Happy Halloween!

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With the craziness of 2014, the Gary Parents didn’t get their act together enough to create Halloween costumes for ourselves, but we made sure Emerson was what she wanted to be. Ever since she saw a commercial for Monster High this summer, Emerson wanted to be “purple Monster High” for Halloween. Using the tutu my sister and I made Emerson for her witch costume last year and some Monster High goodies from Party City, Emerson transformed into a gothy purple diva.  And nope, I didn’t tell her to pose like that, that fierceness is pure Emerson!

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Thursday evening, our town had a Halloween costume Parade. The kids are organized by age, parade around the town center, Trick or Treating the stores, and then past a table of judges (including the Mayor) who chose the best costumes. After the parade, they offered cookies, lemonade, and a magic show. Friday, Emerson’s school doesn’t specifically celebrate Halloween but the kids are encouraged to dress as their favorite storybook character and they have a two-hour early release to have time to get ready for Trick or Treating.

I hope all of you have a safe but very fun Halloween weekend!

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Ask Allie: For Moms About to Rock, We Salute You

I’m 42 and a mom of 5-year-old twin boys and still don’t know how to dress myself. I love my life and being a mom but I never thought I’d be one and I don’t know how to dress like a mom. My partner’s in a band, music is our religion and our life blood I still go to shows when I can and most of my friends don’t have kids and dress how they always did. I don’t like being fancy I don’t wear heels and I don’t like wearing color but I need to look like a responsible adult when I go to things at my sons school and games as well as things like weddings and graduations. Is there hope for me?

Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you have to give up your passions, your style, or dress in a certain manner. However, if you want the focus to be on your boys instead of you, it’s a good idea to have some pieces that fit your personal style but also fit the event or situation.

Winter Capsule Wardrobe for the Stay At Home Mom Who Loves Rock
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This casual winter capsule wardrobe is for the moms about to rock, we salute you! Current fashion embraces your passion, and it will be easier this year to find wardrobe staples that fit your personal aesthetic. Sticking to a black, ivory, and gray palette with touches of denim and classic shapes, this collection allows you to personalize with your favorite band tees and accessories.

Two pairs of jeans, one dark with stretch, and one with a bit more personality – I chose a distressed boyfriend but you could switch this out for black or coated denim or a different cut. The dark is slim enough to tuck into a pair of tall boots or wear as-is with sneakers or flats. A pair of pants in ponte knit are as comfy as yoga pants and can be paired with boots or sneakers, but can also dress up for a parent conference with a simple sweater and flats.

As for tops, condition is the keyword for your look. If you’re going to wear distressed jeans, well-worn leather jackets, and decades-old band tees it’s important that other parts of your outfit are in crisp condition to show the weathering is purposeful. A cableknit sweater in bright cream or ivory is a classic piece and would beautifully highlight leather and denim, and would dress up nicely with simple black pants or skirt while adding warmth. Merino wool is a tight weave with a refined finish and can be found at reasonable pricepoints (check stores like Marshall’s where I’ve found merino sweaters for $19.99); a black sweater in this knit with an interesting neckline (in this capsule I chose boatneck but you could do V, surplice, scoop) will dress up nicely while still being comfortable and easy. I’m a fan of stripes because they add interest without being too trendy or ostentatious, a black and white or ivory stripe will look great peeking out of a denim or leather jacket or cardigan sweater ; I love rolling up the sleeves of a jacket to have striped long sleeves peeking out.

It’s winter and you’ll need layers and knits to stay warm, especially when in the bleachers at your sons’ games. Don’t shove your biker jacket to the back of the closet just because you’re a mom, that piece can be the cornerstone of your entire wardrobe. Throw it over tees and jeans, but also pair with a cream cableknit, ponte skirt, tights, and flats or even pair with a ponte knit dress. The more beat up, weathered, worn, and perfectly fitted to you, the better! A longer v-neck cardigan (often known as a grandpa or boyfriend cardigan) is an easy layering piece; leave open over a band tee with jeans and boots, or button it and top with a skinny belt to dress up trousers or a skirt. A waterfall cardigan in a graphic print instantly adds pizzazz to your look without much effort and can take your basic tanks and tees and make them look polished. A denim shirt with a good fit (fits in the shoulders, nips in a bit in the waist, not too oversized but can cover at least half the bum) is a wardrobe workhorse; wear open like a cardigan for casual days, or button up and tuck into a skirt or jeans to add a touch of polish.

Dresses are easy one-step dressing, and they don’t have to equal “fancy.” A wrap dress or a style with some drape not only flatters the figure but it also has so much interest that accessories aren’t necessary. Choose one in a versatile fabric (matte jersey, crepe, silk) that can dress up or down and work for more than one season. A dress like this can be dressed down with a pair of sneakers or glammed up with jewelry and polished leather flats. A sweater or ponte shift with sleeves can be one of the most worn pieces in a woman’s wardrobe. In fall, pair with leggings and flats for Back to School Night. Come winter, wear with tights or leggings and tall boots for the school play. In the spring, pair with Chucks or Vans for a field trip or flats and a pendant necklace for a neighbor’s day wedding. While black may be the color you gravitate, this is a piece where a switch in color (gray, navy, a dark color you’re comfortable with) may be a better choice because it will look better after multiple washings and not be so solemn for more festive occasions. A simple ponte skirt in a comfortable shape (this is a straight, not pencil skirt featured but a drop-waist, flared, pleated, or a-line style would also work) can be paired with tights and boots or flats to quickly dress up even a band tee shirt and boots and gives the jeans a break for one day.

You don’t need heels to look dressed up; I chose three completely different styles of flat shoes that will fit your personal style and are nice and low to the ground. A pair of tall boots is extremely versatile and keep you warm in winter. The style is up to you; I chose an engineer boot for this capsule though a riding boot or a low wedge would also work nicely. Chucks and Vans are classics; I added some warmth and polish by choosing a leather version of the original Vans slip-on. If you choose to do a canvas shoe, be sure it’s not too dirty or worn; again the keyword is condition. Finally, a pair of structured black leather flats (not ballet flats, something with stability and a proper sole) if well maintained can replace heeled shoes in most situations.

I know you don’t like a lot of frills, but accessories can really complete a look, especially if it’s made of very simple pieces. A scarf is a great way to stay warm and also add interest. If you wish to stick with the black and gray palette, choosing an interesting texture is the way to go. If you do have a color or print you’re fond of, this is a way to incorporate it without it being overwhelming. A long pendant necklace will work with the simple garments and add interest and a bit of shine. While a pendant on a cord will accomplish the effect, choosing one on a chain will add a bit of shine that can quickly dress up an outfit. Finally, a bag is a great way to add personal style to your everyday look. Right now lots of hardware (shiny silver buckles, zippers, and chains) and fringe are in style so you can likely find a bag that will hold all your mom essentials and embrace your rocker at heart style.

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A Bra Fitting with Soma Intimates and a Giveaway

Soma contacted me and asked if I’d like to come to their boutique at the Westfield Montgomery Mall and get a bra fitting and try their Enhancing Shape Bra. I heard about this bra through InStyle, who considers it to be the solution for “ski slope” (the gap at the top of bra cups). I’ve always been a busty woman, but after years of breastfeeding, age, gravity, weight loss and gain, I’ve lost some of my breast volume and was interested in a bra that would address this issue and improve the allover shape of my bust.

Soma Intimates Bra Fitting

In 27 sizes from cups A-DDD there’s a Soma Enhancing Shape Bra for many women; the padded comfort straps and cushioned hook and eye closure ensures the bra is comfortable all day, while the smooth style makes it invisible under fitted knits. In eight solids and four prints this bra is anything but boring.

Wardrobe Oxygen Soma IntimatesSoma Intimates Enhancing Shape Bra

Visiting Soma Intimates was a pleasure; though it was a busy Sunday afternoon, the boutique was well staffed so each of us customers received quality assistance and an unrushed experience in the fitting room. I was partnered with Karien, who took me to a spacious fitting room to determine my bra size. She had me remove my shirt but I kept on my bra as she used a tape measure to size me. Karien then went out to the sales floor and brought back bras in the size she determined and one a cup smaller since the Enhancing Shape Bra does occasionally run big for some. We found that a 38D fit me best, and as you can see from my fitting room selfie above, the bra was pretty much invisible under Soma’s Smoothing Seamless Cami. The bra did give a look of fullness to my bustline without making it look bigger (and without the dreaded “quad boob”), and the bra is super comfortable. No digging in the back, I can’t feel any of the hardware, and I wore the bra all day and there wasn’t any discomfort under the arms or in the shoulders. I was tempted to get the Light Nude which was very close to my skintone and would make for a perfect tee shirt bra, but sweater weather is here and I decided to indulge in the black and white Indulgent Lace pattern which is so beautiful and can be worn under thicker fall and winter clothing without showing. It’s fun to have pretty bras that are also useful!

Soma Intimates Westfield Montgomery Mall Maryland

Karien (pictured above, I had to get a photo with her after such a pleasant bra shopping experience!) was so knowledgeable about bras in general, proper fitting, and of course knew the Soma collection inside and out. I loved how all the employees I interacted with were so friendly and professional, knowledgeable but not pushy. They told me about their Get Gorgeous Parties where you and at least three of your friends can schedule an event at your local Soma boutique to get fitted, all of you receive 15% off your purchases (or you can choose to donate that 15% to your favorite charity), and you receive a free bra for hosting. I also signed up for Love Soma Rewards, a free program where you earn points towards cash rewards, birthday gifts, exclusive offers, and free shipping when you shop online. After my experience at Soma, I know I’ll end up a regular customer!


If Soma sounds great to you, then today’s your lucky day! One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will receive a $60 gift certificate to Soma to use on their own Enhancing Shape Bra or any other merchandise from the brand. To enter, leave a comment letting me know what color of the Enhancing Shape Bra you’d choose if you won. Giveaway ends November 2, 2014 at 11:59pm ET. Winner will be chosen by random and must have a valid email address (in comment, signed in as guest in Disqus, or in Disqus profile). Winner will be contacted by email; if winner does not reply to notification email within 48 hours a new winner will be chosen. Winner may use gift certificate online or in Soma Intimates boutiques.

To learn more about Soma, click here to find your local boutique, click here to get their catalog, or visit them on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Pinterest. And if you live in the Maryland/DC area, I highly recommend you visit the Soma Intimates location at Westfield Montgomery Mall!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Soma. The opinions and text are all mine.

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