My Descent into “Mom Jeans”


mom jeans

Those are my jeans.  True- classic mom jeans they are not.  They are not two sizes too big or stone-washed but I wear them almost every single day and therefore- they might as well be.  Also, they have holes growing in the inner thighs.  Given the holes, it is unlikely that any of those white sneakered, classic-mom-jean types would even deign to put these on. So why do I?  How did this happen to me?  How did I go from someone with at least a little style, sass and pizazz to someone so predictable and frumptastic?

holey jeans

Black stockings underneath help camouflage holes?

Many years ago, when I was in my twenties and my little sister was still in her teens we sat together in a park and watched too many moms hurry by in poorly fitting jeans or, even worse, oversized sweats.  We swore that no matter our life path we would never allow ourselves to “frump out” like that.  “Never,” we said- “NEVER!  Avoid the frump!” We vowed to be brutally honest, if necessary, should one of us start down that path.

Recently, I received a package in the mail.  It was from my little sister.  It contained a new pair of black boots and a note that said- “it is time to throw away your hobo shoes.”  She had not forgotten our talk.  And she was taking action.

hobo shoes

My “hobo shoes”

Some people could care less about style or fashion and might find this post shallow.  To them I say- “Fantastic, you are being authentically you.  Keep at it.  Keep your mind on loftier things- as you prefer to do.”  However, I believe style matters.  And it matters in most things- from what font you use when you format your resume; to how you link words together; to what color you choose to paint your front door.  All of these things are expressions of self and, yes, they are artifice too.  But even artifice can be authentic.  You’ll know when it is authentic because it will feel right. It will ring true.  As a fellow character described Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s– “She is a phoney, but she is a real phoney.”

So, back to the question, how did I get here?  How did I- someone who once enjoyed both the sensual pleasure of feeling good in my clothes and the self-expression of dressing to impress end up with pretty much nothing to wear but a pair of holey jeans and boots?

I blame several factors for my demise:

I got pregnant and had a baby. I quit my job to stay at home. I experienced postpartum anxiety and depression.  I am inherently frugal and this trait is grossly exaggerated when I am not making any money.  I briefly got back to my pre-pregnancy weight and then I quit breasting feeding- rapidly putting on twelve pounds. I simply must see, feel, and try on clothes before I purchase them and it is challenging to do so with an energetic toddler.

Let’s look at some of these factors a little more closely:

Pregnancy– Who the hell is going to spend any real money on clothes during pregnancy? All I bought was a couple of key pieces to tie together all the hand-me-downs I collected.  And even if you have the cash to drop or you simply must invest in maternity clothes for professional reasons- you’re not wearing them after you have the baby.  And thank god!  So passes nine months of no true wardrobe enhancements.

Postpartum anxiety/ depression–  I was never diagnosed but if you find yourself feeling nervous almost all the time or crying endlessly you might want to talk to a professional.  I probably should have the day I spent one of my daughter’s naps crying because being a mom meant I could no longer kill myself… if I wanted to.

I remember thinking- “sure my family and friends would miss me- but that is nothing compared to leaving my daughter motherless.”  There were several months in which all I felt capable of doing was caring for my daughter.  I was too sleep-deprived to even realize what was happening.  Some women have a hard time bonding with their newborn when they experience this. I am just so grateful that during those months, in the midst of all the worry, I was still able to bond with my daughter.  I was able to focus on her and be happy and present- when I held her.  I was able to feel (and share with her) the joy of having her in my life- but not much else. Usually, when they’re that little it is actually easier to get out of the house and get things done but, at this time, I was not shopping for new clothes.

The convergence of frugality and body discontent– Combine almost two years of very few new purchases and then add weight gain into the mix and what you have is a woman with nothing to wear.  People say they have nothing to wear all the time but they are lying.  I am not lying. The few nice things I did buy or had left over just don’t fit.

Here is the crux of the problem- I do not accept my current body and I HATE to waste money.  Why would someone with no income (AND aggressive financial goals) spend money on a bunch of clothes they have no intention of fitting into in six months?  I consider myself a feminist and I honestly believe that women are beautiful in all sizes and shapes.  Other women.  I, however, want to be 12 pounds thinner and in decent- if not great shape. I have no desire to be a skinny mini.  I’ve never been one and I am cool with that.  I just need to stop eating massive amounts of food (seriously, I eat massive amounts of food!) and start sweating again.  Physically, I just don’t feel like myself.

Not feeling like myself makes it so much more difficult to find clothes I feel good in and love.  As a frugal shopper, those are the ONLY clothes I like to buy.  I’ve always taken a lot of time to shop but now the process is depressing and more time consuming than ever.  I guess I gave up.  I just stopped going to places where one could shop for clothes. (Please note- this is how hobo shoes happen.)

I could never get away with this if I had a job. For me, this is the biggest problem with being a stay-at-home mom. There is no way I would ever go into a professional office in the exact same outfit every single day.  I would make the time to find at least a few new things even if I didn’t absolutely love them. The other parents at playgroup might wonder what the hell is going on but they can’t choose not to promote me or hold me back from meeting with important clients.  If I had a paid job I would be forced out of this self-imposed bind.

Just to further highlight my craziness- I’m sure you are wondering about my husband and he definitely doesn’t approve.  I am sitting on a nice sized gift card that he gave me, and I don’t need his permission or approval to spend more money either.  He’d be happy if I did.  And frankly, I owe it to him.  Monogamy is hard enough.  Must I always wear the same thing?  It is ridiculous.

Every woman’s journey into “mom jeans” is a little different.  This is mine. It is up to me to revive my style.  I simply must.  I miss that sparkley feeling. This is no way for a sassy, if frugal, fashionista to live.

I haven’t managed to wear these down to the bone and they still fit me- maybe I should wear them to playgroup on Monday?

sassy heels

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