Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dear Shopping Savage...

Dear Shopping Savage,

I am a 34-year old mother of two about to re-enter the work force after taking off the last five years to take care of children and the household. I've stayed somewhat current with fashion but with two screaming toddlers my husband and I can barely get away for a date night, let alone have time to leisurely browse at the mall. Where can I find fashionable clothing versatile enough to wear to work, but also durable enough to withstand getting the kids ready in the morning?


Working Mom


Dear W.M.,

First, hire a babysitter one Saturday before you start work to give yourself one day of uninterrupted bliss...I mean, shopping. As you said yourself, you can't possibly browse and be on the amber alert for your kids at the same time.

Start off by purchasing at least three suits (one black, one navy and one dark gray; go for the pant and skirt option if they have it) and two of every button-down that you like. As a mother of two - or just as a rule of thumb for anyone - having a back-up shirt either at home or at work is going to be something you'll learn is less elective and more essential. Look for shirts that are 'wrinkle free' or have a percentage of elastane (e.g. spandex, lycra, etc.). Not only will these shirts be a better body fit, they also hold up well through repeated washes and are easier to iron. Other key pieces to incorporate: sheath dresses, wrap dresses and cardigans.

The idea here is to live in layers. Your days are going to be hectic and will require you to juggle being mom and mrs. at the office. Layers are great for those times you may have to cover a last-minute stain or remove the stained-layer in question. The same goes for footwear - leather is one of the materials you want to go after since its one of the easiest to work with as far as stain and scuff removal.

The ideal clothing for your situation is out there, you just have to be practical. You'd have to swathe yourself in bubble wrap to avoid the stains, scuffs and haphazard unexpectedness that comes with raising children. Just remember to always keep your spare garment handy, keep a layer close in case you need to camouflage and plan for the unexpected. In other words, all of the things you've learned to do as a mother.

Need sartorial advice? Email me:

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