Mom fashion rut got you down? Try on what the kids are wearing these days.
When I first started teaching in a college classroom, I was 22 years old. I was a graduate student with a taut tummy, a fresh face, and an even fresher bachelor’s degree, and I looked at my students as fashion inspirations. I stood in front of the room with 67% of my brain focused on earnestly teaching the day’s assigned content, and the other 33% analyzing student outfits and planning where I could buy similar pieces in Cincinnati on the weekend. (I got my MA at a college in a twee Ohio town before Internet shopping for clothes was a thing.) As a PhD student, I was finally old enough not to be mistaken for a college student. (Oh, the good old days when being called an undergraduate felt like an insult. Nowadays if I were to get carded at a bar or even a grocery store, I would weep with gratitude.) I was still young enough, though, to take fashion inspiration from my students.
Eighteen years into my college teaching career, I finally realized that what the kids are wearing on campus is not what a 40-year-old mom of 4 should be wearing, um, anywhere.
At least I thought that’s what I had realized until I took a look around me the other day and noticed several fashion trends can absolutely translate to mom life.
HOW CUTE ARE THESE? Imagine them dressing up the yoga pants you absolutely slept in and are wearing to preschool drop off. See them skipping through the grocery store with last season’s jeans that you have cuffed just above the ankle to make them look a little more like this season’s jeans. Picture them on your mudroom rug angled just-so for the perfect Instagram shot. They totally work, right?
These are so cute! And so practical! I don’t know if I can part with my ginormous mom tote bag, but if I ever can, I am snagging one of these. Slinging a giant purse on one shoulder is really starting to wreak havoc on my old lady back.
I am not going to lie to you, some trends from my younger days are firmly out of style. I am looking at you Tiffany hearts collection and Uggs with everything. But also? You are going to have to pry both of these things from my cold deads. (In my trusty shearling boots, though, they’ll at least be warm deads). That’s why I am going to try to use my time on campus to help me stay at least sort of trendy. So what if these kids were born AFTER I GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL?
Birks with socks:
FINALLY a trend from my high school days that I can embrace again. (I tried chokers, baby doll dresses, and mary janes, but that ship has sailed right off into the grunge sunset, proudly flying its Delia’s catalog flag. Godspeed, cap sleeves, thigh-grazing hemlines, and empire waists. I will miss you over here on batwing/varicose vein/fat-or-pregnant island).
SCRUNCHIES!! They are adorning almost every co-ed wrist in sight, and my wrists? Just as shapely as they were in the 90’s, sign me up.
Everyone calls these mom jeans, but you know what are really mom jeans? The saggy, faded low-rise pants all us moms are wearing while we pretend that this fashion trend is beneath us. This fashion trend is so for us it is literally eponymous. No more wearing cardis over everything to hide that our pants are slipping down in the back to show our sad greige underwear. We don’t have to avoid t-shirts, even the flowy ones, because our muffin top has become a flesh inner-tube. The days of raising our arms, untucking our casual half-tucked button-downs, and showing our bellies that haven’t seen sun since puberty are behind us. High-waisted jeans SUCK IT ALL IN like our abs used to do before pregnancy turned them into half-deflated balloons. And? You can buy these miracle mom jeans at every price point. This weekend, when you are at Target for dish soap and razors, slip a pair on—you are going to LOVE them. (Pro tip: look for a pair with large back pockets if, like me, you have a little more, um, back than you used to).
Fancy coats over messy clothes:
YES YES YES!! This look was made for a mom on–the-go who wants to leave the house in ripped up jeans, a hoodie, and some tennies but also wants to look polished. Top whatever you are wearing with something like this, and your whole look gets an instant upgrade.