How to Get Your Pretty On in 5 Easy Steps

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Ready to get your pretty on? You don’t need a lot of money or a supermodel figure. You just need to put in a little effort and do a little homework.

A woman wearing a coral blouse and black kimono.

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When I first started writing about this little frump-fighting journey I’m on, I wasn’t sure how you all would respond. Turns out, I struck a chord. Many of you are facing the same struggle as I and want to get your pretty on, too. Yay! There’s safety in numbers!

Today I thought I’d break it down into five easy steps as to how to get your pretty on without exhausting yourself or going crazy with the charge card:

How to Get Your Pretty On in 5 Easy Steps

1. Stop making excuses.

I know all the excuses you could make. I do. I’ve made them. There are lots of reasons why we moms don’t bother to fight the frump, but I think we owe it to ourselves to stop making them.

While outward appearances are not the sum total of our substance, our physical appearance does impact how others perceive and treat us — as well as how we feel. You and I both know that we feel better and do our best when we feel confident.

Taking care of your clothes, hair, and skin can play a part in making you a better, more confident YOU.

2. Clean out your closet.

Are you bogged down by clothes you hate, clothes that are too small, clothes that have spit-up stains from the baby that is now ten? Out with them! Out with them all!

Don’t hold onto clothes that you might fit back into someday. They might just be serving as a negative reminder at the moment of the body you once had. And believe me, post-baby, you may get back to your old weight, but for most of us, the body shape has changed and matured. You still get a different body. Go with it.

If you’ve got expensive, classic pieces, fine, keep them, but don’t leave them to languish in your closet and mock you that you can’t wear them — yet. Box them up carefully or store them in a closet elsewhere in the house. Focus your closet space on clothes that you love and feel good in.

And certainly don’t hold onto clothes that you don’t like, no matter how much you paid for them. Ditch the duds that depress you.

Let your closet be a repository only of the items that you will wear and feel good in.

coral blouse with white jeans, earrings, and pink sandals on table.

3. Get some help.

Some of us need help in the fashion department. I know I do. Enlist the aid of a friend whose fashion sense you trust and whose style you admire. What would she recommend in terms of core pieces that you can mix and match?

If you don’t have someone like this in your life, don’t be afraid to pay for the help. Some folks pay for housecleaning or meal planning services, there’s nothing wrong in paying for fashion advice.

I have benefitted HUGELY from the Get Your Pretty On Style Challenges. I did the seasonal style challenges for a full year, learning which pieces to add to my core wardrobe as well as how to put them together so I don’t look like the cave dweller that I am. 😉

This spring I’ve used Stitch Fix to bring me some fresh, fun new pieces that are a little higher quality than my usual Old Navy. It’s been so fun to get a surprise box of duds every once in awhile. (Head here to get $25 free credit to try it out!)

I’ve heard that Nordstrom even offers free stylists to help you shop. I’ve not used them, but that might be an interesting avenue to explore.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help in mapping a plan to improve your wardrobe.

4. Take baby steps.

Once you decide that you’re gonna do this thing, you’ve ditched the things you can’t or won’t wear, and you’ve got a road map for how you want to improve your wardrobe, it’s time to take some baby steps.

Maybe it’s as simple as getting a hair cut and buying some new mascara. Those are small, economical changes that can have a big impact.

Honestly, that’s pretty much where I started: getting a regular, professional hair cut every 6 to 8 weeks, and starting to wear a bit of eyeliner and mascara. Once I got confident in those things, I started branching out in other areas.

Unless you’ve got unlimited time and money, you’re probably not going to do a whirlwind makeover in a 24-hour period. Instead, take baby steps, determine your needs, and prioritize how to spend whatever budget you have. As you add to your wardrobe and enhance your options, you’ll start discovering your own personal style and what items really make you feel good.

Take small steps in the direction you want to go, knowing that you can shift and turn as you start learning more about what you like.

Get Your Pretty On in 5 Easy Steps | Life as Mom

5. Make the most of what you have.

While it is super fun to go shopping, particularly when you’re inspired about new fashions, it can add up quickly, even if you’ve got gift cards or coupons. Be sure to make the most of what you already have. If you’ve held on to certain pieces for more than ten years, chances are they’re back in style or will be soon!

For instance, after years of silver only, delicate gold jewelry is once again seeing the light of day. Once I learned that, I dug through my jewelry box to find the pieces I’d been holding onto for sentimental reasons. I’ve found that I already had several clothing items that would work for current trends instead of buying new.

You may already have enough great pieces in your wardrobe that you won’t have to shop much, unless you want to. You just need to know how to put them together and put the effort forward to do it. But, we already covered that in steps 1 to 3, didn’t we?

Don’t be afraid to shop your closet and make old things new again.

Get Your Pretty On, Already!

You don’t need to wait until you’re the ideal weight or the baby has grown up or you suddenly come into a lot of money to get your pretty on. Even Ma Ingalls paid attention to her appearance, and she had all kinds of hardships and challenges to contend with.

While it’s important not to get vain in the process, most of us who’ve been neglecting our appearances for some time aren’t in immediate danger of that. Updating your look isn’t rocket science and it doesn’t have to be expensive, either.

You can do it. And most importantly, you’re worth the effort.

More Self Care Strategies

What works for you?

Leave a comment below and let us know what works for you.

Get Your Pretty On in 5 Easy Steps | Life as Mom

Originally published September 28, 2016. Updated May 10, 2018.

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  1. Thanks so much for sharing about this style challenge. I purchased the Fall challenge, the men’s capsule and the women’s capsule. I’m excited!

  2. First of all, you look absolutely beautiful in this photo! It’s not just about clothes, it’s how they make you feel and how those feelings shine out of you for the world to see. You look so happy and confident! It helps that the clothes fit and compliment you perfectly.
    Second, I’m jealous of this gorgeous red jacket! Excellent score!
    The content you provide here has changed my life in so many positive ways. I want to say thank you, thank you, thank you!
    This topic specifically is near and dear to my heart. I worked for a swimwear retailer for 9 years and often did bra fittings. It was absolutely astonishing how many women were unhappy with their appearance or body. Thank you for spreading the message thay we are all perfect as we are today and we deserve to feel good about ourselves. The level of detail on how to make that happen and your candor about your personal journey is going to change many women’s lives.

  3. I’ve been mulling it over and mulling it over. Reading and re-reading your posts and the GYPO website and Facebook page. I signed up to receive the free capsule wardrobe and one free outfit, and have been soaking in the daily shopping idea in Alison’s emails (and after today understand the inspiration behind your new red boho blouse). On the one hand, I don’t really want to dress like everyone else – and already know that the self-belt-at-the-waist pants will absolutely not work for my menopot. On the other hand, I’ve been wanting Garanimals for adults for many, many years, and this just might work! OK, so credit card is out, and I’m…jumping in (for the mini-capsule wardrobe)! It’s going to be a shopping frenzy the next two weekends!

    1. Funnily enough, I bought the red blouse from thredup when I was just starting all this. I had no clue I was on trend, but I’m so glad I lucked out! lol

      What I’m seeing in the Facebook group (for the Fall challenge) is that a lot of people are adapting the suggestions to their own personal style, changing a color of the recommendation or choosing a different style or cut to keep with their preference. If we follow my meal plan analogy, it’s like someone substituting basil for oregano or using mild cheddar instead of sharp because of their personal preferences. You’re altering “the recipe” to suit your preferences, but you have a basic template to follow.