10 Small Changes That’ll Get You Out of Your Style Rut

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As a new mom, sometimes the easiest thing to let go is personal style in favor of spending your free time (HA! Free time…) doing more constructive things like eating, or sleeping, or maybe showering (of course, with your kid staring at you with dagger eyes, shaming you for even thinking about taking a minute to cleanse yourself).

Without making style a priority, it’s amazing how easy it is to let it all go, and how sad it is that ignoring your personal style can have such a negative impact on your day-to-day outlook. That moment when you haven’t see what you look like in a while, only to breeze by a mirror and realize that the woman staring back at you is only a shred of your formal self? We’ve all been there. It sucks.

Well, it’s time for a boost, ladies—and the good news is that making these little changes won’t do a number on your already hectic schedule. Here are ten beauty and fashion fixes that will instantly transform your outlook on how you feel and look.

1. Embrace color.

It’s far too easy to fall into the all-black trap. Before long it’s your color du jour, and you don’t think twice about yanking on a black tank and a pair of jeans. Simple, quick, effortless. But stylish? Eh. I’ve been there myself, and I felt about a million times better when I brought a little color back into the mix. Small accessories, like a pair of eye-popping pumps or a bright crossbody bag, are perfect for breaking it up and bringing your look to life. Don’t be afraid to experiment with surprising hues you wouldn’t normally wear!

2. Lose the yoga pants (just for a minute!)

I am so guilty of this. Yoga pants have a habit of becoming a uniform. They’re relaxed, soft, and just plain comfortable while you’re running errands and chasing after the kids. While I don’t condone retiring them completely (heresy!), I do support swapping out those yoga pants every now and then. If you love the laid-back look, check out a pair of slightly more polished track pants—not the type you actually run in, but the chic variety that look like they belong on a runway model. Guess what? They look amazing on you, too, and provide the same comfort level and practicality as your yoga pants.

3. Ditch the loose cardigan.

The go-to cover-up for many women is a relaxed open cardigan. There’s nothing wrong with them, obviously—they’re perfect with skinny jeans and boots in the fall and can keep you cozy when the office AC is running on full blast in the summer. But they’re also a little too safe, and before long safe becomes habit. Replace your cardigan with a tailored blazer or a cropped jacket—something to shake up your look while still providing the practical warmth of your sweater.

4. Don’t rely on workout apparel.

This falls into the “easy” category—and boy, is workout apparel a quick and easy option on those crazy mornings. But a sweatshirt, capri pants, and athletic shoes can quickly turn into the very reason you’re suffering from a style rut. Make it a new habit to reach for other basics in lieu of your workout clothes. Whether it’s a pair of flattering jeans and a sleek top or an effortless shift dress (both with plenty of stretch), there are lots of options that offer the same level of comfort—and a greater level of style.

5. Change up your lipstick.

Ever notice how red lipstick seems to transform a woman completely? There’s a reason for that—and it’s not just because the color is so bold. A vibrant shade can multiply your confidence tenfold, making you look even more radiant than usual. If red is a little out of your comfort zone, go for something darker (or lighter!) in a color family you usually wear. For example, if vivid rose pink is your go-to shade, turn things down a notch with a nude pink. Or add a red gloss to your arsenal and slick it on before date night.

6. Apply fresh paint.

It’s amazing what a little fresh nail color can do. Whether it’s a simple French manicure with clean, nude nails or a vibrant coral pedicure, nail color has the oddly transformative ability to brighten your day even when things don’t look so great. No time? Purchase a quick-dry polish and sneak in a quick manicure or pedicure when everyone else is asleep. Consider it a little addition to your much-needed me time.

7. Shave your legs.

For some of us, this is as basic as brushing their teeth. Others, though, fall into a cycle where they shave their legs for “special occasions”—or worse, forgo wearing dresses and skirts entirely because they don’t want to shave. I can understand this, because being too tired or not having time are both good enough reasons to skip this less crucial shower step. But consider how quick and simple it is to shave when you run that razor over your legs every single day (or every other day). The best time to do it? While your conditioner is sinking in and doing its thing. And if anything, the feeling of slipping your freshly-shaven legs into a just-out-of-the-dryer pair of sweatpants is totally worth it, isn’t it?

8. Wear jewelry.

I feel a little more polished and pulled together when I have on a pair of earrings or a pretty necklace. I’m not talking about standard pieces that you might wear every day, like your wedding ring or your classic gold hoops. Shake things up with a statement necklace or a few chunky bangles to add a little punch to your look.

9. Try a scarf.

When I was a child, I would watch my mother top off every single outfit with an elegant silk scarf. No matter what she wore—a dress, a loose top with pants—she would finish the look with some sort of glamorous scarf. That stuck with me through the years, and I still believe that a scarf can mean the difference between an okay outfit and a sophisticated one. Look for something that’s not too crazily patterned—you don’t want to channel cruise-ship chic here—and tie it loosely at the neck for an easy change.

10. Change your part.

This is such an easy thing to do, yet many women likely don’t realize what a difference it makes. Not only does changing your part take you out of your comfort zone, but it also adds a little volume to your hair!

image: Getty/Westend61

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