I want to dress my daughter in these dresses! i’d love for my son to wear these designs too, but he has his own designs:) Reportedly, the children’s designs are fairly affordable. girl’s dresses are rumored to bottom out around $150-$300.
I’m so sure I already wrote this post, so if it is here under a different name let me know! It could just be that I have written it in my head!
There are certain times when, as a mom, you just can’t take the time to really put together an outfit, do your hair, and put on makeup. If you’re like me, you have a 9 month-old climbing you constantly. That is guaranteed to make getting ready at least 1,000 times harder! My son is old enough that he gets ready on his own. But he does slow me down by constantly nagging me to hurry!
This kind of pressure occasionally forces me to choose to go “momchic”. To put it simply, momchic is clean, neat, and put together. Momchic outfits tend to be more on the classic side. This may sound awful, but basically in our town momchic could be anything better than an old baggy t-shirt and cutoffs. That type of outfit is usually completed by flip-flops, and an occasional scrunchie. In short, the style is somewhere between “I’m comfortable” and “at least it’s clean”.
But I have to stop right here and say that there’s nothing wrong with dressing this way if it works for you. For years I was probably on the lower end of that scale! I spend more time on what I wear now for the simple reason that I became interested in fashion. Here, in smalltown America, fashion per se is a hobby. At times I am overdressed for going grocery shopping, or taking my kids to the doctor. I dress the way I do now because I have become fascinated with fashion. It is a big interest in my life, as I have said elsewhere fashion is the medium of my art for right now.
I came up with the term momchic when we were on our last trip. We went to Baltimore and Dc for a few days each. The purpose of this trip was the Dolphin Immersion Tour at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. I love dolphins, and when I was researching an Aquarium visit I noticed that it was possible to do the Dolphin Immersion tour, where you go on the training deck with the trainers and interact with the dolphins, leading them in some tricks and even touching the dolphins! The trip centered around this, and visiting the National Zoo in DC. We did much more than that, including the Inner Harbor historic ships tour, where we visited the lighthouse, a world war II submarine, and a WWII coast guard lightship. We went to the Ripley’s museum at the Inner Harbor, then took off for DC. Once there we spent one day at the Air and Space museum, and the next day at the zoo. I had planned on visiting the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of American History, but we ran out of time, and energy!
I had done a pretty good job of packing, but I had packed 2 slightly more dressy outfits, and I really didn’t need those at all. I followed a basic rule of packing, including a few nice outfits ‘just in case’. But now, I do ‘momchic packing’ which would mean a slightly dressy casual outfit, an old get-dirty-in outfit, a denim mini skirt, and several simple tops. When we went to the Zoo, I wore the t shirt I got for doing the Dolphin Immersion, with my denim mini, comfortable thong sandals (with bling!), and my ever faithful chewbeads. With this I wore my favorite silver tassle earrings and my custom silver necklace with my children’s names and birthstones on it. I had put on a touch of makeup, enough to make me feel pretty. For that day, I still couldn’t resist carrying my Ralph Lauren tote. I love that bag!
So basically momchic is about simple, comfortable clothes that look great. This is the time to wear your mom jewelry (though I wear mine all the time!) This is also when you proudly put on any tees or hoodies labeled with your children’s sports teams or special interests, like my Dolphin Immersion tour tee. If your kids are old enough, you might want to wear their school colors. My daughter is young enough to do the “mommy and me” look. I haven’t done that yet. I’m never sure if it is cute or tacky! But I think Katie and Suri did it, so it might be ok.
Of course, with Fall upon us, we can dress in the usual fall classics of deep reds and russet tones (that is straight off of the Trend List on Style tv).
Another fall trend I think many moms will love is the baggy sweater. When I heard that I wanted to jump up and cheer! Jeans or leggings and a big baggy sweater are so comfortable!
For many women at our age and financial bracket, momchic might be the closest they come to current fashion. But if that is what you like, go for it! A loving mom beats high fashion every time!
I think I started my own style of fashion when I spent a week in the hospital with pre-eclampsia. At least, I started imagining it then. I am a solitary soul. So it was no surprise that I wound up alone in the ER. I had brought a book with me as usual. But I finished reading it before I was even admitted, and with no one to visit I was dying of boredom almost before the pain meds kicked in. I’m obsessively creative, so I had to find something to do after I read all the articles. There were all those pictures, all those advertisements, and all those “style find” pages.
About a month before that hospitalization, I had turned 40. Frankly, I never thought I’d live past 30. I had been through a lot that year, not the least of which was my unplanned pregnancy and the accompanying illness. I was afraid to be real. Writing and drawing meant being real, and i wasn’t able to face that. I was homebound on bedrest. So I ended up reading a lot of fashion magazines. I started thinking it would be fun to dress a little better.
In my all or nothing nature, that meant dressing like the people in the magazines, incorporating my poetic, bohemian type style. I hadn’t been myself , been true to myself, in over a year. It was time.
I’ve recently discovered an interest in fashion. I’m not sure why. It may be that as a 40 year old mom to a ten year old and a 6 month old, I’ve realized I don’t have many more chances to look good. For the past few years, I have been buying fashion magazines to get ideas for drawing. Over time I became interested in the fashions themselves.
Of course, the price of fashion makes it impossible for me. I said I was a single mom. What I didn’t say was that I am on disability and medicaid. For the past decade, my interest in clothes has been skanty at best. Once a month I might decide I like something, and a month or so after that I might come across something I like at the local dollar store.
In some weird way I made the progression to deciding I wanted to write about fashion. But this is not the average New York fashion. This is my impression of New York, Paris, and Milan fashion, translated into smalltown low income America.
So far, fashion has been something average Americans see on TV or in the movies. I’m sure that most women my age are entirely happy to leave it that way. Or they might be perfectly satisfied buying the new things on the racks at Walmart this season. I have always been thrilled with being able to afford the new things at walmart!!! I still am, and I’m happy shopping at thrift stores too. I like the fashion magazines, but normally their articles on ‘good deals’ are articles about where you can buy shoes for ONLY $200.00, where you can get organic tees for only $50.00, and where you can get the latest lipstick shade for $20.00.
You would also read about the trend toward mixing prints, including mixing floral prints that have no colors in common. That is a style that looks good on the magazine pages. But if you wear it in my town, people look at you funny. I did it last week, and I got some strange looks!
The point of Welfare Chic is to discover and share fashionable looks that you can afford on a low income, and that you can wear comfortably when you walk to Food Lion on Saturday with the kids.
Welfare Chic is my message to people like me, and ultimately it is about my message to myself. You can look good without spending a lot. It’s ok to be wild, to be out there. It’s even ok to be a little bit bad. Even if you’re poor. And it is always chic to be yourself.