Hi, I’m Chunky Kate: Fashion Tips for Real Moms

Do you remember Jon and Kate Plus 8?

When they started and they were both chunky* and exhausted and living in that too small house in that basically regular neighborhood, and everyone loved watching them because they were inspiring and relatable and generally regular people even if Kate was sort of snappy and anal all the time?  Which, duh, was because SHE HAD 8 BABIES!

You got her and you liked her (and Jon was ok too) and her wiggly pre-tummy-tuck baby belly.  And, you would sit at home with your one baby and your one toddler and think, sheesh, if Kate can, then so can I.

But then they got all rich and hired help and moved and went nuts and the kids got naughty and their marriage imploded and you got sick of running into Jon at your local bar and grill (he has a family member in my hood), and it got ugly and you hated them, especially that one time that they were on the Today Show making America feel awkward.

I am sort of like the chunky Kate of fashion blogging.

Although, check it TLC, if you’re reading, and you want The Dudes and I to be on a reality show about, ummmmm, reality, we are in, totally.

I used to be really envious of all of these cool fashion blogs featuring glamorous type chicks rocking their haute clothing in front of these awesome backgrounds, or at these cool locations, or in Manolos.  Clearly photographed by a professional.  Organized and executed probably weeks before the post went live.

So much pretty.  Really freaking cool.

I wanted to have a professional photographer.  And a distressed brick wall right by my house.  And Manolos.

And then I came to my senses.

I am not a fashion blogger.

I am a mom.

I shower, and gets dressed in real clothing, and put on enough make-up to look human, basically everyday, and then I blog about that and functional fashion because I like it.

boyfriend shorts

I don’t give you info on the latest trends because I don’t wear all of the latest trends.

I don’t spend countless hours scouring shops looking for finds.  I do most of my shopping online, because I live in the suburbs of the suburbs so all of my favorite stores are like an hour away and, say it with me, AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT.

I don’t have a professional photographer to take my photos.  I have a ladder and a camera with a timer.  Sometimes I have DudeDad.  The ladder is generally better.

I don’t have a brick wall.  I have a green garage with really dirty windows and a lawn that’s technically more weeds than grass.

My handbag I’ve had since last season.  My shoes are seriously cute, but also comfortable and functional.  I don’t shop every week and I never pay more than $50 for any one item.  Because, for me, $50 is sort of a lot for something I might not like or fit next year.

And, if I’m honest, I usually plan my Monday fashion posts super early Monday morning Sunday afternoon, while I’m sitting by my parents’ pool where my kids are entertained and well supervised by someone other than me.

I am not a fashion blogger.

I’m a mom.

A real life, everyday, kinda broke, mom with dirty, slightly unruly kids, and a husband that looks at me sideways if I ask him to take a photo of me.

And, that’s why you like me (right? RIGHT?!).

Because you can relate to me.  Which means you can be me.

You can feel good and look good even with your really sad bank account, zero time, dirty kids, and the simple desire to not look like you got run over by bus every day.

Here’s how I do it (and did it back when my kid was still a toddler and two of them were home every day still).

Simplify Your Mom Game: Fashion Tips to Make You Feel Human Again

1.  Get a uniform.  Jeans, a white tee, a pair of flats.  It can be simple.  You can jazz it up with a scarf or a bracelet if you want.  Just make it clean and in your size.

best summer outfit

2.  Cut your hair.  Not so it’s short (unless you like that), just so that it’s healthy and manageable.

3.  Get up early.  I know, this is asking a lot when your kid is screaming at you for half the night.  And, if that’s you, try reading this: Bedtime Routines for Dictators.  But, if you can figure a way to get up before your dictators children, you can have your coffee, center yourself, shower, and comb your hair out before your kids start tugging and pulling on your everything.

4.  Pair down your beauty routine.  No one needs cat eyes every day.  Find out what you do need though and just rock that. Here are my must haves…

mom beauty must haves

Smashbox Camera Ready BB Cream, Neutrogena Healthy Volume Mascara, Tarte Blush, Urban Decay Lipgloss.

5.  Eff feeling guilty.  Insert the swear word there because that’s how strongly I feel about this one.  You don’t need to feel like a sap for demanding time for yourself.  I’m not saying you have to have time to hit happy hour every Thursday, I’m saying it is cool for you to put the baby in his crib, put the toddler in his room with your iPad, and take a shower.  It’s okay to go in your garage when people get nutty and jam a Kit Kat down your throat deep breathe.  It’s even okay to make your kid skip gymnastics this session so you can use the money to buy yourself some summer shorts because all of the ones from last year are too big (GO YOU!).  Your kid is 2, she won’t care.

*Note on chnuky Kate so y’all don’t think I’m hating on post-baby bodies.  I didn’t think she was chunky, she was just heavier than she is now.  Carry on.

**I use affiliates in this and nearly every post so that I earn a little cash if you buy stuff I recommend.  You rarely do so I’m not really raking it in, but when you do I appreciate it because I can buy SHOES!


  1. says

    DARLING! Love this post! Great tips! Once you realize it doesn’t take much to look like you tired, it’s actually pretty simple. Thanks for linking up! Looking forward to more!

  2. says

    I love love love these tips! This is the second time I’m reading this post (visiting this time through Fashion Friday link up) and I found myself nodding my head in agreement. Except one thing: waking up early. Oh girl, you are killing me with that! I’m lucky that one of my kids is not a morning person (wonder where she gets that from?) so she stays asleep for a bit, even if I sleep in too. But, *sigh* you’re right. I should get up early to do all the things. Dang you, Amanda!

  3. says

    I like the last tip. Im not a mom yet. But it makes me sad that so many of my mom friends and mom readers of my blog seem to feel guilty all the time.

  4. says

    You look so great and young and happy! I LOVE it!

    I kinda need those shoes… do tell where you got them.

    Also, I really like the idea of #3 but I just cannot really go along with it… I like to snooze in…

  5. says

    I now have a huge mom-crush on you. I’m not particularly style-conscious, but I don’t want to look like a hot mess, either – during my kids’ baby years I stopped recognizing myself in the mirror. I have a FT job that is thankfully business casual, but I don’t want to look sloppy or frumpy. I’m a single mom of 2, and I need a routine that is simple, easy, and more or less automatic. I’m going to read more (I hopped over from elsewhere, but I can’t remember from where) and try to organize myself. Thanks!

  6. Aya says

    This post made me smile and want to come on over and give you a hug. I’ll settle for highfiving the screen. This!

  7. says

    You are adorable and I really need those shorts. My uniform is khaki shorts and cute tee, Nike flip flops (I know, not fashionable, but they are so, so comfortable). Or running shorts and a tshirt. I branched out this year and got some navy blue shorts I had been eyeing. Living on the edge!

  8. says

    This post reminds me of how I fell in love with you the first time. real, inspiring, relatable, making me think I can.


  9. says

    So, basically, yeah. I agree. :) Honestly, I have to have two wardrobes, because I spend half my life pregnant, but It’s basically the same stuff in different sizes. I have found that having a couple of cute tops that aren’t basic tees but are just as easy to wear makes my life a lot easier. Having a shorter hair cut that requires less work to look “done” makes my life easier. It’s important to not look like a frump for me because I don’t want my kids or husband to ever think that they don’t matter. If I went out to a job, I’d want my coworkers to think I cared about my job and one way of showing that is by dressing appropriately. My life is my job and kids are essentially my coworkers. I want them to see that I care about my job, about them, and that being home with them is important to me. Also, I like shocking people by looking at least decent with 6 kids in tow (as in, not the half dead zombie or Holly Hobbie type they were expecting). Great post.

  10. says

    You use a ladder? You might want to invest in a tripod. Seriously! I think I got mine for $15 and they’re universal to all cameras! Camera remotes are great too. Just FYI. :)