3 days (I didn’t get them done at my favorite spot, Paint, in Chicago, though)!  My other NMFs agree on the difficulties of wearing dark nails and sighed in sympathy at my ragged digits. 

So what’s a fashionable mom to do?  Your nails are an easy way to feign a fashionable appearance.  If you can keep them looking reasonably good, you can appear to look somewhat put together, even if your home is a wreck and your hair is dirty.  You can shut that window of doubt on what’s really happening with your beauty routine.  However, with this new trend, one chip of your nail means you look trashy instead of trendy.

I try to salvage my dark nails by buying the color and touching up in between manicures.  A little polish and Seche Vite top coat can go a long way to preserving your nail dignity. I also always try to wear gloves when I do the dishes and wash the bottles and clean up the kitchen (wearing them while typing at work is near impossible). There is one good thing about dark nail polish – it doesn’t show all the dirt after a long day with baby.

But, overall, while I’ll stick out this trend for a little while longer,  I’m not ready to hang up my “Ballet Slippers” just yet.

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Chicago is supposed to get it’s first big snowstorm of ’06 tonight, which means I’m going to have to bust out the boots and down parka tomorrow on my day off with my son.  But as a fashionable mom, how am I going to avoid looking like the State Puff Marshmallow Man when the cold weather hits the streets?

My theory on foul-weather gear is buy from the big brands and avoid the boutiques.  I find that the brand name goes a long way for reliability when the weather gets rough and the big brands usually come with a lifetime guarantee.

So without further ado, here are my favorite cold weather items for fashionable moms:
Every mom who lives north of Kansas needs a good pair of warm boots.  That’s why I bought Uggs. I know, I know, they are so “out.”  But moms, they really work, and are super warm and comfy while pushing Junior down Michigan Avenue.  I have the Ultimate II, but I wish I got the Uptown II (to the left, love the black). 

landsend.jpgAnother good, lower-cost option is a boot I saw from Land’s End.  I usually think Lands End = Land of Dowdy, but, these quilted boots are adorable. And they are lined with Polartec. What more could a mom want?  Working moms: Check out Tamara’s advice for “commuter shoes.”

Of course, all fashionable moms need a durable jacket that looks flattering, not fattening.  My pick is the North Face Metropolis Parka.  Filled with down, it wears well in mom-land AND at the office. Buy this coat, and you will never need to wear anything else.  North Face updated the Metropolis this year with new fun colors.

Gloves: North Face wins out again for me on gloves. You cannot beat their windproof version when pushing baby in the stroller.  Your hands will love you.  

Hats: This is a sore subject for me, since I have a rather large head (don’t laugh).  So it’s hard for me to find hats that I like and that fit.  I really liked this one from Banana Republic (to the left), but it didn’t fit (shocker). So I’m reusing the one I got last year from Marmot.

With these four key pieces you can build a great cold-weather mom wardrobe.  Now, off to the snow!

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My days of being a fashionable working mom may be over soon.  Why, you ask? I can only answer it with one word: mobility.  Yes, my son’s days of being immobile are coming to a screeching halt.  To some, this may be a welcome sign that your baby is moving up in the world.  To me, it raises the dreaded question: NOW, how am I going to get dressed for work in the morning?

Back when I started working, my morning routine was a breeze.  I’d stick my son in the bouncy seat (can’t describe my love for that invention), shower, dry my hair, put on my makeup, get dressed, and he’d still be sitting there, smiling, in his chair, watching the starfish turn and turn.  This morning though, I realized that my steady routine was slowly slipping through my newly-moisturized hands.  

It went something like this: Son sits in bouncy seat for 5 minutes while I shower (I confess, I didn’t wash my hair, but wore a cute headband), and towel dry.  Son needs to get out of seat, now! Take son out of seat and scurry to my closet for anything that matches.  Run back to bathroom where son has managed to hit head on cold tile floor when rolling over (ouch!).  I sit him up and prop his back with a Boppy pillow (another one of my favorite inventions).  I’m good for another 10 minutes. Brush my teeth, put on my mom makeup (love the foundation stick!) but I’m not finished.  I have not accessorized yet.  But son cannot wait for me to pick out the perfect matching earrings.  He needs to be picked up, now!  Pick up son and walk to closet where I find something to doll up my droll outfit.  Now son wants to get down, now!  But I don’t have shoes on.  Prop son up in closet while trying on various shoes that will not kill my feet all day.  Son wants to play, now! How do I have time to play when I need to pack up my purse and wolf down a banana before I get in the car? 

But just then my answer to how I will get dressed in the morning is at the door.  Nanny arrives, and I can assume my fashionable working mom position once again.  If only I can get to work on time.

My coworker, Tamara, just launched a great new blog on workplace fashion bargains called $50 Suit. Check it out and welcome to the blogosphere, Tamara!

I was at the mall on Wednesday (I refuse to go on the Friday after Thanksgiving) and wanted to share two stores with things on sale for us, if you dare:

Banana Republic– has a plethora of great looking headwraps and headbands.  I scored a brown silk one for $12.99.

Janie and Jack– having a tremendous sale on baby clothes.  Love their sweats for little boys.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

One of the things I love about going to work is the fact that I don’t have to wear my diaper bag.  I get to wear a big-girl-all-grown-up-regular purse instead.  When I was pregnant of course, choosing a good diaper bag was a highlight.  Some of my friends went the Gucci route (way too expensive) while most picked out a Petunia Pickle Bottom (their prints make me dizzy). I looked at many and ultimately found one at Target I liked, embellished it with materials I found at Michael’s and was psyched.  This all came to a screeching halt when I returned to work and realized how much more fun it is to be able to wear a normal purse on a daily basis.

That’s why as of this week, I am going to try to wean myself off of the diaper bag.  That’s right, when I go out with my son, I’m going to throw some diapers and wipes in my purse and go.  No more bibs that will last 8 meals.  No more travel size Tylenol.  No more diaper bag. 

My son’s on a good “schedule” now. I pretty much know when he’s going to eat, and take a bottle.  So I don’t need to prepare for every outing like we’re going on an overnight trip.  He’s more low maintenance now, and I can be more selfish and take a purse that actually looks cute, rather than my hefty baby suitcase.

But it’s not going to be easy, I tell you.   I will miss all those interior pockets.  I will be sad to not have a waterproof lining.  But I’m moving on.  My son is getting bigger, but I’m ready to downsize.  

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