Okay, ladies. I’m ready. I’m going to take a big leap of faith. It’s time to be brave and try something new and different, outside of my comfort zone. I’ve decided . . . that I am going to expand my wardrobe beyond my yoga pants and oversized tops! Who’s with me?!
All joking aside, my third baby is over a year old now, and I feel like I am finally ready to have a wardrobe full of clothing to fit my lifestyle as a mom of three. Not that I am retiring my beloved yoga pants (no, no, no, they will always be a wardrobe staple for me), but I am ready to have outfits where I can feel put together, even if my only outings for the day are drop-off and the grocery store.
I’m ready for a wardrobe that is comfortable, cute, easy to care for, and affordable. Wait a second, is this even possible?! Why yes! Yes, it is! Let me introduce you to one local mama who decided to open her own boutique to help women just like you and me: Renee Smith.
Charleston Moms (CM): Renee! Please introduce yourself. How long have you lived in Charleston?
Renee Smith (RS): Hi! I’m Renee Smith, I’ve lived in Charleston for nine years. We transferred here for my husband’s Boeing job, but I’m originally from Arkansas. Go Razorbacks! We have two kiddos. Juna who is six years old and Collin is now three years old.
(CM): You went from being a teacher to opening a super-cute boutique. Tell us about this transition.
(RS): When I was pregnant with my first, Juna, and the end of the school year approached, I had to make the decision if I was going to come back to work the next year. Although it was going to be financially tight, I knew that I wanted to stay home and not miss out on those early years with my daughter.
Once she was born, I started doing some consulting work, but I had to travel and I hated being away from my family. Like so many new moms, I felt in a funk. My husband kept encouraging me to find a hobby that fed my soul. He knew I needed something in addition to being a mom. I have always loved being creative, and that is what initially drove me to teach. However, I felt that my creativity was limited within the school. After some soul searching, I decided to pursue my life-long passion for fashion and styling. Through fashion, my creativity is limitless and helping women feel beautiful and comfortable is incredibly rewarding. A few years later, I decided to open my own boutique!
“If you are going in the right direction, the path clears.”
(CM): How amazing to follow your heart and your passions! Were you nervous to open your own boutique?
Yes! I was terrified, but I had this idea in my head, and it just wouldn’t go away. It almost overtook my mind; I was constantly dreaming about it. I’ve always believed that “if you are going in the right direction, the path clears.” If your path feels tricky to get through, you’re going the wrong way.
Here’s an example of what I mean: I had no idea how to go to Market or how to pick clothes for a shop, but I just starting putting feelers out there. One day I was doing a Facebook Live and said, “I’m just going to go to Atlanta and stand outside Market and try to get in there!” (You have to have a business license and so many years of experience, etc.) That night, my friend called me and said, “You can go for me and represent my shop!” That was such an amazing feeling for me, and that’s exactly what I’m talking about the path being cleared. When you have the passion and love for something, you (in the words of Tim Gunn), “Make it Work!”
(CM): You have such a wonderful story that so many moms can relate to, thank you for sharing!
Now, let’s get into some fashion advice. You know that I am a striving minimalist. I prefer to have pieces that I can mix-and-match. Being able to walk into my closet and instantly knowing which outfits work for me has saved me a tremendous amount of time and stress. What are your thoughts about having a “capsule wardrobe”?
(RS): I think a capsule wardrobe is ideal, especially for moms! That’s pretty much what I do as a whole. I help moms mix and match pieces which allows them to make several outfits out of only a few key pieces.
(CM): Ok, it’s time to help us mamas out! If there were three main pieces of clothing (and outfits) that every mom should have, what do you think they should be?
(RS): Three articles of clothing every mom needs:
- A good pair of high waisted jeans. Trust me. There’s plenty of cute, not-your-mamas-mom jeans!
- A pretty, patterned washable top to hide all of those stains your kids will leave on you!
- A dress with pockets. Need I say more?
- High rise jeans + quality basic white tee + blazer. This look is so in style right now and perfectly comfortable for mom life.
- A pleated midi skirt + slouchy sweater. You can chase the kiddos, stay cozy, and look right on trend!
- A cute throw-on dress. Outfit done. The fewer decisions us busy mamas have to make, the better.
(CM): What are some tips and tricks that all moms need to know about feeling “put together”?
(RS): Feeling put together has to start in the mind first! You have to give yourself some grace and do what you can. Mom life is hard, trying to live up to a standard of what it means to be put together can be impossible some, if not many, days. When you stick to the basics and find pieces that you truly love, feeling confident and put together is inevitable.
(CM): The mom/work-life struggle is real and you seem to be crushing it. How do you balance all the things?
(RS): First of all, true balance is a myth. I always feel like I’m really rocking only one area of life at a time. When I can, I let my kids get involved in the business by unbagging new products and hanging them. Other than that, I do as much as I can when they are at school or playing. I’m so fortunate to have wonderful neighbors that love play dates with my kiddos!
(CM): If you have one piece of advice for mamas wanting to follow their dreams, what would it be?
(RS): Still your mind. As mamas, our minds are so full of a million thoughts at any given time. The mental load is too much and it hinders us from not only finding our passion but being able to follow it. Once you can take a good breath and quiet the mind a bit, you’ll know what you need to follow your passion. You’ll be able to come up with more actionable steps when you can get through the clutter in your mind.
Check out some of our other Moms to See in the 843!
Moms to See in the 843: Laura Allen and a Guide to Healthy Eating
Moms to See in the 843: Kate Camp & BabyQuip
Budget-Friendly Style Tips From A Local Fashion Blogger & Mom
Moms to See in the 843: G.M. Whitley
Moms to See in the 843: Lindsey Henderson & Activism with Kids
Moms to See in the 843: Gervase Kolmos
Moms to See in the 843: ABC News 4 Meteorologist, Emily Gracey
Moms to See in the 843: Meghan Rowe & White Leaf Provisions
Moms to See in the 843: Biz Foxworth & Brown Fox Coffee Co.
Moms to See in the 843: Dianne Miley, Author & Founder of SOUL