My Mom Style Journey
As a new mom I wanted to make fashion sense in my new role. Somewhere between my baby turning 1 and 2 years old, I decided I cared about my appearance again and wanted to get out of my postpartum clothes. Before this time, I literally just couldn’t entertain the idea, even if I wanted to. With the demands of a newborn, then infant, then toddler it just didn’t let up. I wasn’t prepared for the 24 hour cycle where all of my time went to someone else and my basic needs were barely being met.
In my pre-mom life, I always cared about personal style (I was a former style blogger) and could never have imagined going a year+ wearing nothing but leggings and an oversized shirt — my mom outfit uniform. I just assumed I’d just turn into a stylish mom. But there I was. First, there is just no time. I could barely shower and find time to make meals. Second, it just seemed silly to me to spend the little free time I had on something as seemingly superficial as clothes and getting ready. It just didn’t make fashion sense!
But then I realized that investing in your personal style clothing goes way beyond the surface-level. I started to question, is fashion important?
My short answer: yes! Defining your sense of style and learning how to dress for your new body and role makes fashion important.
Here, I’ll cover why style (not fashion) runs deep, and is a way that we define ourselves, set ourselves apart, and communicate who we are. And it’s embedded in the psychology of how we operate within the world.
Fashion Vs Style
Most of us think of fashion and style as synonymous and use the terms interchangeably. But they actually represent different, almost opposite, concepts.
Fashion is about outward trends, the mere clothes we wear. It’s about buying and consumerism and the cycle of what’s popular right now. There’s also an in-group/out-group dynamic to fashion that makes me feel a bit like high school cliques.
On the other hand, style is about our inner identity, and is a creative representation of ourselves. It requires you to dig deeper, and assemble an insightful and imaginative view of how you want to present yourself. It requires creativity, insight into who you are, and a bit of effort. It gives us the ability to inject our personality, distinguish ourselves or include ourselves. To be unique or blend with the pack. It goes beyond mere clothes and is an expression of our self-knowledge and self-confidence through what we wear.
Style Expression: How Others See You
Personal style goes beyond a creative representation of yourself, but it communicates who you are to others before you even say a word. This is such a powerful phenomenon that your perceivers will actually form opinions about you, and change their actions with you.
Whether you know it or not, you’re sending out signals through your style as non-verbal cues. Things like:
- how smart you are
- how powerful you are
- how persuasive you are
- how much you earn
For example, in the office or workplace, Yoon-Hee Kwon of Northern Illinois University found that men believe if you dress professionally then people think that you’re intelligent, competent knowledgeable, honest and reliable. By wearing darker colors like black or gray, will change people’s perception of you as being more formal and professional. Additionally, excessive and extravagant accessories come off as less professional by decreasing your formality. So, some tips for professional dress for women, is to focus on more minimal jewelry designs, not overdoing the accessories, and going for clean lines in your silhouette.
And what’s even more intriguing is that others not only perceive you differently based on how you’re dressed but they actually change their actions too. In a study by Yale professor, Michael Krauss, found that men who dressed in business suits were able to negotiate on average about 10% more profit than men dressed in sweatpants and flip-flops. Because these men were dressed better, they were able to convince their buyers to give them more money!
What You Wear Is What You Are
So, we know that clothes and our personal style shape how we outwardly communicate ourselves to others. And that effect is so powerful that it actually changes the behavior of people we interact with (to the point of them giving us more money!). But why?
Because the act of dressing the part goes deeper than just communication — it starts within ourselves. Our sense of style, and the way we dress impacts how we feel about ourselves, and in turn how we think and how we act. This domino effect starts from within and carries out to how others feel, and how they act towards us.
For example, in a study by Abraham Rutchick and colleagues, they found that dressing professionally in formal clothing made them feel more powerful. As a result, they started to think abstractly and of the bigger picture. More like a leader. This just shows why having fashion sense is so important!
The same conclusion was found in the Krauss study: when men walked into a business meeting to negotiate and were dressed in sweatpants, they not only lost money but they felt insecure and nervous. They know this because the men in sweatpants had higher heart rate variability than those in suits — showing their higher anxiety about the situation.
When you wear something you feel good in, it’s obvious through your body language. Identifying your personal style tells you what clothes and accessories are going to make you feel great to wear. This gets projected and your body language shouts confidence and competence. You start to walk differently and hold your body differently.
Making Fashion Sense: Find Your Style
So, what’s this all mean for a mom trying to reinvest in her personal style? It means finding your personal style clothing is important. Learning how to dress in your new role as a stylish mom impacts how you feel about yourself and how you interact with the world. It’s a key to feeling for fulfilled and confident.
Also, because personal style is a conscious effort, this means you have control. You are in control of how you present yourself to the world. You are in control of how you dress to make yourself feel empowered. Whether it’s when you’re hanging out with your friends, on a date with your partner or having a dance party in your kitchen with your little bub.
When we have a baby, we give up a lot of control because we have to. To take care of this new human life, we give up a lot. Sleep, personal time, hobbies, basic grooming. We’re thrown into a tailspin where nearly all of our effort is keeping this little bundle alive and thriving.
Over time, we start slowly reclaiming our life back. And figuring out a new way of life that gives time to our family but also to ourselves. Defining your personal style can be a core part of that journey. Because it’s not a matter of getting back to where we were — it’s creating a new definition of who we are in this new role. And gives us a chance to hit the reset button and define who we are from the ground up.
If you’re ready to start redefining your personal style as a mom, an easy way to start is with simple, unique accessories. Check out our statement jewelry, perfect for creating that one-of-a-kind look without a lot of effort.
Fashion Sense Sources
- Simplified Wardrobe: Does how you dress actually matter?
- Science of People: Fashion Psychology: What Your Choice in Clothes Say About You
- Psychology Today: The Value of Style
- NPR: Power Suits: How Dressing For Success At Work Can Pay Off
- Kraus, M. W., & Mendes, W. B. (2014). Sartorial symbols of social class elicit class-consistent behavioral and physiological responses: A dyadic approach. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(6), 2330–2340. https://doi.org/10.1037/xge0000023
- The Atlantic: Wearing a Suit Makes People Think Differently