Fashion has always been a struggle for me. I'm not completely inept (although this may be argued among certain parties) or anything. I can dress myself, and often look reasonably put together 65% of the time (statistical research done by Anderson and Anderson, 2012). Most roll their eyes when I say I'm not the most competent at putting together an outfit. Many don't believe the hours I spend before an event, trashing my room with clothes, unable to discern if this shirt goes with these pants and for the love what shoes do I wear?
My fashion problems stem back to childhood. So, really, I blame my parents. I can't tell you how many times I was mistaken for a boy in my childhood. True story. Also? I did not own a pair of proper jeans until 8th grade. I hit middle school during the unfortunate "Grunge" era, so flannel shirts, leggings and skateboard shoes became a staple (and a bad habit to break). While my sisters were excited about shopping and fashion, I tended to not care as much. This led to letting my mom fill up my closet with things she felt were fashionable. And this was a big mistake.
Don't believe me?
Exhibit 526a: Easter, 1994.
Need I say more?
Now, I've come a long way since 1994 (and thank goodness, amiright?), making great strides in putting together outfits and having the knowledge to look presentable. Somewhere in high school I started to care more about my appearance, and I enjoyed adding to my wardrobe in college and when I started working full-time.
Then I had kids. Making the transition from a working professional to a Stay-at-Home mom did a number on my fashion sense. When you are hormonal, emotional, being spit up on, projectile pooped on and not showering for days at a time, there is little incentive to "freshen up." And let's be honest: post-baby, we are not loving our bodies. It takes a while to lose that weight (and many of us never fully get back to our former rockstar figures), so it's easier to shy away from contemporary, fitted fashion.
Now that I am 20 months out from my most recent pregnancy (and down a few pounds), I am feeling better about my appearance and tired of looking like a haggardly momma who never leaves the house.
I'm better than that.
You are better than that.
Fashion is always a hot topic, particularly when seasons change. Going from the short-sleeve, leg-baring fashion of Summer into the long-sleeve, pants-donning, boot-wearing styles of Autumn really require a good look at your wardrobe. I think there is a nice compromise between buying a few nice new pieces (keep it economical, people!) and reworking what you already have in your closet.
Since I'm just diving back into the Fashion and Style scene for the first time in a few years (or ever?), I needed some direction on where to start. Luckily, I have some amazing bloggy friends (now actually real life friends) who are tres fashion-savvy. I look up to these women stylistically and love what they have to say about clothes. I knew they would give me (and you!) some great tips on how to dress this Fall.
Each week, I'll be sharing one area of fashion (tomorrow, for instance, we'll be talking all about PANTS), and my panelists (so official, right?) will weigh in. Over the next few weeks, we'll cover just about everything we need to be fashionistas!
Without further ado, please meet our wonderful panelists:
Jo-Lynne is a former 3rd grade teacher turned mom blogger, freelance writer, community leader, social media manager, coffee addict and collector of colorful handbags. She lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia with her husband of 17 years, three lively children, four hermit crabs and one loyal shih tzu. You may find her musings about all things food, fashion and fitness at her personal lifestyle blog, Musings of a Housewife, or hanging out on Twitter as @JoLynneS
Hillary has always had a passion for fashion, and admits to recording her outfits in high school so she didn’t duplicate any. This married mom of 2 boys spends her days blogging and helping brands and businesses get social with new media. Hillary blogs at My Scraps and is almost always on Twitter at @hchybinski. You can like My Scraps on Facebook.
Kelly Whalen is the author of The Centsible Life, a blog designed to help you live the life of your dreams on a budget. She started her blog 4 years ago, and has since become both a well-known mom blogger and a respected voice in the personal finance realm. Kelly and her blog have been featured on The Today Show, local networks in Philadelphia, and she has been featured in magazines and print in both national and local publications including Money magazine, Kiplinger’s, and Woman’s Day. Kelly is a mom to 4, and loves that she can stay at home with her kids, and still pursue her passions for writing, personal finance, and social media. Kelly is founding member of the Splash Creative Media team, a digital marketing firm. You can often find her on twitter and Facebook talking money and motherhood.
Julie Meyers Pron has been called a "Momcyclopedia" and a "real life Google." A mom to three, wife, educator, marketer, cheerleader, budding organizer, and me-time enthusiast, Julie shares her knowledge, lifestyle tips, business-savvy suggestions and real life stories helping you to parent confidently while remaining your stylish self. Founder, owner and producer of #VlogMom and lead-everything at Julieverse, Julie has been working in Social Media since her boss shook his head and told her "you'll never buy pizza from a webpage" in 1997. (She left that job about 2 weeks later.) Read her blog, follow her on twitter and YouTube, and, go ahead, "like" her facebook page.
Nancy owns more cocktail and work dresses than a single boutique, and don't even try to count the sundresses. Usually "dressed up" by others' standards, Nancy takes fashion inspiration from vintage print ads and glamorous Hollywood icons like Marilyn and Audrey. Don't let her high fashion looks fool you though, Nancy prides herself on finding designers on a deal, often purchasing items at 30% of their original price. Her favorite wardrobe trick is maximizing the look of a few great staple pieces and working in trends in small ways. On weekends you can often find Nancy at a wedding, and she pins, blogs, and tweets about her adventures as a seasoned bridesmaid and frequent wedding guest. Two years ago Nancy founded Paper Flower Weddings & Events and her company provides day-of coordination for couples and party-throwers throughout the country (website under construction).
Melissa Angert is founder and editor of All Things Chic. She's not a fashion expert – just a regular mom with a serious addiction to fashion magazines! She is a busy mom to three increasingly energetic kids living in a little house just outside Philadelphia. Melissa is founder and editor of Girlymama, her personal blog where she has been writing about family fun and travel for over six years. She is also founder of Chic Blog Network. She has made several appearances on local news and radio programs. can found on Twitter as @MelissaAngert.
Terra and Jennifer met while they were in college at the University of Texas in Austin. They’ve always loved shopping but recently, have found little time to indulge in this pleasure. With busy careers and Jennifer raising a three year old, they realized that there was a need for a more honest online shopping experience for women on the go. This is where Reel Attire was born, the idea of shooting videos and taking photos of real women wearing fashion staples and season must-haves. Their boutique is online at Reel Attire and you can like their Facebook page.
Please get to know these gals, as they have great blogs and impeccable style. I cannot wait to share their Fashion Wisdom with you. My only regret is that I can have one big National Girls Night Out with all you readers. We d shop and enjoy dinner without kids. I'd even buy dessert!
Check back tomorrow for our first Fall Fashion 2012 post. We'll be talking pants, pants, pants!
Share your thoughts: What Fall Fashion questions are you dying to ask? What trends are you most excited about?