*This post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase, I might make a small commission at no extra charge to you. Your support is appreciated!
The momiform. We all have one. Many moms (myself included) will gravitate to a certain top, a pair of leggings (or jeans if we feel like dressing up) and comfy shoes from our closet when choosing an outfit of the day. We have a go-to look that gets us ready to conquer the world and our kids. Having a go-to outfit, a momiform, makes our lives easier and gets us out the door a lot quicker. Whether you’re a working mom, a stay-at-home mom or something in between you NEED a momiform. So how do we build a momiform that’s equally stylish and efficient?
Let me tell you how. We called this a capsule collection in my other life as a kids clothing designer. A capsule collection is small, essential and functional. It’s wearable and transcends seasons. Moms want pieces that are easy to throw-on, are cute for date nights and girl’s brunch and also appropriate when bending down to pick up toys, for trips to the playground and holding babies (and toddlers). I’ve put together a list of 16 mom essentials every mom needs to keep her looking chic while at work, at play or ready to chase down her child.
1. Leather Jacket
I LOVE a leather jacket for a cool summer night (read my post from last year). A good leather jacket is also a MUST-HAVE for transitioning into the fall. It is the BEST throw-on piece any mom can have. A leather jacket can pull an entire look together. Think about the time you were wearing a t-shirt and leggings (every day). Wear a leather jacket over it (weather permitting) and see how it changes your entire look.
2. Denim Jacket
A denim jacket is similar to a leather jacket in the sense that it can make an otherwise messy outfit look put together. While I am a fan of your basic denim jacket from Gap (yes, I have a basic denim jacket in my closet), I like my basics with a little bit of pizazz. I’m so glad I spent the extra money on this one, instead of saving on an Amazon version.
The blazer is the office essential that is also a mom savior when it comes to her wardrobe. How many times do we scramble for a date night look, a girl’s night look or something quick for errands after a great workout? The blazer is the answer. It works with jeans, shorts, spandex…literally anything. Just throw it on with key accessories and GO!
4. Black T-shirt
A t-shirt is essential to every wardrobe because it can be worn over and under almost anything and everything. It’s comfortable and it moves with you. I choose black because I tend to wear A LOT of black and because black hides just about every stain a child can get on you. In reality, any color t-shirt will do.
5. Dressy Top
A dressy top. What does that mean? I means a top that’s more than a basic t-shirt. Choose one based on your own style. Maybe it’s a ruffle chiffon top. Maybe it’s an eyelet top. Maybe it’s a basic tank with a little bit of shine. Maybe it’s a full sequin top. The point is this top is something more elevated than your average t-shirt. A dressy top can be worn under a blazer for the office, alone with jeans for brunch and then with shorts and a denim jacket for the playground. Are you starting to catch on? Mom essentials are pieces that fit and work for your lifestyle.
6. White Button-down Shirt
White button-down shirts are classics. You might be thinking, white? Are you crazy? Around kids? Yes, a white button-down is essential. You might have messy kids, but you still have to LIVE and LOOK GOOD doing it! A crisp white button-down is a staple for the office, a quick coffee run and brunch with the girls. It’s a great multitasker and that’s exactly what a mom needs. Find one that’s loose fitting or slightly oversized. This makes moving easier and it will give you more styling options. I’m obsessed with this Amazon one right now.
7. A Good Pair of Jeans
Jeans. The sound of that word might be scary. Finding a pair of jeans pre-kids was tough, finding one post kids might be even harder. DO IT! You need to. Once you invest the time into finding the perfect jeans, they will serve you well. I’ve been stalking the sales for some Moussy Vintage jeans. These jeans are made of Japanese and fit like magic. The price tag is not as desirable, as they cost upwards of $300 a pair. Yikes! Hence, the sale stalking. Saks Fifth Avenue has GREAT sales if you keep checking.
Leggings are necessary. They are easy and go with EVERYTHING. Right now, I’m obsessed with Lululemon leggings for working out. Check out my post here. Lululemon’s high rise leggings keep everything tight and under control for me. My go-to playground look when I don’t feel like “getting dressed,” is a black t-shirt, french tucked into black leggings, with a jacket (denim or leather)…weather permitting…and a pair of Birkenstocks. For fall, I like these Spanx moto leggings. But, that’s a story for another day!
9. Bike Shorts
Bike shorts are the short version of leggings. Almost anything you can wear with a pair of leggings you can wear with bikes shorts. Wear bike shorts ala Princess Di with a sweatshirt, under a mesh skirt for dress up, with a cute bra top and throw a jacket over it…endless possibilities! This pair even has pockets!
10. Denim Shorts
Denim shorts are perfect for play, running errands and going to the beach. Pair it with a white button-down and some gold bangles for a more pulled-together look or with a simple t-shirt or tank for a more casual look. The key is finding a pair that makes you feel comfortable whether it’s a longer pair of shorts, cut-offs or something in between. If you’re looking to spend $20 or less, this pair is the want you want. Great details, great color.
11. Black Dress
We all need a black dress. A simple jersey one will serve you well. Jersey is super comfortable and will hold it’s shape on a dressier silhouette. I’m obsessed with this Amazon one. Switch the shoes you’re wearing and it’s an outfit for the playground AND date night!
Wedding guest? No problem. I think this one-shoulder dress is the perfect dress to have around for fancier occasions. Pro-tip, you can throw a denim jacket over this dress, or any “fancy” dress, wear flats or a more casual shoe and transition this look for a brunch date or day party.
12. Signature Jewelry
I’m obsessed with bling. When I was younger, I would buy jewelry that was big, shiny and made a statement…actually, I still do. BUT, the difference is now I buy for quality. Before, it was about quantity. Now, I build my collection and wear pieces that become part of my signature look. What pieces make your signature look? Maybe it’s a statement ring on your pointer finger. Maybe it’s a diamond tennis bracelet or classic diamond studs. Maybe it’s a gold pair of hoops. Find it. Invest in it. Wear it with everything.
I love this ring for any collection. It’s the perfect way to pair birthstones to represent partners, children, your favorite colors, etc AND make a statement. And a watch, always wear a watch. Moms ALWAYS need to know what time it is and a watch is a great accesory.
13. Comfortable Shoes
Comfortable shoes might seem like a duh item, but comfortable shoes do not always have to be sneaker. I’m obsessed with Birkenstocks. They are SUPER COMFORTABLE and go with EVERYTHING. I buy them in multiple colors every time they go on sale. I care less about having the color of the season because I wear so much black. Any color I inject into my outfit is a pop.
If you choose a sneaker, I’d go with a fun pair that makes a statement. Build a wardrobe around mom essential pieces that you can mix and match easily. Include a pair of sneakers that give your outfit that extra bit of pizazz. I LOVE Golden Goose sneakers because they’re comfy and obnoxious. Check out this pair. Classic Converse are also great and super affordable.
For a more traditional looking sneaker, ON Running is what I’ve been seeing. I have a pair reserved strictly for running.
14. Fun Heels
Heels are important to have. Yes, they can still be comfortable. I invested in a pair of Valentino heels for my wedding (I wore them for eight hours!) and they’ve become my go-to shoes for going out and weddings. They are SUPER COMFORTABLE. Blazer, tank top, jeans and these heels. Easy.
Yes, find a pair of fun flats if that’s your thing. As long as you own a pair of shoes that are dressier and fit your needs, you’re winning.
Espadrilles (wedges) are a good compromise. They give you the height with added comfort. My go-tos are a pair of Sam Edelman espadrilles I’ve had for years. This is a similar pair.
What do we carry all our things in? Find a handbag/tote that fits your lifestyle and buy it. I opted for a fancy designer bag after my first pregnancy (something similar) because it fit my needs at the time. Now, I use something smaller because I figured out what worked for me. I need something small in size, but substantial, hands-free and will go with everything. I make sure my keys, cards, cash, phone, toys, snacks, crayons, etc…fit and then I’m good to go. Does your bag need to function as an office bag and a playground bag? Ask yourself what needs to fit into your bag and work from there.
I love the Dagner Dover neoprene bags for the gym, travel and their diaper bag is ahhhmaazing. And if you have to buy just one evening bag, invest in the Saint Laurent kate bag. It’s small, elegant and fits all the essentials…and half the price of similar sized Chanel bags.
Sunglasses are a HUGE mom essential. These hide our tired eyes, our mascara-less eyes, our one too many cocktails after the kids went to bed yes, etc. I like my sunglasses big, dark and lightweight. These are my go-to pair RN. And they’re on sale! I’m also linking these as an option.
I believe in “investing” in a pair of really great sunglasses. If you buy a well made pair and classic (whatever that means to you…to me it makes something big, black and bold), as with all other things well made and classic, you only need one. Yes, you might lose them in daily mom chaos, but you might not.
Saks Off 5th is my go-to spot for sunglasses. We LOVE designers at a discount. You can never go wrong with classic pair of Ray-Bans. These are 50% off RIGHT NOW! Try these viral Amazon ones if things tend to disappear around you. Some colors are under $15 for two pairs!