Fab Mama


Kate Pancero


Recharge your closet
Laura Alonzo had no idea just how out of date her closet truly was, with too many prints and hangers full of big, boxy pieces. Like many moms, the Garfield Ridge mom’s closet needed a makeover.

It all started with a big yellow sweater—"a shocking, wake you up sweater," according to Laura—and a contest in August’s Fab Mama offering the winner a closet consultation and $500 in new clothes from the La Grange boutique Utopia, 26 S. La Grange Road. Her eldest daughter had written in as a surprise in hopes that just maybe the mom of Kristin, 21, Anthony, 18, and Gabriella, 3, would win.

"She still feels the need to wear old sweaters, old T-shirts and long skirts," Kristin wrote in her submission. "I can’t even remember the last time she bought a pair of jeans." With a closet full of clothes from the 1980s and ‘90s, mixed with a few maternity clothes, the elementary school music teacher was in dire need of a clothing update.

Fab Mama teamed up with stylish Utopia boutique owner Kim Shimkus to help Laura modernize her worn-out wardrobe. While picking out winners and tossing out duds from Laura’s closet, Shimkus offered advice on easy ways to improve your own wardrobe, whether you are just out of maternity wear or still have your maternity pants from 10 years ago.

A petite woman with a defined silhouette, Laura tended to fall back on comfort, resulting in too many boxy, long pieces in her closet. Shimkus stresses the importance of buying clothes that complement your shape.

Sizes vary from designer to designer, so rather than trying on one size and moving on to another piece, try on multiple sizes for a comparison, Shimkus suggests. That way, you’ll find the best fit for your body type.

Your job is important when taking your wardrobe into consideration. Since Laura is a music teacher, one valued piece in her wardrobe was a vest covered with bars of music notes. The goal was to make Laura comfortable, not ready to walk the runway, so Shimkus complemented the vest with a bright blue turtleneck, $115, and well fitting four-season cropped pants, $140, a key item in any woman’s closet.

Another piece that worked from Laura’s closet was a sleeveless snake print blouse. To update it, Shimkus added a simple A-frame black skirt, $127, and a thick metallic copper accent belt, $28.

With a 3-year-old at home, Laura, like many moms, held on to a few maternity items. "The most important thing for a woman to do is find the right fit for their shape to provide the best look and ... comfort," Shimkus says.

Shimkus also stresses that organization is key to any successful closet. "Put your closet in categories as far as weekend wear, work wear, that kind of thing and see if you have your basics covered: black pants, black shirt, denim, basic T-shirt," she says. Later, you can add variations.

When considering a wardrobe upgrade, Shimkus urges moms to "integrate what you have into new pieces." Taking Laura’s yellow sweater, Shimkus suggested toning down the color with a chocolate brown pant. "I can appreciate this sweater," Shimkus says. "If it makes you happy … it’s a go."

For more information on Utopia or any of the items featured in this story, call (708) 588-1558.

A zit-zapping contest
The August edition of Fab Mama covered the zit fighting ThermaClear in "Banish your blemishes." Now, five lucky fab mamas will have a chance to win their own ThermaClear. To win, visit the Fab Mama discussion board at ChicagoParent.com. Contest deadline is Nov. 20. Winners will be announced next month.

For more information on ThermaClear, visit thermaclear.com.

Kids Eat Chicago

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