One advantage to going back to work after baby is having a reason to dress well. Not even a reason; a requirement. While I loved lazy days at home with my little guy (and let’s be real, I would stay home full time in a second if a million dollars fell into my lap), I did not like feeling grungy. I would often find excuses to run to Target a.k.a. the holy land, if not simply for the sake of needing a reason to shower and put on real pants. Sometimes, the ultimate pick me up is feeling dressed up and put together. Of course, sometimes it is a burden and I would give ANYTHING for my workplace to endorse casual Friday.
I have been a ‘business casual’ employee for a little over two years, and my wardrobe did not come to exist overnight. Sadly, nearly every purchase I make comes with the question of ‘can I wear this at work’? If the answer is no, I do some heavy considering. Do I NEED a pair of burgundy corduroy jeggings??? (The answer to this one is yes, actually. I really, really do). For the most part, I have started buying pieces that I can pull off at the office or at the mall. Slowly but surely, I am figuring out how to look put together on a respectable budget, no sleep, and limited time.
1. The Gap.
This place is my go to. On any given week, it is basically a promise that there will be a day where everything is 40% off. Never, I repeat, never, pay more than 60% at the Gap, because if you do the following day you will get an e-mail declaring the entire store is 40% off, and then you will cry. I have been known to score a pair of $70 pants for $20. And they are nice pants. Real nice.WIN.
Seriously. This is where I have found some of my favorite shift dresses (on the clearance rack) and comfiest pencil skirts. Once again confirming that the world is a better place because of Target. I’ll just grab me some Starbucks, toss a new blouse in my basket to wear to my next big meeting, and be on my merry way to buy baby butt cream and groceries. All in a days work.
3. Plan out your morning the night before.
This method has saved my life. Not sure if you people know this, but babies are high maintenance!! One big help in my mom watching Jackson is having diapers, wipes, and a few days worth of outfits left there. I even leave his diaper bag and only grab it if we need to go somewhere after work or on the weekends.**warning, this can backfire when you forget the diaper bag and someone decides to blow out his diaper at T.G.I. Fridays. which is why any mama should also always have a spare diaper or two in her oversized purse**
At night, I put my purse, pump bag, snacks, and anything else I might need in the car. Keys go in the pocket of the jacket I’ll be wearing.
I plan my outfit, down to the earrings, and lay it out on the bathroom counter. This is the biggest time saver. I don’t spend time trying on multiple outfits, assessing if colors match, or checking myself out in the mirror. Oh is that bloat and are these pants uncomfortable today? Too bad, self. Suck it up, this is it today.
I wake up at 4:50 and am in the car backing out of the driveway with baby by 5:20. Who knew time management would save you time?
4. Shower at night.
Another HUGE time saver. I shower, put in hair products, and apply 10083 ounces of Victoria’s Secret lotion all before going to bed. Sometimes the lotion gets neglected because of a screaming baby. But I can honestly say: I squeeze in a shower every day. We sacrifice a lot for our kids, but I refuse to let one of those sacrifices be my personal hygiene. We stay fresh and clean in our house, all day baby, all day.
Time is not something a new mom has a lot of, but in the amount of time it takes me to log in and check up on Facebook or Instagram, I can log into a website and buy a new outfit. Dangerous? Probably. My absolute favorites and go to stores include:
1. Target. Duh. If you don’t have a red card that gets you free shipping and 5% off of everything in the store, you aren’t living.
2. The Gap. This place has my heart.
3. Express. Right now through Black Friday everything is 50% off plus free shipping!
4. Old Navy. Same owners as the Gap, so you can place one order between both stores and have it all be one transaction/shipping charge. Current promo is 30% off everything!
**also notice, a lot of these stores are my go-to places for Jackson’s clothes. Most of my orders come mixed, because nothing is more cute than opening up a package of trousers and seeing a pack of baby socks fall out of the bag.
5. Forever 21. Hit and miss, but I got the most killer pencil skirt here recently! ANDDDD we are getting one in the mall. Excited is an understatement.
6. J Crew Factory. A little bit more expensive, but holy cuteness. Right now everything is 50% off, and if you sign up for their e-mails you get a coupon for an additional 15% off.
7. Ann Taylor Loft. To be honest I haven’t shopped here, but again more cuteness. And in Black Fridat style, everything is 40% off, of course.
8. Berkshire cozy tights. I inherited a pair of these by accident from my mom, and those babies are going on their third winter with zero holes. They are so thick and warm, they allow me to keep my dresses and skirts in the rotation year round. They also aren’t constricting or uncomfortable at all. Best. Tights. Ever. Just ordered two more pairs, so they should probably last me until I retire. No really.
Does anyone else have a favorite go to place where they find their favorite work clothes!? I would love to hear!
Until next time, Happy Turkey Day everyone, I hope you eat your fair share (and maybe an extra share) of mashed potatoes and pie!