Can you avoid frumpy while prioritizing comfy? Can you be a stylish mom without compromising your ability to be a fun mom? Can you look put together at home without feeling silly?
I would give a hearty “YES” to each of these questions. And in today’s post I’m going to explain why.
Let me start with a metaphor that will show you how I approach the challenge to fight frumpy as a stay at home mom:
I put on waterproof mascara when I know it’s going to be an emotional day because I don’t want the worry of smeared makeup to hold back tears. On emotional days I want the emotions to flow.
It’s no different being a mom and deciding what to wear at home. I anticipate what my day holds and dress accordingly. With four little boys in the house my life has needs that I don’t want to ignore with what I put on in the morning.
So what’s my “waterproof mascara” for everyday life as a boy mom?
Here are the rules and strategies for how to look put together at home without compromising comfort, or feeling like I’m trying too hard.
Tips for Looking Put Together But Comfortable at Home: Your “Waterproof Mascara”
The first important step in achieving chic but mom-friendly style is knowing and embracing your personal style. More specifically: your at-home style.
Some of you would feel silly wearing any jewelry pieces around the house. Others just can’t function in anything dressier than yoga pants and a basic tee. I personally dislike wearing athletic clothing unless I’m actually working out, so dressing up a bit makes me feel better.
Your personal preferences are important to understand and embrace, otherwise you will feel out of sync and soon drop the effort to get put together. There’s no point fighting the frump if you just feel silly!
I think we all share a common goal: to look put together but also be comfortable for everything the day holds.
And you know what? You CAN avoid frumpy if you keep some simple strategies in mind.
Here are those strategies for looking put together without sacrificing comfort (or feeling out-of-sync with what your day holds).
How to be stylish AND Comfy At Home – Strategy #1: Looking put together doesn’t equal tons of layers
The basic keys to looking “put together” are:
1. For a put-together look, focus on: A clean, fresh appearance (a little makeup goes a long way)
A clean, fresh appearance can be achieved by simply washing your hair, combing it, or taking a minute to add a few fresh curls to your pony tail.
Then do your very basic mom makeup and you’re good to go (this does not mean a face full of makeup!). I’d say this is THE most important part of looking put together, and it doesn’t involve clothes! For me personally, this makes the biggest impact.
My hair + makeup on most days takes 5-10 minutes but without it, it doesn’t really matter what I wear–I’ll still feel frumpy. We all know what a bad hair day feels like!
Prioritize achieving that clean/fresh appearance (even if you use dry shampoo to camouflage the need for a shower when you’re short on time). Make this part of your morning routine and it will make a huge difference!
Additional Tip: If you have time, taking care of your nails is another easy way to feel clean and put together. This doesn’t have to mean applying nail polish, it can just be clean, natural nails!
2. For a put-together look, focus on: Clothes that fit you well
Clothes that fit you well will ideally balance your body features rather than try to hide them. Focus on the favorite aspects of your body and play those up. Ditch the baggy tees and falling pants. Trying to hide parts of your body that aren’t your favorites only accentuates them more. If you know your body type that will help you too!
Shoulder seams should fall on the shoulder, not past them. Skirts should land either above or at your knee. Maxi style should touch your toes not drag on the floor. Pants should land at the ankle if skinny style or just brush your toes if boot cut style—no bunching up at the bottom.
Focus on fit. (And don’t forget that good posture can play a part of this as well! Clothes will fit properly when you aren’t slouching.)
And less is more! It’s better to have just 2-3 great fitting shirts on rotation over a drawer-full of worn-out, floppy ones.
It took me a while to embrace the scary concept of throwing out most of my less-than-perfect collection of clothes, but once I did all my favorites finally got a chance to shine. I fell in love with my wardrobe again because everything in it made me happy, even if it WAS a lot smaller!
3. For a put-together look, focus on: Clothes that are in style
Some on-trend/stylish and basic items to have on hand for just being around the house (you can dress them up with layers to go out):
visuals from the Women’s Essentials Style Guide
Slim fitting or skinny jeans (dark denim)
Slim fitting or skinny neutral AND color pants (khaki, white, gray, coral, burgundy, olive)
On-trend athleisure bottoms like joggers or yoga leggings
Pattern AND color shorts
Fitted AND slouchy tees in neutral colors (slouchy refers to style not fit—don’t just get a t-shirt in a big size and call it “slouchy.” Look for slouchy fit in your size.)
A striped tee
A boyfriend cardigan
Fitted and slouchy sweaters
Ugg-style boots or moccasin slippers
visuals from the Women’s Essentials Style Guide
That’s the best thing from building a purposeful wardrobe… when you have a nice blend of classic and trending pieces, building a cute outfit becomes effortless.
How to be stylish AND Comfy At Home – Strategy #2: Let where you are determine what you wear (Start with a simple outfit and build from there)
The outfits in the Women’s Essentials Style Guide always start with 2 basic pieces (or one if it’s a dress). From there they build with accessories to increase the “completeness.”
When you have the right pieces (and you follow the rules from Strategy #1), even the first two pieces in your outfit will give you the “put together” look while allowing maximum mobility!
When you’re home… use the first two pieces in the outfit combination
If you’ve covered the three keys to looking put together (fresh appearance, clothes that fit you well and clothes that are in style) you can go as simple as you’d like while you’re home—and you won’t feel frumpy!
Wear the simplest version of an outfit in the Women’s Essentials Style Guide when you’re just home cleaning, cooking or chasing your kids around.
Seriously, when your hair shows some intentional care and you have some basic makeup on, any simple shorts + tee or yoga pants + hoodie can achieve a very put together look that is appropriate to being at home.
When you’re going on errands… add 1-2 pieces more from the outfit formula
When you start with an in-style, well-fitting outfit base from the Women’s Essentials Style Guide, you can simply throw on a layer or two of accessories to get that polished look for going out in public.
I often start with shorts or pants and a tee while I’m home with the kids (hair combed and simple makeup done of course).
Then when it’s time to leave the house, I add my statement earrings, maybe throw on a vest or cardigan and slip into my t-strap sandals, sneakers or flats. Because I took care of my hair/makeup for 5-10 minutes when I first got up, I don’t even have to think about that and I’m instantly dressed up.
When you’re attending a function, meeting, going on a date, or something beyond errands… add all the pieces from the outfit combination or choose a combo that incorporates a “dressy” piece
Depending on the level of formal you need to achieve, for special occasions you can either wear all the recommended layers of an outfit or use one of the outfits that incorporates a dressy piece like a blouse, dress or flats.
Adding in a fun statement piece like these print flats or a fun scarf is a simple way to make your overall look more dressed up!
Wearing a dressy piece like this floral blouse is one of the easiest ways to create a chic outfit for going out. Add in a bold lipstick for a pop of color and with little effort you are ready to go!
How to be Stylish AND Comfy at Home – Strategy #3: Less Is More
You don’t need a ton of clothes! Stick with what fits you well and makes you feel pretty without much fuss.
I haven’t worn a ton of variety lately—I’m just sticking with a few tried and true outfits during my second and third trimesters that make me both look and feel great!
I’ve been rotating between 6 excellent shirts and about 4 bottoms. Two are neutral solid tees, two are pattern tees, and one is striped. My bottoms also cover the basics… denim, color pants, color shorts, and pattern shorts.
From these basic combos, I add a couple of completer pieces and jewelry and fun-but-comfy shoes when going on errands and to appointments.
How dress up an at-home outfit to go out on errands (added shoes, cardigan or jacket, and earrings or necklace)
If you’re thinking “I would feel stressed wearing such a nice top when I’m just working around the house!” you aren’t alone. In fact we have a whole post on that topic! –> Wearing Nice Clothes at Home & for Everyday Life.
Which takes me to my next point…
How to be stylish AND Comfy At Home – Strategy #4: Don’t spend so much on clothes that you stress about it getting stained
I know that most of my clothes won’t last long so I don’t spend a lot of money on them. It’s not that I purposefully abuse my clothes—my amazing life does that for me.
There is too high a risk of clothing getting shrunk in the dryer (I never dry-clean and rarely hang dry), getting pulled and stretched by little ones, or stained by all the cooking and dishwashing I do on a weekly basis. I simply won’t spend a lot on my regular clothes because I don’t want to stress about them getting ruined!
And you know what… I have a cute wardrobe that I LOVE. Low-cost doesn’t mean frumpy. It’s just smart for most moms to spend less on their daily clothes if they’ll be around kids and the kitchen on a daily basis.
Of course, I do recommend paying more for some long-lasting items such as leather boots/bags, quality bras, and basic dark-denim jeans. These are worn on repeat and not easily damaged so you should buy them once and have them last for years. Sometimes paying a bit more is worth it.
Are you looking for some inspiration for casual outfit ideas for moms?
How to be stylish AND Comfy At Home – Strategy #5: Take advantage of comfortable trends
You guys. There are so many comfortable trends every single year.
What comes to mind right away is athleisure, crossbody bags, striped tees, hoodies and tops with feminine details, sneakers, rompers, slide sandals, denim, high-waist pants and shorts, snap-back baseball caps, messy buns.
The best thing about comfy trends is they are a great way that moms can fight the frump comfortably!
You can look super in-style while being ultra comfortable when you take advantage of these trends! Simply search Pinterest for how to style these pieces and you’ll quickly clue in to how to rock them.
How to be stylish AND Comfy At Home – Strategy #6: Get basics in cute styles
Basics don’t have to be boring!
You can get a comfy tee that also has some other fun detail such as peplum cut, ruffle sleeves, floral pattern, lace cap sleeves, or crisscross back. Wear one of these with color chino shorts and you’ll be free to chase your kids around at the park while still looking like a chic mama.
Have you seen all those cute hoodies sold on online boutiques like Jane.com or Mindy Mae’s Market? Wear one of these with your favorite pair of jeans and lace-up sneakers for an easy, laid-back look that gets you comfortably through your errands.
So that’s how I achieve the “put together” mom look without sacrificing my need for comfort and mobility, and without feeling “silly” and overdressed – what to wear at home suddenly got a lot easier!
Can you avoid frumpy while prioritizing comfy? YES.
Can you be a chic mom without compromising your ability to be a fun mom? YES.
Can you get put together daily without feeling silly? YES.
Remember to use these basic strategies to get dressed with “waterproof mascara” every day at home!