Ugly & Beautiful

Seven Days of Outfits: Finding My Non-Mommy Style

About a month ago, I drove to Portland for some personal business and spent almost an entire day without my children. It wasn’t even twelve hours, but it was probably the longest I’ve been separated from them, and definitely the longest I’ve been separated from Violet. That day, I visited Powell’s City of Books and snapped a picture of myself with Violet’s stuffed puppy, whom I’d brought along as a travel companion:


When I posted this photo on Facebook, a friend commented that I looked “so un-mom like!” This got me thinking about what is “mom-like” and what is “un-mom-like” and what I wear and why I wear it. It was quite an interesting internal conversation, filled with personal revelations. For example: I love jewelry. Not expensive things, not gems, but the cute plastic stuff you see me wearing in the picture. Costume jewelry, if you will. But most of my current friends had never seen me wear jewelry–friends I’ve had for up to four years! Nor had they seen me wear Converse All Stars, which I own in several colors and used to be my go-to shoes. The reasons: 1) People with kids expect you to take your shoes off in their houses, and so it’s easier to wear something you don’t have to lace and tie. 2) My feet grew and widened during pregnancy and so my sneakers are now uncomfortably tight.

I could go on and on, but I’ll spare you. The point is:

I used to enjoy getting dressed, putting on jewelry, and doing my makeup; after having kids, I mostly stopped doing these things.

So I decided, though I’m obviously still a mom and doing my mom things, to spend a week dressing for myself instead of my circumstances. I even pulled clothes out of the garage that I’d thought I might never wear again. Also, as you can see, I dyed my hair. Twice. Here’s how it looked:


Dress: Vintage (I think–Mom where did you buy that?); Leggings: Target, circa 2006; Shoes: I don’t remember but they were cheap; Earrings: Thrift Store

This is not the most flattering dress and I don’t like where those leggings cut me, but I do like the print and general style. Just maybe not this exact outfit. Longer leggings and a few nips and tucks on the dress, and I’ll like it more.


Sunglasses: Target; Sweater: Target; Blouse: ModCloth; Pants: Gloria Vanderbilt by way of Costco; Shoes: Payless

Okay, those are totally Mom pants–though I actually bought them long before I was a mom. We were traveling this day and I just wanted something that would let me move without tugging up the waistline or worrying whether my skirt was too short or whatever. So–a Mom choice. But I like the top and the sweater–I like the two different pinks together and the contrasting prints (the blouse is polka dot–squint and you’ll see them).


Necklace: Gift from my mom; Sweater: Target; Blouse: Target; Skirt: Fred Meyer; Leggings: Ancient; Shoes: Walmart

Call me crazy but I LOVE this outfit. Starting to realize: I love contrast. Contrasting prints, colors, textures. Though obviously I don’t love an iron.



Ugh it’s painful to look at so many pictures of yourself. And on Monday I tried another painful thing–I went without leggings. It is summer, after all. And I didn’t have anywhere to go, so who cared if anyone saw my underwear? It would just be my kids. But then we went to the playground and the no-leggings thing was really tested. I don’t think I flashed anyone. And I do like this dress. I’m wearing it today. (It looks a lot better with leggings.)


Blouse: Probably Maurice’s, circa 2005ish; Camisole: JCPenney; Shorts: Thrift Store; Violet’s Shirt: Sears; Violet’s Skirt: Garage Sale; Violet’s Bike Helmet: Walmart

I had not worn any of this in a very long time but I wanted a black top to offset the new hair color, and this is what I had. I like these shorts a lot but they’re really too small.


Necklace: Gift from Mom; Dress: Target; Earrings: Very old and probably from Target; Flip Flops: Not really part of the outfit, just the shoes I put on to quickly go outside and I forgot I was wearing them; Violet’s Dress: Costco; Violet’s Boots: Goodwill

This is the dress. It’s new but it’s quickly become my favorite. I want to wear it every day. It’s comfortable. It’s long enough. It’s got a pretty flower pattern. It flatters my collarbone. It doesn’t draw attention to my jelly belly. This is the dress.

So: what have I learned? One, I’m never going to be a model (but I obviously knew that already). Two, I’m probably lashing back against the extremely boring clothes I had to wear when nursing to give the girl easy access to milk–jeans, tank top, sweater. Three, I still have the same style instincts I did when I was little (does anyone else remember Polka dots, Checks and Stripes?) This girl is my style icon:


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