The Creative Mama » inspiring art, encouraging women

The Stylish Mama

Today we welcome our newest contributor to The Creative Mama, please welcome Shawna Percival of StyleberryBLOG.  We love her sense of style, creative life, and adorable DIYs.  Check out her blog and say hello!

Oh, shoes. I love cute shoes. Especially cute shoes with heels. I wore them every day of my four year corporate career as a drug rep. I wore them the day before I delivered my caroline. & then…I became a mom.

I took a long break from all those heels. & a lot of the cute things that I always loved to wear, deeming them “unnecessary for mommyhood.” But I missed my wardrobe & wanted to get my old stylish self back. I lost the weight, but none of the clothes fit the same & I was in a rut. Even my shoes were too tight. Dry clean only was definitely not something designed for mothers. (At least not for the kind of mother I am!) I knew something had to change. & then one night about a year ago I stumbled upon this:

A prepared mother looks professional. No one would show up to the office for a busy day in her pajamas. And yet there’s a stereotype of mothers, particularly stay-at-home mothers, consisting of bathrobes & slippers until 11:00, combined with talk shows & soap operas all afternoon. No wonder motherhood isn’t valued in Western cultures. Our jobs as mothers have more long-lasting impact, even on future generations, than almost any business meeting could. By doing my job with intention, I help others redefine what motherhood can & should be. —Steady Days

What a concept! It was time. Time to get out of the spandex & into the cute stuff again. For me, for my daughter, for my husband…mama needed to rediscover her fashionable self! & it was then that I started to get creative with my closet. Comfortably creative. ‘Cause this mama is convinced that “fashionable” & “mommy” belong in the same sentence!

But where do I start? What stays & what goes? It was the battle of any new mom–especially any working woman turned stay-at-home mom. But the challenge was ON.

I found four categories:

  • the suits, slacks, pencil skirts & tailored items that were just not appropriate for daily mommyhood
  • the “kind of day clothes, kind of pajamas” that were just barely appropriate to wear out of the house
  • the staples that could be dressed up or down
  • the workout clothes

I went through my closet piece by piece & did some serious donating. The keepers were washable, comfortable & classic. The donated were the in-betweens: the probably should dry clean, probably a bit too tight, probably a bit too low cut, probably had since college, probably way too business-y for me to ever need again. If I had even one reason why I would probably not wear it, it was gone. & then I was able to start looking forward. I kept some of my tailored classics & purged almost everything in the “kind of pajamas” category. What was left was a collection of versatile basics that I’d be proud to wear out of the house.

Mommy clothes can be stylish. They can be expressive. They can also be inexpensive. It just takes a little effort.

So what do I wear right now? Currently (now that we’re well into summer here in South Texas) my favorite thing is the summer sun dress. Like this one or this one or this one. My all time favorite dresses are the BCBGMAXAZRIA line at Nordstrom Rack (or Marshalls, if you’re lucky!) I am loving the freedom of loose fitting clothing in the heat. I also love a good skirt. But truthfully, there is nothing more comfortable (or cooler) than a simple dress for the summer. If I’m not in a dress, odds are it’s a skirt. Short or long–pair it with a simple top, a few bracelets, big earrings & a cute pair of shoes & you are sure to look your professional mommy best. It really is that easy.


But back to the shoes…oh the shoes! I finally decided that it just wasn’t safe to be chasing a toddler in heels, so the next best thing was a wedge. One twisted ankle & those were out the window too. She is just. too. fast. I’ll get back to them one day, but right now my toddler-chasing passion is: the FLAT. Shiny. Sparkly. Leopard. Stripe. They are adorable! I am also still loving my winter style splurge. Inspired by the lovely & highly addictive: pinterest & thanks to this pin, I found the perfect flat boot. You heard that right. (& this is coming from an “I will NEVER wear FLAT boots” kind of gal) I adore these boots. I am head over heels. (and maybe a bit over heels all together!) I have found my new mommy shoe. It is definitely summer around here but they are still seeing the light of day. Gone are the days wearing jeans & leggings that tuck neatly inside, but here are the skirts, dresses & shorts that take you up a big notch on the fashion-meter when paired with a sassy boot. Just head into an Anthropologie…you’ll see what exactly what I mean!


My boots are also pretty fabulous for all those to-die-for fields of spring wildflowers we ‘photographer-moms’ trudge through with our babes. On this day, my caroline learned to hit the shutter button & found it positively delightful to run into the frame & stand there until the fast beep beep beep of the self timer went off! & then we did this over & over & over until we were both sweating & giggling like crazy. Cute & functional. As all mommy clothes should be!

Do you have a favorite go-to mommy wardrobe staple? Please share! I’d LOVE to know your secrets! I am always looking for something new!

Despite days full of washing diapers & messy fun, Shawna is determined to make mommyhood a stylish adventure. Married to the military & mother to one feisty girl, she is a passionate DIYer & loves sharing how to make the complicated simple. Shawna talks creativity, style, food, decorating, green-chic living & mommyhood at styleberryBLOG, a daily-ish dose of something fab.
To read all articles written by Shawna, click here.

About Shawna

Despite days full of washing diapers & messy fun, Shawna is determined to make mommyhood a stylish adventure. Married to the military & mother to one feisty girl and a snuggly little dude, she is a passionate DIYer & loves sharing how to make the complicated simple. Shawna talks creativity, style, food, decorating, green-chic living & mommyhood at styleberryBLOG, a daily-ish dose of something fab.

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  • Caila Murphy

    Yay! Those Steve Maddens are my favorite boots ever! I bought some over the winter and they are my new favorite staple. Thanks for the encouragement to stay cute as a mommy! It gets difficult over time (especially the more kids I have, I’m preggers with my third) as my body constantly changes: thin, pregnant, big, thin, pregnant big. The amount of clothing I hold onto is getting ridiculous. I will do some closet cleaning this afternoon! The book Organized Simplicity is a good help for this, too. Thanks again!

  • Wendy

    Go Shawna! Great article… I love the BCBGMAXAZRIA line too!!

  • Corrina

    hmmmm where does yoga-wear fit in here? Particularly if one does not participate in yoga. Oh and I forgot to mention that it’s the fancy yoga stuff :)

    p.s. I don’t do it often…

    • Shawna

      Corrina–you’re funny! :)

  • Colleen Sheehy

    Shawna – So excited you are over at the Creative Mama now! You are truly one creative mommy! Love the post.
    I have trouble getting out of my flip flops for summer, but like the idea of those cute boots. :)

    • Shawna

      Thanks, Colleen! I am a flip-flop gal too! My rainbows will always be a part of my wardrobe…it’s the california in me! :)

  • Heather

    I so needed to read this. I have 11 children. and I have somehow got into the jeans and tees rut. I so want to dress cute again, without waiting to lose all the weight. Time to do a little shopping :)

    • Shawna

      Heather–11 children! You must be one hard working mama!! & yes it is time–mama needs to be pampered!

  • Satakieli

    I love this article. I have a 3 year old and after he was born I made a point to not let myself go. There are perhaps some differences because I’m British, not American and in England it’s generally frowned upon to leave the house in your pajamas!

    The only issue I have is jewelery, I used to wear it a lot and now I rarely bother because as soon as my son sees me wearing it he wants to wear it!

    • Shawna

      Satakieli–ha! my caroline & I share jewelery…not sure how I’d feel if she was a he! :)

  • laura evans

    this post is wonderful … i love that motherhood can change us in so many ways.

    For me getting pregnant forced me out of my stable of jeans & a tee as i tried to find cute clothing to cover my growing bump, boobs, butt & well everything! Throw in a few friends who forced me to wear the clothing i had always coverted from afar & felt would never suit me i now wear my jeans & tee when i’m home with my 6 week old & push my clothing boundaries when i leave the house.

    Even though my body is far from what it was & i am limited to one pair of way larger than pre pregnancy jeans i feel like finally my personality is coming out in my clothing & i’m loving the fact that i look more like the stylish mum & photographer i dreamed of being than the stuck in a rut bartender & photographer who was simple blending into the background. I’ve grown up & become the person i wanted to be now on the outside to match the one inside.

    Thanks again for being honest & inspiring us to find ourselves on the outside as well as in … have a fabulous day.

    ps. gorgeous portraits!

    • Shawna

      thank you, laura! kudos to you & your style! & I assure you, my first couple of months as a mommy are still a blur & fashion was not a big part of them! enjoy it–it goes too fast!!

  • Betsy

    Love this article. I had a baby 7 months ago and have been embarressed when I’ve seen friends while out shopping in my “PJ like clothing.” This gives me some inspiration to spiff up my wardrobe! :)

    • Shawna

      you can do it, Betsy! PURGE! :) you deserve it!