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Getting Dressed Angst

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Jennifer Ginsberg: I am embarrassed to admit it, but there are many mornings when I am daunted by the task of getting dressed for my day. It often seems no easier now then it did when I was 13 years old, as I labored over picking out the perfect pair of fluorescent leggings, matching scrunchi, and cut up sweatshirt (ala "Flashdance") to wear to junior high school.

woman confused

Now, as a 35-year-old mom, I want to wear an outfit that reflects my individuality but is also incredibly stylish, comfortable, and age-appropriate. I want to be able to accessorize effortlessly, like Nicole Richie, who looks like she accidentally threw on 1960's vintage headband and 15 bangle bracelets. I want an outfit that will take me from school drop-off, to yoga, to work. I want to be able to rock the Katie Holmes/Heidi Klum playing-with-their-kid-in-the-park look.

But most days I end up in some version of stretchy pants, sweatshirt and a baseball cap because nothing else seems to work!

I recently met a gorgeous, amazingly hip woman named Nui who designs and constructs these beautiful strapless tube dresses that have become all the rage with the celebs.

"This is the perfect look for you" she told me, showing me one of her creations. "Throw on one of these dresses and some motorcycle boots and a cropped jacket. It will take you from dropping off the kids at school, to lunch with a friend, to dinner and a movie with your husband. You can even wear your yoga pants underneath it! Yum!" I immediately bought 3 dresses from her.

I decided to debut my new look at a pre-school fundraiser at the park on a Sunday. As I emerged from my bedroom after getting dressed I was feeling unbelievably chic, but my husband abruptly burst my bubble by asking, "Where the hell are you going?" This was an understandable question because he had not seen me in a dress since our wedding day nearly eight years earlier.

"It's my new look," I told him excitedly "This dress takes me from activity to activity all day long and it is comfy and hip!"

He was not convinced. "But why is it comfortable to chase your kid around the park in a floor- length, strapless dress?" he asked, visibly puzzled.

We got to the park and the hem of my dress dragged in the muddy patches of the grass.

The top of the dress kept sliding down, and considering I had nursed two children for over three years, I was not interested in displaying my breasts to the world. When I sat on the grass, I had to throw my husband's old sweatshirt over my lap so I wouldn't flash the other parents. What was I thinking wearing a floor-length strapless tube dress to a picnic in the park?

I felt such hope when I bought those dresses from Nui. Hope that the dresses would somehow integrate my disconnected life. I would finally be able to transition from role to role all day long without the resistance and struggle that I generally experience. I would no longer have to grapple with the motivation to exercise because my yoga pants would already be on. I wouldn't feel irritated that I had to stop writing to pick my son up from school and take him to the park because I was dressed perfectly for both situations. At the end of a long day, I would have the inspiration and energy for a fun night out with my husband because I looked so damn cute.

My new dresses would not only resolve my angst over getting dressed every morning, they would be the antidote for my mom angst as well.

My dresses by Nui are still hanging in my closet, the perfect solution for some women's wardrobe, but sadly having no real place in mine. I wish I could simplify my life by putting on one outfit in the morning and staying in it all day long. The reality is, there is nothing simple about being a mother in my world. As I strive to care for my children's needs while taking care of my own, I have to accept the fact that I may need to change my outfit several times over the course of the day.


next: Relaxing at the Spa is a Waste
6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sarah-Jane April 21, 2009, 9:50 AM

Just wear whatever makes YOU smile. I for one would have enjoyed seeing the dress you described in the park, as long as you had a confident ‘couldn’t care less’ smile on your face as the hem dragged in the mud.

MotherProof.com April 21, 2009, 11:13 AM

It always helps me to get my closet organized. When I go through and edit all the old stuff it reminds me that I have cool stuff worth wearing that’s been pushed to the back of the closet for years…

Heather April 21, 2009, 2:24 PM

I love the image of you worried the dress would slip down in the park and your husband’s “Where the hell are you going?” Reminds me of all the times I attempt to be chic and then just throw on the Juicy sweats. Thanks for making me smile.

Maeby April 21, 2009, 2:55 PM

yup. i always TRY to wear something cute, then end up putting the ratty sweats back on and my hair pulled back. sigh.

Angel July 1, 2009, 6:50 PM

Hey. Have patience awhile; slanders are not long-lived. Truth is the child of time; erelong she shall appear to vindicate thee.
I am from Switzerland and too bad know English, tell me right I wrote the following sentence: “North west flea mart; all rights reserved.”

With love :-), Angel.

Kissa September 6, 2009, 12:48 AM

Good evening. Whenever people agree with me I always feel I must be wrong.
I am from Japan and also now am reading in English, give true I wrote the following sentence: “Ebay mastercard, in these features, the junk of fact payments was similarly usually slower.”

Best regards ;), Kissa.


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