How to Adjust Your Wardrobe for 7 Major Life Changes
Whether you’re facing a new dress code or a different climate, don’t add more stress to a major life change by worrying about what you’re going to wear.
While working on this story, I’ve been taking breaks to text with a friend who’s looking for a career change and weighing her goals to figure out what’s next. Meanwhile, last night, I FaceTimed with another friend who just signed a lease in a city she’s never lived in before. It’s like suddenly, I looked up, and everyone around me was getting ready for their next step.
And I know it’s not just me. Over the past few weeks, our styling team has been working with many customers who are changing up their wardrobes to match changes in their lives. Whether you’re facing a daunting new dress code or adapting to a different climate, you don’t need to add more stress to your big decision by worrying about what you’re going to wear. You can make small tweaks to bring your wardrobe up to speed without a complete overhaul.
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For Changing to a More Formal Industry
If you’re accustomed to a casual dress code, adopting a more formal wardrobe can be daunting (not to mention expensive). Start by investing in a few key pieces that allow you to dress up your basics, then build your wardrobe over time. A classic, tailored blazer like the on-sale Hoffman jacket will go a long way. Wear it with the casual pieces you already own (think: T-shirts, casual dresses, stretchy pants) to dress things up with minimal effort. Wearing the right shoes can have a similar effect—the sleek Ginger pumps in black will give any outfit a more formal feel. And finally, you can’t go wrong with an easy-to-style power dress like the Aditi in crackle, which happens to be super on sale right now. Throw it on when you need to look polished in seconds (and try it with the Hoffman blazer + Ginger pump for a complete look).
For Changing to a More Casual Industry
Switching to a more casual dress code means you get to let loose a bit and forget some of the buttoned-up rules you’d been following—fun! It does not, however, mean you need to banish your favorite blazers and pencil skirts forever. Instead, try incorporating some more casual pieces to make your current wardrobe feel fresh. For example, you could wear the stretch-linen Anna jacket with your suit pants and pencil skirts for a casual-yet-polished look. Or, you could pair your button-down shirts with the Milo jeans, which are like the very best version of mom jeans. A top like the Townsend would also be a great choice if you want a T-shirt vibe, but with a bit more finesse. And of course, swapping your pumps for white sneakers is the quickest way to dress down an outfit.
For Size Fluctuations
Our bodies are constantly changing, and we love them for it. I firmly believe that you should stock your wardrobe with pieces that make you feel good right now. That means no “maybe-I’ll-fit-into-these-someday” pants taking up room in the back of your closet. However, it can be useful to have a few pieces that you can continue wearing even if you lose or gain a few pounds. Take, for instance, the Fatima dress: the tie at the waist can be adjusted easily, or you can wear it without the tie altogether. The Avery top and Morgan dress also fit the bill, since they have plenty of stretch and look great both fitted and loose. For pants, something with an elastic waistband and relaxed cut through the legs, like the Colby, will be a constant companion.
I have never been pregnant myself, so for this one, I’m trusting the experts: M.M. moms. The Hayden dress was a staple for my coworker Katie during her first trimester, thanks to its stretchy fabric and relaxed shape. Katie and Rachel both relied on the Harlem skirt during their second trimesters, which has enough give to accommodate a bump and will pair with most tops. A versatile, stretchy top like the Brodie will keep you comfy through all three trimesters and beyond. Plus, the neutral color makes it easy to style with other pieces in your wardrobe.
According to M.M. moms, postpartum pieces must be machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant, and overall easy—because taking care of a newborn is hard. Unsurprisingly, the super-stretchy Stella leggings have been go-tos, as have our elevated-casual Pima cotton tees, known for expertly concealing both your bra and your baby’s drool. And of course, all the M.M. moms love the machine-washable Morandi sweater (on sale!) as a cozy layer on top of their nursing tanks.
For Moving to a Warmer Climate
Things are heating up in your life, and it’s time to dress the part—but that doesn’t mean throwing away all your beloved sweaters. Instead, try wearing your go-to knits with lightweight shorts like the Caitlins, which also look great with a tank top for those especially warm days. If you’ve been living in long sleeves up until now, it might be time to try the machine-washable, wrinkle-resistant Rowling top, which comes in 12 different colors, several of which are currently on sale. Or, you could go for the beautiful and billowy Medina dress, then post a photo to convince all your friends back home to move to your dreamy new city.
For Moving to a Cooler Climate
Moving somewhere cooler means you get to experience all the fun cold-weather things—Sweater weather! Hot chocolate! The first snow of the year!—in their full glory. So naturally, you’ll want to invest in an indulgently cozy cashmere piece, like the Judith hoodie. The Marcia T-shirt in black will prove especially useful for layering, and the (discounted!) Oshima pants are a year-round staple with a cold-weather superpower: they look great with boots.