How to experience a Total Mom Makeover in under three minutes

It’s a funny thing about fashion. Has anyone else noticed that you can wear just about anything you want (with the exception of Mom Jeans) and be stylish right now? And isn’t it kind of reflective of the world? You know, the whole “anything goes” mentality about values in general.

Although as far as fashion is concerned, I’m not complaining. (The exception here are those ugly rolled up boyfriend jeans. Hideous. Seriously, who’s even wearing them?)

As a professional crafter of children and home, I find that many SAHMers put their own personal style on the back burner. Not that we don’t have personal style, just that we don’t have much time to cultivate it. Because let’s face it, between the crock pot and family taxi service, there’s not much fashion stimulation.

So here is my list of fall Stay-On-The-Fashion-Train-Must-Have’s for the soccer mom in you. I will preface this with the fact that my in-house apparel usually consists of a plain T-shirt and a pair of jeans. Three minutes before I load the kids, I *accessorize. It’s the perfect solution to the busy hipster in you that’s just waiting to be unleashed.

1. Trendy cap. Okay, I went shopping with my wonderful girlfriend from college the other day and tried to convince her that a cap is every mom’s answer to a no-shower, greasy hair day. “But I don’t think I can pull it off,” she says. So we had her test drive a cute little hat around the store for twenty minutes, just to give her the feel with plenty of mirrors handy. By the time we left, she was converted. It only takes guts the first time you wear it, after that it’s the best kept secret to a bad hair day.

hat 2
hat head

2. Hoops. The bigger, the better as far as I’m concerned. Nothing says “with it” like a pair of hoops. Trust me, they take five years off your self-esteem. You go from feeling moldy to sassy in about 2 seconds. Can’t beat the feeling. (And yes, gold is my metal of choice.)


3. Scarf. In case you’ve missed it, scarfs are kind of wonderful. And the best part? They don’t even have to match your outfit. In case you need wearing lessons, check out some online photos and see how they’re tying them, then get yourself one.


4. Bangles. If you’re not comfortable with jewelry, some simple silver bangles are a good way to start and look cute with absolutely everything. I love bracelets, particularly indestructible metal ones that The Junebug can’t destroy.


5. Cardigan and wraps. They’re everywhere in every shape and every color this year. I love them. If you add one staple to your wardrobe, add a cardigan. And don’t be afraid to live in color.


If I had to suggest a 6th item, it would be animal print heels. But I kind of doubt most women would reach for them the way I do. But if you’re feeling frisky, cheetah stilettos are great to have on hand.

*I don’t usually wear all these things at once. Usually.


  1. I LOVE cardigans. I own a lot and I wear them probably 4-5 days a week. J Crew has awesome cardigans, but they are a bit pricey, so I generally wait until they go on sale.

    I like the idea of scarves, but I always forget to wear them.

  2. agree with all! even the heels. I’ve been eyeing some great ones at macy’s that are about $50. I think I’ll ask for them for my birthday!

  3. So lululemon pants and hoodies don’t count??? Ha ha ha! Kidding! Though I find if I jazz up my pants and hoodies with hoop earrings and a funky scarf with some uggs then it looks like I did it on purpose!

  4. I agree with almost everything, but unforch, hats are not for everyone. I tried so hard to be a hat person in the 90s, but learned that sometimes people wear hats and sometimes, hats wear you. Case in point – you see my mom, you say “Hey, that’s her! Oh, and she has a hat on.” And then if I’m wearing one you think “Oh, a hat! Oh, and Reva too.” Le sigh.. but great advice. Now I want pictoral evidence about how you can pull all these off. Please.

  5. I don’t get why SAHM moms have to look frumpy, it takes just as much time in the morning to put on a sweater as it does a ratty t-shirt. I just don’t buy stuff that makes me feel ugly, and then I won’t wear it. 🙂

  6. So where are these sights about how to wear a scarf? some of us are very visual, and you really have to show us how.
    And I am not a jewelry person- I guess I need to try harder now that all my natural beauty has faded!

  7. Must. Get. Cheetah. Heels.

  8. Oh the shopping days we could have! I love your style advice! I am in desperate need of a cute hat and scarf! Thanks for sharing your fab tips and tricks.

  9. Saying that I own hoops in three different sizes AND a pair of cheetah stilettos makes me feel like a hooker. But I own them and wear them and I make it work, Tim Gunn.

    I may have to try a cap. Hmmm.

  10. And I wore hoops today for the first time in probably 18 years today. You’re right about them. I felt so stylish, which is pretty good for an evening at home.

  11. I’m totally with you on the Hats, Hoops, and Cardigans. They’re awesome!

  12. HI ANNIE! It’s so good to see you again! I hope your column is hugely popular and you are almost famous by now. It’s been a long stretch. I miss you and Jen and all my blog friends. I’ve been so self centered since I moved. It’s all about ME ME ME and what I need to get and buy and do before winter sets in.

    Love the tips. I’m totally in need of a trendy hat and hoops!

  13. Nice tips. Honestly I think frumpy is not about what you wear, but how. Good frump busters and easy on the wallet too! The one thing you forgot to mention – lipstick. a little lipstick goes along way. oh and the other things

  14. I need to go out and find me some cute hoops and other dangly ear rings because now you can see them with my hair short. And I’m going to try the hat idea. I love the idea of the scarf but for some reason having something around my neck like that bugs the bees out of me. I can have it hanging down but not thrown around the neck. Maybe when it’s colder….

  15. Kristin, I was totally going to bring up lipgloss! Those of us in our thirties need to ditch the hard core lipstick business for some sexy gloss. Makeup changes too, we must stay aboard.

  16. I love my big hoops! And, apparently, so does my baby. Nothing like chubby little fingers trying to rip your earlobes off. But I’ve always been envious of the cap. Never thought I could pull it off, either.

  17. I’m with Kristina….I also looooove cardigans. It’s an exception if I do not have a cardigan on (rori says while wearing her comfy long gray cardigan), even during hot summer I almost always have a cardigan. My mother likes to psyco-analyze (i’m not sure if that was the right word I wanted…?) me and tell me they’re my security blanket. I usually respond with an eloquent, ‘nuhn’t uh.’

  18. Riddle Girl says:

    I always wear hoops. I had to come back and comment today because instead of my little ones, I grabbed my big ones this morning! I love how they really can glam up a t-shirt and jeans outfit!
    I still don’t think I can pull of a hat though!

  19. I have changed my mind about your post, I am not happy with what you shared. As I was out on the playground today dropping off kids, I thought blast that Annie, how am I supposed to feel like I’m better than that mom in sweats, now that she too wears hoop earrings! Does this mean I actually have to shower in the morning before leaving the house if I want to keep my comparative self-esteem intact? Oh and lip gloss? – I’m much too old for that, someone might think it is drool and try to check me into the nursing home. I think my husband has been looking for an excuse…