What a Mom Looks Like

The other day, Dan made a crack about the outfit I was wearing. He didn’t mean to be mean, but it made me cranky.

I’m a little self conscious sometimes about what I wear. It’s a combination of a lot of things:

1. Dressing for comfort: While there is nothing wrong with dressing for comfort, it doesn’t necessarily mean dressing well. On the weekends, I can rock the jeans and a hoodie, but it’s very easy to get in a rut. I find myself Saturday after Saturday in the same damn outfit (unless I’m going out socially, not just running to Target with the passel of children I’ve produced). For the record, it’s usually a Steelers hoodie with jeans and a white tee shirt. Ballet flats if it’s dry; wellies if it’s not.

I don’t like ruts.

2. Buying clothes. I’ve talked about it before: I don’t shop often, and I often don’t shop well. I’m trying to get better. I’m trying not to just buy things that are “close enough” to fitting me. Because those clothes look the absolute worst on me once I’ve got them home. Especially pants. The crack Dan made was about a new pair of black pants I had bought. When I combine them with my black boots, they end up looking like jodhpurs. All I need is a horse. It’s awful.

Now that I think about it, these pants look terrible with almost everything I’ve paired them with. Why did I buy these again? Oh, right, needed new black pants. They weren’t expensive, and they were “close enough”. See where that gets me?

3. Dressing for comfort at work. My workplace is business casual; Fridays are jeans day. Some days I just don’t feel like putting in an effort, so I end up in comfortable clothing that fits business casual, but doesn’t really look all that good or fashionable. For example, I have a very pretty sweater in pastel colors (and, no, I’m generally not a pastel kind of girl, but it was a gift). The cut is wrong for me, though, much too boxy. I threw it on one morning with my white denim pants. It was a perfectly acceptable outfit, and I got many a compliment on the sweater.

However, I did not like the outfit. It *felt* good — i.e. it was comfortable — but I seriously did not like my image in the mirror.

I looked like a mom.

Now, before moms go nuclear on me: THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH LOOKING LIKE A MOM. I *am* a mom (something Dan pointed out to me when I took him to task for his crack about going riding the other day), but that doesn’t mean I want to fit the image of a mom all the time.

Maybe I’ve watched too much What Not to Wear.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to look like a MILF (er, MSWLF where SW = “someone would”?) or shop in the junior department. (Dad, please, *please* do not google MILF). But I also don’t want to be looked at and dismissed as a mom because of my clothes. (If I am looked at and dismissed as a mom because I’m wrangling my children in public, that’s more understandable.) I want to look well-dressed and put together, not like I’m either coming straight from the runway or I’ve escaped from my house by the skin of my teeth (even if the latter sometimes feels true). I also truly believe that you don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort or vice versa. But it takes work to find the balance.

This is one of my favorite new comfortable, stylish (I think) outfits. I better go find some more like it, otherwise, I’m just going to wear this all the time. I seriously love it. I look good and I feel comfortable — and I feel that I look good. That’s the best part.

How do you dress? What’s more important, style or comfort? Are they mutually exclusive, or do I just have to do more legwork? So to speak.