Cool Casual

Flexible style for a working mom

Michelle Newcomb, 31, shares a problem with the rest of us: she’s looking for a wardrobe that does it all, without having to buy six separate wardrobes to do it in. She splits time between working from her home office and traveling to meet with clients, which means she needs casual-yet-pulled-together pieces for home, and professional wear for client meetings. Plus, she has a one-and-a-half-year-old, which means she needs utility and ease of garment care. “My style changed to pure function,” Newcomb says, admitting that she’s usually wearing yoga gear at home. “And flats aren’t my preferred shoe, but they are mandatory on days I’m out and about with Scarlett.” Michelle looks to Rachel Bilson’s “put together in an effortless manner” style for inspiration. “My daily style isn’t nearly that chic, but a girl can dream, right?” Right. And we can show her how to make that dream a reality.


The challenge: “Most of my time is spent in my home office, but I also occasionally travel the country for market visits. Because I have a variety of scenery in my role, my style must be expansive. But like most people, it’s not practical to have a separate wardrobe for every occasion.” Oh, and she’s the mom of a one-year-old—ease is a must.

Our stylist’s take: “When I was shopping for Michelle, I wanted to make sure to pull pieces that would be easy for her to mix and match, and pull something together quickly in the morning. As a new mom myself, I’ve found it’s best to have a few go-to outfits you can depend on—things that you feel confident and beautiful in, and are machine washable. It is all about simple, timeless pieces you know you will feel comfortable and confident in.”

Dress to impress: “Just because Michelle is a new mom doesn’t mean she needs to wear mom jeans and oversized t-shirts. Vibrant blouses are an easy way to amp up style without feeling rigid and buttoned up.”

Michelle’s take-away: “I stepped out of my comfort zone. I learned un-expected color combos can look great, mixing prints can be done tastefully,  and rubber shoes are comfortable…. I will be less inhibited and more willing to take risks.”


Outfit, above: Akualani sweater, $68; Free People crocheted henley, $68; both @ Hot Mama, several metro locations, including 3914 W. 50th St., Edina, 952-746-8255, Citizens of Humanity printed denim, $209 @ Nordstrom, MOA, 952-883-2121, Outfit, above right: Green blazer, $33 @ Parc Boutique, 320 Hennepin Ave. E., Mpls., 612-353-4966, Embroidered dress, $260 @ Roe Wolfe, 750 Main St., Ste. 107, Mendota Heights, 651-330-4434, Melissa Patchuli shoes, $120 @ Roe Wolfe. Outfit, below: VC Signature shoes, $250 @ Nordstrom. Paige Premium Denim, $187 @ Roe Wolfe. Diane Von Furstenberg blouse, $325 @ Nordstrom. BB Dakota jacket, $115 @ Parc Boutique.

Double Take 

Here’s another way to mix and match dressy and casual for a polished look, whether it’s for a power lunch or drinks with pals.

1. Nude pumps get pumped up with gold-cap toes and studs.
2. A well-fitting pair of dark-wash skinny jeans are a wardrobe’s best friend.
3. Love the tuxedo styling on this black blazer. The faux-leather lapels keep a wardrobe staple from feeling tired.
4. This blouse is easy fitting and the print is divine.