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Has motherhood changed your sense of style?

I just needed one thing from Whole Foods. I never go there for more than one thing; even with the Amazon subsidies, it’s still never the best price for anything. Except these wonderful/horrible grain free, dairy free, paleo, vegan “tortilla chips” that taste remarkably like this specific kind of pizza al taglio near our old apartment in Rome, just a plain square of salty pizza dough slathered in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt and a smear of the brightest tasting San Marzano tomato sauce.

These weird chips (the nacho flavor, for the record) taste exactly like this specific Roman thing for which I was homesick, and so into Whole Foods we trooped, me and only the younger three.

Just as we’d crossed through the overpriced produce section, the tiny baby hair elastic I’d been using to corral my erstwhile fourth day locks snapped, my greased tresses tumbling free onto my shoulders. Normally this would not be a thing, but since I happened to be walking past a full length mirror near a display of hemp yoga tights, I was slapped with the full knowledge of precisely how my hair looked.

Frowning at my reflection which, truth be told, I am much, much less apt to do these days, I ducked my head and began scrounging through my purse for something, anything, with which to assemble a messy bun.

Nada. Eyes passing over both daughter’s heads, I wondered if I could swipe a loaner until we got through checkout. Alas, both were sporting the same crappy single use elastics which had just ricocheted off my head.

Now fully into the beauty section of the store, I reoriented myself towards the hair products and wondered, just maybe…yes, a whole bottle of dry shampoo wearing a ‘TESTER’ sticker in all caps.

Unfortunately, Whole Foods aspires to a level of consistency that leaves mere mortals forever falling short, and so the all natural non toxic non polluting non confrontational dry shampoo which I turned enthusiastically upside down over my own head whilst giving a hearty squeeze turned out to be a $13 dollar bottle of peppermint scented cornstarch and dried clay which came out very, very fast.

The short summary is that I strode briskly about the store collecting my bags of crack chips sporting a sort of reverse balayage (all natural!) comprised of grease and baking ingredients, looking like George Washington after a tipsy wig-powder touch up.

And I cared a little, but not a lot.

This weekend I walked into Mass and remembered just as I was crossing the vestibule that it was my turn to lector. I set a child free from each hand, bid Dave good luck, and reversed course into the sacristy to check in. (Just kidding, I helped by tossing two kids into the nursery and then sprinted to my perch front pew.)

Luckily I’d applied some makeup in the passenger seat on our way over, and they say a well penciled brow covers a multitude of crows feet. Or something. My hair though? Basically as bad as the Whole Foods situation, and I was getting ready to get up in front of a not insignificant crowd to proclaim the word of God. My state of mind, however? More or less indifferent.

Sure I wished I’d had time to peek in a mirror, but it seemed more critical that I get the Pitch Perfect twins signed into the nursery before Mass started, so I’d made the call.

Moms have to make the call a hundred times a day, in ways big and small. Do I cut my prayer time or workout short because someone is screaming a need? Probably. Do I step freezing out of a 4 minute shower because the baby is awake, even though I haven’t conditioned yet? Most likely. Do I take the extra 10 minutes of sleep instead of staying up to do a quick HIIT workout on my phone. Almost every time.

When I was a really new mom I remember feeling overwhelmed with getting into anything other than workout clothes for day to day garb. Running shorts and a ponytail seemed like my only options, and so I reached for them over and over again. But as the oldest babies aged and the newer babies arrived with similar demands, I think I realized that if I didn’t start wearing real clothes again on a regular basis, I was going to spend the next decade looking like the volunteer Cross Country coach at the high school.

I mean, there’s nothing wrong with wearing your workout clothes around town every now and then, don’t get me wrong! It sure helps that they’re usually stretchy and come in 50 shades of forgiving black. But I have found that as my face begins to show my age, my desire to elevate the daily momiform increases.

And it’s not because I feel bad about myself or because I’m struggling with “mom” being my primary identity these days, quite the contrary. It’s only as I’ve begun to deeply settle into this current state of life that I’ve been willing to concede the hastily thrown together athleisure + running shoe combo as my signature look.

Now I get dressed most days in “real” clothes because this is my real job. And If I do make it to the gym, I’ll still swap out my workout gear for a sweater/jeans/flats combo afterwards, even though it makes more laundry. I’ve figured out that it actually feels good to feel put together, and that “put together” is a pretty fluid concept. For me it’s the aforementioned sartorial trio, maybe swapped for shorts/sandals/blouse in the hottest part of summer.

In my initial forays back into real dressing, I wasn’t totally confident of my personal style. It took a lot of hits and misses at Old Navy and Goodwill, a lot of hours invested in reading personal style blogs and clicking on Instagram accounts or Pinterest (remember that place?) images that caught my eye. Eventually I figured out the cuts and colors that worked for me, and suddenly it became easy – fun, even – to walk into a store and immediately filter out 85% of the inventory because I already knew what I liked, and what worked for me.

Emboldened by the nascent superpower of dressing myself, I starting reaching more frequently for tried and true combos, eschewing the regrets-only section of my closet for the dozen or so pieces of clothing I actually wore. Eventually, having ingested enough glowing feature pieces on Steve Jobs and the brave woman who wore $300 pants to work every day for a month and nobody cared, or something, I took the plunge and committed, bagging up the unworn losers on the back of the rack and declaring myself a clothing minimalist.

Who cares if I wear the same 2 dresses to church, on alternating Sundays, for 5 months at a time?

Nobody, it turns out. And I think I can safely attribute my newfound willingness to get completely dressed and apply makeup to one area where I’ve scaled way, way down on decision fatigue.

To shower or not to shower? That, it turns out, is still the real question.

What about you, my fellow mamas? Do you find joy in repping the athleisure all day, erryday and forgoing the exhausting process of blow drying and mascara application altogether? Are you currently in trenches so deep that even getting out of pajama pants feels like a major feat? Do you live somewhere where it’s less culturally acceptable to “dress down” (read: basically anywhere outside of Colorado or, I’m guessing, the Australian Outback) and does it impact your daily style? Do you find yourself wishing you had a daily style nailed down?

I’m always so curious about what other women think in this area, and whether they do think of style and other people’s perceptions and all that. I suspect I’m an incredible overthinker in this as in most areas, and so perhaps you guys are going to tell me, Jenny, this is super weird and shallow! Sorry, I can’t help it! I’m off all social media for Lent and my superficial thoughts have nowhere to lay their weary heads, so bear with me, haha.

An oldie but a goodie of a baldy baby Zay

41 Comments

  • LM

    It’s a hard balance. All the women who look really put together at church seem to be the ones who do not have a bunch of littles in tow. I have all littles, and I throw my outfit together last minute and almost never wash or “do” my hair. But I do see that investing in ourselves, that is, our hair, makeup, clothes, skin, general health, etc, can have an effect on how good we feel. So I do see some moms priortizing it, and kudos to them! It’s just hard carving out the time to do it regularly when you feel like you’re always short on time.

  • Maria

    If that style of stream-of-conscious-ing is “overthinking”, then perhaps most moms overthink. I feel like I hear little tidbit spillovers from inside fellow moms’ heads that both sounds like what you wrote up there, and echo my own constant inner convo. It might be a Midwest thing, though, always feeling that what you are sporting (grease, possible BO, and all) might offend a person who has to share the same air as you. I cantor for our Parish and it has been a shock to my system that people DON’T CARE. Like, really–so long as your demeanor and regard to handling the words from God or to God is reverant, that’s what they see. And if they notice and decide that what they noticed is either negative or positive, ’round here they keep it to themselves. I’m really hoping that it’s proof of people investing their hearts and minds eye to the Holy Spirit–something that I have yet to really grasp, and so I worry about my shoes being too obnoxious.

    I am so glad I’m not the only one who can barely fit in a HIIT workout these days. Short, intense workouts attract my kids like being on the phone–they don’t need me until I am focusing (for TEN MINUTES) on something other than them. Gotta love how our cross is so precisely, and previously tailored to the Mom person.

    • Km

      Man this is so timely for me. My toddler was just flipping through an old stack of photos today of my husband & I from our college /early 20s days & having a blast finding “mommy & daddy.” She saw a picture of me from a fancy political fundraiser (I was an intern) & I had on a killer Italian wool suit dress from J.Crew that fit like a glove. My daughter didn’t recognize me, hahaha! That pretty much sums up my shopping habits in my early 20s. I really thought I should invest in the best quality possible & my wardrobe would last a lifetime. I spent a lot of money!! Apparently my college athlete body didn’t realize it wasn’t going to be that fit forever. After my first daughter was born, we moved into a house with teeny tiny closets & I transitioned to staying home full time. I sold all my professional/fancy clothes on Poshmark. Now I have a super small wardrobe. I do try & invest in quality pieces when I can for things like winter coats & boots, which last a while. I found an online boutique called “piper & scoot” which I LOVE for dresses. It’s owned by a young mom (I believe she’s Mormon) so all the dresses are modest & a lot are nursing/maternity friendly. It’s been a lifesaver.

  • L

    Pre-baby me was, in hindsight, a bit of a clothes horse. I never cared what I wore as a kid or a teenager. College was a time of experimentation and often failure. By the time I took on a real-life, full time job in my early 20s, I loved wearing professional clothes. In law school, I wore sweater sets and pearls to class. At my first “big firm” job, I wore sharp lady skirt suits every single day. I will not bore you with the details, but was incredibly proud of my suits, my matching shoes, my little lapel pins – I felt very put-together ( still have that life period’s wardrobe, in boxes, in the basement). Then came baby, and honestly, maternity clothes were fine. I was a pretty cute pregnant lady. After baby, though, I felt stuck wearing the same dang maternity or nursing outfits day after day after day. After I stopped breast feeding, my breasts deflated and maternity clothes just made me look like fat. Now, after returning to the full time practice of law at a smaller firm, and still sporting the baby weight plus my used-up maternal boobettes, I wear lots of black. So much black. Basically, 4 out of 5 days a week or more, I am wearing black slacks with a black shirt beneath a blazer. I have about 3 blazers that I try to rotate: one in a solid color, and two in a black and white pattern, but obviously with 3 blazers and 5 days in a work week, I am basically in repeats all week. But no one cares! I actually get comments about how I am well-dressed (OK so some partners here are semi-retired and show up in slippers and athleisure-wear if they have no meetings – BUT STILL.) Sometimes I throw a dress on under the blazer, but this brutal winter is not giving up and my office is an ice box. (I have a really nice “court suit” with a really nice off-white blouse, but I try to limit that outfits exposure to my messy life). When I am at home, I have two weekend outfits, both involving grocery store brand jeggings under long tops and boots (Han Solo Mom Uniform). I do have a date night dress (spoiler alert: it’s black). I think I’ve worn that dress once? On my birthday? To a restaurant? My husband said I looked nice. I keep telling myself that I have PLENTY of fabulous suits and other clothes to wear again once I lose the baby weight. Ha. Ha. Ha.

      • Fiona

        I just had baby #3 almost 2 months ago and I am 100% on the real clothes train. I’m currently trying to find some more machine washable blazers because I think the skinny jeans+flowy shirt+blazer combination is what makes me feel really put together and good about myself. Showering may not happen every day (thanks, almost-3-year-old who tries to injure the baby with love if I turn my back) and my hair may be always in a messy bun/ponytail/20 second hairstyle (but that was true before kids, too!) but clothes make a huge difference to how I feel about myself and how much of a disaster it feels like the day is. If I’m dressed and feeling on top of that one thing I usually have more patience for the rest of the crazy in my day. It I feel gross then that 100% affects my mood and patience.

  • Kathleen

    First of all, Siete chips rock!
    Second, since I am not nursing this spring/summer, I am going for MACHINE WASHABLE casual sundress with a sweater (if need be) as my mom uniform. I don’t even have to think about it and its appropriate for the park, store or… if the stars align… I catch daily mass. Bonus: kids with allergies wiping snot on my shoulder? No problem? Just toss in washer and forgettaboutit! Hair is always the last on the list in the triage to get ready in the morning!

    • Melissa

      With thinking about clothes maybe you could help a sister out. My husband and I are making a nine day pilgrimage this summer in Europe without the kids. I’m trying to pack lightly. Any suggestions for a summer capsule pilgrimage wardrobe? My go tos in the winter are jeans and a sweater and summer is capris and a T-shirt. I’d like to elevate my game. What sort of blouses do you wear with your shorts? Thanks!

      • Jenny Uebbing

        So fun! My initial thought for you is a lightweight chambray button-down in either tank sleeves or full sleeves (but very lightweight fabric so it’s breathable) – chambray goes with anything, it’s the ultimate neutral and much more forgiving than white. Also if you can pull off a black maxi dress with tank sleeves, you can wear the shirt over it and knotted to look like a whole different outfit (and to get into churches) and then lose the shirt when it’s hot or you’re out to dinner. I like linen drawstring shorts for a breathable, walkable, option, but since you’ll be in Europe you may want to opt for linen pants so you don’t stick out like a sore American thumb (if you care about that.) I’d also add a flowy black t-shirt and tank top, a flowy grey t-shirt and tank top, and a super light cardigan or linen blazer. With a pair of skinny jeans or skinny black pants, these shirts, a basic black dress and the chambray top, you’ll be set for basically anything a pilgrimage can throw your way. Have so much fun!

  • Katie

    Since baby #5 was born, I’ve been unable to wear jeans. They are vv uncomfortable over my belly. Anyone relate?? Thus for 18 months I have been wearing leggings. I keep thinking that when I lose the rest of the baby weight, maybe they won’t be so uncomfortable. Maybe it’s wishful hoping. My closet has too many pairs of jeans and shorts that I keep saving for that hope. Do I just donate them? It seems wasteful to get rid of them and then buy new ones when I’m finally to that point. Will I ever be able to wear them?
    For years, I thought I needed to look nice and put together when I went out bc I wanted other women to think that having more than two kids and having it together was possible. I’m finally realizing that my demeanor and attitude are what most people see not my attire. Anyway, just another overthinker here!

  • Ashley

    I just love this!
    I can totally relate to everything you’re saying, Jenny!! Including four day old helpless hair, make-up a la passenger seat, and showers timed by crying babies. I love wearing exercise clothing around because let’s be honest, it’s so comfortable. But I try not to because my day usually includes Mass, which I try to be somewhat presentable for 🙂 it also helps that I live in an area with a lot of young moms who always seem to look very “on point”- which encourages me to try to look my best (or at least alive after being woken up six times the night before) I’m feeling my age too, so what I’ve decided is to set a budget and get a few new things each season to keep it fresh. The end result is I just feel better!

  • mbmom11

    With just a few kids, I used to wear dresses to work and look nice for church – using all of my pre-kid clothes – good dresses and coordinating outfits. As the years passed, those clothes wore out or stopped fitting (or needed to be dried cleaned – ack!) , and then I dressed business casual for work – nice pants and tops. And now I’m down to wearing dark jeans and a long sleeved shirt with a scarf as my go-to outfit. It’s for home, work, and church. I just can’t find a dress to fit me (and they are all too short or long – maxi dresses make me look like a squat mushroom). My hair was long and I had the same basic easy hairstyle for years – I rarely gave up my daily shower and hair washing – it was my sole indulgence – even with lots of kids screaming form y attention.
    I now have very short hair (trying to grow it out!) and keep it clean. A day without a wash becomes terribly obvious.
    However, I think most people don’t care. It really comes down to how you carry yourself. And I am old enough not to care what people think of my clothes!

  • Lindsay

    Oh, man. Since becoming a mom, my daily wardrobe usually includes stretchy pants (assuming I’m not still in my pajama pants), a long and loose shirt, and a ponytail (because I still can’t figure out to do with my postpartum mop of a head). I’ve been constantly nursing or pregnant for the past four years, so it also helps that I have little idea how my clothes will fit almost on a daily basis 🙂
    Lately, I’ve found myself wanting to look cute again, and wanting to put a little more care into my appearance. After all, women were given a unique capacity to reflect the beauty of God! The only problem, though, is I don’t know what my own sense of style is! Your descriptions of looking at Pinterest and other platforms to gather ideas is exactly where I am right now. I’m glad to know that other moms feel this way, and that there’s life on the other side of dry shampoo and athletic wear!

  • jeanette

    You are too funny with your description of the incident in Whole Foods. You need to save up all of these funny anecdotes you write, and then compile them into a book…

  • Anne

    I also live in a state where, literally, anything goes when it comes to how you look (Washington!). And, coming from the east coast where that is decidedly NOT how it is, I find it very freeing. That said, I do feel better when I throw on jeans and a black t shirt instead of leggings and a sweatshirt. But becoming a mom has made me worlds less self conscious or worried about myself in general… how I look or how I come across. I can’t believe I’m inadvertently “letting my hair go gray “ and not working harder to “lose the last 10 lbs” but I don’t have the bandwidth to care right now and I’m at peace with that.

  • SK

    The 1st time I was a mom was 21 years ago. I was able to be at home for a short while when my oldest was born but I have worked ever since. During the week, I have gone from super business style to super casual, depending on my job. At one time I was an assistant manager for a warehouse so my attire was jeans & t-shirts or shorts & t-shirts (depending on weather). Now, I’m back in an office where it is business casual with casual Friday. On the weekends, I am so that mom that will be in her pajamas until dinner. LOL! I never find time to workout & wish I could. My wardrobe basically is clothes that hide my overweight self but are nice for work. I need to make some me time a priority but it is hard.

  • Hannah Gokie

    First off, I love that Amazon is auto-populating dry shampoo ads for you in the sidebar next to me typing this comment. Hilarious.

    I will admit, I shower every day. My brain decides it can’t wake up fully out of sleep mode unless it’s assuaged by boiling hot water early in the morning. That 5-7 minutes is more important in my schedule than a LOT of things. (That being said, we’re still pre-school drop off days, so I haven’t had to sacrifice much sleep for it yet…but I don’t see that changing, honestly.) I also throw on mascara and under-eye concealer and brow pencil which takes me 3 minutes and then I feel like a human. I’m a TERRIBLE person and parent if I don’t get those things done in the morning. Which says more about me than the saving grace of mascara, but there it is.

    As for the clothes…no clue on that front. Pregnant me lives in leggings and tunics, summer me lives in gym shorts and tshirts, winter me lives in leggings and sweaters. I need to work on it, probably.

    • Meg B

      Great post, Jenny! (And… Love your new page design by the way.). Style – it’s one of those things that we as mamas need to look at and yet not obsess over… It’s a hard balance. As a mom, I feel like it’s important to dress a bit stylish, as to be a good example to my daughters, and other moms, and especially when I do youth ministry, to the teen girls. I also feel good when I am put together. I have more confidence. And I do check myself every once and again that I don’t look like a frumpy mom. Because a mom with 8 kids already has lots of judgement being thrown at her. Being out with all my kids walking around town is a sight to behold, but, if I am dressed decently and maybe have a smile on my face, maybe someone seeing the scene might consider having that one more baby they were thinking about. But if I look disheveled and no smile… well, that thought of another baby is out the window now. I don’t always think of this.. but sometimes that thought crosses my mind.
      Now with all that said … I am still figuring out my style, and am in the process of donating the stuff in my closet that I don’t wear… Which makes already small selection even smaller, but why keep it if you don’t wear it? I want to lose another 15 lbs before buying some new clothes, but I need to get a couple items to tide me over. I don’t wear much for exercise clothes, because realistically… I don’t exercise ☺️and I don’t like to sweat if I’m honest, so I can still take walks with the stroller in my jeans. Hair… I wait to blow-dry til it’s almost dry so I don’t have to spend a long time… And I only wash it every few days. Make-up… Definitely a minimalist, and use it mostly for church and when I’m going out to see people. Oops… That was a long comment! I’ll stop here. God bless!!

  • Diana

    I strangely feel like my clothes have gotten better since I’ve been a Mom but the being a Mom part is just a coincidence. I follow a couple reasonable fashion bloggers (Like Putting Me Together, mentioned above) and they’ve had a BIG impact on my wardrobe. I didn’t start following them until my oldest was 18 months or so. Between that and some beauty bloggers I probably think/spend more time on clothes, hair, make-up but it’s still far from excessive, I’m pretty low maintenance.
    Generally I make myself put on real clothes every day, not workout or sweats. Exceptions for snow days, sick days, and over Christmas break when we didn’t leave the house. I put on make-up every day (besides when very sick) and do something with my hair, even if it’s not much (I’m talking 3 minute pony today). But I only have 2 kids (not by choice, infertility and very long adoption waits) so I might have a little more time than Moms with more and/or that work full-time. There are days I’ve done school drop-off with my hair yet to really be touched and make-up unfinished!

  • Martha

    I wash my hair in the kitchen sink if I’m running short on time/have no one to watch the toddler/have so little energy I can’t handle the hassle of getting completely wet, which probably says a lot about where I am trenches wise. To feel put together I usually just fill in my eyebrows and put on lipstick because glasses make eye makeup optional. I’m in maternity wear right now so it’s whatever has lasted through the three previous pregnancies and being passed around with my sisters. Also it is often a blessing to live in Colorado where anything more than yoga pants and a sweatshirt is considered dressed up, really sets that bar low enough for even a tired mom to step over. It is nice to be older and be able to look at a put together mom and think “good for her” instead of “what’s wrong with me”.

  • Sarah

    Yaaasss I’m with ya! Inspired by a few of my fave IGers, I decided to buy just a few things ethically. I like Pact for basics and Not Perfect Linen or Pyne and Smith for nicer, leave the house clothes. There are some great secondhand “shop” accounts on IG too which it makes it quite affordable to buy ethically.

  • Molly R

    In general, I love skirts for everyday. To me, they are way more comfortable than jeans or pants, and I find it easier to look somewhat put together. Having some skirts that are not made of jersey make me feel instantly more presentable. I know the world doesn’t care, but it is funny how clothes can change your outlook. Last fall, I konmari-ed my closet, and, oops, nothing much left to wear. It was amazing how many stained T-shirt’s, ugly jersey skirts, and dull sweaters I had been wearing. Nothing sparked joy! I did invest in joining the Trunk Club, which was very helpful in figuring out my style and trying new things. Because I’m bad at shopping. I hate it, and always feel overwhelmed at the store, and I just don’t have the time to devote to this whole thing! Its worth it to be able to get up in the morning and have clothes I actually like hanging in my closet, and feeling good about what I am wearing makes getting up in the dark to drive to school a bit more bearable!

  • Eva

    Yessss. I officially crossed over, so to speak, maybe 2 years ago. Enough of the slumpy dressing as it totally affected my attitude. I shower once, if not twice :O, a day. It’s calming and THE KIDS WILL SURVIVE. I also don’t shampoo/condition my hair, ever (curly hair for the win), so it’s literally just me standing there and a 10 second soap/rinse. The rest is for prepping for the day/unwinding.

    As for clothes, I have a minimalist, plain wardrobe, where everything matches. I buy a few new pieces twice a year and call myself in the current decade of style:P

    Moms, it is not selfish to want to be presentable. To look clean, put together (even if life at home isn’t so!) and maybe even a bit PRETTY.

  • meghan ashley

    LOVE this. Such a great reflection!
    I definitely do better throughout my day when I put a bit more thought and care into your my Look. Something simple, efficient, yet intentional and thoughtful. Makes such a crazy difference! Wish I did this sooner in life.

  • Bley

    Can you all help me out? I’m 5 weeks pregnant with #6 and determined to not be too uncomfortable this time (as much as I can help it!) by awful maternity clothes. I cannot abide the over-the-belly jeans for so many reasons; so I need a plan. Leggings and tunics? Where to find cute tunics that cover butt and belly, ha:)?

    • Cami

      I’ve had 5 pregnancies with bad maternity clothes that clearly are designed to last only 2 pregnancies before falling apart. And they are not very cute either. If I had to do it all over I’d get some pieces at PinkBlush. They have much more attractive clothes (some you can still wear postpartum and nurse in) than that big chain store that is way overpriced for the quality.

    • Kathryn

      Maybe try LuLaRoe?

      I’m almost finished with my pregnancy but the winter months found me in scarves, leggings, and long open cardigans. All of it can be worn postpartum too!

      For a summer pregnancy I love jersey dresses and cardigans. Can’t go wrong and there’s no pants to worry about

  • Rebecca

    Preach! I was LOL next to my husband reading this piece because we do frequent Whole Foods frequently for groceries as surprisingly it is lower priced or equal to available grocery stores in our area. I’m always curious what type of comments I’ll get each time I go in with 4 kids under 5. This past week a woman comment “I had my hands full” and without thinking just logically responding, I said, “ha! Actually I have my hands free!” ( I was baby wearing and kids were in cart and walking). I’ve found I desire to get dressed more too but I’m still in the trenches so for now that looks like put together home wear. I always feel better in real clothes and made up but I’m still hammering down my style and how to make it work with body changes that require things like access to a boob, or a growing bump, or post partum body. I find myself naturally gravitating toward more modest but beautiful clothing and that surprisingly to myself makes me feel more like a woman-a daughter of God.

  • Claire

    Such a good topic! I love clothes, fashion, etc. but in the last two years, have adopted a uniform and will never go back. I was pregnant through the early winter months and wore the same black pants and black shirt to mass every single week. Now, I wear essentially the same thing (that goes well with the baby carrier!). I feel good and eliminate the stressful time in the AM when everyone else has been dressed and prepped for mass and I stand crippled in my closet trying to pick something to wear! On top of that, I generally feel better and more confident in my unfussy day to day uniform and it leaves time for me to run a brush through my hair and put on a little makeup!

  • Stephanie Silvestri

    Hi Jenny!
    Love this post. I’ve always loved to dress up- like high heels to high school and across my huge college campus, haha. Now a mom of 3 (3, 2, and 6 weeks), I see all the moms at preschool drop off in their leggings and think, “Wouldn’t my life be easier this way?” But alas, it helps me feel like a human even if I’m “not doing anything” that day besides drop off and pick-up. Dresses are my friend because they don’t have to match anything but shoes (I live in South Carolina though – usually hot here). In my head, it takes more effort to match tops and bottoms, even workout gear, than throwing a dress on. I shower at night when the kids are sleeping, wet hair on a towel atop my pillow and deal with it in the morning.

    Love, love reading your blog. It reminds me that I am not alone while carrying screaming children out of libraries, stores, etc. and taking 10 minutes to buckle everyone in before going anywhere. It also reminds me to stay at our spiritual journey and not to wait until later, when I have more time, when the kids are older.

    Thank you for your ministry!

  • Mary

    I love this post. I think it’s hugely important to figure out a “uniform” that looks nice, is comfortable, and easy to throw on. For one thing, of you are primarily a SAHM, as you point out, this is your job, and it’s a job with a lot of importance and meaning and I feel like you should show up for it reflecting those realities.

    For another, there is the aspect of personal dignity, which clothing and how you present yourself plays a huge part of. There is also the psychological reality that we general feel better about ourselves when we have taken the time to look good.

    I live in Central London where you literally only wear yoga gear IN the gym – not even TO the gym – and where casual wear is reserved for county walks and even then is strategically styled and more dressy than your average day out at an American Mall.

    But, I have found that – post having my daughter – and having put a few months of effort into figuring out what looks good and is comfortable, I have a fairly minimalist closet which allows me to grab anything and be put together. Making sure I get a really good haircut every eight to ten weeks which allows me to wash and airdry and having nailed a five minute makeup routine makes things even easier.

    For weekday casual, I’ve settled on high waisted skinny jeans of various colours, alongside half a dozen blouses and sweaters for mix and match, paired with either Chelsea boots or driving shoes. For slightly more formal, I have about four well fitting, tailored shirt dresses that can go with heels for a more dressy look, or boots or flats – depending on what I’m doing. A well fitting trench coat and a nice bag which is simultaneously a good accessory and able to hold the detritus of childhood, and I’m generally ready to go.

    I have three formal gowns in the back of my closet which I rotate between on the rare occasions I need them and a pair each of black and nude heels which go with anything.

    It never takes me longer than 20 minutes to get ready in the morning – 30 minutes if I need to shower and wash my hair.

    I would argue that, once you have figured out the types of bottoms and tops that look good and feel comfortable, it’s just as easy to grab those as it is to throw on yoga pants and a sweatshirt. It does take an initial investment of time and energy and money. But once it’s done, it’s done, and you can look pretty awesome without a lot of effort.

  • Jenni

    You’re hilarious. By the way, we are also a Jenni and Dave couple. (Jenni with an I – so extra)
    I love clothes way more than I should. i definitley struggle with making clothes/fashion an idol. Even post kids, this has not changed. I have relaxed some, but I am almost always worried about what I am wearing and what my kids are wearing. I have gained weight over the years but still want to look my best. I am an absolute clothes-aholic. I follow way too many fashion-related accounts in Instagram and am always taking the bait from email marketing sent to me by my favorite stores. Anyway, there are definitely days when I spend less time on my looks before I go out the door than I used to, but being well dressed and having some make up on makes me feel so much more human and so much more like myself. I hate looking sloppy. I do think style plays a role in the world’s perception of us as Catholics. I know that I have friends who are non-Catholics and/or more secular Catholics who get very judgy when a mom of, let’s say, more than two kids, looks consistently haggered. It’s definitely because she has ruined her life by having too many kids, if you know what I mean.

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