Let’s have a heart-to-heart. It’s deep, philosophical, Mom-musing time.
Of the 4 Kardashian women (Kris included)… who do you have a secret style crush on?
While some mothers would bat this question away with a mild eye roll or respond puzzled with “Oh, I’ve never tried that restaurant” as the Kardashian name naturally conjures feelings of something utterly delicious, Cendu Param - wife, mommy and lifestyle blogger of Cenzerely Yours - would respond unflinchingly with “Kourtney, of course.”
An appreciation for the Kardashians is much like Taco Bell. Sure, it’s questionable; yes, there is pink slime; but somehow when it’s all said and done, it fills your soul. If Cendu would choose Kourtney, my style crush unapologetically and flagrantly resides with Khloe, despite how good my ugly-Kim-Kardashian crying impression is.
But my admiration of all things Cendu runs much deeper than our unabashed love of the Kardashians.
I first stumbled across Cendu when reading her blog post “Will You Do It For The Culture: 10 ‘Brown Parent’ Philosophies I’m Leaving Behind.” It is the first post I have read that insightfully explored the interplay of culture and parenting while staying magically first person and personal. I was struck by her honesty, vulnerability and strategic use of South Asian Dad Memes to drive home her point that she will not in fact hold a well-intentioned but impossible standard of academic perfection over her little human.
It seems Cendu and I grew up in very similar, well-intentioned households with the expectation for excellence, as this Asian Dad meme is the perfect expression of my childhood:
Ah, Asian Parenting.
Now as a mother to 1 delightful little boy named Nav, Cendu is making her own way in the world of parenting. While academic perfection is something she is leaving behind when it comes to raising her impossibly adorable little one, she is carrying on her mother’s self-sacrificing legacy of being a stay-at-home-mom.
A typical day for Cendu starts at 5:30 AM as she prepares to teach English remotely to a band of adorable little humans in China with SayABC. She then submerges herself in an Olympic-sized swimming pool of coffee and prepares her day for the cutest little boy this side of Ontario. Between romantic brunches with her little man, play time, nap time, lesson prep, blogging and creating an eclectic, spice-laden dinner menu all before her hubby gets home, it seems like perhaps it’s Cendu the Kardashians must keep up with. And somewhere in the gaps of time when Cendu is gifted with quiet space, I suspect we can find her giggling with delight as she experiments with a new eye shadow palette and transforms her natural doe-eyed beauty into a sultry Kardashian-esque smoky eye. When she isn’t taking on the world of Super Mom and Super Wife, she is a self-taught makeup connoisseur who has mastered the art of contouring, able to erect tower-high cheekbones on anyone where there once were none.
Becoming a new mother has changed much of Cendu’s style sensibilities. In her years without a little one in tow, there was no color too bright nor pattern too bold that Cendu could not wear. I mean, look at this woman and her glorious skin tone… she was made to wear every color and pattern under the sun. These days, her focus is on functionality, classic cuts and a neutral color palette that can be blended easily into multiple outfits. After all, there’s not much a neon orange Ikat romper will go with anyway - I get it.
While I am a fan of neutrals and classic cuts for their ability to churn out thousands of outfit combinations, the unfortunate thing that I have found is that “neutrals” is often Mom-Speak for yoga pants and oversized tee shirts, which technically are neutral. Well played, you tricky, marvelous mother, you. But with Cendu’s recent experimenting with Seven’s Short Term Investment styling package, we would do better.
Would you like to know the secret of styling a client? Lean in, I’ll tell you the secret. Closer. Closer, come on dummy, it’s a secret, lean in...
The secret to styling a client is all about your gut instinct. Everyone has an essence, a vibration about them, and it’s the job of the stylist to uncover what that is. When it comes to Cendu, the word that was flashing over and over in my mind from day one was:
The goal was to find her some neutral pieces that would play nice with the rest of her wardrobe while simultaneously declaring to the world that there is a powerhouse walking among them… mission accepted.
It’s on Like BodyCon!
Dear Mama, don’t be afraid of me. I love you.
Sincerely, the Bodycon.
I wish this dress had a different name that truly reflected its innumerable talents like “Flub Be Gone” or the “Slim Waister.” The unfortunate name “bodycon” elicits images of night clubs, and naturally a dress that is so tight that it would make anyone body-conscious. Ah, cursed name, but I beg you to reconsider.
What I love about the bodycon is that its standard blend is typically a nylon, spandex, and viscose mix which is the exact blend of what Spanx and other shapewear are made of. This dress is designed to hold you in and give a bit of lift where there may be the slightest bit of drooping. The viscose mix seals the deal in this dress as it offers a bit of sheen and feels like silk against the skin.
This BCBG bodycon hits just above the knees and accentuates Cendu’s legline. The tasteful black bejeweled necklace sewn into the neckline offers visual interest and promises that a busy mother does not need to fret about accessorizing. When you are wanting to feel fierce, there is nothing that will help get you there like the bodycon. This dress was made for Cendu, and it also has some generous stretch thrown in for good measure.
The Bomb .Com
You have to have confidence when choosing to wear a bomber. You will either look like a fierce badass like Cendu here or a confused mechanic - there is no middle ground. The bomber is a modernized flight jacket typified with a ribbed collar and hemmed and fitted waist. Think of this as the blazer’s edgier and cooler sister. Pairing a more casual bomber with the black bodycon makes the dress instantly wearable for day to day. While Cendu is rocking it with a pair of neutral heels, she could easily put on a pair of lace up sneakers and run errands with her little human while looking effortlessly chic in the process. And on days when Cendu is not wanting to be as dressy, this bomber will instantly make any tee shirt and jean ensemble feel polished and tailored.
I Dream of Jean-ie
The jean jacket will always be all things to all people. There is no outfit that it does not pair well with. For this final look we have paired this fitted jean jacket with a gorgeous A-lined black and white dress from H&M. The dress hits at the knee and is a timeless cut and color that will stand the test of time. Pairing the two together is the perfect blend of femininity and casual structure.
Another marvelous pairing would be to wear the above bodycon with the jean jacket as the jacket instantly makes the dress more casual. With the right pair of lace-up sneakers, suddenly this outfit may just give you the style inspiration you need to take on the day’s errands with a little understated daytime sexiness.
Keeping Up With Cendu Parameswaran
At the end of our styling experience, Cendu sent me an email that sent my heart aflutter: “Girl, these outfits got me feeling myself! This has been so fun and I feel so great!” As a mother, it’s so easy to lose yourself and your sense of style in the busy-ness of family, and sometimes you just need someone to point you back to the person you used to be. It was a privilege to be a part of this powerhouse’s style reawakening, and honestly working with Cendu feels like offering Wonder Woman a prettier, more form-fitting cape to help fight her battles!
You can read more about Cendu’s account of her Seven Styling experience at her blog, Cenzerely Yours. Keep in mind, this woman is like a literary Costco, offering a wide array of delicious content for the masses: lovely recipes, make-up, fashion, and the Mom life.
And if you are a Mom in need of a rediscovery of your style, now’s your opportunity for your own Short Term Investment styling package! All throughout the month of May 2019 I’m taking 20% off all of my personal styling packages as a part of Seven’s Mother’s Day Sale. Schedule your free consultation today and let’s rediscover the best version of yourself!
Stay tuned for next week’s Mother’s Day post where we unveil the winner of Seven’s Mother’s Day Giveaway – you don’t want to miss this!