Monday, December 5, 2011

Motherhood: when fashion concerns vanish

Anyone who sees what I am wearing today will find it hard to believe that a nickname of mine was ever "The Fashion Guru."  In truth, that nickname was probably ill-deserved, but in high school (well, starting in about 10th grade) I cared a lot about what I wore. I wore makeup to school almost every day for heaven's sake!  I can't tell you the last time I wore make up regularly...oh wait, how about high school?
It's not that I don't care about what I wear.  It's just that I care far more about other things:
1.  Does it fit?
Now that I am 6 months pregnant, I need to wear maternity pants.  I have precious few pairs of them, though, and only two that look in any way professional-quality, so those get saved for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday wearing.  The pairs that remain are mostly either stretch pants or sweats or somewhere in between.  Not fashionable.
2. Will it be ruined if it comes into contact with Ruby after she has eaten?
Ruby really enjoys feeding herself now, and although she's getting much better at manipulating a spoonful of yogurt or oatmeal, it's a safe bet that it will be all over her hands and face and probably clothes, too.  One careless move on my part, and I get smeared, too.  Whatever I wear must be machine washable, and preferably hide yogurt stains.
3. Is it comfy?
Back in the '90s there was a brilliant magazine ad campaign for a clothes company (I think Wrangler jeans, but I'm not sure).  I looked online to try to find it but couldn't.  The ad showed three outfits: one fancy, one slouchy, and one casual (featuring the Wranglers or whatever was being sold.)  Above the fancy one was the phrase, "Looks good, feels bad."  Above the slouchy one was the phrase, "Looks bad, feels good."  And, you guessed it, the third outfit said "Looks good, feels good."  I often think of that campaign when I am getting dressed these days.  Chances are that the clothes that satisfy criteria 1 and 2 listed above are also comfy and ALSO fall under the "Looks bad, feels good" category.  Allen is very patient and doesn't usually care what I'm wearing but he does dislike the big, formless, baggy, waistless-wastelands of sweats and XXL shirts or sweaters.  But they are so comfy!
4. Is it easy to get on and off?
I'm thinking of shoes here.  I have a pair of worn black leather clog things that really don't go with my sorry cadre of sweatpants and stretch pants (especially when worn, as today, with bright white athletic socks). They look terrible.  But they are really easy to get on and off without bending down to tie laces or anything, and that is a freakin' plus when you are (a) pregnant and (b) carrying a squirming toddler, a purse, a diaper bag, etc.
5.  Is it free (or cheap)?
I actually think maternity clothes can be really stylish and adorable.  I recently spent some moolah at the Motherhood Maternity store at the mall on a pair of nice looking maternity pants and a dress which can also be worn by non-preggies and look good.  But outfitting yourself in maternity clothes to the point where you actually have a selection to choose from is expensive!  Sometimes you strike it rich at Value Village or Goodwill or resale shops, but a lot of those maternity clothes are from a more ancient era which was much more into denim jumpers than my comfort level will allow.  I do have SOME standards still!  And then there is the guilt factor: can I really justify spending money on something that has such a limited lifespan?  I have gotten some good maternity hand me downs, and that's clearly the best solution...but it is also chancy whether the person you're getting them from is your size or not (which matters for pants more than for tops).
Today I'm wearing my clogs, white socks, stretch pants, a red Adidas sporty looking maternity shirt and a black hoodie.  My hair (hopeless case!) is back in its usual "I-don't-have-time-for-this!" bun.  One of these days I really will carry out my threat to get it all chopped off.  I may not be fashionable; I may even look silly.  But for the work I have on my to-do list today (cleaning, school work, laundry, Ruby patrol, and running errands), this is what works.  But lo, how the mighty have fallen!

3 comments:

  1. Item #3 "Is It Comfy" (particularly the ad you described) reminded me of the this recent comic from Dumbing of Age. I don't know a thing about Pajama Jeans apart from what Dumbing of Age has taught me, but they might be worth looking into? Possibly? I have no idea.

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  2. haha I've been stuck in a rotation of the same 3 maternity pants for the last 2 months- everything else is too small for my twin belly now. and I totally get the desire for slip on shoes. that's all I wear now too. I don't care if it's the middle of winter and it's snowing- I will continue to wear my one pair of sandals that still fit and go on my feet without any help from my hands! -Elizabeth

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  3. Though no one accused me of being a Fashion Guru, I'm right there with you--but I have such a less valid reason: sheer laziness and apathy. I was on a train of blow-drying and vaguely "doing" my hair for a while, but a month ago I was running late and threw my wet hair in a bun on my way out the door, and a coworker complimented me on my hair that day (in seriousness). I haven't done my hair since.
    And I am a big believer in comfy. I don't mind sacrificing comfort for special occasions--high heels or tight dresses for formal engagements--but if I'm going to be sitting at my desk for 8 hours, I'll do it comfortably. Which means a basic (clean and "fine," but let's not use "fashionable") shirt, jeans, sneakers. We're lucky if the socks match.

    I just had a vision of me if/when I'm pregnant, and actually have JUSTIFICATION for not caring. Yikes. Maybe I'll work out a way to not leave the house for six months... Agoraphobia is totally in now...

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