Ask any parent, and they’ll tell you how difficult it can be to get their family out the door. Whether they’re heading to school, an appointment, or off on a trip, keeping every kid happy, comfortable, and well prepared is a challenge. Effortlessly making sure everyone looks put-together — dare we say, even coordinated — is a whole other beast. How do influencer moms make it look so easy? Between full-time jobs, raising children, ensuring they — and their youngsters — look stylish every step of the way, and documenting it all on IG, keeping it together may seem like an impossible task. Turns out, there’s a lot less magic and a whole lot more planning involved than you may think. Better yet, their tricks can seamlessly be incorporated into your own family routine.
“Every day is different, which makes our lives so crazy,” mom-of-three Shay Sweeney of @shaymone says. “I am a stylist full time and I also blog full time. My husband and I are constantly on the go working, shooting and filming content, and taking our kids to activities.”
Brandy Gueary of @authentically.b can relate. With one son and another little one on the way, Brandy and her husband have their hands full. “Daily life in the Gueary house is busy from sun up until sun down,” she says. But despite being a full-time teacher and a successful influencer, Brandy still makes it a point to prioritize helping her family look its best and express themselves through fashion. “Along with a healthy lifestyle, loving what you wear makes you feel like a million bucks,” she says. “We like being camera-ready, and that becomes effortless when you have amazing pieces that work well together.”
A common passion for both family and fashion is what brought Shay and Brandy together. Along with two other women, they founded Influencing in Color, an account dedicated to diversity and sisterhood. “IIC is a movement, it is a positive influence for women of all colors with a commitment to inclusion and diversity,” Shay explains. “We aim to inspire, educate, and encourage change and pursue shared goals.” One such goal is raising their kids to be strong, independent, and confident. And if you ask Shay and Brandy, instilling that mentality can start with clothing.
“I love being as hands-off as possible and encouraging Grant to make his own style choices,” Brandy says of her nearly-seven-year-old son. “It helps him to believe in himself daily and to like the way he presents himself to the world.” Shay and her husband also preach confidence at home, and they too believe style can help empower young people.
“We teach our kids daily to be themselves and that they can be whatever they want to be,” Shay says. “We are raising three children of color, and we have to make sure that they not only understand who they are, but are confident in their own skin.”
Both Shay and Brandy let their kids dress themselves as well as have a voice in the clothes they buy for them. “My grandma always made sure I was well put-together and styled. I would go shopping with her and she would let me pick out whatever I wanted,” Shay says. “Fast forward to now, and the same expectations I have for myself, I have for my three kids. Because of the industry we’re in, we are constantly taking photos and creating memories, so why not do it in style?”
Of course, outfitting growing kids is no easy — or inexpensive — feat. “Shopping for children can get super expensive, especially if you are like me and have three,” Shay says. “My rule of thumb is to always start out with the staple pieces they can wear longer; a good pair of denim, a black or white pair of sneakers, basic tees, etc. I then build their wardrobes off of that.” Another hack Shay relies on is buying unisex denim that can be passed down.
For stylish, affordable clothing options, both Shay and Brandy rely on H&M’s vast selection. “It’s so easy to go into H&M and find amazing things for the entire family,” says Brandy, who has a “look good, feel good mentality." “The price is always right.”
“I recently went into H&M when we were on a weekend getaway trip with the kids. The sales associate was so shocked by how many loyalty points I had from shopping,” Shay shares. “I love H&M not only because the brand is affordable, but the kids selection is always on-trend. I style my kids the way I would dress, and H&M never fails when I’m putting their looks together. I love that it is a one-stop-shop for all three kids — and the quality is amazing.”
While Shay and Brandy carefully plan their kids’ and families’ looks year round, a change of season is especially invigorating — even more so when that change involves warmer, sunnier days. “I have already started creating a vision board of colors and looks for the kids’ Spring break,” Shay says. “We will be doing a mini road trip to the beach — so swimsuits, shorts, tees, and sandals will definitely be packed!”
H&M’s latest Kids collection, HM x Karolina Kijak, is made with 100% sustainably sourced cotton, and it's what Spring dreams are made of. Full of feel-good energy coupled with watercolors and nature-inspired designs, it’s a line that celebrates life, adventure, and the fun-loving spirit of being a kid.
“We see how delicate and special the balance is within nature so when we see clothing with animals, flowers, plants, and colors that remind us of oceans and grass, we get really inspired and we gravitate toward it,” Brandy shares. “Each Spring provides a style and color revival for our wardrobe. It makes us feel really energized and want to explore the outdoors.”
Shay’s family also relishes being outside — especially their regular trips to the beach. “Kids enjoying nature and being free is one of the cutest things,” Shay adds. “It’s the concept of exploration that excites me and them. “One of our kids’ favorite things to do is play outside, and I believe that is when they are their most creative.”
Capturing these special moments — in style, of course — is one of Shay’s and Brandy’s favorite parts of their job. Their biggest advice for fellow busy, fashion-loving parents? “Purchase pieces for your children that coordinate well together,” Brandy says. “That way, your children can pick out anything and look cool.”
For Shay, it’s all about thinking ahead. “I am a huge planner when it comes to outfits. I like to find the kids’ pieces first and then source mine in case we need a matching moment,” she says. “I just always remind myself that children are constantly growing, so keeping a budget when shopping for them is the smartest thing to do. Creating looks per season is helpful, and I even buy pieces early if I know it would be perfect for the next season. It’s all about timing and buying pieces that are functional, affordable, and on trend!”
Credits: Photographer: Timothy Smith; Senior Art Director: Colleen Lennon; Hair and Makeup: Jaleesa Jaikaran; Wardrobe Stylist: Alexis Badiyi; Prop Stylist: Katrina Rozeville; Producer: Cassie Doyle; Designer: Rebecca Joy; Editor: Kathleen Harper