An Overall Bad Look

320px-Bib-braceI am super sorry to report that for a good portion of the 1990s, I could be found sporting a pair of overalls. I would like to have said I was actually “rocking” them if, in fact, overalls could indeed be rocked.

Hard to say.

I wore them to the playground. I wore them to take the kids to preschool. I wore them to the grocery store. I wore them to cook Hamburger Helper for dinner (with ground turkey, I’ll have you know). I wore them to snuggle in bed with little bodies to read Tikki Tikki Tembo and Courduroy. And I wore them to sit on our back deck after I’d tucked everyone in at night, sipping a glass of Chardonnay and listening to a bullfrog croak in a nearby pond, and wonder if being a mom would ever get any easier.


And apparently, as I discovered while sifting through old photos this morning, I liked overalls so much, I even wore them to  visit other people’s babies …

Circa 1999, holding, I believe, my niece Emily.

Circa 1999, holding, I believe, my niece Emily.

to family gatherings …

Circa 1994 holding my very own Annie Banannie.

Circa 1994, holding my very own Annie Banannie.

and to celebrate Christmas one year.

Circa whenever-it-was-okay-to-wear-overalls-on-Christmas.

Circa whenever-it-was-okay-to-wear-overalls-on-Christmas.


But I guess back then, fashion was the least of my concerns. I’d had three babies in five years by 1997 and with all the other things I needed to think about — like how many times a day it was okay to watch “Toy Story”  and whether my daughter would be doomed to a life of crime after swiping a Beanie Baby from a local card store — I needed to eliminate as much decision making as possible.

Overalls made an excellent uniform for a mommy. They accommodated both turtlenecks and tshirts and could even be repurposed for warmer weather dressing should a hole appear in one knee.

As we all know by now, I fancy one-piece clothing. If you were to stop by, you’d find a couple of jumpsuits hanging in my closet (an affinity for all-things 80s) and the fleece onesie I wore all winter to keep my crumb-filled tummy warm still hanging from a hook on the back of my bathroom door. So overalls are a natural fit, pun intended.

I’d like to blame my many years in Catholic school for my daily struggle with dressing and ensuing affinity for the one-size-fits-all approach to it. Growing up wearing a uniform every day for almost 12 years made it tricky for me to get dressed in civilian clothing post high school. It was, like, an overwhelming task having so much to choose from.

And overalls are easy, which suits my lazy nature. They were not only good for handling errant spit up and Banana Burst Go-Gurt, they also were good for hiding a bevy of postpartum symptoms, like lactating breasts or that last five pounds. Cover it up in denim, I say (especially since there was no spray tanning back then).

Which leads me to a write up I saw in the Times Style Section today about the comeback of overalls this spring, which is both exhilarating and alarming news.

Be still my heart.

Be still my heart.

“Comfort is a good look,” notes the article, but at prices starting at $300, these new overalls are completely out of my shopping ballpark.

I’m sorry my daughters weren’t old enough, way back when, to tell me to hang up my coveralls. I might have needed them around to tell me enough was enough already. Nowadays, in moments of fashion fatigue and just looking for comfort, I have been trying to get away with wearing the jeans/sneakers combo, a look that horrifies my two girls.

“Mom!” one would shriek after spying me in my comfiest Old Navy jeans and sensible New Balance sneaks. “Take them off right now! You look ridiculous!”

And every time we’re in a store where I can try on a straw fedora, one will inevitably look over at me and say, “You look terrible.”

In all likelihood, they’d have similar reactions if I brought home a new pair of overalls. I’d never make it past my bedroom door. Apparently, I’m too old for many of these trends and while I’d still like to find a cute straw beach hat, I’m willing to bet no one wants to see some old broad like me dressed like a farmer.

So they can keep their fancy $300 overalls. I won’t be needing them this spring. I’m very happy sitting around in my pajamas all day, thank you very much.

I totally rock them.


19 thoughts on “An Overall Bad Look

  1. I too was an overall fan in the 90’s. I don’t think they would be very flattering now so I’ll skip that trend too. Thanks for the denim memories. xo

  2. So, I watched True Tori and she was wearing overalls. I actually noticed them and thought – I used to like overalls. And, she looks cute in them! Although I don’t think I will be buying a pair – esp. at $300!

    • Hi Courtney! I know. I see girls like Tori in them (btw I need to catch up on that show), and think, “Hmmmm.” God help me if I pass a pair hanging in Old Navy. 🙂

  3. Overalls were very popular with both the male and female student population at RBRHS circa 1977. My stubby frame did not work but I was jealous of the folks who could wear them and look good.

  4. How about the maternity overalls? I wore them in 2002 which doesn’t seem that long ago. I really love your blog! Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I was a UD Alpha Phi also (class of ’86). I found out about your blog thru Mindy Howard’s FB page. Great and funny stuff,

    • Hi Jennifer! So glad a fellow APhi found the blog. I’m sending you the secret handshake telepathically. I bet the maternity overalls were really cozy and flattering! Come back again … xo

  5. Hilarious and great timing! My daughter was wearing her new overall shorts the other day (and did rock them). I told her how I used to live in overalls and she was horrified! I am not sure I have pictures to document that stage of my life but I do remember LOVING them!

    • Hi Tara! I was horrified to find that Christmas overalls getup in particular in my photos box. Funny how kids think they like invented everything … 😉

  6. I rocked a pair of maternity overalls in the mid-90s for most of my first pregnancy (and probably postpartum). Did I think that looking like Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum made me look slimmer? Wrong. If I tried to wear a pair now, my 17-year old daughter would surely slap me! Thanks for the laugh.

    • Nora .. totally! I can’t decide it our kids our doing us a favor by keeping us away from trendy looks or acting like little buzz kills. Glad you got a laugh … 😉

  7. I was in college when I was rockin’ out my overalls…I too, will steer clear of them this next go around. But I’m thinking fashion designer should be my new career. I can just break out the old photos, see what my friends and I were wearing, and go from there. Do you think I could bring back the sunflower print?

  8. i loved my overalls too but i think my kids would stop breathing if i dabbled in that fashion direction. i will say….you definitely didn’t need a pocketbook when you wore them. there were pockets everywhere on those dang things. at 50….ill stick with my fanny pack to carry all my wares (kidding kidding kidding)

  9. I was very scared when the overall trend hit. Seeing Olivia Palermo rocking her pair was just odd and how come she looks so fashionable and I looked…well….like a farmer.

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