Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Looking Your Best

The past few days I've been reading blogs on looking your best. And, of course, being treated accordingly when one looks their best. Really, the two go hand in hand, don't they! Sometimes I think it's a really hard thing to do. Some of work, some of us have kids, and many have the really hard part of doing both in addition to trying maintain the homefront.

I think dressing nice comes and goes in spurts. There are stages of life that affect this, and even genetics takes over at some point in time and makes things even harder. I remember back in my early-mid 20's at my first *real* job as a high school teacher. Beautiful wools suits, classy dresses--yeah, it was my style. Then at 25, baby no. 1 came along. I learned very quickly to cover up my dress clothes before heading out the door to daycare. Spit up is not very kind to dress clothes. Same with using a big absorbent towel on my lap so the suddenly very weight diaper "spot" wouldn't appear on the lower half of my work clothes. When I was home, my clothes were lackluster to say the least. Drab and dumpy to be exact.

It only got worse when I turned 30 and decided to resign to raise my growing family as a SAHM. Big oversized men's t-shirts and turtlenecks and bland jeans were my uniform. It's what I felt I had to wear. Little kids have a tendency to wipe their noses along with their big hugs on mom's shirts. Dirty hands sometimes turn my boring solid colors into prints. And the darn thing is, having a full bust and a smaller waist, I didn't always look past my boobs when going out. There were definitely several occasions where I walked out door with "booger spots" and "paw prints" on my lower half!

So, it's really hard to dress nice with little kids. Not impossible, but I just didn't feel up to the challenge with havng four kids somewhat close together. Once they all got out of toddlerhood, I wanted to look better and dress nicer. Take my life back so to speak. And this is really the hardest part of all for most women. By this time, their bodies have dramatically changed. In my case, I've been somewhat blessed by "thinner" genes, but still have to work hard to keep off 20 lbs. that would love to sit on my body. But so many have it hard, and I think the fashion industry for the middle class isn't exactly kind. As a SAHM, our family lives on one income. That doesn't leave much extra money for the finer stores. Walmart, Kmart, JCPenney, and Sears are my usual hits for shopping. That is, when I go because I hate clothes shopping and would much rather stay home and make my own. But the average Jane isn't so lucky. The spandex-y styles can be rather shapeless, and so many woman are looking for comfort. The generic department stores cater to the masses and this doesn't exactly include the cute Anthropology or runway knockoff styles I see on websites. Stretch knits with less shape are what I'm seeing in the stores and on the streets to accommodate the ever increasing American girth.

So overall, what I'm trying to say is, dressing better is do-able, but there are so many things that work against us as women. Instead of concentrating on an entire wardrobe or looking great everyday (which is sometimes a daunting task), it's nice to have a few outfits set aside for when we go out. Whether it be to school for parent pickup, sitting at a sports event, going to a parent/teacher conference, etc. I think taking baby steps can make a big difference. Heck, I even dress up now to go to the batting cages with my kids!

So fellow ladies like me, go easy on yourself. Start with a couple of nice pieces, and build from there. Maybe a nice wool coat, a jacket or two, a pair or two of nice shoes, a pair of sexy "non-Mom" jeans and build from there. We CAN get our fashion forward lives back, one piece at a time :) !


kasizzle said...

Well said!I agree with you, but I wouldn't trade those days spent in spit up or booger stains for nothing! I feel so lucky to have been able to stay home with my kids.

Lovely said...

Oh my goodness, what a wonderful post. I know what you mean. I am 30 and I have felt the change of worlds from college glam to "what does a hip 30 year old wear without looking like I am trying to hard?"

Karen said...

Bravo, Kat! I haven't had the same life phases as you, but 10 years at a job that was business casual and I found out that all my "nice" clothes either were no longer nice, no longer fashionable or no longer fit! Now that I'm in my 40s I have the challenge of trying to put a look together that's not too young and not too casual, and to learn how to work with the things I can't change.