Babble has a Style section, which presumably is totally helpful for people who, you know, care about fashion. Generally, I don’t become interested in fashion until it seeps into my life in the form of craptastic commercials for high-heeled sneakers aimed at my daughters. So, the thing is, I don’t usually read Babble’s fashion section. But I do follow Babble on Facebook, so sometimes the stuff comes across my radar.
Such was the case with a recent post called “25 Fashion Mistakes Moms Make.” I was intrigued, because I figured I had to be making at least half of those mistakes on any given Monday. So I checked it out. (Turns out I make more like 17 fashion mistakes on the daily.) Basically, the gist of the post is that new moms need to cover up all that baby weight.
There was a similar post at the end of last year titled “Biggest Mom Fashion Mistakes + Forgivable Fixes.” That one was less about hiding muffin tops and more about paying attention to one’s appearance and generally not looking like a slob. I was going to write about that one, but then I got distracted by a squirrel or something and forgot about it.
Look, fashion is fun. Fashion is expressive and creative and if you’re into it, that’s cool. It’s also an enormous industry that is primarily dedicated to making money, with the secondary effect of often making us feel bad about our bodies.
If you’re uncomfortable with the way your body looks after creating human life and expelling it from your body, I understand. Everything’s all out of whack and your clothes don’t fit like they used to. I’m sure these are all good tips for moms with the specific goal of looking “better” and feeling better about themselves.
It’s just that it’s also okay if that’s not your goal. If you just had a baby, it’s totally okay if all you care about right now is a nap. For God’s sake, do whatever you need to do to get through the day, my friend. You’re a mom, you’re beautiful. And your baby doesn’t care if you’re still wearing the same maternity yoga pants you slept in.
I work full time and I have four kids. While I try to look somewhat presentable, I live a fairly active life and my clothes reflect that. These posts suggest that I shouldn’t wear Capris or cargo shorts, but those are the things that suit me when I’m chasing my son around the playground.
I turn 40 next week. This is not middle school. I’m pretty sure my friends aren’t giving me the side-eye, thinking, “wow, she’d be so much cooler if she wore jeans that were more slimming” or “ugh, how can she show that arm flab?” I am also 100 percent sure that my mom friends have more important things to do than care about whether I wear the “wrong kind of underwear.” Gah.
My two older daughters, however, are in middle school, and I’m very aware of the messages they’re getting. I don’t want to spend too much time and energy on wondering how big my thighs are or worrying about how my belly looks, because that’s not what I want them to focus on. I’d rather focus on the fact that my belly is a little stretched out because my uterus carried four children. I’d rather focus on the fact that while my thighs may not be model material, they propel me through laps at the pool. Parts of my body are soft. My kids like to sit on my lap. It’s okay.
Moms have an incredible amount of pressure on them from the moment we conceive. We’re supposed to breastfeed, but not too long. We’re supposed to feed our kids organic food and keep them safe, but not too much, because then we’re health nuts and helicopter moms. We’re supposed to volunteer our time but not be control freaks. We’re supposed to be thin but then if we’re too thin, we’re accused of not being “real women.” We’re supposed to work, and we’re supposed to stay home.
With all that on my plate, I’ll be damned if I’m going to worry about whether another mom thinks Capri pants make my legs look stocky. My legs are kind of stocky. Frankly, unless someone is selling magic pants that will alter my DNA, that’s not going to change. More importantly, I’m just fine with how my legs look.
I thought I’d share some of my own personal failings to make everyone else feel better about their “mistakes.” I didn’t even have to look very far: these are all just photos I had handy. Pretty much every photo of me in existence shows me making at least three “mom fashion mistakes.”
Enjoy my fails! I suspect I’m in good company.
Whatever. 1 of 8
Click the arrows to scroll through my fails.
My fails: ruffle top, cargo shorts 2 of 8
Here's me at a neighborhood party. It looks like maybe I'm wearing lipstick, so that's a plus, right? Also, please note that I'm wearing my fancy Birkenstocks. Yay me!
But, sadly, I'm wearing a ruffled top and cargo shorts, both of which will make me look larger, according to this post.
Why I don't care: Whatever, it was hot.
My fail: ponytail 3 of 8
Apparently ponytails are a "don't" because it's what you do when you didn't have time to take a shower?
In fact, I do take a shower every day. I even comb my hair and everything, although I'm often too lazy to actually pull the hair all the way through the ponytail holder. So it's more of a messy bun.
On the plus side for me: although you can't see it in this photo, I did use a turquoise ponytail holder to match the streak in my hair.
Why I don't care: Hair is not in my face. Kids got to school on time.
(Photo credits: iStockphoto, family photo)
My fail: skirted bathing suit 4 of 8
Okay, fine, this one isn't actually of me (I'm not nearly that slender, toned, and/or Photoshopped). But the tankini bathing suit on the right is the most current version of the one I wear. (By the way, I love this bathing suit. The top has amazing support.)
"A skirted swimsuit doesn't hide your hips, but it does make them look bigger," this post advises.
Why I don't care: I have other things to worry about than hiding my hips. Like making sure my kids don't drown. My skirted bathing suit is super comfy for splashing and swimming with my kids. It's wedgie-free and if I don't do a perfect job shaving my bikini line, it's irrelevant. Also, I'm just more comfortable with a little more coverage. Otherwise I feel like I'm standing around in my underwear.
My fails: large print, empire-waist dress 5 of 8
"Stay away from large patterns, instead opt for small prints," I'm advised. Also, "an empire waist dress can gather the fabric over your stomach, and give you more of a belly."
Yeah. So here's me in an empire waist dress with a big print on it, and of course wearing a ponytail again. In the photo, I'm trying to figure out how to make a chocolate fountain work for my sister's bridal shower.
Why I don't care: Comfy dress left lots of belly room for champagne and chocolate, so WIN. Also this was in Dallas in the summer and it was approximately eleventy million degrees out.
(Print top, which by the way I think is adorable, from Ann Taylor, $68. Strapless silk chiffon dress from Nordstrom, $178. My look [family photo]: I got that dress at Kohl's, I think. I've had it for like five years and Imma keep wearing the hell out of that thing.)
My fail: graphic t-shirt 6 of 8
"T-shirts tend to hug love handles," says writer Jaime Morrison Curtis. "Add a graphic and they become even more unflattering."
Okay, I think I know what the problem is. Jaime's example is the shirt of the left, which is clearly not geeky enough at all. I mean, I already know that dreams do come true because Star Wars VII is in the works.
p.s. Come to the Dark Side. We have fun shirts and comfy pants.
My fails: baggy clothes, sneakers with jeans 7 of 8
Here's me breaking at least two fashion rules (apparently), just after unloading more than 100 cases of Girl Scout cookies. I'm wearing my husband's UConn fleece, jeans that appear to be loose fitting probably because they need to be washed, and sneakers.
Writer Michelle Horton clarifies that wearing baggy clothes doesn't actually "hide the weight."
"You're not fooling anyone," she writes. "You're actually making yourself look worse by wearing baggy clothes — as much as it feels the opposite."
Also, "Athletic shoes and jeans should never mix."
Why I don't care: I'm not actually trying to hide anything. Also, I was pretty comfy. Also also, go Huskies.
(Photo Credits: Photo: Flickr/Valerie Everett, iStockphoto, family photo.)
My fails (let me count the ways): horizontal stripes, ponytail, cargo Capri pants, Angelina Ballerina as an accessory 8 of 8
"Horizontal stripes don't always accentuate the best," says this post, and "Capri pants can visually shorten your legs, making them appear stockier."
Here's me on the right, breaking at least four rules: I'm wearing horizontal stripes, Capri pants that might actually be considered cargo shorts, a ponytail, and sneakers. As a bonus, an adult wearing a character costume appears to be slimmer than me. Woo-hoo! In my defense, my green sneakers match the stripes on my shirt, which is pretty coordinated for me. Also, I had just gotten off a five-hour flight, and my slip-on Converse kicks are great for getting through TSA easily.
As for making my legs appear stockier, whatever. Whether I work out or not, I have the calf muscles of an East German speedskater, and nothing's going to change that.
Why I don't care: I'm totes hangin' out with Bob the Builder and Angelina Ballerina. In Cancun.
(Photo Credits: iStockphoto, family photo by Hard Rock Hotels)
How Much Internet Privacy Do You Give Your Tween/Teen?
Smart Travel: 24 Mom-Tested Tips for Road Trips With Kids
Fashion Fowl: Awesome Fashion Finds for Your Pet Chickens, Ducks, and Geese (Photos)
Autistic Teen Pursuing Ph.D. in Astrophysics Proves that All Perspectives Are Valuable
MORE ON BABBLE
The top 17 summer fashion DON’Ts
13 vintage “push-up” bras we’ll never wear again
What you should be buying at Forever 21 RIGHT NOW
15 stylish bun alternatives to “mom hair”
5 ways to look well-rested when you haven’t slept