Now this may seem like a simple enough endeavor, but if you're like me, you don't always want to do all of the above in your black yoga pants and sneakers. In fact, call me a Lulu Lemon snob if you will, but I really only like wearing workout wear if I'm actually going to work out. At all other times, I want to be one of those "hip" forty-something Hollywood moms splattered across the pages of People magazine. You know the ones I mean, they're always pushing a stroller with one hand and carrying a baby and latte in the other, wearing those great designer jeans, tops, glamorous high heels and sunglasses.
Unfortunately, since the only drama I act in is pro bono and stars my 6-year old daughter, it's harder for me to justify buying $300 Dirty Laundry jeans and $75 Gap tops just to spend the day doing my own dirty laundry! Besides, I hate shopping! Remember how overwhelmed I get when I go to Costco? Trying to find new clothes when you don't even know your style is even worse for me... Walking into Abercrombie makes me feel like a grandma longing for her big girdle, my bottom does not need any extra attention drawn to it with any brand sprawled across its expanse, sorry but I am not nor will never again be Forever 21 in age or hemline and department stores make me dizzy; I never know what section of the endless sea of women's clothing I should be in. Am I Marc Jacobs chic, Burberry plaid or Brass Plum denial? Really, they should just have a section called "Where the Hell Do I Fit In?" for all of us lost in 40-something fashion confusion...
Okay, but I'm determined to find my style, so to get myself out of my fashion rut without spending a lot of money, I started shopping at thrift stores for "fun", inexpensive designer items that I get for a steal so I could push my envelope a bit without breaking the bank. But after wearing that beautiful, cream white Banana Republic sweater I got for $8 and sweating and itching all day, I realized there's a reason why someone donated this stuff other than weight gain and that I had been robbed! Who walks around in rabbit hair anyway? And those designer jeans? Sure, I got some great, high-end, low-rider jeans for about $10. But now until I have another $10,000 for that tummy tuck that's been on my list, I still need to unbotton them when I work at my desk for long stretches to make room for the annoying muffin top I've acquired free of charge. What's a "hippy" mom to do?
Okay, still determined, I looked into a closet consultant. These are women that will come to your home to spend the day dishing out tough love and telling you to finally give away that wool sweater you shrunk but never had the heart to throw away because your grandma gave it to you, in the effort of reorganizing your clothes to help you redefine your style. I'll admit I thought this was a great idea until I was quoted her fee. Now why would I pay someone $150 an hour to tell me that something doesn't look good on me anymore when my daughter tells me that most mornings for free?
But I wasn't going to give up in my quest for "hip mom-hood". So I decided to do my own consultation based on my bedside copy of "Lucky" magazine's "How to Dress guide" for all of us fashion-challenged women who aren't lucky enough to live or shop in New York. Telling myself this would be like a shopping spree, one morning, I took all my main pieces out of my closet and laid them on the bed. Then I tried making all sorts of new combinations that I dutifully took on and off in true fitting room frenzy, adding 20-year old scarves and 10-year old jewelry in creative fervor. Then, just like the book told me to do, I even took digital pictures so I could remember them. Well, after about 45 minutes and the 5th outfit, I was so exhausted, I threw on my Lulu Lemons and took a nap, realizing with dismay when I awoke that I now had to put all my same old clothes away again! Not a very satisfying spree, indeed...
Finally, like so many things, I realized that it wasn't my closet that needed work, it was my attitude towards my closet. So I decided to take yet another life lesson from my daughter, Nikki. Now being a fairly picky dresser herself, she only has about half a dozen pieces that she will wear to school. Yet each morning, after thinking about it as she falls asleep the night before, Nikki wakes up excited to get dressed. Bouncing around and singing in her closet in true Diva form, her knack for putting together colorful ensembles of skirts, leggings, t-shirts and sweaters with just the right shoes or boots for a style all her own is truly inspiring and fun to watch.
So I thought I'd give my style one more shot. I've moved some of my old, dressier clothes and shoes that continued to patiently wait yet never seemed to get their turn in my outfit rotation over from what had sadly become my "never-a-day" to my newly-inspired "everyday wear" section. And now, instead of going to my closet each day with the dreaded boredom of looking at the same ten things I've worn for five years, I draw from my daughter's fashion enthusiasm as I get dressed. And having finally decided that for now, I'll stay away from shopping at stores that require too much self-analysis, I simply bought some long t-shirts to wear under my shrunken, itchy sweaters and over my unbuttoned, low-rise jeans. Hey, what do you know, maybe I've bridged my "hip" mom gap after all!