Recently I stumbled upon an article at one of my favorite websites, Babble.com, about how to maintain your hipness after you enter the world of motherhood. Anyone who has seen me in the past 5 years knows that my hip-factor is below sub-par; I once told a friend that I planned my entire wardrobe around shoes: being able to wear my New Balance, that is. However, that being said, I do feel smug enough (or enough of a smarty pants) to challenge the author to a better “5 ways” than what she offered as advice. So here’s my go at it.

How to be a stylish mom

1. Always wear at least one thing you’ve purchased in the last 6 months. Face it, now that kids are in the mix, the funds are a bit… drier… and when it comes down to new shoes for you or that a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e. dress for a friend’s wedding, the kids almost always win. And if you’re like me, you were already wearing plain gap T’s from 1998, so relying upon the archives isn’t really a guaranteed upgrade. So, when mom gives you a giftcard for your birthday, resist the impulse to walk through the kids section and instead invest in those amazingly comfortable but uncharacteristically “in” shoes that you stumble upon. 

2. Mimic your idols. Find at least one fashionable friend (or cousin, if that’s the case) that you can ooh and ahhh over her finds. Though you may not replicate to the scale of such a diva, it at least serves as inspiration. College girls are another good source of material. I do not advocate my rival author’s advice of borrowing from a 13-year-old daughter because, well… I don’t want to look like a 13-year-old girl. Perky 24 year old? Perhaps. But nothing about the age of 13 says “child bearing hips” and renders all fashion advice ineffective.

3. Simplify. I’m lucky if I can make sure my shoes match each other, let alone the belt, necklace and scarf. So find one thing and do it well. I had a brown scarf that mixed well with my brown maternity sweater and I found myself wearing it anytime I needed to look “nice.” And 98% of the time the complements flowed. But too much bling just says “I’m trying to hard to cover up the fact that I’m old and a mom now”.

4. When you leave the house, put on pants with a zipper. REALLY. Because when you start to let yourself go, you can justify anything (I believe the only exemptions for this rule might be a trip to the gym. But if you’re a rule-driven person, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with it and changing into workout clothes once you get there). We all know our internal tendencies to slide on the jammie pants as soon as the front door shuts, no matter if it’s only 3 pm (even my dad admitted to this!). But when you make a trip out – even a walk around the block – make the effort for at least a denim upgrade from your comfy pants. If you really don’t want to feel constrained, a good back door is the cute, but elastic-waisted, skirt.

5. Know what true beauty is. When you expect to wear a hip outfit, immaculate makeup and a put-together hair style, you might just be setting yourself up for failure. But dressing for the public eye with at least a slick of lip gloss and pulling the greasy strands off your face does wonders for confidence. Let that “glow” of motherhood do the work for you. This is really just about the attempt to enhance your natural beauty – going too far will just cover up what God created and has already called “good.”

**I have some pretty hip friends… I’d be curious to know what rules they live by to maintain their hip-factor.

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