About four years ago, when Chad and I were just starting to think about the possibility of leaving New York, we spent several days in Los Angeles.
It was a serious trip — we were house-hunting (or, at least, house-window-shopping), trying to get a sense of what we could afford in cities that weren’t Manhattan.
Only, the thing was: it was freezing. It was this weird August when California was freezing cold, so the weather in Santa Monica, where we spent most of our time, was grey, windy, and about fifty-five degrees most days. I only made one purchase that whole trip, and it was a big cozy sweater from J. Crew.
Yes, I went to LA in the middle of summer, and bought a sweater.
But one afternoon, just for something to do, we left Santa Monica behind and drove out to Malibu.
And as we drove, it was like the clouds opened up — suddenly, the weather was eighty degrees and sunny. I took off my sweater. I put on my favorite sunglasses. And we had lunch by the ocean, on a beautiful blue-sky afternoon.
Even though we decided against moving to California a few months later, sometimes I still think of that beautiful afternoon, when everything suddenly took a turn for the outrageously beautiful.
So, with this outfit, I decided to recreate it — starting with my new, updated version of those favorite sunglasses. I’ve always loved aviators — they’re the coolest sunglasses around, bar none — and this Foster Grant pair is the one that I’m constantly reaching for nowadays. If I suddenly found myself in the middle of a sunny Malibu afternoon, they’d be on in four seconds flat.
I never used to understand when people said, “once you’re a mom, you’re going to want your getting-ready routine to take four seconds, flat.”
“Seriously?” I thought. “You don’t have an extra second or two to devote to getting ready in the morning? The baby takes every single second of your time?”
But now, on the other side of it… yes, I want my getting-ready routine to take four seconds flat.
I’m not complaining — overall, I’ve done a pretty good job of looking put-together post baby. I put on makeup almost every day. I usually style my hair once or twice a week. I put on normal-person clothes and
On the other hand… little things have slipped, things I miss a lot. I’ve been straightening my hair because curling it doesn’t last as long, despite how much I love curls. I haven’t gotten a manicure since the baby was born, and that’s almost two months at this point. I wish I had time to exercise to drop those last few baby pounds, but so far, it’s not even a remote possibility.
So as I shop (online, obviously — it will be a long time before I can actually go shopping again, but thankfully, there’s the internet!), I tend to be more focused on convenience than anything else. If I see a cute dress, and it’ll look good paired with flats and minimal accessories — that dress goes into my shopping cart. (Bonus if it’s in a fabric that’s machine washable, but that’s the holy grail, isn’t it?)
And with that in mind, I couldn’t resist this dress. It’s so chic, but it’s also incredibly easy to wear — add a few delicate necklaces, a great bag, and you’re basically done. And best of all — it comes in neon yellow too. Do we think I need them both?
Here’s the thing: even though I was super excited about all the changes my body was going through and the amazing new baby that was being created… dressing while pregnant was a bummer.
The fact is, no matter how hard you try, you have to accept the fact that many, many cute clothes just do not fit you for nine months. No matter how hard you scour, most non-maternity clothes just aren’t an option.
Again, I was more than happy to make the trade off — but I was still a little bummed.
So when I saw this Mara Hoffman dress, I immediately put it on my post-baby shopping list. And that moment that I finally placed the order? It felt really, really good.
(Sadly, I waited a little too long, and my size was sold out, so I ended up going up a size, which is why I belted the dress in these photos. If the XS had been available, it would have been cute unbelted too!)
My body is definitely different than how it was before the baby, but at the moment, I’m just grateful to be able to have fun with clothes again. Even if I’m not in pre-baby shape yet, my options are so much wider than they were a few months ago, and it’s fun to explore fashion in a way that I used to take for granted! Mara Hoffman has been a favorite of mine for many seasons of New York Fashion Week — her bold colors and stunning prints are basically my idea of sartorial heaven. So if this is how I ease my way back into non-maternity clothes? I can’t really complain one bit.