Slovenly Chic: A WAHM's Wardrobe

by Dani Bostick
wahm wardrobe
Danielle Bostick

It was pajama day at Dunkin Donuts, but only two of us were celebrating—me and the toddler in the stroller. That particular day in Dunkin Donuts, I was wearing a camouflage fleece cap (I have enough dignity to hide my bedhead), oversized fleece pajama pants (I’ve found that three sizes “over” is about right for maximum comfort), and my favorite hooded sweatshirt. I put on earrings so people can tell I’m female. That is uncomfortable, but I make that sacrifice to spare others the awkwardness of calling me “sir.”

To be honest, every day is pajama day for me. I am a walking People of Walmart, strongly preferring loungewear to “regular” clothes (“Regular” is in quotes because “regular” is relative. My “regular” happens to be super-casual).

My fashion preference became Slovenly Chic after I became a WAHM. I have an awesome wardrobe, but it just started to seem pointless to dress fancy when my office is the sofa, and my workday is basically a work life—a constant feeling that I have something to get done and no commute or change of scenery to indicate that it is time to relax. So, I started relaxing by staying in lounge clothes all day.

Slobs have a hard life. Once when I was visiting my mom, I took a call outside in her backyard. She mistook me for an intruder, assuming some raggedy teenage boy had snuck into her gated community. Other times, I have alarmed my own neighbors. I was on a walk with my dog near the elementary school one day (actually, this has happened several times) when my next door neighbor started slowing down to check out a suspicious person—me. Thankfully, she recognized my dog. As I waved, she realized it was me buried under my husband’s super-sized flannel pj pants with a sweatshirt tucked into them (I do that so the pants won’t fall down—that is a pro-level slob trick right there).

Dressing like a slob in a store usually guarantees that I’ll get annoyingly attentive customer service. Salespeople, and sometimes even security guards, follow me around asking every 30 seconds, “Can I help you with anything?” I’d like to be a smart-ass and respond, “Can you help me shoplift this outfit by cramming it into my pockets?” (I use hands, pockets, and sometimes my bra as a purse, but that is another story for another time.) Generally, though, I keep my mouth shut and accept that the price of looking sloppy is getting followed around stores.

There are advantages to dressing like a slob, though. My kids rarely ask for rides to school, content to take the bus instead of being seen with my mismatched ensembles. One of my weekday morning favorites is the nightgown over pajama pants with a velour robe on top of everything. Sometimes, instead of a hat, I’ll just put on a hair wrap, which makes my hair look even fiercer—and by “fiercer,” I mean astoundingly awful.

My choice of clothing also means I’m ready for a nap at a moment’s notice. And, most importantly, I’m always comfortable. Perhaps best of all, it is possible to look put together (again, this is all relative) simply by wearing leggings or properly fitting sweatpants and trading in the fleece cap for a scarf.

Today, for example, I look great. I’m wearing leggings, snow boots, a sports bra, and an oversized French terry “dress” (okay, okay, it’s a sweatshirt, but one I got in the women’s section of Target. It is not my husband’s, and it is not tucked into my pants). I put on some lip gloss and mascara. I am “fancy” and beautiful at Starbucks today. As a sloppy dresser, it doesn’t take much to feel that way.

I know I’m not alone here. WAHMs, SAHMs, working moms on the weekends, there are a lot of other women out there like me who value function over aesthetics. I see you out and about, celebrating pajama day whenever you damn well please and understanding you can enjoy a day of comfort even though you’ve outgrown a stroller.