The Pants of Least Resistance: 5 Exec-Friendly Wardrobe Tips for Busy Working Moms

Like it or not, our appearance absolutely says something about who we are.  From first impressions to self-expression, the clothes we wear are representative of the image we are portraying to others.  According to Forbes, you can actually use your wardrobe to change how others perceive you, and even how you think about yourself.

No matter what your personal style may be – classic, a bit retro, or always up with the modern trends, many women find shopping to be a fun activity, but most busy, working moms know that realistically there is little to no free time for this.  However, that certainly doesn’t mean they’ve stopped caring about their wardrobe, or what it says about them, especially while on the job.  But that doesn’t mean it can’t feel like a daily struggle to put an outfit together that is comfortable and conveys professionalism.

So exactly how can you balance this?  How can you present an “I am confident in my fashion choices!” image, while internally feeling like, “I have zero time for this!!!” – ??  Because a personal shopper may not be a viable option, we’re going to present to you some other great ideas to ensure you’re looking and feeling your best even as you work with minimal time.

1. Consider a work uniform – or just get back to basics.

One workday, Matilda Kahl, a successful art director, had an epiphany that her outfit choice was causing her too much unnecessary stress.  She also felt like her male colleagues were taken seriously no matter what they wore, but she certainly didn’t feel that same respect.  She came up with a solution to simplify her daily morning struggle.  

Kahl states, “I have no clue how the idea of a work uniform came to me, but soon, the solution to my woes was in the form of 15 silk white shirts and a few black trousers.  For a little personal detail, I chose to add a custom-made black leather rosette around my neck.  During the colder months, I also top my look off with a black blazer.  I shopped all the pieces in one day.  It burned a hole in my wallet to say the least, but in the long run, it has saved me—and will continue to save me—more money than I could imagine.”  So while you may not want to wear the exact same thing everyday, Kahl is definitely onto something.  A few properly tailored work basics with a few great accessories can be simple, professional, cost-effective, and classy.

2. Buy clothes that don’t require ironing.

Before having children, it’s very possible that you just didn’t like to iron, but now these days, you really do not have time for it.  Brands including Ralph Lauren, Liz Claiborne, Chico’s, and Land’s End offer items such as dress shirts that are made of a wrinkle-resistant material.  Not only is this helpful to save time each morning, these types of clothing articles are also ideal as you pack for business trips.

3. Travel in style – and comfort.

And speaking of traveling, if you are a mom who is often on the go for work, you know there’s a lot of preparation that goes into your time away from home.  You don’t need to add stress about packing, though you also still want to look professional, while recognizing that comfort means everything.  Whether you’re catching a nap or catching up on work during a long flight, a cozy ensemble helps your cause.  A site like offers fashion-forward clothing including its highly-sought-after dress yoga pants, which ensure you both look and feel at ease even when traveling for business.  

4. Avoid the “Dry Clean Only” label if possible.

A trip to the dry cleaners doesn’t necessarily fit into your schedule.  And while there are services that offer pick-up and drop-off, the money may be better spent on expanding your business (or non-business) wardrobe further.  The no-dry-cleaning rule can be eased a bit if you own a good steamer.  If you’re careful and somewhat ignoring tip #2 from above, dry clean only items greatly benefit from a good press in between wearings, but this isn’t helpful on a day you spill your lunch.  So attempting to generally only purchase washable items may really be the best bet for your workdays.

5. Carry what you need in sensible style.

Trendy little clutch bags may look great in topping off an outfit, but for the working parent, they are not usually practical.  Your purse should be big enough to carry the necessities – wallet, make-up, cell phone, etc.  Luckily, satchel bags never really go out of style, and the cross-body look is both trendy and functional.  Backpacks are also popular right now and being offered by top manufacturers and also in local retail shops.  The right style can be fashionable, work appropriate, and functional for all your needs as a busy mom.  It also saves time to use just one handbag as opposed to switching between many.  In addition, this reduces the chance that one of your necessities doesn’t make the transfer.

Style is a very personal thing for each of us.  While all of these tips may not fit into your exact fashion vision, implementing just one of them can save you time, money, or aggravation.  Whatever your preference, looking good and feeling good, even when based on limited time, go hand-in-hand, and feeling confident in your appearance will exude that sentiment in the workplace as well.