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Forever 21

transitional dressing: postpartum

transitional dressing: postpartum

Several of my friends are getting to the postpartum oh-shit-I'm-no-longer-pregnant-but-nothing-fits stage. Well, guess what? Nothing should fit. Anyone who says differently is delusional or had a very unique experience. You just grew a human with your body! I didn't fit back into my pre-pregnancy jeans until around 11 months postpartum and I'd say I'm pretty lucky. And it's not just your tummy that's different, your body is holding onto fat stores all over (this article explains why). Here's my advice (and I don't say this very often): buy new stuff. It's the only solution. You need real clothes for the size you are.

You don't have to go all out (and you probably don't have the time). Budget a small amount. As I mentioned in this post about transitional dressing, this is one time it's ok to buy clothes that are inexpensive. See this post for nursing basics and why you want to buy things that you don't care about getting ruined.

When I started looking for a few examples for this post, I got a little jealous. I honestly feel like there are better options now than there were for me last summer! At minimum, you should have 1 or 2 pairs of jeans or other bottoms, a few fun non-clingy tops, a couple of decent basic tees in neutrals to dress up with jewelry and scarves, and a couple of nursing friendly dresses. Leggings can still work when you add one of these tunics for a little polish.

Here are a few of my picks for an affordable, indestructible, nursing-friendly wardrobe. Click the arrow on the right for more. Anyone else care to share their experience or advice?

(These images are affiliate links, which generate a few cents for me when you click but don't cost anything for you)

 

a work uniform for busy spells

a work uniform for busy spells

I don't like being busy. It's one of the reasons why I've left several jobs in the past. It may sound like a luxury to be able to say that, but the truth is, I'd much rather put myself on a strict budget than make more money and be busy. It's a personal choice. (Speaking of managing money, my husband and I are OB-sessed with this guy) Having said that, I've learned that in certain businesses, like personal styling, the busy-ness comes in waves. Spring/fall=crazy.  Between the last month and appointments scheduled for May, I'll be working with SIXTEEN new clients - multiple sessions each! I know that it'll slow down for summer and I'm grateful
to be doing what I love.

mindful closet st louis personal shopper stylist

Odds are, if you're one of those clients, you've seen me in this outfit. When things are crazy, it helps to not have to think about what to wear. I feel professional, comfortable, and "me" in this look - it's simple and clean but has enough unique details to satisfy me. The silk blouse is the same one from this post. A friend actually handed down these pants to me. Normally, I think hand-me-downs are a terrible idea, because you often feel compelled to hang on to things you wouldn't normally buy and that aren't quite right. If that happens to you, politely accept the gift you're being offered and then promptly donate whatever you won't wear. Every so often, you get something perfect, like these pants. The shoes are a purchase from Marshall's a few years ago, and I love the metallic heel and ankle strap detail. The bag is great for containing notebooks, camera, and measuring tapes I use for appointments. You can barely see it, but I'm also wearing a brass plate necklace that I got last summer at Forever 21.

mindful closet work uniform personal stylist

What's your go-to professional look? Do you get good hand-me-downs? Do you thrive on busy-ness?

 

(this post contains affiliate links)

lucky find

lucky find

Sometimes, even when you're sticking to your list of needs, you still stumble across something that you can't pass up. For me, it was this Lizzie Fortunato necklace I spotted out of the corner of my eye at Byrd. I've been a fan of her designs since I blogged about them back in 2013, but wouldn't have been able to afford a piece unless it was on consignment.

Whenever I buy something new, I always want to show it off when I first wear it, and later will get more creative with remixing it. For this necklace, I went all black, and just changed it up a bit with a pair of flared black denim.

(Forever 21 top, ooold Old Navy jeans, old Franco Sarto booties, Lizzie Fortunato necklace via Byrd Designer Consignment)

I'm looking forward to wearing more short sleeves this weekend as it warms up here in St. Louis!

What would you make an exception for if you found a great deal?

 

real life

real life

It feels like it's been a while since an outfit post. It's hard enough getting out the door these days (baby, dog, winter gear) without snapping pics, but then I realized I've only posted outfits on those occasions when I get dressed up all fancy. That's not real life, so here are a few real life outfits - snow, rain, overexposures, and all.

st louis personal stylist

Neiman Marcus poncho (similar), Gap jeans, Madewell necklace (no longer available), Sam Edelman booties. As an aside, this poncho is a silk cashmere blend, but I've managed to continue wearing it even with a grabby 7-month old - maybe because it lifts over his head while nursing?

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Forever 21 top, H&M scarf, Old Navy jeans, Sam Edelman booties

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Neiman Marcus poncho, James Jeans, Blush necklace (have you been to Blush? it's the cutest boutique in downtown Kirkwood - you should go!), Sam Edelman booties

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Old Ann Taylor LOFT cardigan, old Gap tee, Gap jeans, flea market necklace, Franco Sarto booties. I'm realizing that all the booties I'm wearing in this post are suede! People always tell me they don't want to buy suede because they won't be able to wear them in the rain, but clearly, I don't let that stop me. I just use a basic spray suede protector and don't splash in any puddles!

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Old Zara cardigan (similar), H&M scarf, Gap jeans, Sam Edelman booties. I bought a couple of cheap scarves this fall to change things up a bit - it's a bummer this one isn't available online in the camel color anymore - I love it!

mindful closet - st louis personal stylist shopper

Eddie Bauer parka, Paige jeans, Sam Edelman booties

Whew, that's a lot of outfits! I'm going to go ahead and wish everyone a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year - I hope everyone has a calm and restful holiday! Keep in touch on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

(this post contains affiliate links)

the search for a dignified diaper bag

the search for a dignified diaper bag

I could have called this post "summer uniform: white+denim, part forever".
Can't stop, won't stop.

 Forever 21 top, Gap jeans, Target scarf (similar), boots free from Avalon Exchange after trading in clothes (affordable similar and high quality similar versions)

This started out as an outfit post, but since I'm also using my diaper bag in this photo, I thought I'd write a bit about it. I wanted something that didn't scream "diaper bag", and nothing with cutesy prints on it. (pardon this tangent - why is everything that is to be used with babies bright colored and floral patterned? The baby is not going to be entertained by my nursing pillow, however it is going to sit out at my house a lot and I don't want to constantly look at pink and purple polka dots!! How about some nice solid colors?) That might beg the question, why not just use a normal purse or tote as a diaper bag? I did consider that, and sometimes I do just throw a diaper and some wipes into a smaller bag. However, I wanted some of the special features of a diaper bag: a changing pad, wipe-clean material, and many, many pockets. I went with the Skip Hop Versa diaper bag, and I love it.

Here's what I like about the Versa bag:

  • The look - I chose black for versatility and I like the gold hardware and zippers which add a bit more style.
  • A cross-body option is a must for having hands free. This one can be cross-body or a shoulder bag because of the adjustable strap.
  • There are straps for attaching the bag to a stroller handle.
  • The main inside pocket is very roomy and there is a zipper down the middle of the bag to expand it even more. You can see this in the manufacturer's photo. I usually keep it closed because the bag feels enormous when expanded.
  • The changing pad is in its own zipper pocket on the back of the bag. In our Jeep diaper backpack, it floats in the main pocket and gets all scrunched up.
  • On the front of the bag, there are open pockets for items that need to be easily accessible, like phone and keys.
  • Also on the front of the bag, there are zippered pockets that are perfect for keeping bottles upright.
  • On the inside of the bag, there are four additional pockets - I use one for diapers, one for wipes, one for my wallet, and one for burp cloths.

Instead of trying to find something that my husband and I would both feel comfortable carrying (i.e. something that wouldn't look like a purse when he carried it), I got the bag with the look I liked and we registered for this Jeep backpack (thanks Kyle and Jennedy!) for when my husband will be carrying the bag. Mr. mindful closet loves it (another aside - my husband says he likes it when I mention him on the blog and call him Mr. mindful closet.. Here you go, honey. It's almost as funny as when I used to work with kids and they'd call him Mr. Gillespie. They didn't know that we have different last names.) We try to keep both bags fully stocked at all times so that it's not a huge pain to switch back and forth.

After checking out the Versa bag in person, I bought mine barely used on Ebay for about half the retail price. If you wanted to go through Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you could use those 20% off coupons that are always coming in the mail for a pretty great deal. P.S. Did you know you can use those Bed, Bath, and Beyond coupons at Buy Buy Baby too? Keep that in mind for the next time you're buying a friend a gift off the registry there.

Anyone else have great tips for choosing a stylish diaper bag?

 

(this post contains affiliate links)

 

joie rancher top for less

joie rancher top for less

The Joie Rancher top has been on my wishlist for awhile. It's a great basic top that can be easily dressed up with an interesting necklace or scarf. Of course, for my current place in life, a silk top is no longer an everyday wearable item. While on a recent shopping trip, I saw an affordable version of the Joie top at Forever 21. I hesitate to say "knockoff" since it's obviously a simple design, but the shirts are very similar.

Click images for sources

Click images for sources

The Forever 21 tops are on the left above, and the Joie tops are on the right. I picked up four of them, one in each color shown above, and two in white (insurance against certain staining). They are flattering, washable (100% polyester), and nursing friendly. I love that these tops are as easy and comfortable as a tee but a bit more polished. They may not look or feel quite as luxurious as the higher quality version, but they are infinitely more practical.

Here's the patterned version, with Gap jeans (which were on sale in store for $13), thrifted necklace, and Target sandals.

on repeating outfits

on repeating outfits

I've gotten into a pattern of only photographing outfits when they're something new or different or I have to get more dressed up than usual. Rest assured, I am still repeating outfits most days. If you find something that works and you feel good in, why not? There are usually enough small variations so that they're not exactly the same. Here are a few recent ones.

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Not surprisingly, many repeat outfits involved striped tops, skinny jeans, and boots. Above: thrifted striped tee, thrifted Gap faux fur vest, thrifted Indigo Blue jeans, Steve Madden Intyce boots.

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Thrifted Forever 21 dress, thrifted Indigo Blue jeans, Old Navy boots (no longer available).

And here are a few more, previously photographed, but also getting repeat action.

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Have you been repeating outfits this winter? Anything that makes getting dressed easier is a positive in my book!