Recently, our project manager, Amy came back to work with us part-time after six months at home with her new baby. It’s been years since I have been in those shoes, but I remember that time with babies and small children like it was yesterday.

On her first day, as we were catching up on all it is to be a new mom, we immediately thought it would be great to address some stay-at-home mom wardrobe issues. It’s not our first time writing about this topic (see here and here) , but it never gets old!

At DC Style Factory we work with full-time working moms, moms with part-time jobs, and stay-at-home moms. There are wardrobe challenges in any of these categories. But, from the mom-at-home side, it can feel like a Sisyphus-like uphill battle to build a purposeful and pulled-together wardrobe when seven days a week, you are managing spit-up, dirty hands, spills, and playground playdates.

It’s easy to see how style falls by the wayside. We maintain that it’s not impossible to have great style even if it’s tempting to roll out of bed in your sweats and stay in them all day because “I’m only with my kids and I need to be comfortable and it’s going to get dirty anyhow and I don’t have any time.” We are not advocating heels and a blazer or a heavily accessorized look, but you can look and feel great during any season of life — even this one. The key is, the formula and pieces have to be casual, easy, comfortable, washable, and of course, stylish. Here are a few tips we tell our stay-at-home moms to guide them in upping their style game.

Leggings

These are a staple for many stay-at-home moms because they are comfortable, washable, and easy to style. Here are some tips to get you a more put-together leggings look:

  • Stick with matte, faux-leather, or liquid black leggings. With the rise of athleisure the options for leggings range in color, print, and texture, but a simple black legging will always look chic. Brightly colored, embellished, or print leggings look like gym clothing rather than streetwear. Plus, we advise against dressing like your 3-year-old. Print or bright colors can read junior.
  • Avoid black leggings with athletic sheen, logos, sheer panels, or contrast stitching. This is the line between athleisure and athletic you don’t want to cross.
  • To add some edge to your everyday mom look, try liquid leggings or faux leather leggings. This is a great way to up your style game without sacrificing comfort and function.
  • Layer, layer, layer! Leggings are not pants so wear with a longer tunic then layer with utility jacket and pair with nonathletic sneakers for a fun mom-on-the-go look.

Our favorite brands are David Lerner and Zella.

Nonathletic Sneakers

A comfortable sneaker is another must for any mom who is constantly on the go. There are options that are both comfortable and stylish. It’s important to note the difference between an athleisure (where athleticism, comfort, and style meet) and an athletic running shoe (shoes meant solely for exercise). It can be hard to tell the difference so here are a few things to look for:

  • Look for shoe soles less than 1.5 inches in height. Any higher has more sole and arch support, which likely means they’re meant for the gym.
  • Monochromatic sneakers are your friend. Opt for limited pattern, colors, and logos. Shoes with more than two colors  and logos can distract, and be more challenging to wear with anything and everything. They will look more suited for the gym.
  • Have fun with texture and detail. Although you are sticking with a more monochromatic sneaker,  look for something that says “street style.” This can mean they are made of leather, feature a contrasting mesh detail, or sport a fun, funky lace-up design.

Non-Diaper Diaper bags

Having young children means carrying snacks, toys, bottles, and yes, diapers with you at all times. The diaper bag doesn’t have to look like a diaper bag though. Here are some ideas on how to find that perfect non-diaper diaper bag:

  • Look for options in leather or faux leather (hello wipe down with a damp cloth at the end of the day!).
  • Try a crossbody or  backpack style.
  • Stay away from canvas. Leather or faux leather immediately elevates your look. The canvas can look too utilitarian.
  • Go for a solid color for easy mix-and-match with any outfit. Avoid any typical diaper print prints — loud floral, bold candy-striper stripes, etc.
  • Black doesn’t show marks and stains as easily.
  • Any tote bag you like can easily be converted into a diaper bag using an organizer insert like this one.

Easy Accessories

Don’t forget that accessories are your friends. Leggings and a long tunic can be transformed with the addition of a third piece and it doesn’t have to be heavy or cumbersome. Scarves, pendant necklaces, and a great pair of sunglasses are our favorite “third pieces” for moms. Pro tip: print scarves are great for hiding those stains left on you by little ones!