Five-minute fashion: the left coast layers

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I’m going to make an effort to get more fashion on Offbeat Mama, cuz you know what? Just because I had a kid doesn’t mean that I want to give up my style. Yes, we feature plenty of kid clothes. That’s cool: kid clothes are cute. We also feature maternity fashion. Also cool… but you’re only pregnant for a few months a few times. You gotta dress your mom-ass the rest of the time, and why should kids and preggos get all the fun?

That in mind, I’m presenting what I hope will be the first of a series on five-minute fashion for offbeat mamas.

The challenge: I work from home most days and spend a lot of time with a 15-month-old who could not care less what I’m wearing. It’s hard to motivate myself to get all fancy, but yoga pants seven days a week leave me feeling bored and even worse: frumpy. (ESCANDALO!) Even if it’s just me and the kid, I need to feel good about mah shit. Hence: I need something a hair more fancy pants. Or just intentional pants.

The demands: Yes, I want some fancy, but I demand comfort. I demand easy fabric care. This sweet little muffintop demands elastic waists that aren’t sweat pants. I don’t demand indie labels, but I do demand something I like — which I’ll be damned if I can find at chain stores these days. (Evidently, I have become That Lady who hates contemporary fashion. I tried to go to H&M the other day and walked out baffled.)

The solution: LEFT COAST LAYERS. A little hippie, a little bellydance/urban tribal, a tiny bit of steam, and a LOT of layers.

How to get the look: thin and soft jersey fabrics, ruffled pants, frilled skirts, dresses with serged edges — ALL AT ONCE. As in, the pants, the skirt, and a dress simultaneously. Add a shrug or a wrap for a little warmth. All stretchy. All machine washable. Toss a hip belt (aka “hippie fanny pack”) on that shit for the ultiltarian factor, and BAM. Interesting, but comfortable.

Sweet Skins EcoFleece Original
$95 –

Tips for this look:

  • Try searching Etsy for stuff like bloomers, bellydance skirts, eco fashion, and elf hoodies.
  • Treehouse28 specializes in this style
  • If you need to add a little structure to your stretchy, jersey-filled outfit, try adding a steamy vest or cincher skirt.

So. That’s MY contribution to easy, offbeat mama fashion. Who else has an easy but offbeat look to share?

Comments on Five-minute fashion: the left coast layers

  1. YAY, you made me so happy! I’m also baffled by contemporary fashion right now (not to mention that nothing fits 3 weeks post partum..)

    I love the clothes from Left Coast Layers, and I can’t wait to start shopping! Thanks for the tip, we definitely need more of this.

  2. HAH! This is ME to a T! The more layers the better, I say. “This sweet little muffintop demands elastic waists that aren’t sweat pants SO TRUE!! πŸ™‚ Etsy is great for that stuff, i’ve found.

  3. This is TOTALLY my style!, too!! (I’m a belly dancer, so I own many fancy pants! My favorites are my Melos and some red ruffled Firefly Design pants, you should check them out, they’re awesome!)

    I am totally digging the waist cinchers here, too, that’s what’s missing from my current wardrobe FOR SURE! YAY!

  4. LOVE IT! I’m at the stage of self-rediscovery after my second (she’s two and a half now lol) and it feels GREAT to be back to feeling like myself again! Awesome post! Keep ’em coming!!

    • I TOTALLY want more articles like this — but I don’t know that I can write them! I need other folks with other looks to submit stuff … otherwise it’s gonna be all left coast layers all the time. πŸ™‚

    • Yes! Me too! I wanna be on one of those shows where they buy you a whole new wardrobe, hell I’ll take the trash talking for free clothes! hahah! and they can do my hair and make up while they’re at it!

  5. Wow, I love those clothes but could never bring myself to spend that much. But now I have some inspiration to start sewing some clothes for myself!

  6. I’m not a mama yet, but I am a massage therapist tired of wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt to work, and I think this post is the inspiration I needed to overhaul my wardrobe. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  7. “evidently I have become That Lady who hates contemporary fashion” yes! me! I struggled so much that I just make a lot of my own clothes now, I also do a TON of upcycling of things I find at thrift stores and in clearance bin. Clothes are kind of my thing, I’m running out of space in my sewing room

  8. I love this. And can’t wait for more articles similar, only thing I would ask is maybe a more budget friendly outfit for us budgeted Mamas. That would be a dream come true!

    And I just gotta say, I LOVE your hair, your look, everything!

  9. As a bellydancer, work-from-homer and 4-months-along pregnant lady, I CRAVE comfort but also need to look at least decent when the Fedex guy shows up or when I run to the store.

    Two companies I LOVE:

    Especially her Sampants! I own two pairs and not only are they super cute and flattering (as in I get stopped to ask where I got ’em at least a few times every time I wear them outside) but you can’t beat the comfort. Lurrrve these pants…

    Ok, so most of her pants are basically yoga pants but I’ve NEVER found a better or more flattering style. They have a nice thick waistband that doesn’t bind up, plus they come in 5 sizes–she designs for every body. Plus the halter top is very cute and comfy too.

    All in all agreed–stretchy layers are where it’s at! Thanks for the great post and suggestions on new stuff to check out!

  10. Great topic… one of my resolutions this year is to start having as much fun dressing myself as I have dressing my kids. More color, less jeans-and-cotton-top, fade-into-the-background stuff. At first I felt like I was dressing in costume, but I am finally starting to enjoy myself. Funny thing is, I don’t think most people would realize that I am comparatively “dressed up.”

  11. Wow. Just WOW. Thanks so much for the links and keep them coming. I know the key is to find a piece here and a piece there but I seem to have trouble finding here and there so this is a big help.

  12. I would like to know where people find figure flattering clothes with boobie access. I keep buying tops on line and returning them because they fit like a tent! I have exactly one nursing top that is actually cute.

      • ooh! pretty. I can wear those to work, too. Sometimes I wear a cropped tank top under the wrap type tops so there is a little top cover and my entire breast isn’t out, but I have gotten the straps tangled with my nursing bra, so it doesn’t always work… ha! maybe if I were more coordinated.

    • I wore a lot of regular tops with a tank top underneath and pulled the top up. My belly wasn’t exposed (because of the tank top) and I just shifted the fabric out of the way.

      (I wore nursing tanks in the beginning, but then realized that sports bras worked pretty much just as good for me to pop a boob out of…)

    • I just received a few very cute nursing tops from I’ve tied some other brands to no avail, but these aren’t tenty and don’t look like nursing tops at all. I reckon they’d ship overseas. I’m also doing the nursing tank with normal shirt over the top thing… good for keeping the belly warm when you lift up the top layer! (Its Autumn here:) My favourite nursing tank for giant boobs is by Bravado.

  13. Utility belts FTW! Mine is from Fabric Horse ( a local Philly company. I bought the only one in the store that was super mis-matched and the owner said, “Oh yay! I made this one with scraps a upholstery cloth I was saving and I was wondering who it would belong to!” I love the damn thing so hard. It clashes appealingly with just about everything I own, and my fiance calls it the U-sill-ity belt, because it’s kinda silly.

  14. More of this, please! I have been going through a fashion crisis lately. It’s been a year since I was pregnant but my body is still changing shape and size. Also, I’m getting a little too old for some of my previous looks, but I’m not ready to surrender to the Abercrombie monster. I want to be cute AND comfortable and posts like this will help me achieve that.

    • Steampunk is more structured — not much jersey/t-shirt fabric to be found in that scene. There’s definitely some influence, but I think of Steam as much less about stretchy stuff. This is as much about elvin/pixie influences as it is Steam!

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