New Castle News

September 4, 2013

Sarah Stright-Hartley: New moms, ‘Labor Day Rule’ and workplace style

Sarah Stright-Hartley
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Q: I'm a new mother, but still want to be well-dressed without breaking the bank. How can I do it?

Though my baby is still in my belly, I can already see that most of my money will be going to the baby once it's on the outside. I also understand that babies can be a bit messy (understatement of the year?) so I'm not going to want to buy expensive clothes only to have them be spit up on.  With that said, I still want to make sure that I'm buying clothing that fits me well and is comfortable for my post-baby body. When you're transitioning from being pregnant to losing the baby weight, clothing that can fit lots of different frames will be a great fit for you. And these don't have to be expensive! Find wrap shirts and dresses in jersey fabrics. These are meant to fit many different body shapes (which is why they're universally flattering) and so will fit you at many different stages and they're always classic.

Find jeans that have stretch to them so that they're comfortable for you (my favorites are from American Eagle) and will accommodate some weight fluctuation.

Finally, spend some money on accessories (which can be found at really low prices from places like Forever 21, Charming Charlie and Target).  These will always fit and can easily dress up a jeans and T-shirt outfit. Don't worry about spending money on the newest trends. Look for clothes that will last you for awhile so that you can focus on the new little one in your life.  

But make sure that you are still taking the time to find things that make you feel good about yourself. They say "happy wife, happy life" and I can only assume it is similar for a happy mommy.

Q: Do I have to stop wearing white after Labor Day?

No! No, no, no, no, no. This is definitely an old-fashioned rule. One of the most popular color stories every year for winter is a monochromatic white look. True, keeping white pants clean in the winter slush can get a little difficult but if you're willing to risk it, it's still a very clean and crisp look.

Or take it in a different direction and wear an oversized white sweater and white accessories. Either way, don't move this color to the back of your closet just because of a date on the calendar.

Q: How can I stay on trend but professional while working in a male-dominated field?

A: Being trendy in a professional environment can be tough. Add in working in a male-dominated field and wanting to be taken seriously and it becomes even harder. No, coated denim, sheer shirts, and thigh-high boots probably won't work for your office, but rest assured that there are plenty of ways to work trendy pieces into your look and express your style.

In the picture to the right, I've put together a couple ways to show off trendy pieces while at work. In the first outfit, a standard suit look becomes infinitely more interesting when you spice up your accessories. An on-trend oxblood colored bag, a leopard print heel — whatever makes you feel like you — rock it in an accessory. That way you still look professional but with special touches.

In the second outfit, the idea is to keep the overall feel of a suit but to choose pieces that are a little more special, like the peplum blazer. If your office is strictly corporate, this may be a little too unconventional, but the interesting look of the blazer paired with the wide-leg tweed trousers is on trend and still professional looking. Keeping the rest of the look relatively frill-free lets your one or two special pieces stand out.