I’m a Cool Mom! is a new column for Vogue where we explore how moms get dressed, what’s in their diaper bag (or if they are anti-diaper bag!), and how their style has developed while having kids.
Chriselle Lim has been a mainstay in the fashion world as a stylist, YouTuber, and influencer. Her candid personality comes across effortlessly whether she’s speaking about her skin routine, opening up about her body after pregnancy, or talking about her career path—all while applying primer and mascara. And then there are her double-tap-worthy OOTDs and perfectly manicured nails.
The Korean-American mother to seven-year-old Collette and two-year-old Chloe pivoted her career after having her second child. She started BümoWork, a communal workspace that offers professional childcare when she realized working parents needed more support. (Bümo means “parent” in Korean.) She also launched BümoBrain, a virtual learning platform for children from 1 – 6.
Building her business has been a bit of a fulfilling and mental sanctuary. “I feel much more balanced as a working mother now that I’ve been working from BümoWork because I’m able to carve out time to spend with my daughter and not miss out on so much of her life, we get to have more of our own special moments together,” she says. “BümoWork has been able to bring that sense of balance into my life.” She doesn’t skimp on style either. Her laptop and daughter’s diapers are tucked inside of a Dior tote when Lim heads off to work.
Here, Lim discusses how her personal style has changed, lessons from her own mother, and must-have gadgets for new moms.
How did you see yourself as a woman before and how do you see yourself now?
Before I became a mother, I prided myself on my independence, and I only let my successes and triumphs define me. Whereas now I know I can't do it alone. I am much more vulnerable and I want to feel it all….the joy and the heartaches. Motherhood has taught me the importance of vulnerability.
How has motherhood changed how you think about your personal style?
I’ve always loved glamour and am always looking for an excuse to get dressed up. But instead of heels, I’ll usually wear a pair of sneakers. Instead of silk trousers, I’ll go with wide-legged jeans. I like to mix and match dressier and casual pieces. What I’ve learned about style after becoming a mom is to have your go-to basics, like your jeans and your favorite T-shirt, but also have those statement pieces like a tweed blazer that will just make the look.
Have you taken any lessons from your own mom?
Do not sacrifice your own happiness and wellbeing for your kids or your family. When mom is happy and fulfilled, your kids and family will be fulfilled as well.
What’s your diaper bag, and what’s in it?
My large canvas Dior Tote. I can fit my laptop, my makeup bag, diapers, wipes, snacks, toys, and more!
What have you learned from dressing your children?
Never dictate what you want your child to wear; let them choose. I always give them 2 options and ask them, “Which one would you rather wear?” Letting them feel like they are making the choice allows them feel like they have more autonomy over their decisions.
What’s your life-saving mom gadget? What did you invest in that was worth it?
Besides my Instant Pot, air fryer, and Peloton, I would say my LED face mask, because a mom’s got to get her beauty treatment in once the kids are asleep!
What would you recommend to a new mom, fashion-wise?
Have a uniform so on those busy days, you are not wasting time or energy figuring what to wear. Once you pinpoint what those staples are, buy them in multiple colors. For example, my staples include a pair of vintage mom jeans with a bodysuit and an oversized blazer. I have the same bodysuit in multiple colors and the oversized blazer in 5 different variations as well.
What are some misconceptions about motherhood and style?
Your style does not disappear once you are a mom. It’s still there. You might swap out some of your accessories, like heels for sneakers, but other than that I have just as much fun, if not more, getting dressed up as a mom!
What did you take on and toss?
I took on patience and determination. I learned how to become a better listener, and I became smarter with how I ran my businesses, which led me to launch Bümo. I also took on my ambitions and believed that I could do whatever I wanted to do with the right support team.
I tossed my old excuses of “not having enough time,” and I made time for things that were important for me. I made solutions for the problems I was facing. I also tossed out the mentality that I could do it on my own. I became vulnerable and asked for help when I needed it. I found my community.