DIY/ Pregnancy & Birth

Finding Your Style

Has Pinterest changed your life? It has sure changed mine. In several different ways. For one, it has helped me bit a more stylish.

I have an easy time looking at someone else’s already-pulled-together outfit and saying, “Yes! That is cute!” But to go into my closet and pull it together myself is really hard for me.

I bought a black maxi skirt a couple of months ago, and now I can search Pinterest and get several different ideas about what to wear with it. And then go back in my closet with those clear examples and find out if I have what I need to pull the outfit together. If I don’t, I can go buy one piece of the outfit that I need, with confidence.

I can’t tell you how many times I looked at something in a store and thought it was adorable, and at a great price, but I didn’t purchase it because I couldn’t visualize what I could wear it with.

Now with Pinterest, I browse there first, see what’s in style, and all the different ways to wear it, and then keep an eye for a good price for the item when I am shopping.

So Pinterest has helped with the logistics, but at the same time I am experiencing an internal shift  that is manifesting outwardly with my style.

mint jeans

I am not sure if it is a delayed manifestation of the new me as a mother. Or if I am more at ease with my body (I am about 15 pounds lighter than I was before I even got pregnant with Penelope) and more comfortable wearing things other than dumpy sundresses and t-shirt and jeans.

Whatever it is, one thing is for sure: there is change going on. I want to feel cute and stylish, but I don’t want to look like a stuck up [email protected] And I want to be comfortable.

And I would like to be authentic. I want to be able to find my own style, not just copy outfits from Pinterest. This is probably a long way off, since I am still working on the courage to just get out of the house in something cute and not being mortified that someone might actually notice me.

Part of me not putting a lot of effort into my appearance has been about me wanting to play it  safe (as in no one will hurt me, if they don’t even notice me) and not draw any attention to myself. With my new confidence that is emerging, I realize how shy and walled up I really was.

I  used to feel as if people may not like me if I am cute, dressed well and seen as the “pretty girl”. Or that dressing well was flashy and snobby. I think there is such an undercurrent in our culture, that pretty girls are not nice and not smart. I have many distinct memories from when I was young, young girl of other girls making fun of me for wearing nice clothes or being pretty.

And my mother was the consummate pretty girl, southern beauty queen style. So not being pretty was a way to rebel against everything she is. And maybe even a way to
my father, since me being pretty always seemed to be one of the things he was most proud of. Not that I felt that was the only thing he was proud of, but you know how kids always their parents to see if they are really unconditionally loved…

I also felt conflicted in the past, as if because of my eco/green/alternative lifestyle choices, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to dress stylish and only had the option of traditional “hippy” clothes. How in the world can someone who ate her own placenta (me, if ya’ll missed that one)  wear Tory Burch shoes too? If January Jones can do it, so can I.

Also, being stylish is a way I am taking care of myself and showing myself that I am worthy. I am trying to take the time to get dressed and put on something cute that will make me feel good and happy. Not that you need to look or be a certain way to feel good about yourself, but you know what I mean, right? When you put on a dress that you look good in, you just feel good. And you go about your day in a different attitude and mindset.

How has motherhood changed your style? Have you ever wanted to dress more stylish but been afraid?

photo credits: via pinterest, maxi skirt 1, 2, and 3.

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  • liz
    March 29, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    I really struggled with my “style” after my son was born. It was sweats and a t shirt most days, but when I had to go anywhere remotely nice I was at a loss. My body had changed, I wanted to look nice, modest, but still cute. I had no clue how to do it. This was pre-Pinterest, so I found one store that had a style I liked and just bought all of my clothes there. I had the sales girls make outfits for me. That’s how lame I was! Now I’m much better at mixing and matching, but it’s still a challenge. Thank goodness for Pinterest.

    • Stephanie
      March 29, 2012 at 11:53 PM

      I think a lot of moms are in the same place, the body changes can really throw you for a loop. When Penelope was younger, and I was still pumping, my bottoms all fit, but my tops still didn’t because my milk boobs were huge! And some moms that were working and then now staying home could have a wardrobe full of work clothes but nothing cute for day to day, at home stuff!

  • Jessica Peters
    March 29, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    I wish I could be more stylish, but everytime I go shopping I get frustrated because of my weight. I am constantly trying to dress for pre-weightgain me. Even when I was thin, I was shopping for someone smaller. Any ideas on how to fix that problem?

    • Cassandra
      March 29, 2012 at 3:57 PM

      Jessica, as someone who wears a US size 28 and struggled with my weight since, oh I don’t know, I was born, you have to live in the here and now with your body. Don’t put your life, your happiness, your wellbeing on hold because you might finally lose that weight. You can focus on being healthy without focusing on losing weight. Dress cute, focus on your health separate from your waistline, and you might find yourself feeling really wonderful and not worrying about your size anymore.

      And if you’re worried you might lose the motivation to get thin, just remember that there is no motivation in feeling like shit about yourself – trust me, I KNOW. If shame and depression were good motivators, nobody would be fat. Stopping your negative emotions in regards to your size, and the clothes you wear, is something you can do for your mental health that will lend itself to getting your body healthy too.

    • Stephanie
      March 29, 2012 at 11:57 PM

      I don’t know if I have the magic answer, but I do understand. I used to do that all the time. I would go shopping on a particular skinny day and convince myself that my size was something that it wasn’t. then I never wore those clothes, because they were too tight and uncomfortable and made me feel fat. I like what Cassandra said a lot and I would just add, that buying something that is well made and fits you well, may make you feel good and the actual size of the garment may not matter…

  • Jessica
    March 29, 2012 at 4:21 PM

    I wouldn’t call myself a fashionista, but I think I have good style and have always enjoyed shopping for clothes and shoes. Before I had kids, I couldn’t imagine wanting to buy clothes for them instead of me. And sure enough, now that my son is here, he has a closet full of new clothes every season and I am wearing things that are 5+ years old! I really need to treat myself to some new clothes, but whenever I have money to spend, I can’t resist the urge to buy stuff for him. I do want to pick up some new pieces for my summer wardrobe before our vacation in June though.

    • Stephanie
      March 29, 2012 at 11:59 PM

      I know what you mean! It is so hard to spend money on yourself! The other day I bought a really nice pair of shoes and I told myself that really, I shouldn’t be buying anything for myself until my daughter’s college is completely saved for….

  • Kendra
    March 29, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    I really appreciate your vulnerability and sharing your insecurities with us. I can relate with you 100%. Motherhood hasn’t necessarily changed my style because I don’t think I had any to begin with! I actually felt more comfortable in my skin when I was pregnant and felt like I took more style chances than I normally would. I actually enjoyed shopping when I was pregnant because I don’t think I was as hung up on what size I was trying on.

    I have always dressed “safe” and comfortable in an effort not to be “seen.” I do not like drawing attention to myself. I don’t want to be like that any more. I was doing so well with shedding the pregnancy pounds, I was only six pounds away from pre-preg weight, but then I kind of let myself go. I’m not too out of control but I definitely do not like what I see in the mirror. My first step is weight loss and then I hope to incorporate the style and start taking better care of myself.

    Like I said, thanks for sharing! Have fun shopping! 🙂

    • Stephanie
      March 30, 2012 at 12:02 AM

      Thanks so much Kendra. I felt so good when I was pregnant too, even though I gained like 70 pounds!! One of the things that is inspiring me to stop playing it safe, is because I don’t want my daughter to do that. I don’t want her to ever hide her light and her beauty or feel ashamed of it. So I need to set the example now. Best of luck on your journey, sounds like you are well on your way, by being self reflective and aware.

  • Sandy H
    March 29, 2012 at 8:31 PM

    I’ve been debating this in my mind a lot lately. Part of me wants to be more stylish but every time I try to buy something trendy I feel sort of like a fraud because it’s so not me! I keep buying stuff and telling myself I should like it because other people my age like it, but I just don’t. I definitely don’t feel like I am “worth” the cost of nice clothes, and a part of me can’t wait to have kids because somehow the identity of “mom” will give me permission to like the simple, conservative stuff I already like!

    • Stephanie
      March 30, 2012 at 12:04 AM

      Yessss! I can’t tell you how many times in college, I dreamed of being of stay at home mom so it would be socially acceptable to dress conservative and even frumpy! I think what you are saying, goes along with what I mentioned about finding your authentic style, somehow finding the courage to wear exactly what you want to wear, even if it is not on-trend.

  • Ashley
    March 30, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    When I had my first child, I quit my office job and stayed home. I never wanted to buy clothes because I always felt guilty about spending my husband’s money (I know it’s OURS, but I still feel guilty, like maybe I shouldn’t.) And then we had another babe, so it was always just sweats because I barely had time to shower, and even when I do, I had milk running down me, spit up all over, and food in my hair. Not to mention sleep deprivation has taken its toll on me…:)

    Now that the LO is older, and Pinterest took over my life, I want to dress nice! Since I became a health nut, though, I felt like you…why on Earth would a crazy hippie lady be into fashion. But now I realize, I care so much about my kids and the environment and health, that I should care about my self-esteem and the way I look, too. Besides, why should my husband have to come home to me in yoga pants everday?! (I’m sure he wouldn’t mind me spending his money to look nice for him, right?!? (: I’ve always been a jeans and tee kind of girl, so I’m trying to put together cute outfits that are pretty basic but look nice. I have a hard time, because I’m in my mid-late 20s so I’m too old for juniors, but I’m tall and thin, so I don’t fit into Misses clothing. That’s my problem now! Now if I can just learn how to do my hair instead of just straightening it…

    • Stephanie
      March 30, 2012 at 2:26 AM

      Totally! I am so thankful to be working part time, I hated when my daughter was a tiny baby and I was brining no income in the door, I did not like that dynamic at all (although I am extremely grateful for being able to stay home…) But anyway, my husband actually just bought me some things for “his” birthday. He is enjoying the new me! 🙂

  • Angela
    March 30, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    Thanks for sharing. I really enjoyed reading this. I can totally relate to everything you wrote. At times I felt I was reading something I could of wrote. I especially liked, “I used to feel as if people may not like me if I am cute, dressed well and seen as the “pretty girl”.” There are times that I actually dressed DOWN when going out with certain people. I could sense they might be jealous of me and I didn’t want there to be tension in the night. I always aim to please people for some reason :/.

    After marriage and before children (2000-2005) my closet was filled with 8/10 j.crew and banana. I had no sense of fashion and didn’t have the skills to put together a outfit (and still don’t) so I would copy the model in the catalog and just buy the whole page. I felt good about myself. But nowwww, those j.crew and banana clothes have been tucked away in FOUR big Tupperware bins in the basement since 2005. I struggled with clothes everyday b/c I refused to buy a size 14 wardrobe. After my daughter was born in 2009; I only wore company logo work shirts paired with elastic pants. On weekends and days off I only wore yoga pants and a t-shirt. I’d only wear make-up 1-2 times a month and maybe brush my hair on a good day. But something has changed this past year with my attitude and I have to give some credit to Pinterest. I’ve lost about 30 lbs this year so I’ve slowly been fitting back into those clothes that have been stuffed in the tupperwear bins for 7 years. I’ve had the urge to put on mascara and go out with friends. I actually don’t have a “my style” Board yet, but Pinterest has really helped me organize my thoughts in regards to health, fitness, and natural living (which I’ve always been passionate about). Before Pinterest I started a blog on Tumblr for the sole purpose of having a home for all my favorite links. I wish Pinterest had the option for private Boards, but overall I really think it’s changed a certain aspect of my life.

  • Sarah
    March 31, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I like this article. I used to take great care to always wear signature “Sarah” ensembles. But since having my 2 babies, I’ve settled for always wearing yoga clothes (with my cute skinny jeans eyeing me up in my closet, just waiting for me to lose those last 8 lbs.) Maybe your example can help light a fire under my arse. Hey, at least i still style my hair and wear concealer to cover my circles every day!

  • Sarah
    April 2, 2012 at 2:41 AM

    I SO feel ya’ sister! Prior to pregnancy, I loved my style, and even was at a point where I loved my body! I felt confident and enjoyed wearing lots of super stylish clothes! Then pregnancy and birth hit!! My sweet baby boy is 10months old, and though I still have weight left to lose, I am just barely starting to feel like “me” again–actually it was wearing shorts for the first time in, like, a year a half and my husband complimenting my legs! My style is definitely changing, and, like you, I’m having a hard time finding “me” again. My favorite styles that used to work on me just don’t anymore! I think it definitely takes a lot of trying new things, and being open to things I’ve never been open to before…and a LOT of choosing to silence that little voice in your head that says you can’t wear something or you don’t look good!

  • Mishelle
    April 2, 2012 at 7:21 PM

    I read your article the other day, and wanted to comment but didn’t get around to it. Just saw it pinned, so thought I would. The part where you are beating yourself up for having to use Pinterest to see outfits, I thought I would say..”don’t!!” I do this too, I see it as virtual shopping. I used to shop all of the time, well that was 8 years and 4 kids ago and now the thought of just roaming around the mall to find something great sounds like a total waste of time.
    Since Pinterest I have been able to visualize things in my closet, make simple additions and great outfits. More power to you for feeling (and looking) awesome! If you were out at stores all of the time they would have mannequins dressed in example outfits, use what you can and save your time at home with your precious one.

    • Stephanie
      April 2, 2012 at 10:25 PM

      Good point!!

  • Laura
    May 1, 2012 at 3:40 AM

    Wow! Loving your blog. I can relate to *everything* in this post – it’s almost scary! 🙂

    • Stephanie
      May 1, 2012 at 12:54 PM

      Hi Laura! Thanks for letting me know, its nice to feel not alone. And welcome!