Coming Out Of The Closet: The "Mom Uniform"

I have a confession to make:  I'm not a cop, fireman, nurse, or Navy seal, yet, like them, I wear a uniform.

This uniform would make Stacy and Clinton of "What Not To Wear" want to strangle me.  Instead of tossing all of my hideous clothes from my closet into a trash can, they would emerge instead holding a dress and saying, "You have a closet full of lovely, stylish clothing, yet you repeatedly place upon your body some of the most depressing, oversized, downright ugly pieces we have ever seen.  Explain."

That's a tough one because they are right; my closet is full of lovely things.  I am obsessed with all aspects of fashion.  I love shopping for clothes and I enjoy dressing well, so why don't I do it more often?

Pretty much with the exception of Saturday night "date night" with my husband,  I wear one of my "mom uniforms" daily.  When my kids were little, and not full grown ADULTS, one could argue that the uniform was acceptable as I spent my days picking Playdoh out of teeth, washing highchair trays, wiping snot from noses and avoiding being peed upon. An elastic waist pant might have been in order when I was finishing off their grilled cheese sandwiches, pancakes and any other nugget they left behind.  But today?  What's the issue because, from my observations, I am most certainly not alone?

Take any day and pay attention to the women you come across while food shopping, heading into the dry cleaners, the post office, whatever.  The pre-school drop off car lane is a great spot to check out as are the moms exiting their cars on the way into read -alongs at the local library. In my closet here are 3 variations on the "mom uniform." Based on my observations, I'd say many other women out there have adopted the same:

Uniform Choice #1 is the "I had no time to change before I left my house choice:"


I feel for ya.  It's been a hellish beginning to your day. Kids are late, husband is no help this morning and you barely got them fed.  You've already had to drive back to the house for the book little Johnny forgot and the baby threw up on you again.  This outfit is the basic Walmart special:  Champion sweatshirt, probably an old one from college, pants with elastic waist worn out, mismatched socks, no bra and your slippers.  Sorry...

Uniform Choice #2 is the "I'm in expensive gym rat wear, so quit complaining uniform."(Whether or not you belong to a gym or have any plans to exercise in any way, shape, or form isn't an issue.)


Today has been great and, you've had more time to manage to change out of what you've slept in.  You may have even brushed your teeth. So far, so good.  Today's uniform usually consists of a sports bra with coordinating brightly colored Nike, Adidas or, better yet,  Lululemon jacket, black yoga pants, (see thru or not) matching socks and cool, neon accented sneakers. You are looking decent in your opinion and feeling pretty proud of yourself. 

Uniform Choice #3 is the somewhat defensible,  "But, wait, these sweats are expensive and have a designer label."


This uniform is reserved for the days when someone other than your immediate family or best friends is going to get to see you.  This uniform is not meant for the gym, yet shares many of the same features as the gym rat wear.  Today, perhaps you have a mani/pedi, are the reader for your kid's first grade class, are volunteering at the school, or are meeting a few friends for lunch at the new, local vegetarian bistro.  This ensemble consists of Tory Burch velvet drawstring pants, (not to be called sweatpants under any circumstances as they cost over $100), a matching Tory Burch jersey tunic (still long enough to cover your ass and baggy, but never referred to as a sweatshirt as it is also priced over $100) and black Puma sneakers. Today you feel like you own it. Confidence exudes based on the fact that you spent a lot of money on this look, and you think it shows.

I own and am guilty of wearing all of these outfits for the past 25 years.  I'm in good shape, I workout, and I own a closet full of nice clothes.  So why, do I not make the effort on a daily basis to treat myself better and even show myself a little more respect?  I understand that there are definitely times where comfort and utility wins the day.  I know that we are all busy, and that having time to shop, to dress, and to do so within a budget is no easy feat.  But it is possible to do better and I think we owe it to ourselves.


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