There was a time in my life when fall meant fashion. I was one of those girls who worshipped the thick September issue of Vogue like it was the bible, soaking in the season’s must-have styles, then finding fabulous knock-offs from sale racks and outlet stores. Not all my get-ups were runway-worthy (why was I so in love with pleather? That stuff does not exactly wick away moisture) but I lived for clothes, and I had the VISA bills to prove it.
Now that I’m a mom, fall means only one thing: back to school. And unlike my rapidly growing daughter who requires a new wardrobe every year, I’ll keep wearing the usual: stained t-shirt and yoga pants. Or t-shirt and stained yoga pants, just for variety’s sake. Seriously, it hurts to look in a mirror right now. Why have I and so many moms I know abandoned the fashion they used to love? Allow me:
1. Nice clothes just get ruined — Motherhood is a dirty business. Pick your poison: pee, poop, breast milk, spit-up, food, mud, paint. They’re all going to end up on your clothes, but they’re not all going to wash out, so you’d be a fool to wear anything expensive or dry clean only.
2. Fitted clothes can’t handle the strain – We’re constantly bending, lifting and sitting criss-cross-applesauce. Can you imagine doing any of that in a pencil skirt?
3. High heels are dangerous – Whether you’re carrying a precious baby or sprinting after a runaway toddler, sneakers are a whole lot more stable–and speedy–than stilettos.
4. Jewelry is baby bait – Have you heard the one about the mom whose earlobe was split by a baby yanking on her hoop earring? Not an urban myth!
5. Purses are pointless – Considering the collection of moist and disgusting things typically found in a mom’s bag (cracker crumb lint, half-eaten banana, leaky sippy cup, used wipes and worse), the best bet is a diaper bag or waterproof tote. Clutches, I hardly knew ya.
6. Nothing fits – Pregnancy casts a long shadow. I’m one of those moms whose stomach remains stubbornly in the second trimester, despite having had my baby almost three years ago. Wearing a shirt with an empire waist is just begging to be asked,”So, when are you due?”, and anything fitted is, well, a horror show. I look pretty good in a bathrobe, though.
7. My underwear is shot to shit – I wish someone had told me not to wear all my cute Calvin Klein hipsters while I was pregnant. But somehow, I can’t bring myself to buy pretty new underwear when I’m so busy hating my body.
8. I’m not exactly going to the opera – Remember when Julia Roberts had to buy all those cocktail dresses and evening gowns so she could be Richard Gere’s beck-and-call girl? The mom life is pretty much the opposite of that.
9. Buying new clothes is guilt-inducing — When I think about preschool tuition, the house we’re saving for and the obscenely high cost of organic blueberries, it’s hard to do the kind of recreational shopping that used to be my favorite hobby. That said, I don’t feel at all guilty buying clothes for my daughter, which is why she is so much better dressed than I am.
10. And what about accidentally shopping in the junior department? – Moms who’ve survived the little kid years might have been able to conquer issues one through nine, but then a new pitfall appears: Forever 21. You’re shopping with your daughter, you notice how cute and cheap everything is, and you think, hey, I can totally wear this stuff! Can you? Can you really? This might be the one time it’s worth consulting a mirror.