I'm thrilled to have the super sweet Kallah here today for a guest post. Be sure to check out her blog, Being Open to Life, for lots of pictures of her adorable little boys and posts on running, style, and life as a young mother.
Hey y’all! My name is Kallah. I have been an admiring reader of Erika’s for a while now… I was sucked in by the J.Crew Everything and I stayed for the sweet lovestory, adorable bump pics, and kind heart of this humble girl. Seriously - she puts me to shame!
Also. I love that, despite her missionary work and general self-effacing generosity, Erika has an appreciation for good quality and stylish taste. Life is all about balance!
I blog over at Being Open to Life… mostly my gushy, rambley reflections on my experiences being a mama at the ripe age of 25. I have two little boys and am SO excited for Erika getting to experience the boy-mom adventure with Baby Stephen.
Post-partum style is tricky. Let me rephrase that. Post-partum everything is tricky. Even in the best of pregnancy weight-gain situations, you generally have to be patient for your hips to shrink back to size; and while for some people breastfeeding seems to suck every ounce of fat off them, for others it is incredibly effective at keeping an extra 5-10 lbs of padding on your body until you wean. I was in the former camp for my first born, the latter for my second. Karma.
Don’t do what some people have done, and freak out at week 7 PP that this is the new normal for your body, and you will never be the same again. Just… wait it out. And look on the brightside. The awesome thing about having to put a hold on the best summer wardrobe of rompers and clingy jersey cotton etc etc while your body settles? SHOES. Some might see spending a good chunk of cash and time on getting the perfect shoe as a waste. I firmly regard it as an investment. See, shoes are not like summer dresses or trendy tops. A shoe that is well-made and well-designed will look good and be stylish for a very long time. The trick is to sift through the ads and decide - what is hype and what is a lasting, tasteful, good shoe investment?
Here I am, in all my unsponsored glory, to answer that question. Because a) one of my biggest passions on my own blog and elsewhere is finding ways to nurture yourself as a mom. And b) so I can play around with my husband’s Bamboo Graphics pen. Oh yes.
An Instant AND Necessary Self-esteem Boosting Pickmeup for a PostPartum Mama
The first type of shoe you need to have for summer, obbbbviously, is Sporty.
I had fallen in love with the Supergas as styled in all the J.Crew catalogs the last couple of summers. And yes they are *clay-oven-baked in Italy* to seal them up. Gahhh how sexy are Italians! I can just imagine the roaring fires in gorgeous big brick ovens, as ripped, brown Mediterranean men roast… shoes.
I bought these last summer when everyone else was buying Converse… I have fairly wide, big feet, and I always thought Converse All-Stars looked wayyyy too clownish. Or maybe I’m not hipster enough. Whatever. I love the roundedness of the Superga in contrast - and the fact that it doesn’t have that clowny little rubber lip on the tip of the shoe. This is much more my style.
I bought mine at Piperlime but you can find them at Nordstrom too! (They are sized a little big, btw). What’s Italian for “I wear them so much and I feel cool when I do”? Let me go check Eat Pray Love.
[Seen wearing in that first pic.]
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The second type of shoe you really need for summer is an easy Pretty sandal that gives any outfit a pop. But one that is also understated enough that you will feel comfortable wearing it all the time. My pick for a pretty sandal is wholly unoriginal and I have worn the heck out of them for the last FOUR years…
Ok, so these have been around since the 60s, thanks to fashion icon Jackie O. But they have gotten a major resurgence in preppy sorority houses and private schools all over the South in recent years. Also I think there was a mass blogger gifting from Jack Rogers last summer. #trending. [I was not included, so be assured I am not paid to promote these.]
It can be really tiring seeing everyone and their daughter (literally - 13 year old mini-me’s) traipsin around town in the same old shoe.
But…. but… BUT… everytime I put this shoe on, I really do feel prettier. Instantly. I wear them with sundresses, with skinny jeans and a v-neck white tee, with preppy little J.Crew Chino 3 Inches. I have worn them with silk dresses to weddings and with ripped up old Levi cutoffs to the beach.
Here are my JRs being so fancy:
(The fact alone that they made hugely pregnant me feel pretty is the only thing you need to know, right!).
And here they are being casual:
I couldn’t imagine my summers without that little gleam of metallica on my feet. I have to recommend them. Though not if you want to feel ahead of trends or one-of-a-kind. And, after last summer, not if you don’t want to look like a blogger.
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Sporty, pretty… next up for summer is a sexy sandal. The kind you toss on for your date night while on family vacation. The kind that makes you feel a little high-maintenance.
My pick for sexy is…
Literally, anything Dolce Vita/ DV by Dolce Vita. They are gorgeous. So on trend. These designers have the magic touch.
Now, full disclosure. I have lusted over this brand of shoes in store for a year or so now, and they feel like the real deal - soft, fairly heavy (good sign for quality material)... but I have yet to purchase a pair for my own closet. These inhabit my Pinterest closet only. ;) So I can’t speak to how long they would last looking amazing. But I believe they would hang in there for a long while.
If you can’t afford the selection at Piperlime or Nordstrom, Nordstrom Rack is always a good bet. Or 6pm.com! I have loved my experience shopping from 6pm so much, I have been reluctant to spill my secret lest everyone go buy everything before I can. But I give in for Erika and her lovely readers. The returns are a pain in the butt, (you have to pay for shipping and send it off yourself) but since shipping to you is free, it feels worth it. Sending a handwritten package of returns from your Post Office to a random warehouse address in Kentucky feels sketch, but they come through and refund you. Pinky swear.
I found these Seychelles (my second fav brand to Dolce Vita) from 6pm for literally $20. (They were $80 last summer in Anthropologie!):
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The last summer shoe that makes me happy I own it from June to September is another one I would like to be too cool for, but no such luck!
This is the exact style of TOMS I own. Its called the Hemp style, or something like that. I got mine in Nordstrom, because they’re sized a bit smaller, so its definitely one you want to try on in store.
Calling them cute is... a stretch. But goodness are they comfortable. Easy, breathable, and in the nude color, I felt like they were actually fairly flattering to my short legs. I wear them a lot because I can easily walk 5 miles in them without getting blisters later. They’re great for chasing little kids around the park!
So there you go… shoes that fill the summer needs of Sporty, Pretty, Sexy, and Ugly! [slash Disgustingly-Comfortable].
So. If you find yourself in the same boat as Erika as a newly Postpartum mom this summer, the best advice I can give you is relax. Try to soak in this season of the honeymoon of motherhood. And if the baby weight melts off, AWESOME. But if it seems to be taking awhile for clothes to feel and look normal on you? Join the club; don’t worry about it or feel like you have to settle. Your body is going to spring back; just give it the nurture and love it needs… and the best way to do that, obviously, is to buy the damn shoes!
Dearest Lovely Erika: a bazillion thanks for the opportunity to play Graphic-Designing-Fashion-Blogger for a day, without the risk of losing any of my own fragile readership slash fanbase.