Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mama Fashion

The other day, when I picked up MJ from daycare, I quickly saw that if I took the long way home she would fall asleep in the car.  So I decided the long way home would be a stop by Sears to buy a garden hose.  Ferrying pitchers of water from the faucet to the garden 50 feet away seemed inefficient before MJ; it has recently become a matter of vegetable life or death.
So, garden hose.  Sears makes these great, indestructible, life-time warranty hoses and I'm tired of buying a new hose every year, only to have it mimic a geyser within a week.  So I bought the hose. And MJ was STILL asleep.
My route out of the store happened to take me through the Women's section.  Now, I'm not a fashionista, but I don't think I've ever bought clothes at Sears. Flat screen TV: Yes. Air conditioner: Yes. Garden hose: Yes.  But with MJ asleep this was my shot to actually buy clothes.

Some might argue that I didn't need to buy clothes. That some would be my husband.  But I'm going to start teaching my first real college class in a few weeks, and it dawned on me recently that I had no idea what to wear.  I'm not sure if you're aware of this, but geologists are a pretty grungy lot.  Lots of fleece and Carhartts.  This means that I don't have to worry much about how I look at work, other than wearing long pants to protect my legs from all the acid I inevitably spill.  In fact, I would get far more stares for dressing nicely than for wearing holey jeans to work.   
But I feel differently about teaching.  Maybe once I'm confident in my teaching abilities I won't feel the need to overcompensate with appearance.  But for the time being I feel the need to look professional.

I was a master of the Sears Women's department.  I would have made James Bond proud: get in, get out, don't be seen.  In 10 minutes flat I found 3 tops and two skirt WHICH ARE INTERCHANGEABLE.  Mastery.  My entire shopping personality has changed.  Time was I could try on clothes all day and maybe find one thing.  My sale radar was too strong to buy anything that wasn't at a rock-bottom price.  But when you have no idea how long baby girl will sleep indecision is not an option. 
Here are my finds.  What I need from you?  Your thoughts.  Are these professional?  Do they make me look dowdy (blue top, perhaps?) or trashy (black and grey top, perhaps?) or something else altogether. The tags are still on, this is your shot to save me from myself.  And what shoes does one wear?  On a side note, I definitely need to work on the biceps.

And for good measure, here's a dress that I bought from Ann Taylor Loft that I have yet to cut the tags off of.  The problem I discovered tonight is that the bra sticks out.  Probably not classroom appropriate.

And you may rest assured, the vegetables have been saved.  Thanks to Sears.


  1. Love the little grey top with the black ruffles with the grey skirt. Very cute. Would love to see how that blue top looks tucked in the skirt. I would buy a little black jacket/shrug to put over just in case.

  2. I like them all! As for shoes - something comfy with good arch support since you will be on your feet a lot. I have a black pair of thong birkenstocks that allow me to feel stylish while not hating my back.

    FYI, I wear a lot of tank tops, cardigans, and jeans while teaching. I find that I need to look at least a little professional in the beginning of the semester so that they know who is boss, but by the end of the year, I always have at least 3-4 students mistake me for another student when my wardrobe choices get a little lax. I also have clothes that I won't wear on lab days in case some mud gets out of control. Or, alternately, a student manages to set a sugar cube on fire with a hot plate...

  3. Thanks for the tips! This was a very interesting experiment for me.... in the store, I thought the blue top and lighter gray looked the best. But after taking pictures and REALLY looking at them I agree that I like the gray top with the black ruffles. It really looked terrible on the hanger. Maybe in the future I'll have to take pictures of me in my clothing before truly deciding if something looks okay.