Ready for Joy! Mikaela Pabon of @dressedinjoy on Family, Home and Bold Moves

Photo By Yumi Matsuo

Ready for Joy! Mikaela Pabon of @dressedinjoy on Family, Home and Bold Moves

As we all make our way out of this pandemic, I have felt the tug of wanting aspiration and inspiration infused into my closet and home. I believe Instagram caught on as I was searching for stylish people, and one day, Brooklyn-based Mikaela Pabon popped up on my feed.

This mom of two IG posts are full of bright, colorful clothing, mixed prints — and I find myself always wanting to see more.I am not the only one, many women are inspired by this wardrobe stylist, content creator and founder of the statement-making athleisure line @dressedinjoy.

Via her social media feeds, Mikaela shares daily (@mikaela.pabon) on her life as she and her husband Dre juggle their young children (Christian, age 8, Elle, age 4) while sharing tips and cheering on others.

At the photo shoot — our tightknit crew found ourselves seamlessly fitting in with the kids, Mikaela’s amazing husband, and even the dog made it into the photo shoot. You can’t fake that kind of energy — just pure love and openness.

While Mikaela is undoubtedly stylish, her quiet confidence intrigued me while we were at their home that snowy day in Brooklyn. So yes, while she is one of the chicest moms I have met in some time, her whole vibe is bright, and yes, the next day, I went full-on bright palettes and print mode!

Let’s first discuss your style? Does it come naturally, or do you have to work the vibrancy of colors and prints into your life?

My style absolutely comes naturally. Often, I’ll imagine an outfit in my head before I put it together. Color and print have been a part of my wardrobe for as long as I can remember! I’ve studied Hawaiian dance since I was eight years old, and we’d always ​​wear the brightest colored costumes, lots of greenery, bold floral prints — that stuck with me over the years and it’s why I am still so drawn to them now.

Can you share with us about your collection Dressed in Joy?

Dressed in Joy is like my love letter to little Mikaela. Since I was a young girl, designing clothes has been my dream, but I squashed that dream myself when I didn’t think it was a realistic career. Isn’t that crazy? That I made that decision for myself at such a young age! What started as designing a hoodie for myself that I couldn’t find anywhere in the market (and I looked for months!) has turned into more than I could have ever imagined. 

I started Dressed in Joy when I was still working my corporate job at Jetblue, hoping to sell at least ten hoodies in my first weekend. I ended up selling 52! It’s been uphill from there. People all around the world — from Japan to Germany to Australia — are Dressed in Joy. From the likes of Tabitha Brown to Jessica Alba, being on the TODAY Show with Al Roker and local NYC news stations, my brand has gone farther in the last two years than I ever thought was possible.

After just over a year of selling athleisure exclusively, I launched a Ready-to-Wear collection in May of 2021, which did exceptionally well. So well, I launched another for Spring 2022. It has been received extremely well, and I am looking forward to offering more JOY for my customers. It’s been an indescribable feeling to know that my work brings joy to so many people worldwide.

Many of us have a pile of cozy sweats from the last few years of being stuck at home- can you share tips on how one can get out of a style slump?

Well, here’s the thing, you can still be cute in cozy sweats! Not only are they available in so many more colors but also in vibrant prints (*cough* Dressed in Joy *cough*)! Get yourself a pair of fun, colorful sneakers that can turn into your everyday shoe (because really, who’s wearing heels every day anymore?), and you’re golden. You can also switch out your joggers for a pair of high waist denim. You can still throw on your hoodie, but try tucking the front of it and throw on a leather jacket over it for a cool weekend look.

Now that spring is coming around, more dresses and skirts are showing up in stores, which is another way to transition out of your joggers! They can be just as cozy without the stigma that wearing joggers can sometimes carry. Most of all, wear what brings you joy and have fun!

At the photoshoot, we chatted about how at one point, you had too much going on, something many of us moms can relate to. How did you step back and check-in with yourself so you could move forward?

Oh man, yeah. I know many of us get overwhelmed with everything we have to do and all the thoughts and information we have to keep in our brains. I had gotten completely overwhelmed with my corporate job, with a baby who cried all the time while trying to keep a drowning business afloat. Something had to give. When I realized I was crying and feeling overwhelmed more than enjoying my family or taking time for myself, I knew it was time to take a break. It was HARD. 

It was really hard to let my business go (before Dressed in Joy, I owned another online boutique) because it felt like a part of my identity, but there was no way to sustain it all. And on top of it all, I didn’t enjoy it anymore. It was work I dreaded, and that’s never a good feeling. I talked it through with Dre and he supported whatever my decision was 100%. And thank God I did that! It was only when I allowed myself the time to breathe, be inspired, and relax that the idea for the first Dressed in Joy hoodie came to me.

You have equally stylish mom friends. How are you and your @momstylematters there for each other?

We are all so much alike! From family structures (we each have two kids, boy & girl) to our bold and colorful styles and being fashion entrepreneurs, it’s easy for us to support each other because we’re all going through similar challenges. We connected initially via style and then motherhood and entrepreneurship. There’s nothing like being able to call your girlfriend and complain about running your business and toddler drama all at the same time!

You have a creative and tight-knit family; even your dog Indi is lovely! How do you and Dre, your husband, keep the family in sync?

Thank you! Honestly, a lot of it came naturally to us because we have the same goals for our children — to raise good humans who aren’t afraid to do what they love. We are both very encouraging to our kids, whether they want to be a dentist (Elle) or an Engineer/YouTuber (Christian) because ultimately, we want them both to know that we have their backs with whatever they decide to do, as long as they remain kind and happy people. Dre and I do our best to set the example for doing what we love and living out our dreams and it is our hope that they both remember that about us as they grow into adulthood.

Psst… Check out Smorgasburg 2022 Opens This Weekend!