It was not always that way. Before I got pregnant, I had a very definite style. I liked glamour and big gold belts and over-the-top jewelry piled on more over-the-top jewelry. I owned 30 lipsticks and all of them were red, and approximately 60 percent of my wardrobe was made of green satin. I stopped dressing like that when I got pregnant because I was not going to spend money on fancy maternity clothes, and then after the baby was born it took me so long to get back to my regular shape that I just kept wearing the maternity clothes and rotated them with my yoga pants and pajamas.
Once I did get back to normal, though, I did not pick my pre-baby clothes back up. It was not that I stopped liking them, but I could not wear six gold necklaces while holding a grabby baby, and the idea of wearing a dry-clean only green satin blouse made me want to gouge my own eyes out. I did not want to spend an hour getting ready to make a fashion statement or loiter around the university waiting for street style photographers, I just wanted to put some clean clothes on and get a peppermint mocha from Starbucks and get back home before the baby needed to be fed again. So I got myself a pair of high-waisted skinny jeans in a dark, flattering wash. They were not trendy and did not make me look like I was up to date on fashion industry blogs, but they were as comfortable as yoga pants and made my butt look pretty. I bought another pair immediately.
And now I am wearing sensible, washable fitted T-shirts from Talbots. Talbots! The preppiest of the “mom stores.” My 16-year-old self would not recognize me. My 30-year-old self would not recognize me. I have a mom uniform.
I am trying to feel angst over the abandonment of my artfully bohemian blouses covered in pretty embroidery and choking-hazard beads, but the truth is I am not sad. I am just so comfortable in my mom uniform. And I look nice. I look “presentable.” And everything I am wearing can go in the washing machine. Yes, I look like everyone else in my neighborhood, but maybe we all just came by this style organically. Maybe they all looked at kitchen floors covered in dried-on carrots and 10,000 baby spoons and thought, “I just want to look like I have my shit kind of together.” the way I did.
When I decided to have a baby, this is the one thing I swore would never happen. I promised I would stay me, and that meant staying true to my fashion aesthetic, which at the time I erroneously thought was what “me” was. I promised the baby wouldn’t change me, and she didn’t. But she did change my lifestyle, and my old clothes just don’t work for the way I live now.
So I have a mom uniform now. It is easy and it is comfortable and it is so reliable I can grab any shirt and make it to Starbucks in 15 minutes without having to think about anything. It is fabulous. I am never going to give up my mom uniform, even when I can.