Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Clothes Make the Mom

Call the Fashion Police! As I type this, I am wearing grey sweat pants, a cream colored shirt, a long brown sweater, and purple slippers. My hair is pulled up into a scrunchie (didn't scrunchies go out of style in the 90s?) Hideous. I'll admit it. In my defense, the cream shirt and brown pants were paired with jeans earlier in the day, and I changed into the sweat pants when I got home with the kids. The crime is that I wore this outfit longer than 3 seconds...I have in fact been wearing it all afternoon and into this evening.

The truth is that I stopped caring what I look like when I am at home. I do still make an effort (usually) when we leave the house, but for the most part, when I am home I look like I should be living under a bridge somewhere. I think when I had my first C-section two years ago, the doctor also removed my Fashion sense. My body is definitely different these days, and the same clothes that used to look cute on me (and fit!), just don't anymore. The worst part is, my two year old seems to have picked up in the Fashion department where I left off. As I was feeding the baby the other day, I asked Natalie to grab my tennis shoes for me. She gave me a look of pure disgust and picked up a pair of hot pink heels. "Mama wear these?" she asked hopefully. Sigh. Even my two year old is tired of my boring ensembles. This from a child whose idea of high fashion is pairing pink plastic shoes from the Target $1 section with a pink felt least it's all pink.

I've noticed that a lot of moms (myself included!) make sure their kids are dressed to the nines, while they get by with some old yoga pants and a college tee-shirt (mine says "I Bleed Beer" and was a gag gift from my sister. Blush.). Unless I know we are staying at home all day, Natalie usually sports something cute with a matching hairbow. Michaela doesn't have enough hair for bows yet, but her rompers are always adorable. Why do we settle for so little?

I don't watch a lot of Oprah anymore unless she is doing a fun show (read: NOT the in-your-face not-so-subtle political stuff she tries to pass off as afternoon entertainment). She was recently interviewing Lloyd Boston, who created some amazing new looks for a group of suburban moms. They were, in Oprah's words, real "Shlumpadinkas." Ratty old jeans, worn track suits, ugly sweaters...I could be the leader of the Shlumpadinkas. I watched in envy as Lloyd transformed each woman from a Shlumpadinka to a really fab-looking mom. Well, sure, I thought, When you have a bazillion dollar budget from Oprah to spend it's easy to do a fashion transformation.

It turned out that Lloyd didn't just run out and buy a bunch of Manolos and drape the girls in Dolce...he took them to "real" stores like Penney's, Sears, Old Navy, and The Gap to find affordable and updated looks. I don't know about you, but when I think of Penney's and Sears, I most often picture ladies in their 70s, combing through racks of matching sweater sets. Shockingly enough, some of the cutest outfits came from Penney's! My favorite was a pair of red pants and a black top paired with a sweet little 3/4 length sleeved white jacket. What's even cuter is that Lloyd showed the audience that you can dress stylishly and not go broke.

Sitting there in my family room, wearing my Shlumpadinka clothes and holding a gassy 6 week old, I realized that all is not lost. Maybe my fashionista-wannabe days are not so far gone. I'm only 27, for Pete's sake. With minimal effort and working to save a little moola here and there, I could leave the house (and stay home!) and not be worried that Stacy and Clinton from TLC's What Not to Wear are going to accost me in the aisles of Target. I need to remember that while being a great mom is important, I shouldn't lose touch with myself: my dreams, my hopes, and my sense of Fashion! I want to be a fun, together mom-I just need to look the part!

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