Easy Access Fashion. Haute Breastfeeding.

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Andrea. Chicago. 2016. Mom of Thora and Otto. Fashion Designer.

Does breastfeeding mean you go from maternity clothing to “earth mother” hippie (which I actually love) frocks? Meet Andrea, mom, designer, founder of Leche Libre, http://www.lechelibre.com – a company creating cool style for breast feeding moms.

Maternity clothing has come a long way from huge dresses that resembled tents, so it’s surprising that stylish clothing for breast feeding moms has taken so long to catch on. The rise in breast feeding is pretty recent, it was considered “low class” in the 70’s and 80’s, my mother was practically bullied by the nurses at the hospital when she attempted to breast feed my oldest brother.

When I had my first child, I was so determined to breast feed. Each feeding, I was faced with my child’s enormous Angelina Jolie lips coming at me.  The only person in the hospital who helped me properly was the housekeeper in the maternity ward, only issue was she had a morning shift. I needed her nurturing and support 24-7, in order to do it. I lasted maybe four days.

I’d watch these amazing moms feed their kids, with clothing that wasn’t so easy to maneuver. Additionally, they all looked like earth hippie mothers, not by intention, merely by lack of choice. But in comes design team, Leche Libre to change that…

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Leche Libre Dress.

Wouldn’t breast feeding be so much easier with “easy access” fashion? It seems reasonable right? Just unzip, and you and baby are ready to go….

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I asked Andrea, founder of Leche Libre some questions:

How has your style emerged after kids: “I feel like having kids really pushed me with my sense of identity. When I was younger I had a more hard edged punk style but then as I got a bit older, I got a little more mainstream with my appearance. Once I had kids, I sort of had a personality crisis of who I was. I felt like the cultural information I was absorbing was telling me that now that I had kids, I had to become this soft maternal super feminine sort of mommy person. I’ve always been rebellious, so I sort of went the opposite direction and started dressing hard edged again.”

What do you wear to school drop-off: At school drop off, you’ll more likely see me in my black one piece snow suit, since we are lifestyle cyclists and we ride bikes everywhere. It’s like an fashion onion, because I take that off and then I’m kicking my style inside.  I always dress in the same style, although I’m not always wearing a dress. I keep things very simple, usually opting for solid colors, often black.

Why did you start Leche Libre: “Maintaining a look while breastfeeding was hard. As I said above, I felt as though there was all this cultural information telling me I needed to change who I was as and a lot of it was coming from clothing to breastfeed in. A lot of the breastfeeding apparel readily available five years ago was all flowy drapey maternity/nursing knitwear shirts and dresses. I felt like this was NOT my style at all. I wore it for a while, but just couldn’t get down with it. That left me with just a cami tank top under shirts and jeans, but I didn’t really like this all the time. After having a baby and feeling frumpy already, I felt like I was forced to dress frumpy to breastfeed, which just sort of complicated my feelings of identity crisis. I believe in the transformative power of fashion to help us define who we are. I knew I needed to do something about it. I was learning sewing at the time, so I started altering a few vintage patterns and made myself a few nursing dresses. I got a great response from other moms, which inspired me to go ahead and start my own line.”

Describe Leche Libre style: When I started my line, I liked the idea of creating an edgy urban line for mommies which fights the stereotypes of soft. I play with blending masculine and feminine themes in my apparel. I’m starting Leche Libre to help breastfeeding women represent their own personal style.

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Andrea’s take on camouflage 

In Haute Rides.. This is how a cool, designer mom takes her kids to school in the morning, I’m pretty confident I will never be that cool. Considering, I couldn’t even find my keys this morning to drive my kids in a boring “crossover” car!!

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Thanks to Andrea, for having the courage to start a company and create clothing to make women feel stylish, confident and capable of feeding their kids in public.

 

Some Mamas look Haute in Horizontal..

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Yuriko. Marin County, California. February 2016.

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It takes a special woman to look this adorable in horizontal stripes. Yuriko runs from me, because I want to take her photograph every day. Her style and personality can charm any human… especially me. And she always tells me I look like a model, a short one!! So of course I love her.

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Black tights and flats..always chic.

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Handsome Dad in Stan Smith’s.

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Marcus. Larkspur, California. February 2016.

Marcus works for Google, I’m never really sure how to follow that answer – it seems so huge and beyond my scope. I do hear they have an amazing cafeteria.

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Marcus and his daughter are pretty cute.

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His style is not anything that’s outlandish or out of the box, but it’s simple & casual. Marcus made an effort on a Sunday.

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Stan Smith Adidas Classics…always make any pair of jeans stand out.

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A little side profile – no need to tuck those shirts in guys! Just make sure your button down is a little fitted.

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Raising the Next Generation of Dead Heads…

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Lisa. Fairfax, California. February 2016.

Lisa is a stylist at Milvali Salon in Mill Valley. Originally from Boston, Lisa and her family live in the bohemian town of Fairfax.

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Lisa and her husband are huge Grateful Dead fans, and they are making sure their offspring appreciate the love they have for the group.

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Mommy Love.

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Love the evil eye (I think) tattoo.

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More Mommy Love…

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In Pregnancy Style….

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Pregnant and Poised. Marin County. February 2015.

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Sometimes black with bright red accessories go a long way..

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Slip on Vans, these “sneaker loafers” are still being worn in major cities. They are comfortable, casual and stylish.

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Toddler cool..silver slip ons to match her mamas..

 

 

Oakland Parents got Some Style…

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Matt and Naomi. February 2016. Marin County, California. February 2016.

Matt is a food entrepreneur and Naomi is an emergency room Doctor. They live their very stylish lives in Oakland, California  – where all the “cool” Bay Area people live… For some reason, well for several reasons, Oakland has a lot more style then the rest of the Bay Area. In my opinion, that’s due to Oakland’s history, particularly starting in the 1960’s.

In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the Black Panther Party, Hell’s Angels, bands like Sly and the Family Stone and the funk music scene all had a major presence in Oakland. It was in the 1980’s, where so many acts were born in Oakland, such as Digital Underground, En Vogue, MC Hammer and Tupac Shakur. For me, this style of 1970’s-1990’s fashion in music, particularly in rap, hip hop and rock taking place in urban neighborhoods has the most influence. I’m pretty sure that’s why, I always get lot’o style compliments when walking around Brooklyn and Oakland – – in these cities my “Mara-ness” is appreciated.

The style that was in Oakland, before it’s change to “hipster” culture, is what interests me the most. From the black turtle necks and berets of Black Panther members to the narrow bell bottoms of Sly and the Family Stone to the perfectly sculpted abs, gold chains and red bandana of Tupac Shakur (man, he was gorgeous).

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What do you think of Matt’s seer sucker blazer? Love the light colors, and that they are all wearing light fabrics, it’s all once again very French.

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Naomi and her new baby, her skin is flawless  -does breastfeeding do that? I lasted for two weeks total, with both kids. And I didn’t have a cool sling like Naomi’s – Miami is really hot, so it’s much more difficult to do “attachment parenting”.

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I love clogs, they remind me of Berkeley and my mom’s friend Linda. I would slip my foot into her sexy clogs and make that amazingly loud noise on the hard floors. “One day’, I thought to myself, “I’m going to make that clunking heel sound”…and not only did I make that sound, I never stopped.

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I kind of love Matt’s mustache, it’s not groomed and perfectly trimmed. I love facial hair, but when it’s messy – something about facial hair on men being perfectly groomed is not a look I appreciate fashion wise. The wave of Naomi’s hair is naturally beautiful – most people spend so much time flat ironing their hair  – but a little wave is so youthful.

 

Parisians think Brooklyn Style is HAUTE

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Thomas Palauqui. Marin Country Mart. Marin County. February 2016.

Is Thomas from Brooklyn or Paris? It’s unclear, and I’m onto something here. Parisian men are influenced by Brooklyn style, and do it well.. the American urban style mixed with Parisian tailoring is an alluring combination. Thomas is dressed quite casually, but he’s given his look some thought…and yes, he’s French.

Vogue wrote about Brooklyn’s street style and its influence on Parisian men…. http://www.vogue.com/13354833/paris-brooklyn-men-street-style/

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Thomas is General Manager of Monsieur Benjamin, http://www.monsieurbenjamin.com a modern Parisian restaurant and bar in San Francisco.

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Thomas isn’t wearing any French designers, he’s in American designs -but Thomas puts them together in a very French manner. From the collar up to his chic diaper bag (aka man diaper bag).

Fashion Notes: Jean Jacket: GAP 1969, Pants & Sweater: J.Crew, Kicks: New Balance, Sunglasses: Ray Ban

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See guys, you don’t always have to hem your pants..they look cool a little loose…

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I always love a pair of old school New Balance sneakers..it’s a good option, if you are confused which sneakers to buy..always go simple.

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Bag: Ika Bags Paris. A very cool looking bag to carry diapers.