A couple of months ago, I introduced a new series to you guys called 'Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom.' I explained that when I was pregnant, I thought a lot about what kind of changes would take place in me after the baby arrived, and if it would be difficult to maintain my individual identity and style. I knew that I absolutely wanted Essley to come first, without question - but I also knew that it was important to continue to stay true to who I was, and to continue to enjoy the things that made me ME, pre-baby. Well despite much less sleep and free time, a consistently messy home, and a wardrobe that is rarely wrinkle-free or truly clean, I can honestly say that I at least make a conscious effort to be somewhat stylish, to create a relatively healthy balance between work/family/life, and to remind myself that it's neither necessary nor appealing for me to fit into the mold of the stereotypical, traditional mom. I'm lucky to know (and constantly meet) other moms who feel the same way that I do. These women are committed mothers who defy convention. They are true to their kids and true to their families, but also true to themselves. These moms are hip, smart, and stylish - and I'm thrilled to be able to share, in their words, what makes them that way.
For the third post in this series, I'm thrilled to be featuring another real life friend who is also a blogger. I met this lovely lady several years back (2008?), well before either of us were moms (or had blogs). We were introduced by our husbands (then boyfriends), who go way, way back, and we hit it off immediately. She is raising two beautiful little boys, takes some seriously gorgeous photos, and might possibly be the world champion of scoring cool thrift store finds. Welcome the hip, smart, and stylish Nicolette Gawthrop.
Welcome Nicolette! Please introduce yourself to Bubby and Bean's readers.
Thank you so much for having me, and for considering me a Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom!!! I'm flattered. My name is Nicolette Gawthrop, I am a Mom of two little boys: Loukas, age 4 and Jasper, age 2. It's a funny thing to call oneself, but I'd say I'm a Thrift-shopper, an Instagrammer, and a documentary photographer. I also hobby-blog about my life as Ozark Mama Deer - mostly my photography and creative writing with some lifestyle-type posts mixed in between. My husband, Jerrmy, is a restauranteur and music festival promoter, and I like to consider myself on the "Board of Trustees" for his various business ventures. We juggle a lot around, here, but try be ourselves, keeping true to our style at the same time.
I've never been a huge fan of being asked to define my style in a number of words, but for sake of time and space, let's do it anyway. Define yours in three words.
EASY, COMFORTABLE, EVOLVING.
What is your usual daily ‘uniform?'
I tend to dress based on my mood for the day. Always comfortable, mostly natural breathable fibers. Recently, I’ve embraced the yoga pants cliche and I'm so glad that I have. It doesn't happen often, but I actually love to hit the ground running in what I went to bed in the night before, leggings and a tee - brush teeth, splash my face with water, swipe on some blush and dab some under eye concealer and get the day going. Usually I stick to comfy casual: jeans, a cute tee or button up, and boots or slip on shoes. Somedays, though, when I’m feeling low, instead of the same ole jeans and top, I go for a dress. I find that when you are facing a rough day, braiding your hair pretty and taking a little extra time to jazz up your look, can put an extra pep in your step.
What is different (if anything) about your style/wardrobe now than before you had kids?
I would say my wardrobe has evolved quite a lot since becoming a Mom. Mostly, accessorizing my outfits has become somewhat limited - especially at the peek of baby wearing, and breastfeeding when little fingers start to pull on earrings and necklaces or they get entangled in wearing the kid, and carrying the bag with all the kid’s stuff. Also, most of my decisions about what to wear daily are based on feeling comfortable while sitting to nurse, nursing accessibility, how hot and sweaty I might get while carrying a kid and most importantly- I gage how much I will feel irritated if my garment gets stained. My kids tend to view my apparel as an extended napkin (the other napkins around here, besides real ones, are their shirts.) So basically, I try to express myself through my style as much as possible without compromising my Mom role. It’s a terrible feeling when you don’t want your cute kid to crawl all over you or pick them up to carry them because you don’t want to get your get up messy, and it’s equally awkward to do floor play activities in certain styles of pants or skirts. Obviously, it’d be easy to just wear scrubs or athletic apparel (I’ve recently embraced yoga pants days) but I also find that expressing myself through the way that I dress is something that I value. There was time in the very early days of motherhood that I actually went through my wardrobe and purged some of my very favorite non-practical pieces in the spirit of “I’m a mom now,” and I don’t think that has to be the case. Your children deserve to have a happy parent who is comfortable being themselves. Sure you may have to skip the heels, and tone down the accessories but I think it’s important for kids to see parents being them.
What do you wear when you go out with your husbands or girlfriends? Are your outfits different or the same as when you're hanging with the kids?
I tend to stick to comfortable, easy looks with some flare. I like to save my white clothing items and things that are hard to “mom” in for date nights. I don’t get out for evening engagements too often, but when I do- I wear heals, I happily don’t have to consider breastfeeding and I add extra jewelry and make up.
What are your top three wardrobe staples?
This is a tough one.
-Stylish Tee shirts (I have splurged on a couple J.Crew linen and cotton tees that look great and are a put-on-and-go easy look)
What are your favorite places to shop for clothing that you'd suggest to other hip/smart/stylish moms?
A majority of the clothing I wear is thrifted or purchased at this crazy warehouse buyout place where I find Free People and Anthropologie, cast offs that often need repairs and are from the previous year’s season. I love to score on the J.Crew %-off-sale sales, and sometimes GAP. When I am thrift shopping I look for vintage specialty items, made in USA, organic cotton/natural fibers and finer designer labels -which happens- it’s amazing what you can find out there- and no, I don’t thrift with my kids. I also love eBay for finding swedish clogs and fancy boots. I always do eBay searches before I buy full-price footwear. It’s pretty rare that I buy full-price items, but when I do- it’s always from local shops, here, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We actually happen to have some of the greatest boutiques. Northwest Arkansas happens to be a pretty fashionable area!!! I would suggest checking out your local resale shops and sign up for email reminders of jcrew clearance sales for staples and statement tees! Their items are always a treat, especially heavily discounted.
What are your favorite places to shop for baby and/or kids clothes?
I do love the independent Etsy shop specialty items made by moms, and I like to shop local (we have a few really great kids’ boutiques around here, as well, but I’m quite practical about the cost of clothing items for kids- which often end up getting stains, and are outgrown quickly. So, I do a lot of thrifting, and I find items on eBay. eBay is a glorious market place, in my opinion. Otherwise, I wait for sales and rarely pay full price, and because I save so much with the thrifting, I can sometimes splurge on a $20 shirt or fancy pair of leggings (which my boys love) and buy nicer shoes and just mix and match and snazz up a thrifted pair of vintage shorts or top that I paid $2 for. My favorite kids clothes makers are: Crewcuts, Gap, Little Hip Squeaks, Mama Case Prints, Mini Boden, Tea Collection, Kate Quinn Organics, American Apparel, and Smafolk, and for PJ’s: Hanna Andersson (which I often buy on eBay.) There are some other brands that I super love right now, like Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, and Nico Nico, but they aren't in the budget. I'll be searching for leftovers from the last couple seasons on eBay for sure. My criteria for kids clothes, again, is comfort and I try to buy only 100% cotton. We rarely put the boys in jean material because they are so active and it doesn’t move well. The boys love their Salt Water Surfer Sandals, New Balance, Vans, and Sperry "boat shoes" they call them, as well as their RAIN BOOTS. I found reasonable Hunter Boots and Joules on… you guessed it, eBay this last year and I tend to feel comfortable buying quality items in my oldest boy’s size because they will be passed on to little bro.
How do you 'balance' everything you have going on (work, kids, family, life!) while still keeping a sense of style?
My sense of style is a very much an intrinsic part of who I am. I don’t think I go too much out of my way thinking about it… it just kind of happens. It helps to keep our wardrobes pared down to the items we love best and have favorites around that are easy to lauder and readily available. I actually consider care instructions when I purchase items. I learned really early on that washing clothes when you are a mom is a bit more necessary than before kids. Like I said before, my clothes seem to resemble a napkin to my little guys. And I wouldn’t say that I’ve got the balance part down, but I do prioritize taking a shower and getting dress almost every single day. If nothing more than it makes me feel good and therefore translates into higher spirits all around. Like, I said before- your kids deserve to have a happy parent and to know the real you!
What is your ultimate favorite thing to do with your family when you have some downtime?
We love to EAT. My husband is a chef/restaurant owner and we are pretty obsessed with food. We take our kids to all kinds of food places and they are becoming pretty good diners. Our other favorite is adventure/travel, which we try to do a couple of times a year. And when we travel…you guessed it- we love to eat.
Thanks again to the wonderful Nicolette for being our third hip/smart/stylish mom! Make sure to pay her a visit to her blog, Ozark Mama Deer. You can also find her on Instagram, where she recently garnished some attention by becoming one of IG's suggested users. Go Nico!
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