Friday, May 23, 2008

The Mummy Uniform

Tonight after I had put the kids to bed, I sat down and watched an episode of Tim Gunn's Guide to Style that I had recorded. The episode featured a SAHM that had fallen into a "mommy rut" of capris and tees. Veronica, the co-host, pointed out that this has become the uniform of mommies throughout America, and I would have to add that I think this is the uniform for a lot of mummies here in Australia as well. I agree with all of you out there that declare that these outfits are "comfortable" and "practical" but I defy anyone to claim that they are stylish or chic.

What saddens me when I see a sea of capris paired with tees is that it is just as easy to create a feminine and chic outfit that is also comfortable and practical. These two groupings do not have to be mutually exclusive. Take the following two outfits from Ann Taylor:

The one on the left is a typical mummy uniform of capris and a tee. In my opinion, it is bland and, dare I say it, frumpy. The model looks a bit dumpy in this outfit, so imagine what the average mum who is not paid to look good all day would look like.

The outfit on the right, on the other hand, looks so much more stylish. It is still just as comfortable and practical - the denim city shorts are still great for running around the park, or bending over to tie up little shoelaces, while the cotton voile shirt can be thrown into the machine, and if you hang it up on hanger to dry, won't even need ironing. The lightness of the cotton voile means that even in the more flattering three quarter length sleeve, you will still be just as cool as if you were wearing a tank.

Check out this cotton dress, also from Ann Taylor. Again, it is machine washable, so it is easy care, and how simple is it to slip on a dress? The embroidery and contrast topstitching really make this dress super stylish and fresh, and it is something you could wear whether you are dropping your kids off at school, pushing them on the swings at the park, or going out for dinner with your husband on date night.

A great resource for those for you who are struggling with outfit ideas are the Ann Taylor and Boden websites, as they both have sections that show their clothes as suggested outfits. By looking over their outfits with a critical eye, you can start to see what looks great, and what looks only OK. The example below is from the Boden website, and shows one example of what I think is a great casual outfit, paired right next to a really terrible (and unflattering) mummy rut outfit.
The first outfit looks so breezy and relaxed to me, like you have just stepped off the French Riviera. The second outfit, though, looks less Riviera relaxed, and more Florida retiree.

Now, I am not suggesting that you should go out and buy these outfits. Instead, use them as inspiration for your own outfits - print out the ones that grab your eye, and take note of what appeals to you. Study how they match up their accessories, what type of shoes they have used. Think about the clothes you already have, and how you could turn what you have into a similar outfit. Take note of what you need to add to your current wardrobe so that you can achieve these put together looks, and then keep your eye out for these missing pieces. By using these sites as a starting point, you will be well on your way to achieving a stylish wardrobe.
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1 comments:

Polly said...

A good conversation, Sarah. I don't do capris, but I wear a lot of v-neck tees, and I'm always on the lookout ( but not finding) t-shirt alternatives. Some button-downs are boring, gathered baby-doll tops are not even considered.
Any ideas?

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