The Mommy Style File: High Low Fashion

Q: Hey Cheryl! Every time I see you, you are in a dress or skirt. Do you ever take it down a notch? LOL. Also, how do you afford outfits for each season?

A: Haha! Yes, I do take it down a notch many times! My weight fluctuated so much after I had a baby that I now opt for dresses because they don’t have a defined waistline (so they fit give or take 10 lbs unlike jeans). I am a fan of belted skinny jeans now because they fit my current body type. When I was a little heavier, they just didn’t work for me. As for outfits for each season, I do two things. I usually buy one investment piece per weather change NOT per season (in the Midwest, we have freezing and warmish). I then supplement with inexpensive trendy, seasonal items including accessories and nail polish!

Spring/Summer Casual Look

Here is a real-life example! I took my son to the zoo this day and it was a bit chilly. Let me break it down for you:

Basics on a Budget
Top- $6 @ Old Navy
Jeans- $11 @ Forever 21
Belt- $1 from a NYC street vendor
Sunglasses- $30 @ Carson’s (Jessica Simpson)
Jewelry- Earrings & necklace: my own line, all dressed up designs (site is still in progress)

Investment Pieces
Shoes- Cole Haan with Nike Air Technology around $150, but you can find them for under $100 at Nordstrom Rack (purchased when I was SUPER pregnant and my feet were killing me)
Bag- Coach Audrey Bag (it was a gift; I don’t want to know how much it cost…that ruins it!)

Nail Polish- Color Club in Clambake Coral (from my May Gossip Girl-themed Birchbox) with Sally Hansen Complete Manicure in Kook-A-Mango tips

Here’s a little how-to tutorial for the nails!

I love painting my nails bright, vibrant colors, but find that they chip within days if not hours. I extend the life of my manicure by color blocking the tips! I generally try a darker or lighter shade than what is already on my nails, but have found that color combos like grey & yellow work well too.

First, dab a little polish remover on the chip to smooth down the rough edges.

Next, take an eye smudger (the elf smudge sponge costs $1) and dip it into the polish. You can use a regular polish brush, but I find the smudger creates a more clean line.

Drag the smudger with paint across your nail in an arc. The key is to not press down too hard so it creates a smooth line.

Let dry, then apply an anti-chip topcoat.

Feel free to do polka dots, stripes, whatever! This is a low-cost way to add a finishing touch to your outfit.


After I finished this post, I was going through my e-mail and found this photo (courtesy of one of my fave bloggers Fantabulously Frugal) of  Emily VanCamp wearing a similar outfit. Huh, guess I am not so off base in terms of style! (And yes, I do sometimes need to see a celeb wearing a similar outfit to boost my confidence. Judge if you must, but deep down you would be pleased as well!)