Something magical has happened.
The romantic date nights you and your partner spent feverishly funneling food into your mouths to make it home in time before the babysitting clock ran out are long gone.
The fear of stomach acid and fecal matter warheads being launched directly into your open mouth by an adorable but temperamental child have ceased.
The day has come - something you have only read about in parenting magazines or seen in a few lucid dreams: your little humans are finally older. They have developed interests and concerns that are not directly related to you, your boobs or your milk supply - a seemingly impossible feat - but somehow, we are here.
A new era of parenting is upon you. Suddenly, there is quiet. There is stillness…
And somewhere in the distance, there is Sara Halcumb - wife and doting mother of 2, registered nurse, blogger and speaker extraordinaire - tickled by my colorful introduction of her life and insistent that she has not ever mistakenly ingested a fecal warhead launched by either of her children.
Sara is entering a new phase of motherhood – a phase in which her children are becoming more independent, leaving her with more time and space to devote to her blog, Literally Simple. Sara and her sister-in-law Maria Halcumb have been sharing on Literally Simple how downsizing their lives has led them to truly enjoy the people and experiences they love:
“Women these days are waking up to the fact that our time and energy is precious… We would rather spend the day at a local farmer’s market with the kids, visit a Brewfest with friends or hike the Gorge with a loved one than organize a house full of clutter. It’s all about experiences over things.”
By focusing on the simple life, it’s even easier for Sara to truly be present with the increased time and energy the post-baby season of motherhood brings. And when it comes to her style, her goals are similar. In this new era of parenthood, my goal is to help Sara move away from the standard mother-with-infants uniform of yoga pants and tee shirts into clothing that would align better with her professional and personal goals. I’ll also be finding clothing for Sara that matches her minimalist values and aesthetic – clothing that is multi-functional, mindlessly easy, and Literally Stylish.
Pretty In Pink
On Sara’s days off from working as a triage nurse, she spends much of her time producing wellness content for Literally Simple. This includes being featured on guest podcasts and giving local presentations, both of which require Sara to look like a bona fide boss lady - albeit one who is approachable and fun.
To achieve this look, I began with a gorgeous pair of dark magenta skinny jeans that are made of a generous and luxurious cotton-spandex mix as a nod to the wonders and saving powers of the yoga pant in Sara’s early days of motherhood. They feel like a more structured yoga pant and have a similar movement and flexibility. I paired these pants with a coral top tucked in with some romantic fluttering sleeves. I love pairing items together in a related color family, as it creates a sense of visual interest and fun without being over the top.
To bring the look to boss lady levels, Sara is shrouded in a tweed blend cropped blazer that is ideal for her petite frame. The cropped blazer provides a tailored and structured outer layer, working to offset the fun and flounce of her base layer. Additionally, the cropped blazer hits high, sitting at Sara’s hips and ensures that Sara’s legline looks like it goes on for miles. To button up the entire look, we have finished it off with a pair of black zip booties. I gasped a little when I saw Sara in this outfit. She looked powerful, like CEO-powerful and simultaneously feminine.
And let’s imagine that just after this afternoon of podcasts and speaking engagements, Sara has a coffee date with an old friend at her favorite dessert shop downtown. In order to make this look hang-out-appropriate, all Sara needs to do is leave the blazer in the car!
Dressing Up The Tee Shirt
In the wee morning hours when Sara is shuttling her children to and from school, her outfit of choice is unequivocally a tee shirt and yoga pant ensemble. The comfort this uniform offers are obvious, but I assure you - we can do better.
As a continued nod to what is familiar to Sara, we have elevated the simple tee shirt with the introduction of a tee shirt dress into her wardrobe. The tee shirt dress is a neutral staple that is typically cut without a seam at the waist and often has a slightly looser fit, usually relying on a belt to define the waistline. This style staple blends all the comfort and stretch of a tee shirt with the sophistication of a timeless and neutral dress.
And when her motivation is lacking to get up and get dressed, all Sara will need to do is pull this no-fuss, zipper-free dress over her head and layer it with a maxi cardigan. This magical cardigan will give you the feel of lounging around the house in a bathrobe or blanket, while providing the finesse and structure of a soft outer layer. The maxi cardigan generally sits at or just below the mid calf and works to draw the eyes along the legline, giving the illusion of a lengthened frame. To finish the look, I like to pair this ensemble with a skinny belt right at the waist and a pair of neutral booties. In a matter of minutes Sara can be dressed and out the door ready to tackle pick up, drop off and every errand in between in this multi-wear outfit combination.
And after all of Sara’s tasks are complete for the day, her darling husband has planned a date night months in advance to bask in the glory of all that is Sara. Fortunately for her, with just a few tweaks her outfit will be date night appropriate! All Sara needs to do is whittle away her belt and outer layer and trade her booties for a a pair of pumps and her purse for a mini clutch. The beauty of the tee shirt dress is that they are generally cut and designed to hit right at mid thigh, which is the perfect amount of night time leg exposure for any date night. The dress's singular feather pattern further elevates the casual tee shirt dress into the realm of date night romance. After one look at Sara, her husband will be magically transported back to the wonder years of infatuation despite their upcoming 11 years of marriage!
From Yoga To Sloan
The key to being successful in transitioning your style in this new life stage is to remember what you wore that brought comfort in the past and find a way to elevate and evolve those very items. To continue to evolve Sara's affinity for yoga pants, I've transitioned her to a gorgeous pair of skinny Sloan pants that move like a yoga pant but with some stylish zippers and a modern black and white darting.
Unlike the yoga pant, these Sloan pants ooze all things professional, offering a sleek and tailored leg that works to balance and slim the hips. However, the cotton-spandex blend of these magical pants ensures that there is stretch and support, leaving you with the comfort of a yogi and the style of a boss lady. To complete this outfit, we have brought in the superpowers of the button-up chambray which masquerades as jean material but is made of a simpler and softer weave than typical denim. With a black tee as a base layer, I button only the last two buttons of the chambray and tuck them into Sara’s Sloan pants.
This business casual ensemble is perfect for Sara’s blog brainstorming sessions with her sister-in-law and Literally Simple co-owner Maria Halcumb or any interviews she has set up for the week with local magazines promoting her brand. And if it’s a weekday and her little humans have energy to burn, chances are Sara will be shuttling them off to an evening of Jiu Jitsu where she and her husband also partake in strength training classes. If the little humans get rowdy and demand Sara demonstrate an escape head lock on the mats, Sara’s outfit will be up for the challenge by simply taking off the chambray and changing out her booties with a pair of flat sandals. This easy outfit is an elevated version of athleisure that can be used for play with the kids and any other errand she can imagine under the sun.
Chambray All Day
This look oozes all things artsy and would be the perfect outfit for any of Sara’s speaking engagements in the Pacific Northwest. To start, we will use the faithful and versatile chambray as a base layer and leave only the top unbuttoned. To add a bit of fun and quirk to the party, we have overlaid an A-lined medallion patterned dress as a top layer. This look combines the deep V neckline with the buttons and collar of the chambray, making this otherwise casual and summertime dress both work and wintertime appropriate.
The beauty of this dress is that it hits at the narrowest part of Sara’s waist and just above her knee - an ideal length and cut for a petite frame. If the PNW winter chill is out in full force, she can pair it with dark tights and booties, allowing Sara to brave the toughest of crowds and winter storms alike.
But when it's play time and happy hour with friends is calling, this outfit is seamlessly transitioned with the removal of the chambray layer and tights. With it’s tasteful neckline and flirty leg hem, Sara can take this dress to a bar, brunch, or even an anniversary dinner!
That's a Wrap!
In the early days of motherhood, a top was only as good as its ability to provide instant boob access to hungry little mouths - meaning drawers upon drawers of V-neck tees. But with a defunct milk supply, Sara’s sights can be set a little higher.
With a nod to her old V-neck tees, we are ushering in the magic of the faux wrap top. This top provides a gorgeous deep V neckline that elongates and lengthens Sara’s frame. The tie creates visual interest and works effortlessly to define and showcase Sara’s tiny waistline. To make this look professional and polished, I have tucked the top into a high-waisted pencil skirt while still showcasing the front tie. The skirt itself is a midi length, hitting Sara right at the mid calf, and the high waistline makes Sara's leg line look like it goes on for days.
When you are petite, you don’t have to shy away from longer lengths out of fear of disappearing into the fabric. Instead, always work to tuck your shirts in and reach for high-waisted items. When paired together, they give the illusion of an infinite leg line!
To bring this romantic top into the realm of fun and all things leisure, all Sara needs to do is switch out her midi skirt for her magenta toned skinny jeans. This pairing offers a much needed pop of color in the grey winters her in the Pacific North West, making it the perfect ensemble for a very fashionable stroll at the farmer’s market.
Sara's Seven Styling Subscription
To help elevate her style in this exciting post-baby season of her life, Sara subscribed to Seven!
With a Seven Styling Subscription, I'll be bringing you 7 different clothing items each month - lightly consigned and in excellent condition - straight to your home along with an hour-long styling session to integrate your new clothes into your wardrobe. You get to keep your favorite 3 items, and you can purchase additional items as desired.
You'll receive an infusion of style into your wardrobe each month that matches your personality and life stage. I'll be with you in person every step of the way, and you can subscribe for as few or as many months as you'd like.
Curious? Click here to set up your free style consultation over the phone and let's get started!
Sara Halcumb is an RN, wellness teacher, mother and wife. She lives in the beautiful PNW with her husband and two kids. She loves nothing more than spending her days exploring the great outdoors with her family. Sara runs a lifestyle blog, Literally Simple with her sister-in-law, Maria. Follow them on Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Join their community to Be Well, Want Less, and Gain Quality.