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|12 Quick Fashion Tricks for the Working Mom: Bringing Home the Bacon in Style |
by Janet Behmer and Shirley Pierce
From doctors and lawyers, to mail carriers and bus drivers, to all working moms everywhere, we salute you. Let's face it. All moms are working moms. There's the mom who works outside the home. The mom who stays home to raise the kids (if that's not work what is?). And let us not forget that new breed of mom who stays home to nurture her brood and her own home-based business.
Moms who work outside the home are easy to spot. They're the ones in the grocery store wielding a shopping cart in a business suit or wearing their scout uniform on the assembly line. These women truly live where worlds collide. They have to go from the boardroom to the baseball game, from the end of the shift to karate class.
Most working moms are short on two things — money and time. The following tips will concentrate on saving both for these truly super-women.
It was easy for Clark Kent to step into the telephone booth and then emerge, colors glowing, in snag-free tights. Let's see if we can help you go from Ms. Boss to Ms. Mom.
Try the following 12 quick changes for your telephone booth:
- SEPARATES — QUICK, EASY, SOPHISTICATED
Keep one piece outfits -- dresses and jumpsuits -- to a minimum. They are good for only one wear before they need to be cleaned and they are rarely clean when you need them. And don't try to get away with "just one more wear". If you do, you'll spend the day afraid to raise your arms like the "before" shot in a deodorant commercial.
- BLAZERS AND JACKETS — TRIED AND TRUE
It's the best way to create a professional look over skirts and pants. Then with a quick change into jeans or leggings, blazers fit right in at after-school sporting events. Stick to solid colors and differing lengths for flexibility. Whether you should wear single or double-breasted depends on your body shape. Unstructured jackets work just as well as blazers if you work in a more relaxed office atmosphere.
Skirts have been a professional staple since Eve wore green in the garden. They can have a little pattern to them but not much. You want to be able to mix and match them with whatever you find that's clean. Skirts should be medium length — not too long or too short. You want to be able to run out on the football field when some bruiser flattens your kid.
Pants follow pretty much the same rules as blazers. Stick to solid colors for flexibility. Slip on a sweatshirt, windbreaker or denim jacket and you're ready for the after-school round-up. Khaki pants are a working mother's dreams. They look great in the office and on the sidelines of the track field. Whether you should wear pants with pockets, pleats or cuffs depends on your body shape.
Stick to the basic button-down variety with regular sleeves and cuffs. It's hard to wrestle a three-year- old into a car seat with dangling sleeves.
Forget turtlenecks and sweater-blouses. They're good for only one wear before washing or, heaven forbid, dry cleaning. Stick to sweaters that are worn over blouses like v-necks or cardigans.
Sorry, trendy little clutch bags are O-U-T for the working parent. Purses not only have to be big enough to carry the mandatory wallet, make-up, brush and comb but you now have to have room for cell phones, pagers, palm tops and/or date books. Take a look at the new Coach bags, totes, backpacks and slings. Just be careful that they fit into your work environment. (See Business Wear section.)
God couldn't be everywhere so he made the accessories which we discuss throughout this list. They're quick little fixes that can make a woman look and feel like she's together should be simple and uncomplicated. Your earrings, necklace and/or pin do not all have to match exactly. It's easier if they don't.
You won't have to rummage for the last clean pair of matching bra and panties if you do this one simple thing — buy everything the same color. This tip is just for the ones you wear regularly. Save the rainbow for special occasions. For every day — keep it simple.
Know this scenario? You're late. Everybody's dressed and ready to go. You jump into your pantyhose and there's a run in them the size of the San Andreas fault. And they were your only pair. To save yourself from this scenario, buy your hose in bulk or keep several pairs of knee length hose on hand. When you're in a real rush and you're wearing pants, slip on a pair. Who's gonna know?
There is no quick and easier way to finish off an outfit. Just buy several that fit into your personal color scheme. Then on the way out the door just grab one and go.
Keep them comfortable and washable. The words "Dry Clean Only" should be banished from anything that you wear on a regular basis. Dry cleaning takes time and money. Two things best spent elsewhere. The "no dry cleaning" rule can be eased a little if you own a good steamer. It's one of the best investments you can ever make. If you're careful, "dry clean only" items usually only need a good press between wearings, (but then there are those days when you spill your lunch).
All of the above advice is for the working mom who wants to "keep up appearances" in a work- a-day world. But the kids don't care if you're still dressed for work at their swimming meet. They just care that you're there.
Janet Behmer and Shirley Pierce have over 30 years of fashion experience between them. Janet has spent over 13 years as an on-camera host and buyer for home shopping channels and Shirley is the co-founder and president of Dress Me Now!, a company committed to the self-empowerment of women. She speaks frequently to women's groups and has been featured on radio and telelvision. Check out their DressMeNow.com web site at http://www.dressmenow.com.