wardrobe planning

wardrobe planning: full wardrobe for mom

The $1500 Wardrobe Challenge continues and today's post is for mom's and gals who lead a more casual lifestyle.  When carving the wardrobe, I took the approach to spend the money on the items where the cost per wear is worth it (bottoms, special dresses and shoes) and go for inexpensive but fun tops that can stand the abuse of children yet not have you fret if it just got ruined during a finger-painting session.

The two bottoms that I always recommend have a super high satisfaction rate for fit and style.  If you don't own any of these, you should:

Since being a mom is about needing clothes that you don't care ruining, a trip to Old Navy or Target is a great way to load up on simple and cute tees. Most women seem to be top-deprived in their closet so here's a slew to consider — all for under $165:

Add some great layering items such as these:

silver hair masterclass Wed Aug 9!
  • Casual hoodie jacket, $138.  This jacket certainly veers from “boring” with it's interesting details and muted color.
  • Supima draped cardigan – super soft and looks great over jeans or a casual dress, $19.50

A couple of comfy shoes – one for the park and various playdates, Privo Popcorn ($80) and one for more chic casual outings, try Gentle Souls flats. The Iso Bop style is on sale for $155 but if you're willing to go over your budget by $24, the Gentle Souls flats in pewter ($190) are super comfy.

And because you aren't a slave to your kids, every mom needs to show off her sexy side.  You want something in your closet that you can wear for an important evening that is simple and effortless to throw on and makes you feel like a million bucks.

  • This Diane von Furstenberg Whitley dress ($365) shows off your curves yet covers any lumps and bumps you may have.  This drop-dead color looks great on dark brunettes, auburn brunettes and blonds.
  • Botkier crisscross platforms in a neutral champagne, $311.50. These feel like a 3″, have a stable enough heel so that you don't feel silly walking in them since you don't wear high heels during the day, and they look great with jeans for more casual evening get-togethers.

The grand total: $1488.50.  You have a little left over to grab the kids an ice cream cone.

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  1. 1


    So glad you posted a Mom wardrobe as one of your $1500 challenge answers! When I read that you would be answering this 3 times, I was really hoping you would post about a Mom wardrobe. I have been a SAHM for 3 years, and I finally think I am making better wardrobe choices. Coming for the corporate world, I had waaaay to much corporate casual clothes and not enough messy mommy clothes. Imagine taking care of a newborn with a cashmere sweater on! That didn’t last too long! I think your post was right on target. The perfect combination of casual and dressy.


  2. 2

    Loved the post! I have a question about the Joe’s Jeans…have thought about buying some and only found them in a 34″ inseam. I am all for altering clothes, but nervous to alter what is a splurge for me, and not have it work out. Would hemming them up a few inches to my inseam compromise the cut of the jeans?

  3. 3

    no, the leg is fairly straight and I’ve had them hemmed for many a client and no disappointments. also, they kind of lie about the 34″ inseam – it’s more like 33″ — and they shrink a bit (1/4″) when you wash so hem after.

  4. 4

    Teresa – I’ve really enjoyed reading through your site. I’m prematurely graying, too, and your “going gray” posts have been encouraging 🙂 I finally found a stylist who agrees that I can work the gray instead of just trying to convince me to color all the time.

    I have to say, though, that I don’t really understand your choices for the SAHM wardrobe. Why do we have to bet all of our clothes are going to get ruined? I think of kindergarten teachers who spend all day longs with dozens of little ones, getting into paint and glue, etc. yet still dress nicely. I agree that my clothing has to be machine washable – it will get dirty – but that doesn’t mean everything has to be jersey knit. I’d feel totally frumpy in most of these tops.

    I’d hate to have SAHMs think that all the great clothes are only for women with different callings than their own. Where’s the FABULOUS here? I’ve been a stay at home mama for 10 years (4 children)! We can look fabulous, too! 🙂

    • 5

      The tops are form-fitting so they are not frumpy at all. I’m not sure what you mean that there are fabulous tops to wear other than jersey and cotton for moms – silk? button-down? It’s a personal choice to wear button downs but I have found with my professional work that most women don’t like them and feel constricted when they have an active lifestyle with young kids.

  5. 6

    p.s. The DVF dress *is* fab, didn’t mean to leave that out 😉 I just wanted to see a little something more flattering like that in the everyday clothes (for less dough, of course).

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