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Make Room for Fashion: Playing Dress Up

Yesterday, one of my very funny mom friends told me she needs to go back to work, desperately, because she wants to dress up again. She said she’s tired of walking around dressed like an unemployed teenager. In my opinion, this mom to a one-year-old and three-year-old is not cutting herself much slack. When you’ve got a baby in the house, you spend so much time crawling around on the floor that leggings and stretchy jeans are pretty much your only option. (In fact, when my son was a baby, I remember ruining many a pair of dark jeans by kneeling and creating faded white spots at the knees).

But I understand where she's is coming from. We feel good when we dress up. Just having an excuse to make an effort, to put on make-up, style our hair and actually put thought into an outfit (accessories included) just gives a little boost to our self-esteem. Some may call it narcissistic, I call it human nature. When we look good we feel good. And as moms who give so much of our time and effort to our little guys, we deserve both.

My advice: First invest in a beautiful, well-fitted blazer. It’s the perfect piece to dress up jeans in the fall and, if fitted correctly, it can be exceptionally flattering. After working for many years as a reporter in men’s fashion, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard a designer say that a blazer is the most flattering item of clothing a man can wear because it hides a multitude of sins. It’s true. Love handles, protruding tummies, back fat, flabby arms…men have been hiding all of those unmentionables under their suits and sport coats for years. It’s time we got in on the action. In a rich fabric like velvet, or a vibrant color like royal blue, a blazer is an ideal way to dress up your day without overdoing it.

Secondly, buy some new jeans and make sure they’re tight. That’s right, tight. No one feels dressed up in a pair of baggy jeans, so make sure the ones you buy keep their stretch. For most, that means buying one size smaller than usual (as long as they don’t squeeze at the hips). It’s so frustrating for a brand new pair of jeans to feel loose and baggy after one wear. I’ve found that J Brand and certain Rag & Bone styles really keep their elasticity.

And finally, get yourself some daytime dresses. Nothing makes you feel as feminine as wearing a dress. Grab a few new pairs of tights and you’ll feel dressed up in no time. I love Club Monaco for easy-to-wear sweater dresses that look great layered with long cardigans when the temperatures begin to drop.

So good luck with the job search, my friend, but if it doesn’t work out at least you no longer need an excuse to get dressed up.


Pair with a blouse, leather paneled leggings and booties.


Another solid blazer choice by Rag & Bone. Love the classic fit with soft leather detail, as well as the menswear-inspired burgundy striped silk lining. Pair this with leggings and riding boots.

J Brand’s power stretch denim promises to contour to your body without losing its stretch.

This adorable knitted sweater dress with bow details on the sleeves is feminine, more dressed up than your everyday look, but still casual enough to wear with tights and flat boots.

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