Okay I’m going to say something that is going to make me sound completely shallow. I want to be the “hot mom”. There, I said it. So what! Truth is I’ve been spending so much time on everyone else, I haven’t really had much time for even the most basic maintenance (sound familiar moms?) That stops TODAY! Mani-pedi is on the agenda and I have written in stone, the pledge to get some form of exercise in everyday. Now about the wardrobe.

Truth is, I’m a bit of a tomboy, way more comfortable in jeans. Jeans and gimme t-shirts. Trust me when I say it is not a good look.  Luckily I had the good fortune to run into Monica Barnett (with her fab self) while giving the keynote address at Blogalicious weekend. Why did she look so great? Because she’s a stylist/image consultant and founder of Blueprintforstyle.com. So I asked her (begged, really) to give some easy tips for moms like me, who want a pulled together look, fast! So Monica, from the bottom of my widening, er, bottom, THANKS!

I’m a stylist and as much as I try not to judge people when I see them, part of me checks out what is going on and says “NICE” or “Uh-oh, what is happening here?”  I work with a lot of busy moms who say they don’t have time to dress nice but who run to the store and spend hundreds of dollars in minutes, only to come out unhappy and wondering if they actually hit the proverbial nail on the head. STOP! There are some BIG, easy wins out there for even the busiest of moms that will help you look and feel as fabulous as you are.  Before you read these, know they are mother tested and approved- even the head GEM is guilty of couple (yep, being in charge doesn’t mean you’re right all the time!)

Before I go on I need to address this buzz phrase; age appropriate. The two keys to being age appropriate are to focus on highlighting your assets (and hiding your liabilities) and to show skin or shape but not both. Okay, with that out of the way, here are 5 easy tips to help you be the Hot Mom!

1. HAVE A FIT! Seriously, your clothes should fit you-not be too big because you’re trying to hide something or too small because you’ve run them through the dryer one too many times. Whether you get a $200 pair of jeans or go consignment, I tell my clients you need a great tailor in your life to make it your own.


2. COLOR INSIDE THE LINES:  Too many colors and going outside of your comfort zone spells messy Confirm your base color (black, brown, camel, or navy) and select one or two accent colors per season. This way when you go shopping, you can stay inside the lines and you’ll be assured your pieces will coordinate! This season Bordeaux is the hot color and, frankly, it looks great on everyone. My advice: unless you love the “it” color already, don’t go crazy. Instead sprinkle it in with accessories like scarves, belts, hats, or perhaps an embellished tee or color block shoes. Go back to your base color and accents, and see whether it works together, otherwise, it may be a trend you want to skip!

3. PULL IT TOGETHER:  A wide belt adds instant polish by cinching everything together and creating shape. There are literally tons of belts out there, but my recommendation to avoid burning through lots of cash or plastic is to start with either a black (if you’re base color is black) or cognac color (if your base color is brown, camel or navy); and avoid a lot metal ware. If you want to be a little zestier, opt for my favorite, a leopard print belt!

4. ALL SIGNS POINT NORTH: Whether you love heels (I do!) but can’t walk in them all day, or adore flats but they just aren’t cool enough, the pointier the toe, the more versatile the shoe. A pointier flat can more easily be dressed up with a spiffy top, your belt, and a clutch than your traditional rounded toe. The best spend: a pointy toe pair of metallic flats, neutral tone with some embellishment, or two-tone flats-you’ll wear them with everything!

5. CREATE A LITTLE STRUCTURE IN YOUR LIFE:  How many of you have a hobo-style bag or an over-sized purse that you use as a tote? How many of you catch yourself digging around in it trying to find something, or switching it from the left shoulder to the right and vice versa? It’s too big, too heavy and doesn’t have any structure. Invest in a true structured tote-it will give you instant organization, force you to keep it light, and you’ll feel better because you’ll look like you’re all about business even if that is just running to soccer practice! My recommendation: go with something that is neutral like black or camel; or go bold (deep purple, red, metallic, leopard print).

This didn’t take long to read, so give yourself 60 seconds to marinate on the information. The end result should be a chance to clear out some stuff from your closet, think a little differently about your favorite pieces and consider putting a few small edits into the mix to give you a more effortless, chic look. It’s not about spending lots of money, but it’s about spending it on the right items! There is no substitute for looking good because it instantly makes you feel good and who doesn’t want to feel good on any given day?!

 Monica Barnett owns an Image Consulting, Personal Styling & Branding Company called Blueprint for Style and runs a style blog for men and women under the same name. Monica has been asked to guest lecture at New York City’s famed Fashion Institute of Technology and a host of conferences and speaking engagements. Amid an active speaking calendar, Monica also works as an external consultant for Neiman Marcus, providing fashion insights related to customer experiences, was selected to be part of Vogue Magazine’s “Elite Influencer Network” and is one of only 300 Alpha Shoppers for Lucky Magazine, a group of socially networked individuals who are style influencers and fashion trendsetters.