Follow Kveller

You are browsing the archive for fashion.

Sep 15 2011

Fashion and Moms: Can They Go Together?

By at 11:45 am

At least Stephanie's diaper bag is cute.

As I mentioned, I was in Dallas for a bar and bat mitzvah this past weekend. Besides comparing the ceremonies and parties of now to those of then (as in, 20 years ago, when I was 13), I realized something about traveling with a toddler. It seems that the smaller the person, the more you need to bring for them.

I have traveled around seven countries of Europe twice with less baggage than I needed for 48 hours in Texas. Forget not checking a bag. For my first experience with staying in a hotel with my daughter, I packed enough changes of clothes to keep her outfitted for a week. But without ready access to a washing machine and her tendency to wear half of what she tries to eat, what else could I do? I also brought enough healthy foods (see my post about vacay eating) to feed several adults. Crazy? Perhaps. But there was no way I was chancing having to pay mini bar prices.

This all really came to mind after my mother-in-law twice pointed out that I had to schlep a diaper bag instead of delicately carrying something more fashionable. Unfortunately my dressy bag – a Lauren Merkin clutch – wouldn’t be able to accommodate several size 4 Pampers, a wipes case, several bags of various Gerber Graduates, a snack cup of peanut butter Ritz Bits, a jacket in case my daughter got cold, tissues, two water cups, two toddler books, and my wallet.

In my defense, my “diaper bag” is actually a snazzy Lululemon Athletica bag that just so happens to have all the right compartments in all the right sizes for toting all of my 21-month-old’s assorted items. The bag is a lifesaver and I love it, plus it’s black so it’s subdued and goes with everything – including the dresses I wore to temple and to the party. So, I think I deserve a slice of slack for forgoing a posh purse.

In retrospect, it’s not easy getting dressed up with a toddler around, period. At the temple, I laughed at the image of myself sitting on the lobby floor in my Ann Taylor dress and high-heeled pumps while keeping Ellie from disturbing the goings-on. I mean, there was Play-Doh involved. And markers. I was dodging spilled food and milk and praying the rubber soles on her gold mary janes wouldn’t somehow snag my pantyhose mid-Haftarah.

My ability to be fashionable has slowly increased as my daughter has grown. At first, the constant spit-up prohibited any kind of nice shirt or dress, and her habit of grabbing dangly earrings and necklaces precluded wearing those. Once she was starting to be mobile, I stopped wearing dresses and skirts because I spent most of my time cross-legged on the floor with her. Slowly, I have added jewelry back into the mix, and the occasional nicer ensemble, but I can see where moms get a bad rap for the Mom Look.

How do you maintain your style while adapting to the necessities of motherhood?

Check out our list of the most stylish Jewish moms and our interview with Piper Weiss, author of the book My Mom, the Style Icon.

Aug 30 2011

Bad (Jewish) Hair Day

By at 2:25 pm

I have not met a woman that doesn’t have a bad hair day. There are different hair types that have degrees of bad hair day, and those who are born with the traditional Jewish curly hair are some of those who have the hardest time keeping their tresses in order.

“Jewish” hair is usually dark kinky hair that can be frizzy. It takes a lot of product and finesse to get it to look and feel the way the person would like.

Here are some tips on what to do those days where spending time on your hair is not going to happen:

It perplexes me why more women don’t know the value and greatness of a single braid down the back, but get to know it. It can look so chic, yet simple. Step it up with beautiful fun bobby pins, like the Happy-Go-Lucky Bobby Set. For a more sporty look put on a great non-slip headband like the Woven Pink Argyle. Use them to hold back loose hairs, or just to dress up your hair.

For those of you looking for something to cover a little more, try a headbandana. What’s a headbandana, you ask? It’s like a scarf you tie behind your hair, but it’s already made into a headband so you don’t have to tie it at all. My mother would call this a schmata (Urban Dictionary: noun – unfashionable piece of clothing; something you should not be caught dead wearing), but if she does, I’d say it’s a chic one. My favorite ones are the Cappuccino by Danielle Loporto.

There are times when you just need to get your hair out of your face and away with a bun or chignon. I have tried these fantastic Goody Spin Pins. Two of them keeps your bun staying up all day long. For those of you who are skeptical, so was I, but they actually do work! Mix it up and use these with pretty bobby pins, and again you’re accessorizing your plain bun.

Something I tried recently that surprised me is dry shampoo. It certainly doesn’t clean your hair, but it does remove the oil if you need. I like the Suave Dry Shampoo because it works and it’s under $4. Win-win!

Who said a bad hair day had to look bad?

May 16 2011

Interviews with Interesting Jews: Piper Weiss

By at 4:32 pm

Growing up, the word “stylish” probably never popped into your head when thinking about your mother. But if you’re a mom now, you’re well aware that even if your kids don’t think so, you’re just as fashionable as those waify models and actresses on TV. Piper Weiss is the author of My Mom, the Style Icon, a blog-cum-book that allows people to send in old photographs of their moms boasting some serious fashion sense. We talked to her about Mom Jeans, shoulder pads, and much more.

How much was your own mom an inspiration for the blog and book?

100 percent. It was her old photo album from the 60s that inspired the blog. I found them a couple of years ago and starting asking her for the backstories because the pictures were so incredible. I wanted to share with my friends so I scanned them in at my parents’ house and uploaded to a blog. I was hoping to encourage my friend’s submissions but I didn’t expect to get photos of moms from around the world.

Moms and fashion haven’t always gone hand-in-hand, as seen with the everlasting fashion label “mom jeans.” Why do you think moms have gotten a bad rap in the fashion world? Does My Mom, the Style Icon aim to change that?

Absolutely. Looking back at our mothers, we realize just how ahead of their time they were. Only two years ago, when I started the site, mom jeans were ubiquitous in Brooklyn. Here we were wearing the same pants we reduced as uncool the first time around. On another level, it’s a chance to understand your mother as a person where once you only saw her as someone who’s life was to function on your behalf. I think that’s where the whole ridicule of mom jeans came: their style didn’t pertain to us so we wrote it off as “lame”.

Do you plan on having kids, and has doing this project changed your concept of what a mother is?

I don’t have kids, but this project has definitely changed the way I think about the course of a life in general. How many turns it takes whether it’s in style or in love, work, health. Old photos (especially prom, wedding, first love pictures) really capture moments in people’s lives that they think at the time are ‘the’ moment, when in fact it’s an ever-evolving thing. At the same time, one photo can be passed down and re-contextualized by another generation, so it’s crazy to think how far a moment can stretch.

Piper's mom looking awesome in Israel.

What’s your favorite decade, style-wise?

Definitely the 70s. They had taken the inventive architecture of the dresses of earlier decades and made it a little more casual, a little more rock n’ roll, a little more diversified in influence. The women’s movement had to have been a factor.

Have you gotten any submissions of moms dressed up for synagogue?

I have not but I’d love to see some. I remember growing up, getting dressed on Yom Kippur when the entire Jewish population of NYC took to the streets to walk to temple, was a big deal. Lots of nylons, shoulder-pads and high heels, which seemed like a real commitment to fashion in light of the hike involved.

Was your mom a style icon? Send in your favorite pictures to Piper’s blog and buy the book here.

And be sure to check out Kveller’s stellar guide to the most stylish Jewish moms!


Recently on Mayim