What moms wear, and why they should not be wearing that

BlogHer Original Post

I am continuously fascinated by the way the idea of dressing like a mom polarizes people. Celebrity moms are criticized in the media (including on blogs, by commenters and bloggers alike) both for being TOO dressed up when they're out with the kids and for schlepping when they're out with the kids.  For non-celebrity moms, schlepping is a badge of honor; worn out, ill-fitting clothing shows that you put your children first and yourself last, while a manicure and a pair of nice shoes is seen as selfish.  

But who made up this silly rule that being the mom required looking frumpy all the time?

Dressing like a mom has become synonymous with giving up -- wearing clothes that don't fit properly because they are "practical" or "comfortable" rather than looking for clothes that are flattering and -- dare I say it? -- pretty. What Not To Wear's Clinton Kelly and Stacy London constantly remind participants that properly fitted, attractive clothing can be just as practical and comfortable as that three-sizes-too-big sweat shirt you stole from your husband and the faded yoga pants you're pairing it with.  In fact, clothes that fit well and look good are MORE attractive and MORE practical than the ill-fitting yoga pants, because they are designed for your actual body and are versatile enough to go everywhere.

And yet, Moms resist this because they don't want to seem selfish.

Dressing up when you're a mom -- and by "dressing up" I don't mean swanking it up in a Chanel suit and some Jimmy Choos, I mean putting on pants that are not meant for yoga and shoes that are not made for gardening -- is seen as shortchanging your kids; moms who are spending that much money on their clothes and that much time getting ready in the morning are clearly neglecting their children. So really, you're better off giving up! At least when it comes to your appearance.

I don't buy that for a moment.

There's no reason your clothes can't fit properly and flatter your figure, even if you are in that phase of your Mom life where you are wearing primarily yoga pants and t-shirts because your days consist of diapers and feedings and drool. Past the diapers-and-drool phase? Then stop dressing like a walking burp cloth. Wear pretty shoes and a great sweater and some nice dark-rinse, mid-rise jeans. Wearing clothes that don't flatter you doesn't make you a better mom -- it just makes you look like someone who doesn't care enough to choose clothes that fit.

Worried about the price of looking nice?  Great clothes don't have to cost a fortune.  Katie Holmes is pictured here in a trench from NY and Company; it retailed for under $100.  Target has great chic pieces that are perfect for moms on the go -- including yoga pants, which are perfectly fine as long as they fit right.  And Old Navy is a fantastic go-to for practical, pretty classics at a low price point.  

I'm not the only one who thinks that being a mom should not be synonymous with embodying frump; there are a slew of blogs devoted to ending the Mom Jeans mentality.  Jae at How Not to Dress Like a Mom is doing her best to point moms in the right style direction, with an entire blog devoted to avoiding the Mom Jeans look.  Dirty Fingernails at Back Away from the Mom Jeans has tips and tricks and deals for moms trying to be stylish and modest all at once.  And Leah at No Mom Jeans! is working her way back into her pre-baby jeans, rather than giving up and getting her Mom Jeans on.

Finally, Oprah and Stacy London have compiled their Denim Dos and Don'ts (and see the list of related jeans stories at the bottom left of the photo gallery). 

Photo of Katie Holmes courtesy of People.com.

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