What’s it like to be a working mom? All-star designer and mother of two, Rachel Pally, gave it to us straight: “It’s completely insane,” she said, laughing.
She broke it down for us rapid fire: “I have to make sure that I can be me and be a wife and a mother to both kids and a business woman and commute,” she started, before being cut off by shoddy reception driving to acupuncture through the Hollywood hills.
Our phone rang again instantly. “Anyway, I’m gonna figure it out because I’m in it – here we are,” she concluded, not missing a beat.
Getting her entrepreneurial start right out of college (she attended UC Berkeley and studied modern dance and geography), Pally made her own way.
“I started small,” she said. “I bought fabric at a dollar a yard and made outfits for friends.” She then sold her first capsule collection door-to-door to brick-and-mortar shops in Los Angeles. Today, her Rachel Pally line has been sold in over 500 stores internationally.
Pally said growing up around parents whose own business enabled a flexible schedule inspired her career goals.
“After college, I knew I wanted to work for myself,” she said. “I never saw the alternative where one or two parents leave for a certain number of hours every day. Knowing I could have that flexible lifestyle was very appealing to me.”
Pally said she doesn’t design for a specific “girl,” but for a wide range for women across occasions.
“There’s something on the line that can be suitable for just about anybody,” she said. “We have girls who are 19 and women in their 40s. My grandma always wore my clothes. That’s kind of it - it’s every girl.”
A dancer herself, she worked throughout college in the costume shop and said she fell in love with the flowy, stretchy fabric of the clothes.
“I feel like my clothes are obviously inspired by dance – women’s bodies and movement and comfort,” she said.
Pally’s line is unique in that most of her pieces can be worn before, throughout, and after pregnancy. She designs her clothing with that versatility in mind, she said.
“It’s frustrating to have to buy a bunch of stuff that you’re only going to wear for a short period of time,” she explained. “We don't do anything different for our maternity line. It’s the same sizing, same clothes, same pattern. Same everything.”
Pally called her fabric “perfect” for pregnancy because of its ability to stretch out, yet still retain “great memory.”
As to her best selling maternity pieces, Pally said she does best with basics.
“We generally do very well with simple black stretchy dresses,” she said.
Of current trends, Pally said she favors feminine styles paired with an edgy layering piece or accessory.
“I love a floral dress with a leather jacket. And I love a blouse with high-waisted vintage Levi’s. Mine aren’t really fitting right now,” she confessed – whose would six weeks post-partum?! “But eventually I’d like to think I’ll be able to wear my own pants.”
As for shoes, Pally said she looks for a good flat or a sensitive block heel. “And as much as I’d like to say that my style hasn’t changed since becoming a mom,” she admitted, “I’m also excited that sensible shoes are in right now!”
While she’s a big fan of denim, Pally said by the end of her pregnancy she lived in dresses. “I don't like to wear baggy clothes when pregnant,” she said. “So I mostly wore my own designs - long Pally dresses.”
A few great investments she made while pregnant? “I did buy a new leather jacket – because that part of me didn’t change. And I bought a couple pairs of shoes.”
While Pally wears many hats, she said her sons are her top priority. “I want to be able to exercise and do things that keep me feeling human,” she said. “But for every waking minute I’m not at the office, I want to make sure that I’m bonded to my kids.”
In many ways, Pally said being a working mom has actually helped her sanity. “It’s been hard being back at work,” she said. “But I found that talking to adults about non-kid things was actually like exercise for my brain.”
Pally said her flexible schedule has been a big help. “I don’t work on Fridays and that’s really helped,” she said of juggling it all. “And right now [while on maternity leave], I work from home. When I do go in, I can bring the baby.”
It doesn't hurt that she has two additional “capable and competent” hands in her husband, Kevin. “I’m very grateful because he does a lot of childcare,” she said of her partner. “He’s really very hands on.”
As to when a busy entrepreneur has time to meet a man?
“We met in preschool!” the LA-native shared. The pair ran into each other after college at a local Kinkos back home, both making line sheets (he had a men’s clothing line back then).
“I’m glad I fell in love with him when I was ready to have that type of relationship,” she said, after having established her business.
“My friend just sent me a picture of her daughter and her preschool boyfriend, and I was like, ‘Keep an eye on that dude, he’s cute. You just never know!’”
Shop Rachel Pally on TILDEN -- new arrivals for Fall coming soon!