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Mommy Dress Codes Translated

Life used to be simple.  I'd wake up to my FM radio alarm clock, listen to the weather broadcast and choose my clothes for the day.  Depending on my current job and my daily schedule, I either dressed for business professional, business casual, or jeans Friday dress codes.  But, this was pre-kids.

Now, as a primarily stay-at-home mom, my dress code revolves around what's clean or what I can easily get stains out of (it's not a matter of if they will happen but when).  I don't wear white unless I'm in a daring mood, and I don't wear anything that looks really good on me unless I'm planning to be seen in public because the good Lord and Murphy know that my kids will find a way to trash my clothes while trashing their own.

So, what do I do when I get an invitation to an event that has a dress code for which I no longer understand?  Here are my translations to current dress codes:

White Tie:  Wow!  Mama is going out in style!  I definitely need a babysitter - probably all day so I have time to get ready.  There won't be any looking in my closet for a gown that fits; Nordstrom, here I come!  That tea-length or cocktail dress simply won't do, but I'm going to feel like a princess in my floor-length ball gown.  Might as well make an appointment to get my hair done as well, but since this isn't a state dinner, I'll leave my tiara at home.  Should I get gloves?  Nah, there's no way I can keep those clean around my kids.  But, just to be safe, I better make sure I don't feed the kids mac and cheese or anything else with sauce because I definitely don't want their fingerprints showing up all over me as I walk into this event.

Black Tie: Wow!  I'm going to a fancy event, better get a babysitter.  I better be sure that I have a dress that wasn't worn in 1990-something and that still fits me despite my changes in hip, waist and chest size.  If it's a floor length gown, that's great, but I can also get away with that tea length dress I have left over from the wedding I was in a couple of year's ago or the cocktail dress I bought for last year's Christmas party the hubby and I went to.  I also better assure that my darling children haven't gotten into my jewelry box, again, and that I have some sparkles that match. 

Cocktail:  Ooh, where's my little black dress?  That will definitely hide all of the areas of my body I don't want people to see have changed since I had the kids.  Maybe I'll be a little risque and get something in navy or grey...  Oh, and I can't forget my signature jewelry piece.  This is going to be so much fun!  But, wait, do I put my hair up or down?  Well, if I do anything different than I normally do, I know I'll have to do it twice since my darling daughter will want to have her hair styled the same way.  I better plan a bit of extra time for that.  Oh, I better not forget to schedule the babysitter!
Business Professional/Formal:  I realize it's been a while since I've worked in an office meeting with clients and executives, but I better double check that my business suit still fits.  Perhaps I'll go shopping for a new, trendier blouse to go under the suit.  That will liven the look up a bit.  Oh, and I better find myself a new pair of heels.  Those chunky shoes I wore when I last worked will definitely be out of style now for this look.  Hmmm...I wonder if I have any stockings that haven't been stretched into puppets or toys for the kids to play with?

Sunday Dress: Oh, look!  It's Sunday, or at least it is in this host's eyes.  I better pull out my casual dress and be sure that my hair and makeup are done nicely.  What other rules did Mom have for going to church?  Oh, yeah, no denim your lipstick better match your blush.  I wonder if I should start teaching my kids about this dress or continue letting them wear their own "coordinated" clothing to church on Sundays?  ...I think I'll keep letting them dress themselves.  There are too many rules to memorize with this dress code.

Business Casual:  I need to pull out my iron and get started on these slacks and blouse.  But, I'll need to get the ironing done before I go to bed or the kids will end up with burnt fingers from the curiosity of me using this remarkable tool that gets wrinkles out of things.  I wonder if I still know how to use it?  Oh, yeah!  I can finally wear those trendy shoes I bought on sale earlier this year.  See, and my husband thought I wouldn't get a chance to wear them.  I knew they were a great deal!

Smart Casual/Casual Dressy/Trendy Casual: Argh! I hate this dress code.  Are they telling me that my normal casual isn't dressy enough?!  They want me to dress better than I do on a normal day yet make it appear as though I wear this type of thing everyday?  I guess I better pull out my coordinated leggings and sweater dress or dressy denim and cute top.  Do I have any cute riding boots or strappy ankle shoes?  How on earth am I going to pull this look off when I can only count on Curious George or Super Why keeping the kids occupied for about five minutes?

Casual:  Ah!  Here's where I get to be a bit closer to myself.  Jeans and a t-shirt or sweater.  This is what I'm talking about.  But, I better make sure to turn on Sesame Street so I can get showered in the morning.  I don't want to show up stinky.

Pajama-wear:  Now, here's my everyday wear!  I don't need to shower or dress.  This is who I truly am and the person who invited me must also be living life honestly.  I bet this is a playdate and my kids can come dressed in the same attire.  PERFECT!


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