So, since the hoodie/baggie tee/cropped pant/cross-trainer look isn’t working for him, what’s Clinton’s prescription for a new mom uniform? “Great dark washed jeans, a cute colorful ballet flat, a beautiful short sleeve printed blouse, and a cardigan with a great pop of color.” The man is a genius. That’s exactly how I want to look, and how I try to look , on a good day. (Let’s talk about me, for a moment. Don’t pretend you didn’t see this coming. A couple of weeks ago, I did a shoot to update my blog photos, and in one shot I wore my dark AG Stilt jeans, a ruffled J. Crew long tank, a printed Liberty of London for Target scarf, and a bright yellow Lilly Pulitzer cardigan. Sigh. Clearly, Clinton and I share the same views on mommy style. We could start a crusade… But first I have to do something about my hair…)
The Must Nots
But I digress. Clinton and I share another belief: If an item of clothing is named for its purpose, it should generally be reserved for that purpose. “The problem with yoga pants is that they are called yoga pants for a reason. It’s athletic wear, and unless you are an athlete or actively participating in athletics, you shouldn’t wear them. It’s a copout. People wear them because they don’t want to be bothered… putting on pants. It’s so exhausting.” Ditto with cross trainers, which are, no surprise here, for cross training. There are, of course, some exceptions. Swimsuits are absolutely appropriate attire for almost anywhere your day takes you, from running errands to playdates to lunch with a friend. Trust me on this.
Clinton continues: “It’s not that any one thing is awful, it’s just that people wear them the wrong way. Yoga pants are for yoga, leggings are not pants… Every item of clothing should come with a warning label, like this will kill you. Maybe it’s not obvious. Pajama pants should come with a label saying ‘don’t wear these out of the house.’ Or ‘wearing leggings as pants will get people to laugh at you behind your back.'”
So, now that we know what not to wear, I asked Clinton which essential items every woman should own, and he started rattling them off: “I think every woman needs a great cocktail dress, a fabulous day dress, a pencil skirt, flattering jeans the cut of which depends on her body type, cute flats, great sandals, a great pair of boots, a variety of cotton blouses, cashmere sweaters, great cardigans, casual jackets, a clutch, a day bag.”
A Closet Full of Clothes…
Clinton says that there is a remarkable difference between the approach that American women and European women have to shopping. “I’ve encountered women with a closet full of junk sweatshirts, t-shirts, bad lightwashed jeans, and I’ve also seen a ton of women who are impulse shoppers and have a completely mismatched wardrobe and no idea what to wear them with. Most American women have too much low quality junk, and they are more concerned about quantity than quality. In Europe, women spend their money on good quality pieces, then they spend money to have them tailored and they always look great. People say they don’t have the money to buy nice clothes, but if you added up all the money you spent on junk you would have plenty of money to spend on the good stuff.”
Shopping With a Plan
“Most women have no shopping strategy whatsoever,” Clinton says. “I always tell women to use the 2 and 2 rule. Are there 2 differnet aspects of my life that I can wear this, for example work and evening, and are there two other pieces in my closet that it will go with. If you don’t have the bottoms that go with the top, you have to ask yourself if you can wear it with jeans, khakis, your black pencil skirt.”
Face Your Fashion Fears
When I asked Clinton how he handled objections like “I never wear belts” or “I can’t wear color”, he takes a philosophical turn. “I would say to stop living your life based on what you don’t do. I think that is a yucky way to live. ‘I don’t do this,’ and ‘I don’t that.’ So you are just completely happy whre you are? What’s the worst that could happen? If you try it on and it doesn’t look good then take it off. I will try anything new and that’s the way I live my life. If you are afraid of how people think about you, then I would reassess whether you should live your life based on fear and think about whether you are really happy with the way that you are living your life.” Well said, Clinton.