After having had a baby and going from an office woman to a stay-at-home mom I recently found myself in fashion rut and in need of a serious closet purge and start-over. This got me thinking about what a woman really needs in her closet and with a body that has gone through some major changes in the last 12 months where do I start? I am brought back to what a friend of mine said about five years ago, "You could be wearing a paper bag but if you have nice accessories on nobody would notice."
With a body in transition there is no need to spend a fortune on clothes but it certainly is worth shelling out a few dollars for things that will fit no matter what dress size you are. Handbags and shoes. Please note: when you get pregnant it is possible for your feet to start growing again so if you are planning to have a baby or have had one be sure to measure again or hold off on the really expensive footwear.
The Black Dress Test
There are a ton of considerations to make when choosing accessories. A simple test when picking out shoes, a bag, sunglasses, earrings or a necklace, is to think of yourself wearing a plain black dress, if you add this accessory what does it do to the black dress? Does it dress it up or tone it down? Does it make a bold statement or is it subtle glamor?
Always keep in mind the message you are trying to convey and where you will be wearing this item. It is okay to have daytime accessories and nighttime accessories but it is most economical and practical to stick with items that are versatile, functional and classic (ie won't go out of style).
I personally would rather have a few great handbags than a closet full of mediocre ones. It used to be that your handbag was to match your shoes but that's not the case anymore. When selecting a bag it is important to look at the quality of materials being used, material and hardware. You also want to keep in mind what you will be carrying in this bag so that you can choose one that meets your day-to-day needs. There are three handbag styles that are essential:
The Evening Clutch
When you are dressed up for a night on the town you will not want to be toting around your "mom bag" instead small and simple is the way to go. A black clutch with enough room to hold your lipstick, credit card and cellphone is a must-have. You need not spend a lot of money on this one, but if you do it will last you many years as this bag is the least used out of the three.
The Spring/Summer Bag
When coming out of a dark winter the colors of fashion tend to lighten up and you will want to have a handbag that does the same. You can go with white or cream if you want to keep it neutral but it is best to pick your absolute favorite color and rock it. Spending money on this item is not about the label, it is about quality and purchasing something that will last. Look for quality materials and a good size bag that can support all that you need on a day-to-day basis.
The Fall/Winter Bag
Like your Spring/Summer Bag, spending money on your Fall/Winter Bag is not about the label, it is about quality and purchasing something that will last. Look for genuine leathers or vegan alternatives and a good size bag that can support and keep warm all that you need on a day-to-day basis. Stick with black and/or brown soft or structured bags that will complement the heavier coat you will be sporting in the Winter months.
Like purses, you will want to buy not for label but instead, choose shoes that are made of quality materials and fit well. It is easy to get carried away here as I note that my closet contains about 25 pairs of dress shoes that I have not worn in about a year due to my lifestyle change. Here are a handful of shoes that every woman should have:
The Black Pump
A 2 inch kitten heel is all you will need. These can be paired with a skirt or a trouser and worn day or night. Shop for comfort and quality as these shoes will get a lot of miles.
The Comfortable Flat
These are the shoes that you will grab when you need to look put together but also need to be comfortable. There are many great ballet-style shoes on the market. Spend the money on a quality sole the cheaper ones lack support where your foot needs it.
A Sexy Strappy Glamorous Shoe
You won't wear these shoes often but when you do, you will want them to be show stoppers. Choose a shoe in a gold or silver metallic or neutral to increase the versatility and wearability. A sexy pair of shoe can make you stand taller both literally and figuratively; if you buy a higher heel but be sure it is something that you can walk, run and dance in.
The Cute Sneaker
Like the comfortable flat these shoes will be about comfort with a side of style. These are not the sneakers that you will wear to the gym, these are the sneakers that you will throw on with your jeans for a day of shopping and being on your feet. Choose bold colors or flashy brands, these shoes put the fun in function.
A Great Pair of Boots
Good for bad weather conditions, choose a pair of boots that fit your leg comfortably and are made of materials appropriate for your climate. I live in a very cold climate and opted to spend more on a not so attractive (can you say UGGly?) pair of comfortable, warm and extremely functional boots. As opposed to the knockoffs, my boots will stand up to more than one winter. Pay for quality materials and be sure to pick up a care kit as well.