The call of the yoga pants and messy bun can be strong. We’ve all been there. But these three Portland moms show how you can get back into fashion — and stay in the picture! — after having kids.
PHOTOS BY JAMIE CARLE / TEXT BY DENISE CASTAÑON
North Portland mom Laura Jansen doesn’t have a formal fashion background, but clothes have always been another way for her to express her creativity. Her innate sense of style landed her a gig with the online magazine The Mom Edit (she’s also a part-time graphic designer). She started going to the site to get advice on postpartum dressing after having her daughter Sienna, now 5, and answered a call for reader submissions. Her advice was so good, she was hired.
She’s now the Style Editor, writing about topics ranging from her dining room makeover to the best ways to wear a “fancy” sweatshirt. And she takes a killer dressing-room selfie. But helping moms find the right pieces for them is what really motivates her. “We like to focus on solving problems,” she says. “Really practical ideas for getting dressed. Ideas that can easily translate to your own closet.”
In terms of her own look, Jansen likes to mix things up and break the rules. “I like to mix sporty and preppy with a rocker vibe. These are the pieces I love to play with,” she says. “You don’t have to wear things that are ‘supposed to go together.’”
Around town she likes Button for consignment: “They have a lot of things I am drawn to, great boots and jackets.” Shop Adorn, North of West, and PedX for shoes also rank at the top of her list. “And I’m always in Anthropologie, Madewell and Free People,” she adds.
Designer Rita Hudson-Evalt started her line of clothing for a very practical reason. “I was working for Sofada. The designer, Alice Dobson, was really supportive, but she wasn’t making anything for bigger bodies — including me,” says the Lents mom of a 3-year-old, who’s expecting her second child in July. “So I made myself a shirt and started selling at her store. And it started from that.”
Hudson-Evalt originally called her line Hubris, but switched to the name Rita Hudson Apparel about a year ago. Her dresses flatter a variety of body types and range in size from extra small to 3XL. “My goal as a designer is to make things that are versatile, that really support women in their daily lives. So they don’t have to worry about looking put together throughout the day.” And can we get an amen? Her dresses often feature pockets!
Hudson-Evalt also owns the shop Union Rose in outer Southeast’s Montavilla neighborhood. She carries a number of local designers and is especially drawn to the natural organic fibers used by the Vivid Element Line and the bright colors and patterns of KD designs. What advice would she offer to a mom who is stuck in a style slump after having kids? “It definitely happened to me,” says Hudson-Evalt. “You forget that you might need a different wardrobe. You forget that your body could change. The only way to get out of it is just to play.
Before skyrocketing to Instagram fame, Arbor Lodge resident Lavenda Memory worked as a fashion and commercial photographer. In 2014 she started blogging and Instagramming about fashion. Now she’s got 250,000+ followers who can’t wait to see the latest looks she’s pulled together.
She tries to post to Instagram about twice a day, though it can be hard to keep up that pace when mom duties to 9-year-old daughter Ella or her partner Luke Smith’s two daughters Elsie, 6, and Lulu, 3, beckon. (Also a lot of those great photos, especially the sponsored content, come from photographer Bailey O’Bar. Other times she recruits Luke or a friend.)
Advice she’d give to a mom in a style slump? “I get it, number one. Ha! And number two, make it really easy on yourself. For mom-duty weekends I can’t tell you how often I’ll reach for my capsule pieces.” Memory suggests building a capsule wardrobe of 20 plus pieces that you can interchange into different looks. The pieces can be classics, like blazers, denim or crew neck tees. But she recommends having fun with getting dressed and making it reflect your preferences and style. “If you have more of a rocker style, you can change out the blazer for a classic black moto jacket or instead of skinny jeans, you can stock up on girlfriend jeans,” she says.
Memory describes her own style as a cross between eclectic chic and sophisticated bohemian. She also is a major fan of vintage styles. Locally she loves Shop Adorn, Hollywood Babylon for vintage, and Goodwill for unique finds.
Photographer Jamie Carle lives across the bridge in Vancouver, Washington. They live for leather jackets, a good brown boot, and a little bit of gold jewelry. Other than photographing for brands, couples and families, you can find Jamie trying new foods and playing outside with their son Jaxin. Jamie’s work for “Mom’s the Boss,” September 2018, won PDX Parent a gold Parenting Media Association award for best interior photography.
Managing editor Denise Castañon is determined to get her wardrobe rocking after meeting these cool, stylish moms. It will be admittedly easier now that her 6-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son are getting more independent by the day.