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.


The Polar Vortex Has Frozen My Sense of Style


Brrrrr. The handy thermometer outside my kitchen window read about 2 degrees early Tuesday morning.

By now, we are all well-versed on the potential hazards posed by the record-breaking temperatures that have plunged the country into a deep freeze.

Just turn on the TV for a couple of minutes and you’ll be immediately terrified by the mighty wrath of the polar vortex.

There’s hypothermia and frostbite to combat and slipping and falling on icy surfaces to be avoided.

Power lines are falling and cars, trains and even airplanes are zigzagging all over the place.

Just this morning, I watched a clip on Good Morning America of cars skidding across highways and one video of a vehicle careening off an overpass and crashing onto a frozen pond below.

But perhaps the most critical issue that has been impacted by the subzero temperatures here in the Northeast is my sense of style.

It seems to have frozen.

I have gone from trying to look cute (well, most days) to trying to stay warm and cozy and I am here to report that those two criteria do not go hand-in-hand.

Case in point: I returned home from picking my little guy up from school yesterday afternoon and tried briefly to sit and work in the jeans and turtleneck sweater I was wearing. That lasted about 10 minutes.

I could not deal with the button, the zipper, the funnel gripping my neck or even my bra.

It’s like it’s so cold outside that I just want swath myself in fleece and eat pot roast.

So that’s what I did.

Since about 3:00 yesterday afternoon, I have been wearing this:


My glamorous cheetah suit even has a handy pouch in front, perfect for holding dirty tissues and your cell phone.

I ate soup in it, did some work in it, wasted time on Facebook in it and watched yet another episode of “The Americans” (which everyone needs to watch) in it and drank wine in it.

I took it off to sleep and put it back on this morning. I suppose I’ll have to change out of it again to exercise later because that would be weird.

When I received the classy Forever 21 jumpsuit as a gift this Christmas, I wore it for a day and then hung it up, considering it more of a gag than a critical new piece to add to my daily wardrobe.

But now I’m thinking that if the weather this winter stays as cold and snowy as it’s already been, it could just become a fashion staple. My go-to work-from-home ensemble.

My older children were a little more skeptical when they saw their mother emerge from her room wearing essentially a onesie.

“You’re a grown woman,” observed my 21 year old.

There could be some downsides, like, I almost had a heart attack when the doorbell rang yesterday afternoon (thankfully just the UPS guy who drops and goes). And then I was slightly mortified when some of the items I was grabbing out of the mailbox slipped and fell to the ground. I had been trying to just reach my arm out the front door so as to not have to expose my neighbors to the horror of the cheetah suit and then found myself dashing down the front steps and diving through shrubbery to grab the errant mail.

Is this what things have come to? If this is what cold weather does to me, I can’t imagine what I’ll be wearing during the Zombie Apocalypse.

Michonne will have nothing on me.

Back in the day, I would be slightly concerned about what I wore to drive the kids to school each morning. What if I got into an accident or was stopped by the police? Forget clean underwear. At the very least, I always made sure I was wearing a bra. Or a very big coat.

But had something gone awry during this morning’s early and icy ride to the local high school, the paramedics would have had to have sliced through this getup:


And it makes me wonder, as I pass all the other parents carting their kids to school, am I the only one who has foregone style, and a bra for that matter, for comfort?

Has style taken a backseat to staying warm for you this winter?

Because God knows, my former sense of style is sitting in the third row today. Wearing headphones.