Why Moms Dress Like Moms and a Lesson from 11th Grade

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

I know: Deep thoughts for a Wednesday. 

So I stumbled across the following infographic the other day:

So, basically, when 2,000 women were polled about their style after having kids, the results were that:
-40 percent said their average heel height dropped two inches. 
-18 percent chopped their hair into a bob
-7 percent stopped coloring hair altogether 
And over 50 percent said that as moms, they no longer have time for fashion and 27 percent said they missed their old clothes.

Now, I've gotten my fair share of hate mail over the years and one of the most common questions I get in angry written tirades is "What's SO BAD about dressing like a mom!?" 

To that, I say "nothing." You're a grown woman. You can dress however you want. 

All I can tell you is my motivations for specifically veering away from that specific label.

In 11th grade history, I had an awesome, feminist teacher. Her name was Ms. Mazzulla. Not Mrs. Not Miss. Ms. She was very clear about this. 

Now, Ms. Mazzulla had some seriously tragic style, according to me as an 11th grader. She had hippie-long, never-dyed hair. She wore hopelessly outdated bifocals. I never saw her in anything other than a pair of Birkenstocks, which she wore with socks during long, Canadian winters. And she favored long, tie-dyed tunics. 

And yet, I consider Ms. Mazzulla to be one of my greatest style influencers. I KNOW, right?

It's because during the second week I had her history class, one of my friends asked why she was so insistent about being called "Ms." (It was after someone accidentally called her "Mrs." and she snapped at them. She had a really bad temper).

She said, "Because I don't want to be judged based on one label. When people hear Miss, they think something. When people hear Mrs, they also think something. I want to be the one to tell them what to think about me."

Uh, holy profound, Ms. Mazzulla. And while I was only 16, that has stuck with me for a long time. Of course, I graduated, got married and had my first child. And I got this new label, complete with omnipresent baby carrier and faint milk smell: Mom. 

And I actually like being a mom. It's awesome to have two little mini-me's who think I'm the sole source of food and coolness. But in my first months as a new mom, I knew one thing for sure: I didn't want to be judged by my one label. I never wanted someone to look at me and say, "Yep. She's got a couple of kids at home." "She looks really tired." "She looks like someone who doesn't take time for herself."

Because that meant my appearance was allowing people to make judgements about me that were absolutely untrue (except for the one about being tired). Ms. Mazzulla's words stuck with me, because I wanted to be the one to tell people what to think about me. 

Because I'm not only a mom, even though it's a large and interesting part of my identity. I'm also a reality TV show watching, fashion enjoying, shopaholic, good time on a Friday night, serial texting, history buff, working professional, sarcastic, celeb gossip loving, help you burn down your ex's house kinda girl. And that's hard to convey with three letters and a pair of capris, amiright? 

And so, the blog was born. But not as a way to be derogatory toward moms, but as a way to prove that it's OK to take time for yourself, take control of your label and wear high heels, even if you had a few kids. 

So when I saw that infographic, I got to thinking about Ms. Mazzulla again, who is probably out teaching Ancient Civilizations to a new crop of teenagers and saying profound, identity-changing things without realizing it.

The moral of the story is this: In a perfect world of unicorns and glitter, no one would judge anyone and we'd all get to know each other intimately and see everyone's good qualities. But yeah, we live in a world of long lines at Wal-Mart, mommy wars in the pickup line and getting judged based on appearance alone a hundred times each week.

Because of that, I'm very careful to remember what message I'm sending with my appearance. Not to pander to others and their snap judgements, but to take control of those interactions. Like Ms. Mazzulla, I think it's important that YOU tell people what to think about you. Are you saying:
  • I put myself last. 
  • I'm perpetually tired and don't care who knows it. 
  • I'm too busy to look put-together. 
  • My only identity is my children's mother. 
  • I don't want you to see me.
  • I'm totally approachable.
  • I take time for myself because I make it a priority.
  • I'm fun and totally enjoy life and the occasional flash mob. 
  • I see the value in balancing function with style. 
  • Being a mom has enhanced my natural personality.
And the thing is, if you really, truly, honestly don't care how people perceive you, then good on you. I commend you and think that's awesome. It's your prerogative as an adult woman to not care. But chances are, even the people that toss their sensible wash-n-wear bobs and tug at their oversized tees do care.

So, I guess what this all boils down to is: What are you telling people about yourself with your appearance – and is it accurate?

Getting dressed in the morning serves more of a purpose than just not being naked when you go to grocery store. It's a chance to take control of social interactions and make sure you're sending exactly the message that YOU want to send. That means you're totally in control here: If you miss your old clothes, get 'em back. If you don't have time for yourself, find a way to streamline a 5-minute routine. And, if you prefer flats over heels – then wear flats instead of heels.

So, some questions for you on this Wednesday:
What do you think about Ms. Mazzulla's life lesson?
What are some of your motivations for dressing the way that you do?
And, if you had a label, what would it be?

Geez I need a nap after all of this intellect.

What I Wore: Remix

Monday, April 21, 2014

How was everyone's Easter weekend? I would like to point out that growing up in Canada, Easter constituted a four-day weekend. Here in the States, it's a measly two. I mean, I'm not saying Canada's a better country but it is.

(Said the person who is right in the middle of filling out her U.S. citizen paperwork ugh)

We had an awesome weekend where we just loafed around and went out to brunch and saw a movie and hung out and that's exactly what I want out of my weekends. And I made a delicious ham for dinner last night and the leftovers are calling to me. Don't worry, my pretties. You will be in an omelet soon.

And sorry that my last FOUR outfits have been skirt-based. That's all I've been wearing with the weather so nice!

 Skirt: Old Navy yes I'm wearing it again (here) (plus)
Tank: Gap - I own like, 6 of these (here)
Chambray: Gap (similar) (similar) (plus)
Shoes: Roxy (here
Watch, bracelets: XOXO (how fun is this!?), gift, Buckle (similar)
Earrings: F21

I'm super into the big shirt/skirt combo right now and have been living in it while I still can. Because summers here are hot and I'll be strictly one layer then. I wore this when I had to take my kids to the mall and then run some various errands. And NO I didn't shop for myself, yeesh. 

Also, I'm super glad I bought a couple of these skirts because they've been very versatile. There was some questions among my friends on fit and length. This is a regular small, but some of my friends preferred a tall for longer length, so there's something to consider if you're thinking of grabbing a couple for summer. Which I recommend you do.

 Shoe shot!! Everyone should have a pair of casual shoes that work as flip flop alternatives. I've been wearing these with shorts and Bermudas.

This chambray has a railroad stripe that makes it ah-mah-zing for pattern mixing, since it's not like, totally in your face. 

OK, I've got to get a kid to preschool so I have to get a move on. And it's supposed to be 80 today so I don't expect to be back at my computer any time soon. Monday, I'll take it!

Freaky Friday

Friday, April 18, 2014

 Happy Friday, party people. I'm feeling like a star because I actually went and bought my kids' Easter stuff before like, Saturday morning. Usually I run down when they're still in bed and my husband is at home and have to battleslam people in Walmart just to find a chocolate bunny. That's definitely a personal win.

I shall celebrate by going out to lunch. And writing a Freaky Friday. But not necessarily in that order.

 Oh, so is that like, where your control panel goes? 

I'm sure this model is a really lovely woman and all, but this is the saddlebaggiest (yes, a word I would know I'm a professional writer) dress I have ever seen in my life. Also, is that like, a cityscape? To remind people that your hips are wide enough for all of Chicago?

 This is probably because I've cut waaaay back on carbs lately (seriously, I'm eating like a bajillion grams of protein every day and I can only eat so much chicken) but this dress made me think of potatoes.

Oh man I love potatoes so much.

 Alex sent me the latest round up of "must have" products on GOOP. This was by far may favorite: An ugly $1,200 "keepsake box" because you couldn't just Mod Podge a motherfreaking shoebox LIKE EVERYONE ELSE GWYNETH?

 In case you were hoping to score that ever-elusive "Socks with Sandals" look.

 The more I stare at this, the more confused I get. Is... is that Megatron? Or just like, a garden variety robot monster? Is he eating her belly button? Why is it see-through? Did you mean to wear those grandma underpants? So many questions! 

 This is from my personal collection. I was looking at swimsuits the other night and LOVED this one. I almost ordered it, but read the reviews first and so glad I did. While it is in fact, an adorable rainbow flutter top, it also has HEARTS on the BOOBS when the flutter top blows up. And there are no pictures that indicate this, so it was just a fun surprise for everyone who ordered it. So thanks for that, Nordstrom.

 Nice try, Crocs. A pig in a tuxedo is still a pig. 

 I think we've cultivated a relationship by now in which I can communicate my feelings by facial expressions, right? So can you just imagine me looking bored and annoyed at the same time?

It's also the same face I make at church, while driving, at children's movies and when my husband wants to watch car auctions on TV.

Amy sent me these awesome granny square nails because I've always wanted my hands to look like the smell like mothballs. 

Boom. This Friday is just getting more and more productive. Happy Easter weekend guys! Hope you get chocolate or in my case, beef jerky, because protein.

Time to Buy: Boots

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Guys, I have been SO good about not shopping and haven't been for two weeks, so be proud of me. Instead, I do a lot of online window shopping and reorganizing my closet and I'm sounding like a whiny first-worlder, aren't I?

Honestly, it hasn't been that bad -- until I see the spring sales. And, since stores are clearing out winter inventory for flip flops (even though it totally snowed in my hometown yesterday) it means you can get screaming deals on boots.

Here are some of my fave picks for less than $50-- happy shopping! (sob sob)

Knee-High Boots (Universally flattering so go forth, my friends)


 Mid-Calf Boots (Best with skirts and dresses)


Ankle Boots (Which I previously said I didn't need, but then I got my Miladas and can't believe how amazingly versatile they are).

(Clockwise, from top)

What I Wore: Easter Ballet

Monday, April 14, 2014

I totally jinxed myself by complaining about Spring Break, because I got sick on Monday and it stuck around until Thursday. I did get my kids out to do some fun stuff, but only with copious naps and a very messy house. I am please to report, however, that after a post-sickness burst of energy, my house is now clean and my garden is weeded -- and my kids are back to school.

I even had some time to get dressed up yesterday. I am aware I should have saved this outfit for Easter, but whatevs, I was excited. I felt like I should be in an Easter-themed ballet where there was a lot of spinning.

 Cardigan: Maurices (here) (similar) (so pretty!!)
Skirt: Olsenboye (similar) (love this print)
Shoes: Michael Antonio and on sale! (here) (in black) I died over the teeny ankle strap.
Rings, earrings: Coach, F21

 Also, I can't wear this skirt without doing this as well:

It's been gorgeous here, so I've been in skirts a lot lately. My apologies to firm pants-wearers. But these legs seriously need some sun and skirts are my friends.

Also, I was shopping with a couple of friends and two of us bought this cardigan. Ugh, it's prettiness I just can't even handle it. I can't wait to wear it more casually, like with jeans and flats or with leather pants on date night.

Yes, I look for many excuses to wear leather pants.

What I Wore: Anchors Away

Monday, April 7, 2014

Is it me or are anchors on legitimately EVERYTHING this spring? I mean, I totally don't mind because I love all things nautical, but I've had to pace myself on buying ALL THE ANCHORS.

I have to give credit where credit is due -- my girl Sara was the one that recommended these skirts to me. I bought a couple and really like them for casual wear. Although I did find that the waistband seemed to get a little loose throughout the day. Other than that, this anchor skirt (and the polka dot one I bought) were like $10 and they've worked their way into regular rotation.

Top: Calvin Klein City T (here)
Shoes: Guess omg I love these so much (here and on sale!) (lower heel)
Necklace: Plunder

I dressed this up a little, but it looks super cute with a plain gray V-neck too. Which is great, because my legs need sun. Like, power to the pale and whatever, but mine are practically transluscent.

For now, I'm off to struggle through Spring Break. I am seriously regretting not booking tickets to Canada because this week is going to be a lot of "I'm bored" from my kids and "Why are there children everywhere!?" from me.

Freaky Friday

Friday, April 4, 2014

Good news, guys! I actually didn't blow it too bad yesterday. I bought a couple shirts and like, a sports bra, so I feel that it was minimalist. I am jealous of one of my friends, though -- she found some awesome boots and a leather jacket and those are actually two of my faaaaavorite things to shop for. But I couldn't justify more leather jackets and more boots, so maybe failing my shopping diet was a good thing?

Anyway, for now I'll be wearing stuff I already own. That I've never worn before. UGH. Also, spring break is next week and I've been researching stuff to do all morning. What do you guys do with your kids!?

For now I'll just pretend like it's not happening. Cool? Cool. 

 These were marketed as gym wear. To that I saw I DARE YOU to wear these to the gym. Seriously. I want to see them flapping in the wind on the treadmill. 

And then I want you to grant me a wish.

 "I give up" sweatpants give up.

Yusssss pants that double as a bag and diaper genie together? LOVE. 

 This shirt is perplexing to me. Maybe because it has lace, puffy sleeves, a weird detached collar and the stylist was still like "Hm, know what this needs? An unnecessarily busy statement necklace GO."
"Honey, I know you want to go to the pool, but mommy needs 57 minutes to lace up her douchey gladiator sandals!" 

 Here's a good fashion tip: When you get dressed, look in the mirror and see where your eye is initially drawn. If it's to a feature you love, then you're doing it right. But if your eye is drawn to the deep abyss of your crotch, you may want to rethink your strategy.

 If jean shorts are jorts, are leather shorts "lorts?" Or just a really bad idea?

 More workout wear. You know, for when you're training to be La Femme Nikita, but like, also want to lose some weight.

 I know Coachella is coming up so we all have to pretend to be interested in dressing like white girl hippies for the next month, but can we talk about these shorts? And how they're actually underwear? And how you might catch an infection from that festival port-a-potty?

Not cute, white girls. 

 "They told me I could be anything... so I literally just became everything." 

Can we make a pact to never show these Pegasus tights to my daughter? Because she's already pretty weird. 

That does it for me this week. I'm going to find something to do that doesn't involve shopping. 

So basically I'll just be at home watching Say Yes to the Dress.


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