09/10/2012 10:15 am ET Updated Oct 11, 2012

Angelina Jolie, Reese Witherspoon And 14 Stylish Parents Who Have Major School Drop-Off Style (PHOTOS)

Any parent will tell you that raising kids is far from a walk in the park. The juggling never ends: Between busy jobs, managing hectic school/activity/playdate schedules and remembering to enjoy the time with your children, other things tend to slip through the cracks. Hours whiled away reading, mornings spent at the gym and time at the salon are, for the most part, long gone. As for clothes, the only outfit we care about is the one our child is wearing. We've noticed that parents (and their style, or lack thereof) have gotten a bad rap in the past few years for letting their fashion sense slide. School drop-off is a prime time to check out parents' style; it can be a veritable panoply of fashion, ranging from polished preppy to super casual.

As I got dressed this morning for my daughter's first day of kindergarten at a new school, I carefully considered my look (well, as carefully as one can at 7AM). Did I want to "dress up" to impress her new teachers, classmates and their parents? I decided to keep it really casual, especially since it is still so uncomfortably humid here in New York City. Upon arrival, I checked out the other parents, and noticed that there was a good range of style, from headed-straight-to-the-gym workout clothes to pretty sundresses.

I have friends whose children attend tony private schools on the Upper East Side (including one who often rubs elbows with Linda Evangelista in the drop-off line). I can only imagine the pressure on those parents to dress to impress. So as a parent who falls somewhere between supermodel and schlub, how can I show up at school looking presentable (i.e. not like I just rolled out of bed, which I, erm, did)?

We enlisted the help of Mara Menachem, founder of, who focuses on parent style. She had this to say: "In some cities, like New York, London and Paris school drop-off is really a microcosm of the fashion industry. It's intimidating, inspiring and unfathomable. The moms and dads look not only fashionable, but unique and cool; how do they do it at 7AM? I look to these amazing cosmopolitan cities and admire the effort, but I know that I live some where I drive most places and the heat and my budget limit my choices."

So what's the answer to this sartorial conundrum? Click through our slideshow below to see 17 stars at school dropoff, as well as some real parents from Mara's blog, plus a few tips on how to show up at school in style. Feeling inspired? We've got some shoppable options for you, too.

Want more? Be sure to check out Stylelist on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Pinterest.

How To: Look Chic At School Drop-Off