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diy scarf top

diy scarf top

When I'm thrifting, I often see amazing patterned scarves that either too large or too stiff to wear comfortably around your neck. I also had the realization that some of my favorite tops (here and here) are basically just large silky squares with a neckhole. So, combine the availability of large scarves with my love for a simple shape, and I thought I could probably make a pretty cool top.

It's so easy, I'm not even sure a real tutorial is required. Basically, you find a large square scarf. Fold it in half and mark the center point (you can also do this by folding again, into quarters). Measure five inches or so along the fold to each side from the center point for the neck. Cut a very shallow dip for the neckline, too much and it will become too scooped and not boatneck. Fold and sew down the raw edges around the neckline and then make a seam halfway up each side, like so (my extremely technical drawing):

mindful closet st louis personal stylist: diy scarf top
mindful closet st louis personal stylist: diy scarf top

That's it!

Easy, right?! Let me know if you make one...

(wearing thrifted diy top, Target nursing tank, Gap jeans, Target sandals)

transitional dressing: nursing style

transitional dressing: nursing style

As I've mentioned before, we're all constantly going through transitions with our wardrobe. There are new jobs, different workplaces, new sizes, new lifestyles, new levels of activity, new stages of life and different needs to go with each of them. Until last year, my wardrobe needs had been the same for quite some time: that of a 30-something married lady without kids working full time in a professional environment. In one year, I went to being a self-employed, casual-clothes-wearing, occasional-event-attending, first-pregnant-now-nursing mother.

After Matteo was born, I was so excited to pull out my pre-pregnancy clothes until I realized that shift dresses, fitted peplum tops, and silk blouses were no longer functional in my wardrobe. I was left feeling (once again) that I had nothing to wear. With the exception of the last four weeks or so, dressing for pregnancy was really pretty easy, especially when compared with my new challenge: dressing for easy breastfeeding access and yet another new size. For clothes to be easy to nurse in, there are a few requirements:

  • Must be able to wear a nursing tank or bra underneath - no skinny straps or trendy cutouts
  • Must be able to unbutton, unzip, lift up, pull to the side or pull down
  • Must be easily washable, because you will be constantly covered in milk, spit-up, pee, and/or poo (on special occasions, all at the same time!)
  • Must be affordable enough that you won't mind when it gets permanently stained or worn out from washing. Most of the examples below are from places like Forever 21 and Old Navy.

I've found the nursing tank to be the most valuable player in this new wardrobe. I'm at heart a pretty lazy person, and if I'm at home, I do not want to be fighting with extra layers of clothing. When I do go out, I'd like to only throw one layer on top and be done. The first week we were home from the hospital, I sent my husband out to buy five of these Target nursing tanks. The consensus on the interwebs was that they were the best, and I agree. For the time spent at home, this was my uniform:

When I got "dressed" for the day, I wore jeans instead of yoga pants. I know, fancy, right?

And yes, those are maternity jeans. Not only did I not fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, (which should be a given, by the way) but I had underestimated how comfortable an elastic waistband could be!

When we had visitors, I'd throw a lightweight drapey cardigan or kimono over my nursing tank and, along with my jeans, had an actual outfit!

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

After a few weeks, we were getting out in public a bit and I started to want to make a little more effort. Button downs and tops that can easily be pulled up were what worked best, along with a few pairs of new pants in a larger size. Although I do have a couple of nursing bras, I usually still keep that same base layer of nursing tank+jeans. Another benefit of wearing a tank is that when you pull up your top layer to nurse, you're not revealing your post-partum belly to the world.

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

I love all the flowy, bohemian white tops that are in stores this summer, and they're great for nursing.

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

Since I miss dresses so much, I had to figure out which ones were possibilities. Of course, shirtdresses work, as do styles with wraps or zippers. Here are a few:

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

(Don't you love that Target shirtdress on the top left?!)

After finding a few new pieces that fit these requirements, I felt like I could re-enter the world without having lost my personal style. Anyone else have any tips to offer?

stripes forever

stripes forever

I wrote this post before the baby arrived. See end of post for the dress worn post-pregnancy!

The internet was responsible for my buying this dress. Via Mary's post (see below), I saw it on another blogger, and promptly went out to buy it. I really love having a casual summer dress that can be dressed up or down, and I'd worn out all of my previous striped ones, so there was a hole to be filled in my wardrobe. I can't quite believe it, but it's not a maternity dress! Fingers crossed it works post-bump.

A few links to check out:

My friend and client wrote a post about our work together on her business website, St. Louis Birth Rhythms. She specializes in music therapy for pregnancy and birth to relax couples and create positive birth experiences.

I loved Mary's take on dressing for the various stages of pregnancy (including stripes!).

Usually these articles in magazine are all fluff, but this is really great advice on analyzing your wardrobe from Real Simple.

 

And the dress a few weeks ago on mr. mindful closet and my first hour out
alone - for sushi, of course...

mindful closet st. louis personal stylist

an impractical wish list

an impractical wish list

Since I'm no longer pregnant, I am itching for new clothes. Hours of one handed shopping on the iPhone while nursing has provided me with lots of temptation. Unfortunately, my current circumstances (clothes need to be nursing-friendly, I'm transitioning in size) are limiting what is practical for me to buy/wear. So I'm blogging my wish list instead of buying.

Click image for sources

Click image for sources

I've quickly realized that my favorite dress shape, a shift (seen multiple times above), is not nursing-friendly. Full disclosure, though - I did buy the black and white striped Zara dress on the top right while I was still pregnant and crossed my fingers it would fit post-partum (it does). It'll be for those special times out sans bébé this summer and will become more practical as the baby gets older. I really don't need any new shoes, no matter how cute, although I'm seriously tempted by the Rebecca Minkoff snakeskin sandals (center) - at least they're a practical height for running around in. I could use a pair of jeans that fits while I'm between sizes, and my own mom looked great in this cute pair of Gap high waisted skinny jeans. The white button down blouse from Old Navy (left center) is practical and affordable for being something that will get spit up on constantly (seriously, why didn't people warn me about the spit-up??), and it might get bought.

In the meantime, my main purchase has been a boatload of these tanks. Not so glamorous, but certainly practical.

 

(PS I doubt anyone actually waits with bated breath for my posts, but they'll definitely be more sporadic and infrequent for awhile. I hope you'll continue to visit!)

when it's ok to make a cheap purchase

when it's ok to make a cheap purchase

This is my boho bump look:

mindful closet - boho maternity look

I'm wearing my new Old Navy maternity boyfriend jeans. It's been 20 years since I had a pair of distressed jeans. In high school, there was a pair of super cool denim cut-offs with holes and patches that my mom kept throwing away and I kept getting out of the trash. Maybe because of my love for those, I was willing to try the trend out again this time around. These jeans are so comfortable.

mindful closet - st. louis personal stylist

At the same time I had my little late pregnancy shopping spree, I found this Forever 21 blouse at the Goodwill. It's not a maternity top, but since it fit at that moment, it was a yes.

The sandals I'm wearing in the photos are from Old Navy, like, five years ago, no joke. Shows that a cheap purchase can be good if you really love and wear the item. It's only when you buy something thoughtlessly or only because it's cheap that it becomes a problem, since those items don't really get worn. Of course, after five years, not too many sandals are still going to  be in good shape, so I replaced them with the Target sandals above. Something that helps with both pairs is that they aren't too specifically trendy. Yes, gladiator sandals have been a trend for a while, but not having neon or glitter or other trend specific details helps them stay current longer. I love these and have worn them every day since buying them, so let's hope they're another worthwhile cheap purchase! (Another time I think it's ok to go cheap is for those truly transitional periods of life.)

Have you made any cheap purchases that turned out well in the long term?

true confessions

You have to know who you are. Over the years, I've paid notice to what I feel most comfortable and confident in, and it's not bright colors. Some may say that I need to wear more color or that it's some sort of rule, but that's just not me. And half the western world agrees with me - if you've ever spent any significant time in Europe, you'll notice (as I did for the first time as a 16-year-old in Germany) that the most well-dressed women stick to neutrals. Recently, I had this crazy urge to wear a bright color, accented by another bright color, while almost nine months pregnant.

Top: Liz Lange for Target via Kangeroo Kids, jeans: thrifted Heidi Klum, wedges: Target, necklace: Zara

I actually think the outfit looks cute, and would look great on someone else too. I just felt not myself in it, and after we took these photos, I ended up changing into this, minus the boots. I was going by myself to a party where I didn't know many people, and I was all the more glad I changed into something I felt completely comfortable in.

via my  Instagram

via my Instagram

Do you guys know about Kangaroo Kids? It's where I bought the top I'm wearing here (with the special they had, it was something like $3!). It's a great children's and maternity resale store (as well as breastfeeding support center) in Rock Hill. Our childbirth class met there and I couldn't help but do a little shopping each week! They have great specials and sales going on all the time. I feel as though their maternity selection is better than several other resale shops' inventory. We also found this awesome bloom baby lounger (above). I had been coveting it but couldn't justify buying it for full price, but at Kangaroo Kids it was 75% off of the retail price!

Resale/consignment for the win once again!