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The Mama Uniform

by Jordan Reid, Ramshackle Glam

Last time I visited my friend, Morgan, in San Francisco I brought heels, because I had a mental blip.

This time? Nope. Because what we do when we’re in San Francisco is sprint around after three children, go to aquariums and play spaces and science museums, push strollers up and down very steep hills, run around in sandboxes and kick balls in fields. Heels aren’t especially helpful for any of those things.

But that doesn’t mean that I want to be shlumpy. And so what I brought with me are several variations on my Mama Uniform.

Of all the clothing “categories” – black-tie, business casual, date night, whatever – my absolute favorite is this one: the outfit that you actually put on in the morning when what lies ahead of you is a day of running around. And Morgan asked me if I could also put together a look for her that works for “real” life as a mom, but still looks pulled-together and reasonably fashionable. In other words: comfortable, practical, cute. In that order.


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The Pants - Here is your goal when choosing a pair of run-around-town pants: find a pair that is as comfortable as leggings, but a whole lot more chic (not that leggings aren’t stylish – I am firmly in the camp of "They Are" – but I also get that you might not want to wear them everywhere, or all the time). I look for a dark, stretchy fabric that’s lightweight and non-constricting, and that hits at cigarette-pant length (midway down the calf to just above the ankle). 

Where I’ve had a lot of luck: the juniors denim department at places like TJ Maxx and Marshall’s: it’s packed with inexpensive jeans with lots of stretch in cute colors, and the low-waisted cuts are super comfortable.

The Top - I’ve written before about the importance of having a bunch of really great tees – when I find one that I love, I tend to pick it up in a few different colors. Look for soft fabric, nice draping, a great neckline (that’s an excellent spot to show off some skin; it’s flattering, and you can always throw on a scarf if you’re cold), and a sleeve length you love (I’m partial to 3/4 sleeves). 

The Jacket - For a sporty-but-still-stylish look, I like either a denim jacket or an army jacket with some unexpected touches, like leather sleeves or a cool hood. Either of the jackets pictured above is a great wear-everywhere, everyday pick, and goes with everything.

The Shoes - When Morgan and I were putting together this outfit, I said, “ooh! Obviously leopard flats,” and she said, “no.” So, okay, not everyone is on board with this particular look. If you’re in need of something more comfortable that still looks pulled-together, try a classic pair of Keds in a fun color or print.

The Bag - A gorgeous, non-diaper-bag-looking diaper bag is so important. The one pictured here is an actual nylon diaper bag, but any large tote will do provided that a) it’s made of a washable fabric, b) it has lots of compartments for things like pacifiers and cell phones, and c) you love it, because it will come with you everywhere you go.

The Extras - For an everyday uniform, I think all you really need to finish off the look are three things: one beautiful, standout piece of jewelry (like this two-initial monogram, which I think is so sweet if you have two children), a classic pair of sunglasses and a pop-of-color lip gloss (NARS Angelika is a cotton-candy pink that’s one of my personal favorites).

To find out where you can buy these particular pieces, check out Jordan's original post.

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of and the author of Ramshackle Glam: The New Mom's Haphazard Guide To (Almost) Having It All.  Check out the YouTube trailer for her book!

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