Two springs ago, something amazing happened. My husband walked into a Gap in Cambridge, wandered around a bit, bought a pair of dark blue jeans in which he looked very handsome and…has never bought another pair since.
That’s it! He has one pair of jeans, and they always look great, and he hasn’t had to buy a single other pair. In two years.
Can we talk about all the reasons this would never happen to me? For one, duh, in that period of time I’ve swung about forty pounds in weight — even just during extended breastfeeding, I move from marshmallowy to wizened. For another, I’m pretty lucky to get two wears out of a pair of jeans these days before washing them is Absolutely Essential — and that’s if I play a little fast and loose with the definition of clean. And don’t you dare get me started on maternity jeans (a contradiction in terms, I begin to think).
Like half the Internet, I’ve been interested recently in the concepts of uniforms and capsule wardrobes. Post-pregnancy this time, I‘ve tried to streamline my wardrobe(s), choosing neutrals instead of always opting for the most rainbow-y item I can find at the consignment store. I’m also trying to channel my husband in seeking out exactly the right item, instead of settling for cheap and so-so.
More and more, though, I begin to wonder if we’ve got the wrong idea, especially when it comes to mom jeans. The thing is, my figure has changed in such a way that jeans — especially the low-waisted stretchy monstrosities I once favored — aren’t ever going to work, and it’s not because I’m delusional about my size. A friend of mine with kids (pictured above) has decided to invest instead in dresses, and I’m intrigued.
The idea feels dangerously retro, but then, I’m the one actively pursuing excellence in housewifery. And I have been moving in the last couple years to more and more skirts and dresses — I spent as much of my second pregnancy as possible in dresses like this one, and didn’t have the droopy drawers problem of maternity jeans, and postpartum, I wore a lot of elastic-waisted skirts so I didn’t have to buy shorts (ugh) in a temporary giant size (double ugh).
So as a lark on Mother’s Day, a day when I’d worn a t-shirt and a skirt that straight-up doesn’t fit to church, while I “watched” 11,000 hours of Mighty Machines with poor sick Pippin, I decided to see if I could find a new, inexpensive wardrobe of dresses.
I started at eShakti, where Meg and I found both of the above dresses, but that meant I could only afford a dress or two, so I switched to ThredUp, which sells secondhand clothes, and developed an exhaustive list of criteria: button-down (for nursing); A-line silhouette (for belly reasons); cotton or cotton blend (because I’m slated for a sweltering summer); machine washable (because duh). ThredUp doesn’t have the granularity to search by terms like “shirtdress” or by fabric, so the hardest part may have been closing tabs on beautiful, impractical silk dresses.
Eventually I ended up with two dresses, a skirt and two button-down blouses J helped me choose. I hope they’ll work for both church and everyday wear. I’ll let you know how it goes, but don’t expect a lot of fashion blogger shots. Inevitably they end up like this:
I’m still on the lookout for the perfect pair of jeans, of course, but I begin to suspect that the perfect pair of jeans for me, for now…just might be a dress.