Wardrobe Crisis: What am I supposed to wear?


I used to love to shop. For clothes. For me. I shopped sales, I sometimes splurged on fancy things, and I had to seriously keep myself in check when hitting our local outlet malls so I’d still have money left for monthly bills. If you sent 10-years-ago me a picture of me now…she would probably wonder what happened. You see, I still like to shop now and then, but I’ve completely lost the ability to shop for myself. Since having kids, I find plenty of outfits for my boys and my husband, and nothing for myself. Remember the show What Not To Wear? Remember when the token mom getting a makeover would be sobbing in Macy’s that she was overwhelmed and stressed and wanted to leave? I used to think that was absurd, but now…that mom is me!

I am currently working part-time for a children’s museum as an educator, teaching both in local schools and at the museum itself. My work clothes need to be comfortable and practical, yet still neat and presentable. Fortunately, since I am only part-time, these “work clothes” are also a-okay for my “other job” as a mom to 4 and 6 year old boys and a volunteer in many local organizations. Last year, Cora, one of our CTWorkingMoms writers, so generously wrote Blogger Style: Sarah for me, helping me figure out what the heck I am supposed to wear. This was fabulous. I bought the outfit she suggested, and I loved it. Unfortunately, my size changed, and that outfit doesn’t fit anymore. Oh, and, I only bought that one outfit (Cora, I am hopeless!).

Right now, my wardrobe consists basically of the following:

*Two pairs of jeans; both over 7 years old, both flair leg opening

*Assorted ill-fitting shorts

*Two pairs of khaki capris, around 8 years old

*Three cute maxi dresses

*Assorted inexpensive v-neck tees, mostly from Target

*Jean jacket

*Yoga capri pants

*Two fabulous CTWorkingMoms hoodies (Thanks, Michelle!)

*One million rib knit tank tops in every color under the sun

I went shopping sans kids about a week ago. I left determined, sure I’d find some summer capris for work, or at the very least, jeans. Nothing. Nada.

My main issue? Where does a thirty-something part-time working mom shop? My budget isn’t huge, but as Cora taught me, I am focusing on cost-per-wear. I don’t mind spending a little more on quality pieces I can wear often. Bonus points to anyone who can point me toward ethical, sweatshop-free, fair trade companies! Suggestions? Anyone want to come shop with me?? 😉

8 thoughts on “Wardrobe Crisis: What am I supposed to wear?

  1. My dear! Why didn’t you ask for help before?! Tara’s advice to you is spot on. It doesn’t matter where you shop as long as the quality is good and you feel good. It might be worth a trip to Nordstrom. Find a nice saleswoman, explain your plight and ask for help. I’m assuming that if you find clothes that you feel comfortable and confident in you will feel better about shopping. And please, for the love of god, throw away the stuff that doesn’t fit or make you feel great (I’m looking at you khaki cropped pants).

    1. HAHA! I 🙂 Oh the khaki crops are SO BAD. It’s tough times for crop pants these days. All the ones I’ve found are super tight around the calf and unflattering on me. My old ones are wide legs (and way out of style) but they fit…so there’s that I guess? Ugh!

  2. So true!! I find I have to force myself to go shopping these days… and when I do, I usually come home with more stuff for my 2yr old than I do for myself. 🙂

    I recently bought a pair of skinny style jeans (my very first pair of skinny jeans ever – yeah, I’m a little behind the trend) at Target that were, surprisingly, very well fitting… and only about $20-25. I also have two pair of their shorts that I bought last year that have worked really well for me. For more business casual clothing, I’ve had good luck shopping at the White House Black Market outlet store. I’ve found them to be reasonably priced for quality pieces like dress pants, skirts, etc. Good luck!

    1. Haaaa!!! 😉 Well, thanks. I often wish I could just have you plan my outfits!! You always look fab!

  3. I would LOVE to shop with you, but chances are you’d hear me say, “this is SO EXPENSIVE” like, a million times and then I would just talk you into going and getting lunch with me. I go to Loft for work / if I have somewhere to go on the weekend. I would say the majority of my wardrobe is from there because you can score when they have sales / coupons. I ditched the flare jeans but it was probably way after I should have. (Truth be told, I think I kept a few pair “just in case”.) I have sworn off capris because I just had to accept that the length is horrible and unflattering on me. Amen to Old Navy Vintage v-neck tees. And their khaki shorts. And I spend too much time wandering through consignment shops and Goodwill. J. Crew and their prices can just kiss my ass — same goes for Banana Republic. And I totally don’t understand the love for Target. I can never find anything there and when I do, it falls apart. And anything black quickly fades. So, yeah. Let’s go get lunch and then buy some accessories.

    1. Yes!!! Loft has been good in the past, but recently I went in and was super confused. I ended up buying a mesh-y striped hoodie for the beach. I need to lay off the Target, because you are so right! It all falls apart, pills, and fades so fast. I may need to give up on capris too. So what do you wear for work in the summer if not capris? Skirts?

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