Identifying Your Signature Style: Mommy Chic

By Whitley Adkins Hamlin

Identifying Your Signature Style: Mommy Chic

Someone please tell me I am not alone. I’m married to a wonderful man, and I’m a Mom to two sweet, beautiful boys, each uniquely precocious in their own ways. I’ve got a roof over my head, shoes on my feet and a 12-year-old, sweet, beautiful, yellow lab named Macy. Don’t get me wrong, my two boys are impossibly adorable, (aren’t everyone’s children?) but they are boys. At their current ages of 6 1/2 and 3 1/2 years they are anything but calm and peaceful. Sleeping babies are peaceful like softly fragrant lavender fields blowing in the gentle breeze; the warm Mexican sun setting over the Caribbean Sea. Two wild banshee-like sounding creatures, otherwise known as precious angels; however, are not so calm and peaceful. Whether you are a mom who works outside of the home or you are a mom who is home with her children full time, the job is not one for the faint of heart.

For me “keeping it all together” is most times, at best, ensuring the house doesn’t burn to the ground or maybe at the least making it through an entire day without spewing expletives through grunting teeth. The twelve year old dog is deaf. I let her out to take care of her needs, a child starts screaming from inside, I turn and the dog is gone. She has proceeded with her sniffing, and she has meandered off only God knows where. More often times than not, I don’t see her again until some yet unmet neighbor has shown up on my doorstep with her after having found her strolling across the street, completely unbothered, as cars slow to let her pass. If I’m being totally honest, a bra for the morning carpool commute or even actual daytime clothes which do not consist of wooly bedroom shoes, truly are astounding feats.

And there you have it; Mommy style at its finest. Did you think I really actually had it all together? I mean why paint a picture to be something it’s not? I write the truth and nothing but the truth here at Sasee. I write for a few other publications from time to time, and I do the same there as well, but Sasee is different. When I accepted my post here, I was so excited about having a place to say exactly what I think and feel. I also have my style blog, the Queen City Style. It is the place where I do exactly what I did as a young girl. I put on my Grandmother and Great-Grandmother’s clothes, and I play dress up. I incorporate my own current pieces with those inherited. It is my understanding and belief that readers venture to the Queen City Style with a certain “what will she wear next” expectation. And so, I curate my clothes, accoutrements and accessories and display my fashion journal in pictures. Loving nothing more than pure unmitigated creative freedom, for the readers, “I Put on the Dog,” as my Grandmother would say. I affix my sunglasses, and I aim to give ‘em what they want. The Queen City Style is my stage.

In my everyday public life with the children, my personal style falls somewhere between the aforementioned former and latter. A bra, yes; often times a sports bra, but certainly nothing uncomfortable. When I’m not with clients or colleagues pursuing my dream job as a wardrobe stylist, you’ll find me during the cold weather months wearing one of two uniforms: Running tights with my cowgirl boots and a red plaid hand-me-down Pendleton coat from my Grandmother, or some variation of this with a perfectly broken in long sleeve tee shirt or tank and either fitted jeans or my trusty 1969 Gap jean jacket. My jewelry changes slightly every few years but is generally in the same genre. An assortment of thin brass bracelets, an inherited piece of precious stones and either thin calf hair bangles or a mesh cuff. My Mommy Style is intentionally nondescript. What is potentially uninspiring to others is perhaps, most simply put, Arrogantly Shabby. Certainly this is a style we all know and love!

If you really truly do not have a clue what your personal style is, or perhaps conversely, defying convention with your dress isn’t your speed, we can begin this fantastic journey of fashion with baby steps. Developing a personal sense of style can begin with pinpointing a familiar genre you are instinctively drawn to and next by incorporating distinct pieces to invent your own unique look. When I meet with new clients for the first time, I ask them to share with me names of people whose style they admire. Think about someone whose style you are drawn to. This can be someone famous or someone in your own community. Some well known style setters of yesterday include Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Faye Dunaway, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Diana Ross, Ali MacGraw, Bianca Jagger, Diane Keaton, Debbie Harry and Madonna. From movie stars to billionaire descendants, there are a number of style setters of today whose style I admire for different reasons. Kate Moss, Kate Middleton, Ines de La Fressange, Jennifer Aniston, Nichole Richie, Jennifer Lopez, Olivia Palermo, Michelle Obama, Sara Jessica Parker, Alexa Chung and Daphne Guinness to name a few. If you don’t know who some of these leading ladies are, look them up. They will give you great inspiration.

The reason these women are considered trendsetters for the fashionably advanced is because they all have a signature style. Jackie Kennedy consistently donned a well-coiffed brunette bob, often topped with a pill box hat or draped with a scarf affixed at the nape of her neck. She almost always could be found wearing a matching dress and coat of the same length, or Capri pants and flats, pearls and oversized round sunglasses. She became a trendsetter for her exposed shoulders. What was once a fashion faux-pas in the ’60s quickly became a fashion must. She knew what she liked, and she wore it with confidence and grace. Young mom Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, turns heads across the world with her preferred attire consisting of bright solids, beautiful tailoring and neat and structured silhouettes. Kate’s look is always complete with pumps, wedges or flats, simple jewelry, clutch in hand and her signature glossy cascading brunette locks. She masterfully stays on point with the conservative appearance expected of a senior royal, though anything but dowdy.

I tend to dress the part of wherever I’m going, and because I have small children and am more often rushing to get somewhere than not, I want to be comfortable and able to move with agility. My quick and easy prescription for doing that, with a sense of style, is my cowgirl boots! They easily dress an outfit up or down, they’re cute and not everyone wears them. I throw on understated but interesting pieces of jewelry, and voila! A signature look is born. When I’m with a client or in the field, on the town for date night with my husband or out with my girlfriends, I always put my best foot forward. People notice. There is nothing like a woman with good style. Not everyone has the means to buy the designer threads of a First Lady or Duchess, but we are all capable of achieving a personal sense of style, putting ourselves together or simply looking like we made the effort.

About this writer

  • Whitley Adkins Hamlin is a wardrobe stylist specializing in personal, editorial and commercial work, and the author of the fashion blog, the Queen City Style ( The grand daughter and great granddaughter of wardrobe stylists, Whitley has been exposed to, and collected, one of a kind wardrobe pieces since she was a young girl. As a result, Whitley both learned and taught herself the art of cultivating one of a kind looks she passes on to her clients. In her free time, Whitley is an avid runner who loves spending time with her husband and two young boys, cooking and entertaining and redecorating her house until there is nothing left to redecorate (which is never, ha!).

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave your mark with style

Comment in style

Stand out from the crowd and add some flare beside your comment.
Get your free Gravatar today!

Make it personal

avatar versus gravatar Close