How to Rock the Stay-At-Home Wardrobe

keep reading for the top Mom basics that you can start building your wardrobe up with

I’m going to be upfront here: I live in a pretty upscale neighbourhood in  Toronto. The kind of neighbourhood that has 3000 square foot homes worth…well, a lot. The kind of neighbourhood that has several gourmet grocery stores to choose from. The kind of neighbourhood that has a high fashion kids store where you can find a onesie for a mere $50. The kind of neighbourhood where nannies from far away countries are the ones picking kids up from school and taking them to the park.

We don’t really belong.

We lucked into renting a tiny, century-old bungalow in a part of town where houses like ours get torn down for modern mansions to be built up. Several on every street, at any given time. It’s the perfect area for our kids, but I don’t feel like I can relate to any of the parents.

I’ve decided to try and keep up with the Jones, though. All the fancypants moms around here may have their own fashion uniform that they adhere to, but I’m here to tell you that us regular moms can have a Look Book too. I mean, I have a uniform, of sorts.

So if you’re feeling intimidated by the other women in your neighbourhood, or even if you’re just feeling like you’re in a fashion rut, keep reading for the top Mom basics that you can start building your wardrobe up with. You may not have your designer printed leggings handy, but these are pieces that will stand the test of time.

1 - Fuzzy Socks

Note the unshaven legs.

These are meant to be worn over multiple days, because who’s got time for putting in a wash for your own clothes?! Not this mom. Bonus points if you’re able to squeeze these into a pair of shoes, so you don’t need to change out of them when you take your kid to school.

2 - Old nursing tank and/or PJ top

Nobody needs to see me in this. Trust me.

I want to make sure I’m inclusive with this one, since not every mom breastfeeds, but LORD these puppies are convenient! I have 3 nursing tanks I bought for when baby C was born, and I’ve been wearing them almost every single night for the past 15 months. The bonus? With the shelf bra they have, you can easily pop a sweatshirt over one of these, and not even have to get out of your pajamas to take your child to school/daycare. If you don’t nurse, invest in one anyway. Seriously, they’re just so comfortable. Invest in 3. I will be wearing these long after my son stops breastfeeding.

3 - Dark yoga pants

I’m not showing off the logo, but these guys ARE a nice weight for fall/winter.

Black yoga pants are pretty much the best invention ever. Completely comfortable, not toosporty, not overly clingy, and the black hides a multitude of sins. I mean, unless you’re spilling yogurt or milk on these babies, they will last numerous wearings. NUMEROUS. Wearings. But you get bonus points if you wear them without giving a shit about any stains that may have accumulated over the week.

4 - Semi-stylish swag hat

Shut up. SHUT. UP. I am a badass mama.

Yet another wardrobe staple that will hide very important things. Like unwashed hair. This hat can look semi-cool and sporty, cover up the fact that you haven’t taken a shower in 3 days, and even better? It was free. You got it at a job you worked at in a past life. The life you lived before children. Ten years ago. That’s why it’s only semi-cool.

5 - The Neutral Hoodie

This is my favourite hoodie, because I didn’t have to pay for it myself.

Another great piece to add to your arsenal is the neutral coloured hoodie which, again, is going to cover all kinds of things you don’t want the world knowing about. Like the fact that you’re still wearing your pajama top and it’s lunch time. Or that you forgot to put on deodorant. Or that you haven’t washed your hoodie in more than a month, despite wearing it Every. Single. Day.


Don’t forget these optional extras, ladies!

Accessory #1 - dry shampoo

Only necessary if you’re planning to mix it up and NOT wear your hat.

This shit is the saviour to moms everywhere. Seriously, if you don’t have this in your arsenal, YOU ARE MISSING OUT. Now I know there are other types of dry shampoo out there, often in a can that you spray on your roots. But I’m a crunchy hippie, so those aerosol cans aren’t my cup of tea. Wanna know an awesome tip for brunettes? You can you cocoa powder instead, so you don’t have powdery white roots! And then you smell like chocolate all day. Hello, awesome.

Accessory #2 - grey hair

A big shout out to my children, who caused all these white hairs to sprout up.

Okay, maybe you’re a young whipper snapper. Or maybe you’re just lucky and you don’t have many (or any, you jerk) grey hairs yet. If that’s the case, screw you, you don’t need to worry about this accessory. For the rest of you, if you’re anything like me, you just don’t have time to dye your hair every 2-3 months. Maintenance is key with hair dye, and maintenance involves a level of self-care that just doesn’t happen these days. The stuff I use is henna-based, so it washes out, and the last time I dyed it was in June. I’m proud to say that I got carded at the liquor store DESPITE all these grey hairs.

Accessory #3 - pilling

Thanks, Lululemon, for your expensive clothes that look good for approximately 2 washes.

I wish I had the time and the inclination to adhere to the washing guidelines of all my clothes, but let’s get real. Shit goes in the washer, then shit goes in the dryer, because you ran out of clothes and need something to wear, STAT.

Okay, that’s it for now, ladies. I know I’m missing plenty of other staples here, but I am running out of time to make more coffee before picking the Fournado up from school for lunch. What other staples do you have in your closet? Let me know in the comments. Maybe I’ll start a series.

Previously published at The Joy of Cooking (for Little Assholes)




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Glynis Ratcliffe used to be an opera singer, but after her daughter begged her to stop singing and be quiet for the millionth time, she decided to use her inside voice and write instead. Now, she’s a freelance writer with bylines at The Washington Post, Chatelaine, Lifehacker, and CBC, as well as being a copywriter and ghostwriter for clients in various industries.