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style hacks,

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Mom On The Run: Style Without The Work

Updated: Jul 30, 2019

 Mom On The Run: Style Without The Work

Bri: I’m in the garage. I’ve been hiding for the past 20 minutes. Can you talk?

Me: Yes… why are you whispering?

Bri: I have to - he might hear me.

Me: Who? Who might hear you?

Bri: Things were going so well. We… we were getting along. And then this shit storm happened this morning and I just don’t know what to do.

Me: Mark? (Bri’s husband) Is it Mark? What did he do?

Bri: It’s better if I just hide for a while.

Me: Are you ok?

Bri: I am. I just wish his teeth would leave me alone.

Me: Teeth? …I’m confused. (Your love life isn’t my business but now you’ve made it my business…) Is Mark…(extreme hesitance) biting you?

Bri: No! Not Mark. It’s the baby. He’s teething and being a little gremlin today. I already raised my voice once. I don’t want him to see me this angry so I decided to hide in the garage. Am I a bad mom?

Me: Well, as a cat-mom I occasionally prop my cat’s mouth open and make him unwillingly recite lines with me when I put Gilmore girls on an endless Netflix loop… so on the spectrum of mothers, I’m going to say no.


I tell this story of mistaken identity because for all the magic that mothers are, sometimes even the best of them focus on what they are not. Defeated and infuriated by the tantrums and sleepless nights surrounding a soon-to-be tooth-toting child, my friend was more preoccupied with ­shielding her child from her frustration than any entitlement she had in expressing her own anger. That is sacrifice. “Am I a bad mom?” has no place in this conversation.

Ahh, mothers - stardust and sprinkles spew from your fingertips, and legions of tissue boxes bow before you as you are the original snot wiper and the kind of story teller Levar Burton would admire. When you are tasked with ensuring the survival of a little human and that this little human also does not proceed to defecate all over the living room floor, I get that dressing yourself mindfully does not rank high on the list of priorities. “I’m too tired for real clothing” is something I hear too often from exhausted mothers alike. What if I could show you that it does not have to be either/or? Let me unveil the beauty of the gray area. Tucked away in the recesses of the retail world are style shortcuts that will champion your cause - doing the thinking and styling work for you - so that you can continue to be the heroine in your little human’s world.

Kat Depner, personal stylist in Portland Oregon, wearing a mixed media top

Style Shortcut #1: Layering with Mixed Media Tops

Layering involves the marriage of 2 complimentary and contrasting mediums and works to add dimension to your look. Pick the right mediums and you will look polished; pick the wrong mediums and you risk looking boxy. This intelligent sweater tank does the thinking for you, as it is a built-in layered top that perfectly blends cotton and polyester to give you both structure and whimsy.

Style Shortcut #1 Checklist

Cotton blend ensures comfort with stretching powers

Ease: Just pull it over your head!

Works with a pair of skinny jeans, jean shorts or leggings

Creates the illusion that you mastered the art of layering two mediums all before tummy time

Kat Depner, personal stylist in Portland Oregon, wearing a mixed media top

Style Shortcut #2: Mastering the Belt Game with Tie Chinos

Not so fast. I’m onto you. Step away from the yoga pants. Back away. Slowly, and have your hands where I can see them. Now repeat after me, “Yoga pants are for yoga.” Say it three times and let that truth sink in. I know comfort is what you need on long whirlwind days with a little one strapped to your body, but I assure you, there is a better way. A belt has the power to shape and bring form to any outfit. Pick the right belt and you can enhance your silhouette; pick the wrong belt and you risk looking like an 80’s hairband groupie. This scrappy tie waist chino takes the anxious guessing work out of selecting the right belt as its built-in structure will help you get it right every time. The thoughtful blend of cotton and spandex will provide such luxurious comfort and built-in shaping to hold in and smooth any wobbly bits that you will never utter the words “yoga pant” again.

Style Shortcut #2 Checklist

Hides mommy tummy: the mid-rise cut hits below the waist but above the hips and works to hold and camouflage the stomach

Ease: You can tie these pants in the dark

V-neck t-shirts and virtually any tank top will tuck into this pant seamlessly

Creates the illusion that you can pick the perfect belt and form an effortless silhouette when all you really did is pull up your pants for the day

Kat Depner, personal stylist in Portland Oregon, wearing an elevated t shirt

Style Shortcut #3 – T-Shirt with a Twist

There’s nothing that says, “Mama’s still got it” (referring to your understated-yet-dynamo sexiness) than a little exposed shoulder. When reaching for your usual comfortable t-shirt, reach for this instead. If I were a betting woman, I’d wager this breathable, 100% linen tee is probably more comfortable than the cotton tees that currently inhabit your closet. Here we have an elevated t-shirt at its finest, giving you the comfort of a tee with a cut out twist. You didn’t mean to be sexy without trying, but alas, here we are.

Style Shortcut #3 Checklist

100% linen blend ensures breathability and comfort

Ease: Just pull it over your head and call it a day

Pairs well with skinny and boot-cut jeans, shorts or tucked into a skirt

In regard to effortless and comfortable sexiness, I’ll quote the immortal words of Britney Spears: “Oops, you did it again!”

Kat's 7 Laws of Style, No. 5: Looking Amazing Should Be Quick And Easy

You should never have to suffer through mornings of little sleep, soiled diapers, and stubborn little ones that won't get up for school without being able to celebrate the magic of who you are throughout the day - you deserve it! The key is finding functional, comfortable pieces that add dimension to your look without you having to plan anything out in advance. Just throw the top over your head and pull up your pants and you're out the door - quick and easy.

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Aug 07, 2018

My favorite way to comment- RAPID FIRE! ;)

Hello Beautiful Humans,

Melinda- Yes, the tie chinos are insanely soft. I felt like I could live in them, definitely a worthwhile but dangerous purchase, as you may never take them off :).

Sophia :) Thanks so much for the insight. I imagine that yoga pants are of immense comfort during those first few months. Glad to hear that you got your style mojo back !

Jen- Be careful of that twist tie shirt-it's addicting, you will want to wear it for days on end.

Also, be careful of LOFT- you may buy out the store, as their items are an uncanny mix of functionality and comfort.


Jennifer Ng
Jennifer Ng
Aug 07, 2018

Kat, I'm not a mom, but have definitely been guilty of a few of these fashion faux pas -- namely wearing yoga pants everywhere 24/7 (they're so comfy though!). Love the t-shirt with a twist concept - style, comfort and a bit of sexiness with the exposed shoulder. I am definitely going to add this to my wardrobe! :)


Sophia Go
Sophia Go
Aug 07, 2018

That convo at the beginning is hilarious! At the beginning of the postpartum journey, I feel like yoga pants are the only way to go. But once that haze is over, you start to feel more yourself and dressing becomes more enjoyable. My weekday outfit somehow always consists of tees with a twist. Great tips for any new mom or mom stuck in a rut. Btw you look adorable in all the pics!


Melinda Crubaugh
Melinda Crubaugh
Aug 07, 2018

The tie chino pant is so cute and a great alternative to my regular mama uniform of leggings. Thanks Kat!


Aug 07, 2018

Hey Meryl! Haha, great question. I think in this picture, the kids toys found my hiding place.

Hence the look of horror and confusion ( as I actually don't have kids of my own). :) Thanks so much for reading !

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