The Best You, Urban Suburban Mommy

How Pinterest Saved My Life(Style)

Like many moms, I need help getting dressed in the morning. Not “one leg at a time” help, just gentle redirection so that I can put together an ensemble that doesn’t scream “poor you” or “laundry day.” When I was ready to go back to work after my second and last mat leave, I turned to social media for help. I decided to start a Pinterest board to help me find my style and get my general groove back.

Unfortunately, there were no boards titled “Outfits for Cray Mombies” or “What to Wear When You’re Currently Covered in Poop”, so I settled on “Casual Mom Outfits”. I’ve learned a lot about conserving time and money when trying to piece together a wardrobe on a budget. Here’s what Pinterest has taught me about fashion, style and sanity:

  1. I pick out my clothes the night before. I’m not kidding. You will save precious minutes getting dressed if you’re not standing in front of your closet with your mouth open trying to figure out what to wear. In fact, if possible, pick out your outfits for the week. One less thing to stress about, and you’ll avoid reaching for the same 10% of the closet that you always wear.
  1. I now work with what I’ve got. I have neither the funds nor the patience to start my wardrobe from scratch. Oh pretty please, can I stare at myself half-dressed and sweaty in a dressing room while garbage music thumps through the speakers, causing an aneurysm and resetting my heartbeat? The good news is that I have have a “tabula rasa” closet –full of neutral (black) pieces and endless possibility. Pinterest helped me pull together items I already had and reassembled them in new ways. For example, I saw this:

So I thought: Well, I have jeans and I have 500 black shirts. Add some fancy bracelets and a pair of flats and voila! It looks like I got dressed without having to smell my clothes first!

  1. I stopped spending tons of money on trends. Remember parachute pants? Shoulder Pads? Yeah, I’m still trying to forget. Trends can quickly become fads. And honestly, who can keep track? I’m still wearing a side ponytail. Rushing to keep up is a waste of time and money. Consider too that not every trend is right for every body type. Recently, I tried to rock the whole raw hem with ankle boots thing. It’s supposed to look like this:

I looked like a hobbit in dirty shrunken pants. Now, I keep trendy items to accessories.

  1. I skip sales. Unless you’ve found the one – that item you’ve been dying to get and has finally come out of the stratosphere and into your arms in your size and at an incredible discount – you won’t wear half of what you buy on sale. Volume is not value. If you figure out the cost per wear, you’ve actually spent more on a $10 shirt worn once than on a $100 sweater that you’ve worn a billion times. I used to do 85% of my shopping in January and July – the in-between seasons where everything is heavily discounted – and routinely wound up with things that were out of style by the time I got around to making those purchases useful. Now, I avoid Boxing Week like the plague and only shop Cyber Monday if there’s something I’ve had my eye on for more than 3 months.
  1. I know my digits. Not just my size (which varies from retailer to retailer) but my actual measurements. In addition to being a sadistic torment, knowing my bust, waist and hip measurements will ensure that I order the right size if (when) shopping online, especially if items are listed in European sizes (for example, a size EU37 translates to “Ha ha you wish” in its US equivalent.) It also prevents an accumulation of crap I can’t unload, and I hate returning online items.

Most moms have a decision threshold – after a certain amount of time, our ability to make decisions – good ones anyway – is drastically depleted. It’s called “decision fatigue”. For me, I can’t make executive decisions past 10:00 a.m. (lunch time is usually whatever I can find between the couch cushions.) It might sound corny using social media to dress myself, but if I can offload one more task, why wouldn’t I? If people can pin vision boards or outfits for their cat, why can’t I designate a board for personal style? I’ve become a better dresser and a better shopper, and that’s major value.