Family life is tough to juggle when you’re a mom, and working or not, the real job never ends. We’ve got to find creative ways to keep our schedules, sanity, and sense of self intact. Keeping it together means finding ways not to fall apart, and for some of us, that means feeling cute and comfortable in our clothes.
This is my interview with a long time friend and fellow-mama, Silke Bump. She has such a comfortable sense of mom style, I had to share her points of inspiration and how she transitioned from workplace to mommy wardrobe.
Tell us a little about your background
I’m the daughter of military soldier, so we moved around a lot, Mom and Dad, two sisters and I lived overseas between the United States & Europe. Hawaii is the longest I’ve lived anywhere, about 16 years now. I spent my college years here at the University of Hawaii (UH). I met my husband at church, and we settled into a lifestyle and community of friends and family. We hope to be here for a while, both of us wanted me to stay home when we had kids. Now we have a little girl, she’s 19 months old.
You’ve always been so stylish! When did your interest in fashion begin?
I’ve always been into accessories. Beads and making necklaces and bracelets as a little girl. It’s kind of part of who I am. My Dad says I get it from his mom who loved dressing up and going out. Jewelry and fashion have sort of always been my thing. Not that I feel like I have to stay up on trends, but I like pretty things, looking and feeling pretty. I’ve always had an eye for it. Influences of being “put together” shaped how I think about it.
Photo Credit: Glamour Magazine August 2011 Mark Leibowitz
Did you find that your style changed when you became a mom?
I worked before I was pregnant, so I had lots of office pieces, skirts, slacks, and then comfortable clothes I changed into after work. Once I stayed at home, I didn’t need the office clothes and they just weren’t practical anymore. My “regular clothes” were just my slouchy lazy clothes, and my other pieces like shorter dresses were just not good for bending over constantly with the baby.
I needed to revamp my closet: I needed clothes that help me feel put together, that I can be a mom and still feel pretty. It’s been fun and freeing to rediscover my style again! I got rid of my office clothes and became more selective, chose pieces that could transition from being in the house, on the floor building blocks, and still be able to go out and get groceries and be “presentable to the public.” Haha. Whatever I chose needed to be easy to dress up by throwing on a few accessories.
Accessories are fun! What is the minimum you put on to feel “put together?”
Earrings! If nothing else, I put on some dangly earrings. I really should keep an extra pair in the car. (haha) Even if I don’t have makeup, it seems to draw attention from the rest of whatever’s going on
So you’re being more intentional now about shopping, is it harder than before? Has it changed things financially?
Not harder, because I love shopping! When I bought clothes for work, I tried to find something that was multi-purpose. Didn’t excessively spend on office clothes because I have a small closet. When I look for clothes now, I also try to support other small businesses, little more expensive than somewhere like Ross, but I try to space out the spending and choose things that are better quality. I’m also not buying as often now for that reason.
What types of pieces do you try to have in your “Mom Closet” now?
Shirts, long enough for bending over, soft, cotton, breathable, washable. Mom also says you can never have too many white shirts, so a few of those. I love graphic tees with cute sayings that relate to me and make me smile. My favorite says: “Grace and Coffee: Because Adulting is Hard.” These are the basic pieces I have from head to toe:
If I wear no other jewelry when I go out I feel completely accessorized with a great pair of earrings.
Anything that can transition from playing on the floor building block towers to looking put together with a few accessories thrown on.
I have a jean pair and a floral pair to match other tops
At least one, and black because it matches everything
Cute but easy slip-on flats or sandals. When I leave the house I’m juggling the baby, diaper bag, my purse, etc so easy shoes are key to getting out the door.
Keeping a Home Business
Keeping it together as a woman requires a strong sense of personal identity, outside of her roles as wife and mommy. Knowing who she is, what she’s passionate about, what makes her smile. Silke’s love for accessories led her to join a company called Keep Collective, selling the cutest customizable bracelets, necklaces, and other simply pretty pieces. Read more about my personal experience with Keep in my next article. Coming soon!