What I wear every day

by | Mar 18, 2009 | Julie | 12 comments

I love to see the fashion of Mainers as the weather gets warmer. We’re all sick of wearing winter coats, and excited about the possibility of shedding the layers, and sometimes this translates into halter tops and corduroy.

I basically wear the same thing every day. It’s a huge advantage I have as a stay-at-home mom. Sometimes I try to stray and wear some flouncy shirt or something, and then Dave very gently tells me that it looks awful, and I run upstairs and happily retreat to my long-sleeved black t-shirt. Here are the things I’m wearing:

  • Gap long-sleeved “Favorite” t-shirt, in black. I wear these every day in the winter time. I think I have 6 of them. Laundry is generally dictated by how many are left. If one is left, I need to do laundry asap.
  • Gap Flare Stretch jeans. Just the right flare at the leg for balancing thigh girth. I can’t find them on the website; maybe they don’t exist anymore? I also have Long and Lean Jeans, which are close. (I’d better be able to find a replacement for these; I have two pairs, and one pair is nearing tatters.)
  • Athleta Dipper pants. Most flattering pants ever. Mine are black. Sutswana calls them my rock star pants. Perfect combo of stylish and athletic/casual.
  • Smartwool socks. Although they only last a year before they get holes in them, they’re still pretty much all I wear. Seriously, though, you’d think they’d be able to make these socks so they don’t get giant holes after 12 months of wear.
  • Dansko ankle boots, in black. I miraculously got mine off of Freecycle, but I’d wanted them for years, and I probably should have just bought them myself years ago. They look great, are tall enough to manage puddles, and super comfortable. Not great in snow, though. These don’t seem to exist any more. Too bad. They’re great. They’re kind of like the regular Professional clog, but extended up bootward, and with a (nonfunctioning) buckle.
  • In summer, I switch to the Gap “Favorite” t-shirt in the short-sleeved, v-neck version. I have many in black, but also in other colors (blue, brown, red). It is summer, after all.
  • Old Navy skirts. Old Navy pants, in my experience, are designed by a misogynist alien robot. The skirts, though, are perfect: the waist is just right, and the short skirts hit at just the right spot so they are flirty and cute but also totally manageable by a mom in her late 30s (e.g., there is no way they would be mistaken for a belt). I have two in solid colors, and three in excellent prints. I wear these all summer long instead of shorts.
  • Keen Antigua sandals. Waterproof, comfortable, and a toe bumper. Mine are red.
  • Keen Portola sneakers. Dave has always worn these (well, he’s worn them as long as they’ve been around), and I was jealous of how great they look, and finally realized I should just get some myself. Like the Danskos, I don’t know why I waited so long. They go with everything, are comfortable, and funky. Love them. Plus I got them in my favorite green color.

Really, that’s about it. I’m still searching for the perfect cardigan, and the perfect bra. And Smartwools that don’t self-destruct after 12 months.

What are your go-to items?


  1. Kate

    I refer to my everyday wear as my “uniform” since it’s a variation on a basic theme. Most of my gear these days is either from the Gap, Old Navy, or Target. I discovered the Target Mossimo “slub” tees in long and short sleeve that are so incredibly soft and comfortable that they’ve become my staple shirt now. I usually top that with a cardigan or hoodie sweatshirt to ward off the winter chill and wear some basic pants (I also have the Gap Long and Lean jeans that I’ve had for at least 8 years now!). Not exciting but very functional and washable! Once I enter the house I usually ditch the jeans for wide-legged sweatpants since I find myself moving nonstop and jeans aren’t the friendliest thing in the world to wear when you’re on your hands and knees picking up toys or spot-cleaning the kitchen floor, etc. Such an exciting life I do lead!

    Then of course there’s the fashionable mom set locally who wear the latest get-ups that seem:
    a) ridiculous and too fashionable
    b) most likely wildly overpriced and purchased in a local boutique – again, overpriced
    c) like they’ll be out of fashion in about two months and
    d) to be worn only by gals driving enormous Escalades or Lincoln Navigators.

    Gee, I sure am glad to be me!

  2. Julie

    We have the same uniform. I do have several black hoodie sweaters that I wear. I will check out the slub tees; that’s a good tip.

    One very nice thing about Maine is that there aren’t really super crazy fashionable people. I mean, yeah, there are fashionable people, we’re not a bunch of rubes or anything, but you don’t really see people hobbling around in stilettos and asymmetrical tops or anything. Though there is one mom at school that Sutswana and I refer to as Posh Spice…though I have to say that’s like 15% because of fashion and 85% hair and makeup.

  3. Christina

    I have the exact same uniform too! Mossimo tees, jeans and black hoodies, a couple pairs of yoga pants and some skirts from H&M. Except with Dansko sandals for most of the year here. Erik loves smartwool socks- I haven’t been able to afford any for myself (and I don’t really need them here in CA) but I’m going to stock up when we move to CO. I do believe in spending a little more on really good fitting dark jeans and I will spend more on cashmere sweaters/hoodies because I love the look and feel of cashmere- I try to find them at thrift stores and occasionally at costco- but I will spend more if I find one in a store that i really like. I like Target for nursing bras and just the basic Maidenform bodymates bra for when I am not nursing- it’s cheap, soft and fits well- comes in a three pack.
    And I am in the land of super crazy fashionable people- except most of the moms i know wear basic stuff. There are a couple that dress very nicely- not like OC housewife trashy nice- but really cool funky clothes that I would love to own. But I just decided that it must be more of a priority for them to keep up with fashion and makeup, etc , then it is for me- and I’d rather spend my (limited) free time on something else (like sleep)!
    (Speaking of limited free time it took me like all day to get this typed- i’d sit down and type two words and then be up again…)
    Oh- Julie I have to add- your Freecycle up there sounds amazing- I belong here but stopped checking the listings because I was afraid I would start just adding junk that we didn’t need to our house. But Dansko boots?!!? juicer– maybe I should start checking ours again…

  4. Julie

    Oh, Christina, I bet you have crazy fashionistas around you. It must be kind of fascinating to watch.

    There’s a newish H&M here that I want to check out at some point. I’ve never been to one. But I don’t really need anything right now, so there’s no reason to go.

    I got a bunch of bras from herroom.com, and I like them (they’re nursing bras…I look forward to the day when I can wear a regular bra again), but they’re not quite Perfect.

  5. Christina

    H&M is tricky– in Europe they are sort of like a wonderful, even more stylish Target or Old Navy- they have men, women, children’s clothes and every sort of style and genre within that (maternity, workout, underwear, accessories, etc) And they have great, cheap stuff. However in the states only some of their stores have that variety of choice- many of them are geared only to the 15-20 year old set. Hopefully the one they opened near you is not just a teen store…

  6. Julie

    I have no idea what kind of H&M we have. I guess I’ll just have to go and find out!

  7. emily

    Ok I was away last week so missed htis post at first but now I am here to say THANKYOU! I once inherited a black gap longsleeved t that is miraculous in its constuction- never clings to muffintop blub, is not see-through, is warm and black and has a nice neck. if this so called “favorite T” (surely a more obscure, hard-to-find item never existed!) is that, I’m sold. I’m a-gonna order one, jsut to see if it is that mythical creature — the original has holes.

    my uniform WAS jcrew favorite-fit “vintage cords” (they look like khakis, but are in strange colors), some t-shirt, and a grey cardigan sweater, usually jcrew ribbed or the cashmere zipper one my sister got at filene’s basement- but that one is pretty holey now, so…. But I’ve gotten too, er, blubby for those cords, so I’ve gone up a size and now wear the jeans-style ones…in dark green and black. I’m gonna check out those dipper pants too! and I’ve recently discovered, in my despair over muffintop blub, my HUSBAND’s rejected jcrew cords, which are size 32-34, and are large, but if you roll them above ankles are cute with boots, and since they’re men’s and I’m not QUITE a 32 waist, feel good to wear. they have a rise on me like Gene Kelly’s dancin’ pants, but I don’t care: they hold me in and don’t show my butt if I bend over! I’m hemming them this week, har har!

    anyway, SUPERB post, I want to hear everyone’s, because, well, what to wear every day IS a dilemma, especially if you don’t think you’ve got the uniform right yet.

  8. Julie

    Christina, what’s the brand of the good fitting dark jeans you get? I could maybe use something better in that department.

    I need to check out J. Crew for cardigans. I bet they’ll have something perfect.

    Emily, I have such an image of you in these once-fabulous clothes, now all threadbare. That’s writer chic, no? At any rate, I’m SURE it’s the Favorite T you’re looking for, what you described sounds exactly like it.

  9. Christina

    Ah- a rec for “designer” jeans is like a bra rec- what works well for me might not work well for you at all. I do like Joe’s jeans, Paper denim and cloth and Citizens of Humanity but the only way I found this out was to go to a store that sells a variety of brands of “designer denim”, talked to the salespeople who know the various fits and then tried on a million. And then got them hemmed to the exact right length. It is a pain, but I only have to do this every 4-5 years or so (and repeat to myself “it’s cost per wear” when I pay for them). I wash them only occasionally (that’s not hard!)- inside out, in cold and hang to dry and they last forever.
    Once you know your size and the brand and style you like you can look online- even on ebay- and get them for a lot less. For me they are worth it because they fit me so much better than any cheaper jeans I have ever tried- I used to have major problems with gap-age at the waist and/or crackage issues because i have a very long torso- but I don’t any more.

  10. Julie

    This is very intriguing to me, especially since I wear jeans almost every day. The Gap jeans fit me pretty well, but sometimes they do wear a bit oddly. And I’m long-torsoed too (though I think we have completely different bodies in every other aspect!). There was a place near here called “The Jean Jungle” which had all those fancy jeans, but their website seems to not exist any more, which makes me think they went out of business (not surprising given the current economy and the fact that they called themselves The Jean Jungle). But maybe once I get back in my regular body (soon!) I’ll seek out some good real jeans. Anyone local know where you can get such things?

  11. Christina

    Do you have a macys or nordstroms there? I think they both have decent jean selections- although it can be hit or miss with the salespeople and i think it really helps when you are confronted with a wall of jeans to have someone who really knows how each brand fits so they can help you narrow it down.
    I started wearing good jeans on the advice of a friend’s sister who is an amazing fashionista. She buys everything cheap and trendy except for jeans- she feels that jeans and shoes are the two things worth paying money for and I have come to agree with her.

  12. Julie

    We do have a Macy’s, but I’m pretty sure our Macy’s is what J.C. Penney is in most other places. Though maybe I’m wrong; I honestly never go there, so maybe it’s fancier than I think it is. I can see the benefit of having really good jeans and shoes. I don’t have to worry about this for another six months when I’m back to my fightin’ weight, but I am definitely into the idea of good-fitting, long-lasting jeans.


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