Housedress Chic {I Have a Plan}

We've been sick. Really sick. As in we-got-influenza-A-and-then-the-rotavirus-at-the-SAME-TIME kind of sick. So naturally, I spent the last two weeks wearing clothes suitable for catching a constant barrage of bodily fluids that also made me feel warm and comfortable at all times. I've been sleeping in them, too, and the only change I made was to launder and rotate about once every couple of hours. In the six-day period of greatest , I did 67 loads of laundry. This illness was serious business.

We're improving now and for the first time in my entire life, I just don't want to even look at another hoodie. I want to burn them all. I want to put on some makeup and a sequined ball gown and go to Walmart to buy nail polish (just to "get out"). But since hoodies and sweats make up like 75% of my wardrobe and the other 25% are items I'm not willing to sacrifice to homemade messes, I have a problem. It's also cold here in Cleveland for a majority of the calendar year. I'm cold all the time. So I need a new warm mom uniform that doesn't remind me of being a slob and a vomit queen.

Here's me today in my hoodie. It's a Franciscan University hoodie and that makes it better but still... it's headed for semi-retirement. I went outside to take the selfie. Yes, going outside after this kind of illness reminded me of gollum leaving the mountain to go after the ring ... my eyes, precious! And my kids hung out the window yelling seeeeelfiieeee! because they knew how much I would love that.

I have a plan. What I need is money and accountability. So right now, I'm throwing it on the blog to keep myself accountable. Later today, I'm going to try to convince my good husband that I need more clothes. To which he'll wrinkle his forehead and ask "But you have a whole closet full of clothes already, right?" To which I'll respond: Yes... and no. And all you ladies know what I'm talking about. And all you husbands just don't you worry at all because we know what we're doing.

In the absence of a good stylist, I need to hack a good mommy daily wardrobe make-over. Since no companies are knocking on my blog door asking to throw clothes and shoes at me, I'm pretty much on my own. As I said... I have a plan. I'm going to sew my daily wardrobe....

I'm going for an updated version of a housedress. Imagine this as great-grandma goes boho chic with a Japanese twist and you've got the idea. I need the following features:

  • Able to nurse in it.
  • Must have pockets.
  • Able to withstand frequent washings.
  • Must be at least moderately pretty.
  • Long enough to cover my rump while wearing leggings.
  • Short enough to be practical. (Nothing you can say can convince me that long skirts are not treacherous in a home with many stairs. My life experience is sufficient defense for my position.)
  • Must include at least one small sweet impractical detail.
  • Must be easy to make and modify in duplicate.
  • Must be able to wipe my dishpan hands on it occasionally without flinching.
  • Needs to look cute with leggings or jeans. 
  • Absolutely must somehow be warm enough for Ohio Winters and yet also practical for Summer. (Layering is the obvious answer)
  • Easy on and off.
  • I must be able to throw on a pair of shoes and, without changing my clothes, not be embarrassed to run out to the store.

All of my Pinterest searches for housedress perfection seem to land me on Japanese sites. So I'm buying this book (because it's in English) and running with it. Again, I'm going for great grandma meets boho chic. This will either be brilliant or horribly misguided.  

The picture below shows a Chinese shift dress that I bought used from a lady who had recently become a citizen, had a baby and outgrown her wardrobe. It is close to my ideal but is slightly too narrow for comfortable nursing. It would need more fabric and perhaps a pleat or two to keep it from billowing. I love the lace neckline. I love the pockets. I love the light cotton fabric and feminine sleeves. I tried to find out from the tag where to get another but (shocker) it was in Chinese. (My 12-year old was clearly thrilled to have his picture taken. I don't recall when this was shot but have some clues. He's wearing a suit coat: Must be heading to Mass. His eyes are puffy and he's frowny: Must have been morning Mass.) 

And this is what I found from the book (among other sweet things). I don't think I could manage to be quite as adorable as this young gal but I'll have my pockets. Any fabric nuts out there? Send me your suggestions for cute fabrics!

After my wardrobe is sewn, I'm going to come back here and commit to 30-days without a pullover hoodie and anything remotely resembling sweat pants. Because I'm a big girl now. If anyone wants to join me in kicking their daily wear up a notch (a little Catholic mom upgrade for ourselves and our husbands!), my goal is to have everything ready to go by May. So get your plans and stuff together and meet me here! 
 

Posted on January 19, 2015 and filed under Beauty, motherhood, Womanhood, fashion.