Style and Beauty

Mommy makeover: Back to work after baby

For Mother’s Day, we gave deserving moms a fresh new look. This stunning wardrobe update is perfect for any new mom returning to work. Brought to you by Ecco.

Photo: Roberto Caruso Photo: Roberto Caruso

Wardrobe styling by Vanessa Taylor

Hair & Makeup by Civello Artists: Melanie Whitmore, Makeup Artist & Brow Specialist (Civello Rosedale), Gabo Hernandez, Hairstylist (Civello Queen Street)

Nails by Jennifer Mather, CND Nail Artist

Her story: An endless cycle of diapers, bottles and sleepless nights is all this 33-year-old mom of two (Blaise, 2, and Jude, 6 weeks) has been able to think about lately. “When we had our first baby we thought it was tough, but now with two, it’s like, ‘what were we complaining about?’” she laughs.

Read more: How to fake a good night's sleep>

It’s safe to say that applying lipstick has been at the bottom of her to-do list—way at the bottom. “I don’t really have much of a beauty routine these days,” she admits. “I wear basically no makeup.” Part of the reason is that she’s still in new-mom survival mode, but it’s also because Michelle doesn’t like the idea of beauty products rubbing off on little Jude’s delicate skin. “If I were going to work, I’d definitely do my hair and put on some makeup, but right now there’s no point.”

But dates with girlfriends and more opportunities to get out and about are on the horizon, and when she goes back to work at an insurance agency, Michelle will want to ramp-up her office attire, hair and makeup routines.

Her style update: For the next few months, comfortable bottoms and stretchy or button-down tops that allow for easy breastfeeding are a must, as Michelle’s body continues to change postpartum. But they don’t have to be basic black or of the track-pant variety. “There are such easy, budget-friendly, wash-and-wear pieces out there—you don’t need to save them for a special occasion,” says wardrobe stylist Vanessa Taylor. In other words, it’s OK if you get spit up all over them! Photo: Roberto Caruso Photo: Gabo Hernandez To create an easy beauty routine, the first step was taming Michelle’s frizzy, hard-to-manage hair. Hernandez trimmed it into a long bob that sits just below her chin, making it easier to style. A dark chocolate, all-over colour covered up her greys and restored the vibrancy that so many moms lose post-pregnancy. Next, he added a few playful peekaboo highlights in bright red. Read more: To dye or not to dye (your hair)> To even out Michelle’s skin tone, but still keep it looking natural, Whitmore used a light touch by buffing Michelle’s foundation on with a complexion brush. Brown eyeliner and burnished-bronze shadow emphasized her eyes without looking too made up, and an easy-to-apply rose lip gloss set off her look. “You don’t even need a mirror, just dab it in the middle of your bottom lip and rub your lips together,” says Whitmore. Read more: Makeup tutorial: Spring pastels> Photo: Roberto Caruso Photo: Roberto Caruso To maintain her new hairstyle, Michelle can use Aveda’s Smooth Infusion Naturally Straight Styling Creme and Dry Remedy Daily Moisturizing Oil, $32 each. Photo: Roberto Caruso Photo: Roberto Caruso Michelle tried out Aveda's Petal Essence single eye colour in Burnished Bronze, $17 and Nourish-mint Rehydrating Lip Glaze in Rose Copper, $24. Photo: Roberto Caruso Photo: Roberto Caruso

Behind the scenes look: So many shoes, so little time. Guess she'll just have to take them all...


Makeover2_TaDa Photo: Roberto Caruso

Look 1: Anytime errands

Top: A soft and stretchy T-shirt is breastfeeding-friendly and goes with everything.

Makeup: Tidying up your brows makes your eyes look brighter and you appear well rested (even if you’re not!). Fill them in with pencil or shadow if necessary, and pluck any stray hairs, maintaining their natural shape.


Pants: Busy prints can be flattering on the bottom, as long you opt for pants made of thick stretch-cotton that retain their shape.

Michelle says: “I love these flats! I’d wear them shopping, out with the kids—pretty much anywhere.”

Bag: This colour is big for spring and gives you a fun fashion hit in a roomy everyday tote.

Michelle says: “I can fit diapers, snacks, a backup onesie and my wallet in here.”

Jacket, $69,; t-shirt, $12,; jeans, $20,; necklace, $84,; watch, $140,; Dalman tote, $295, and Touch 45 shoes, $145,


Look 2: Date night

Hair DIY: After you blow-dry, gather a small section of hair directly above each ear, twist straight back and secure both sides with bobby pins.

Clutch: It’s the perfect size for your essentials. Keep it tucked in your diaper bag during the day and pull it out as a purse for date night.

Michelle says: “I like that I can use it whether I’m dressed up or down.”

Dress: The black panels on the sides create the illusion of a longer, leaner silhouette.


Shoes: A wedge heel is almost as comfortable as flats, but still fancy enough for a night out.

Dress, $80,; earrings, $54, and spike bracelet, $64,; chain bracelet, $ 38,; Delight clutch, $225, and Touch 45 sandals, $175,

For Michelle's awesome makeup, we used the following Aveda products (find out more at

Photo: Roberto Caruso Product photos provided by Aveda

Photo: Roberto Caruso

Photo: Roberto Caruso

A version of this article appeared in our May 2014 issue with the headline "Mommy makeovers," pp. 75-8. This makeover was brought to you by Ecco.

This article was originally published on Apr 28, 2014

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Karen Robock is a writer, editor and mom of two whose work has appeared in dozens of publications in Canada and the U.S., including Prevention, Reader’s Digest, Canadian Living, and The Toronto Star. Once upon a time, Karen was even the managing editor of Today’s Parent. She lives in Toronto with her husband, school-age daughters, and their two dogs.