Friday, July 13, 2012

Reader Request: How to Dress for Family Photos

From time to time I'm going to answer reader styling requests here, brazenly pretending I know how; if you'd like me to track down an item or look for you, please leave me a comment or email a love note to ipickpretty AT gmail, etc. 


The Reader: mother of two darling daughters (aged two and three months) and adorable corporate attorney Emily, who resides in Raleigh, NC.

The Mission: find an outfit suitable for an outdoors family photo session next week, one that works with the (insanely adorable) nautically inspired outfits Emily has chosen for her wee ones as well as the North Carolina deathhellheat.

Dude. DUDE. Are your ovaries ready for this?! Hold on tight, ladies. I'm serious. Here are the daughter outfits we're planning around:

both from Janie & Jack, both EEEK please bring me a baby girl right this very second darling.

Given my penchant for (some would say "problem with") dressing all-nautical, all-the-time, I was only too eager to take on this challenge. Conveniently, I'm also friends with Austin wedding & family photographer extraordinaire, Ziem, so I pestered her at our toddler swim class with questions about how to dress for a family photo shoot. She's going to do a post with more specifics about that on her blog, but in the meantime, here are a few insights:

Some general tips about dressing for family photos:
- complementary outfits, like the (SO CUTE) girls' ones here, without being matchy-matchy identical is ideal
- patterns and accessories add interest
- avoid all-white tops and bottoms for parents; which tends to look vaguely ghost-like when holding children
- if going the jeans route, go darker for a more timeless look

For this mama's outfit specifically, she recommends:
- potential color combinations: pink + navy; emerald + navy; navy + red + white; navy + red + grey
- maxi dress with sport coat

I took the idea of the maxi dress with a coat (or cardigan) and ran with it, loving that idea for a few reasons:
(1) maxi dresses give that feminine "dressy" look while providing enough coverage for you to comfortably bend over and fetch your two-year-old (as I learned in a tunic for this shoot, ahem):
(2) maxi + sport coat = ideal for a new mom, who might not be comfortably fitting back into skimpier sundresses yet, let alone have the time for things like shaving or self-tanner (or sleep) yet; 
(3) maxi is cool enough for an outdoor summer shoot.

Emily didn't give me any budget specifics, so I divided the first two looks between the more affordable dresses and the spendier ones, mixing in some high / low accessory ideas (not all to be worn at once, of course) with each:

(Apologies for not linking to each item individually under the outfits, but that takes ONE BAZILLION YEARS TO DO OMG; you can simply click on the image or the link below to access each item via Polyvore. In the interest of getting this to Emily before her shoot / the next century, we're going simple.)

The Family Photo: Budget Maxi Dresses

A note about nautical: much as I kid about dressing like I'm en route to captain the America's Cup, I like doing this look without being too head-to-toe about it. One or two pieces in that vein is enough without screaming, "I AM NAUTICAL, HEAR ME JIBE HO!" or whatever.

The Family Photo: Splurge Maxi Dresses

And in case Emily isn't a maxi girl - it can be tricky to get the right maxi fit, particularly for you petite Pretties - I picked out some of my favorite shorter daytime dresses:

The Family Photo: Summer Sailor Dresses

How did I do, Emily? Anyone else have something they'd like me to track down?

May you set sail into a terrific weekend, or some other hacky, inexcusable play on nautical terminology. I'm off to try and talk my ladybits off the little nautical girl outfits plank . . .


Belle on Heels said...

This post be good. This post be rillllllllll good.

I will have all of the above, please and thank you!

ziem said...

Love the boards; stealing my idea, coral maxi + navy coat, for dinner tomorrow! Xo

ziem said...

Haha love this comment!

Kate said...

Love! Obsessed with those baby outfits. Her girls will look darling. Maybe she'll even let me feature a photo on my blog!

Cheryl Enlow said...

Gorgeous!! Love everything in this post!! I want it all :)

Lindsey said...

Umm...I am totes emailing you for what to wear for my photo sesh on July 22nd!! ahhh these choices are fab!!!

AEOT said...

Cute stuff. Wanna be my personal shopper? I currently HATE dressing with the combo of still needing to lose 10 lbs of baby weight, too big of boobs from nursing, and needing access to the "girls" constantly for the next year due to nursing/pumping at work and trying to not have to constantly undress myself. Uggggggg.......

Amy @ Forever 29 said...

Ok, I'm going to need Janie & Jack to bring the cuteness with fall boy outfits. I may need to think about a dress for our family pics...I'm always nervous about flashing my Britney thinking I may have to wrangle a toddler or two.

Desiree Lynn said...

Well done girlie! I am loving all of your picks. In fact I may be purchasing some of it for...well for me! {who needs an actual reason? right?}

Rachelle said...

Umm - how many of those cute summer sailor dresses can I get before I start looking like an IPickPretty obsessive?

Amy said...

Fabulous post! I adore those little girls outfits too! And I am so happy that you added Jacks for shoes! That's going to be one happy momma and photographer!

Come check out
I'm a once-blogger turned new looking for some pretty followers!

[diane] said...

Ooooh, I just LOVE them all! Very good job I must say, should you moonlight as a personal shopper? Would it give you the same rush as if you're buying it for yourself so you'll be making money AND saving money?

Thanks for the ideas, not just for photos but for my wardrobe this week!

Karen said...

Love your guidelines and ideas! Super cute

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