I knew I’d found one of my new favorite blogs when I discovered Holly Hester’s My Year of Fabulous, a 12-month project in which she tried—and documented to hilarious effect—12 different styles in order to break out of her mom wardrobe rut.
She’s turned the results of her year-long experiment in hands-on style discovery into an equally entertaining and educational new book of advice called Escape From Ugly Mom Island!. You can now find her writing about life, style, family, and everything in between at Riot Ranch.
I talked to Holly about her journey from blog to book.
Q&A with Holly Hester
1. Which is harder, writing a book or birthing a baby?
I would have to say birthing a baby is much harder than writing a book. I gave birth to my three kids at home with a midwife. I’ve always told my husband that if we ever had a fourth child I would give birth in the hospital, be totally numb from the eyeballs down and if possible be hooked up to an intravenous margarita drip. Don’t get me wrong—I’m really proud that I gave birth totally naturally, but crawling around on my living room floor mewing like a wounded animal while nine pound babies came flying out of me is not a scenario I’d ever want to recreate! I’d much prefer sipping a cup of coffee in front of my computer writing a fun style book.
2. Is this a humor book or a style advice book?
It’s both. My goal was to write a style book that was very approachable. So often style books can come off as condescending and elitist and I wanted my book to feel welcoming and warm. I wanted to encourage women in a funny way that fashion is for everybody—not just celebrities or airbrushed models in fashion magazines or those paddle-boarding women with perfect bodies in Athleta catalogs. We can all feel empowered by the clothes we wear.
3. What’s the best piece of style advice you’ve ever gotten?
It’s a quote from Nina Garcia, “With style, you show the world who you are.” When I spent a year trying out different styles, I was amazed to discover that people treated me completely differently based on what style I was wearing. When I was in Euro, strangers opened doors for me. When I was in Rock & Roll, the sketchy crowd at the skate park suddenly talked to me. When I was in hippie, people would ask me where they could find good pot. (Seriously.)
I realized by wearing my dowdy mom uniform every day (ponytail, bad jeans, boring t-shirt, big white sneakers) I was sending out this massive bat-signal to all of humanity, “Ignore me! I have nothing interesting to say! I probably smell like baby wipes!” By finding my style I suddenly became someone to reckon with (even though I still probably smelled like baby wipes).
4. What’s the worst?
I went through a Madonna phase as a child so I don’t know who to blame for that … Madonna? Also, I’ve been convinced by friends to wear so much hair spray that I looked like one of those neck-frill lizards. And more recently, a friend convinced me to buy a jumpsuit. I don’t care how amazingly trendy and popular jumpsuits are right now—I look like a telephone repairman.
5. Are leggings pants? (Trick question: Of course they aren’t.) Real question: If you could convince moms to change one thing about their style, what would it be?
If you asked my 9-year-old daughter, she would say leggings are definitely pants. And very comfortable pants at that. If I could convince a mom to change one thing about her style, I would suggest she accept her body as it is today.
Buying great clothes for your current body does not mean you are giving up on your imagined future body. It only means you’ve made a decision to look fantastic during the transition.
Escape From Ugly Mom Island! is available now on Amazon and Frantic But Fabulous readers can win one of two signed copies! Just leave a comment below or on my Facebook page before June 3 and I’ll choose two winners at random. (Winners will need to provide mailing addresses to receive their books.)