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This Mom is Going Back-to-School with Fashions by Gaiam, J.Jill, Steve Madden, and Big Buddha!

Thank you to Gaiam for providing a complimentary product sample to facilitate this fashion article.  All opinions expressed are my own.

Back-to-school time is not just a time for children to start off new.  Moms and dads will likely be meeting teachers and other parents they have never met before.  First impressions are important.  Whatever you need to do to feel confident enough to put your best foot forward, whether it's to make those few gray hairs disappear or to add some new pieces to your fall wardrobe, I highly recommend it.

My own biggest insecurities would be my grays and my less-than-flat mid-section.  Because of the latter, I have found it so easy to fall into wearing the standard mom uniform where I come from, a hoodie and yoga pants, nearly every day.  Although I refuse to sacrifice comfort for fashion, as I did in my younger days, I have made up my mind to add some more style back into my daily life.

This easy-to-wear outfit includes the Wool Blend Draped Sweater by Gaiam, the Pure Jill Short-Sleeve Elliptical Pima Tee from J.Jill, the Side Seam Button Leggings by Steve Madden, the Jbowery Tote by Big Buddha, and lace-up boots by Shoes of Soul.

I have always found it difficult to layer clothing that was loose-fitting enough to hide my belly without looking frumpy, but I think I have discovered the secret.  For the bottom layer, the Elliptical Pima Tee starts off with a tailored neckline and shoulders, but continues to gradually get looser as we approach the hips. I love this tee (and now own it in 3 different colors) because I do not need to purchase two sizes up in order to camouflage my mid-section.

For the top layer, a drape cardigan is the way to go.  There are a variety of such cardigans available, but some look more tailored and elegant than others.  The Gaiam Wool Blend Draped Sweater will take you from day to night.  This merino wool blend jersey cardigan is lightweight, but surprisingly warm.  I had quite a difficult time choosing between the Purple and the Charcoal.

Both these pieces offer such freedom of movement, without the worry of anything hanging the wrong way or becoming untucked.  I love it!!!

I want to also say that this mom could never "go back to school" without a roomy handbag.  I not only love Big Buddha handbags because they usually have a little edge, I also love them because they are almost always faux leather.  This is perfect for fall and winter in New England because I do not have to worry about ruining the leather while carrying this bag in the rain and snow.  It is also big enough to house my winter gloves, as well as the hats and gloves of up to 3 children.

What do you do to prepare yourself for back-to-school as a parent?