When I was a little girl I would sneak into my parent's bedroom in mid afternoon, walk quietly across the carpet to the top drawer of my mother's dresser and pull hard (it was an old dresser).
Inside there was treasure -- a world of women's undergarments about which I knew almost nothing except that I shouldn't really be rummaging through them. But I charged ahead, pulling out short slips, long slips, black, white and nude ones. I would drape them over my skinny little girl body as dresses, before accessorizing with the costume jewelry kept in a little chest on top of the bureau. This was my first taste of feeling glamorous.
For many of us it seems these years of playfully delving into the world of dress up pass too quickly. Dress-up soon becomes fashion. Our youths, spent looking impossibly perfect in our skinny jeans, come as quickly and hazily as they go. Suddenly we are mothers, and we ask ourselves, what happened to glamor? What happened to fashion? What happened to brushing my hair?
This spring, however, glamour, fashion and finely coiffed hair are all staged to hit the runways with the Strut Moms fashion show. Taking place during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center, and featuring real-life mom bloggers and their children this show aims to marry a woman's love for feeling beautiful with the experience of modern motherhood. Each piece in the show is in stores now, unlike other shows at Fashion Week, which look ahead to fall 2012. It's affordable, practical and yet glamorous fashion for moms.
Strut Moms was founded by the mothers of Getting Gorgeous and The Moms, as well as Mom-mentum founder Holly Pavlika and Stephanie Wolkoff the Director of Fashion at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. While none of these women are designers, they felt inspired to share fashion ideas at fashion week that spoke to a 21st century woman's lifestyle and budget. As co-founder Melissa Gerstein of The Moms said, "How many of us know women walking around head to toe in Chanel?" It simply isn't practical.
But this isn't the first time the issue of practical, wearable fashion has come up for modern women and working mothers. If we dial back the hands of the fashion clock, we'll find many designers that helped pave the way for this show to be possible. In the late seventies the Liz Claiborne Company took fashion by storm by creating coordinated separates as we know them. When I spoke recently to co-founder Jerry Chazen he explained that "Liz understood that consumer because she was that consumer. Our focus was always to create feminine, practical, stylish, affordable clothes."
In 2001 and 2005 Liz Lange took stylish maternity wear to Fashion Week NYC, showing women for the first time that even during pregnancy a woman can dress with beauty and dignity. When I spoke with Ms. Lange she felt that the focus of her company has always been to produce a line of clothing that allows a woman to look "their best no matter the stage of life."
Such pioneers as Claiborne and Lange have empowered women through fashion. Strut Moms takes the fashion inspired by these pioneers and offers up a tantalizing runway show filled with modern fashion choices for women.
Right now, 32 million women across the U.S. are online exchanging ideas and support, as well as creating new outlets for their businesses, brands and blogs. Strut Moms is aimed at this modern mother: the woman with children, partners and bosses all tugging at the hem of her designer dress. She never leaves home without her smart phone. She is tweeting, texting and facebooking on the go. She is a change agent and professional multitasker. She needs fashion that will help her go from morning carpool, to meeting, to mom's night out.
With sponsors like TJMAXX, Strut Moms puts style within reach of mothers who wish, at the end of the day, they had a pinch more time for themselves. As co-founder Vera Sweeny said, "Moms need to remember to put themselves back on the list of things to do." Whether you are a woman who once prided herself on her latest Dolce & Gabbana clutch and now that self-contained accessory has turned into an overflowing diaper bag or you are a woman who wishes to learn quickly amongst the flurry of motherhood how to just look fabulous, Strut Moms is the place for you. Their blog and their Twitter feed, @strutmoms, aim to keep women up to date on new trends and ideas in the world of fashionable moms, so be sure to check back often.
Strut Moms is a chance for us all to remember the giggling days of girlhood and enjoy feeling beautiful and imaginative. It's fun. It's also a chance to celebrate how women can bring the best of their innate gifts together, their business initiatives and their beauty. 21st century mothers have managed to merge their family duties with their entrepreneurial spirit. It is time they had the shoes to match.
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