Getting To the Bottom of It [Style & the SAHM]

or: The Long and the Short of It

or: Clerks At the Returns Desk Tremble When I Walk In

or: I Hope Y’All Appreciate Everything I Go Through For You!!

I don’t remember whether I’ve said it explicitly, but a basic premise of my quest is that I want to be completely satisfied with the clothes I wear.  I’ve gone through most of my life feeling . . . meh, okay . . . at best, about how I look and, more specifically, how I dress.


I’m a tolerably attractive person, with a healthy BMI, and I think I should be able to feel good about the image I present to the world.  But I’m pushing 31 here; I’ve got two kids (with plenty of bodily evidence thereof); I drive a minivan.  If I don’t get it together now, I don’t know that I ever will.

My husband and I work hard for 100% of the money we earn.  The clothes I buy should work 100% for me.

And all this is a long way of saying:

A good pair of shorts (or crops or capris or whatever) is hard to find.  Especially when one is almost completely limited to online shopping.

I did find some, actually.  I love these shorts from Boden (tho I don’t have any pics of me wearing them yet).

Boden Off-Duty shorts

They’re expensive, but they’re comfortable and, I think, flattering.  They sit just right on my hips.  They don’t fall too low when I bend down.  They do sag a bit in the bum, but I don’t care, especially in a thinner material like chino.  They’re long enough without looking awkward . . . like these do:


Not the look I’m going for

I found this pair of Dockers Bermuda shorts at Goodwill, and I was pretty pleased with them at first.  Pat says he likes them. But after wearing them several times . . . meh.  They aren’t very flattering (the Birks don’t help, but that’s another story).  The at-the-knee length just doesn’t work for me, and they won’t stay rolled up.

Same with these from Target:

Merona Bermuda shorts

I had high hopes for these chinos from Shade clothing:

Shade Clothing chinos

But when I tried them on, it was that old, sad story: the pair that fit in the waist were too tight in the hips and thighs, and the pair that fit in the hips and thighs were falling down in the waist.  And somehow they just didn’t present enough potential to warrant bringing them to a tailor.

Same with these from JC Penney:


These were too tight  and failed to motivate me to swallow my pride and order a size or two up:

Slim chino from Shade clothing

On Mary’s suggestion, I tried these linen pants from Old Navy:

I dig the cool, flowy look:


But the blue isn’t the right shade, and the khaki doesn’t fit right, and I don’t like the other colors. (Typical Old Navy: different colors fit differently.)

I found these and really liked them (despite their being from that place).

Merona 5″ chino shorts

I tried them on and they looked great but I got this feeling in the pit of my stomach that led to a conversation that went something like this:

Me: Are these shorts too short?

Pat: . . . Mmm . . . I dunno . . . maybe not . . . . How do they look when you’re sitting down? . . . Eh, well . . . they’re kind of . . . on the line.

Me: They’re the exact same length as my white shorts.

Pat: . . . Yeah, the white shorts are on the line, but I wasn’t going to say anything.


Whether or not they objectively are too short  (the inseam is 5 inches) really doesn’t matter.  If my husband thinks they’re “on the line,” they’re not 100% perfect, satisfactory, great, and I’m not going to buy them.  I want to look and feel chic & classy and appropriate for any occasion at all times (is that really so much to ask??? come on!).  If my shorts are “on the line,” then on a good day I’ll be self-conscious about garnering the wrong kind of attention . . . and on a bad day I’ll feel self-conscious about exposing great expanses of white, blubbery leg flesh.

Self-conscious = no good.

There are a lot of cute cropped jeans out there, but I’ve steered clear of them.  It gets hot here in the Mid-Atlantic, yo?  I can maybe do linen pants or cropped chinos, but denim past my knees is just too much for summer days.

I have this crazy idea that I should try a skort.  Rachel Meeks talks about how great it is to wear dresses in the summer.  I see her point, but I can’t get over my fear of overexposure (as Hallie would understand).  So enter these:

Athleta Whatever Skort

Athleta Wherever skort

I’m about to order them.  We’ll see how that goes.  If they don’t work, maybe I’ll just order a few more pairs of the Boden shorts and be done with it.  I am looking for a uniform, after all.

In the meantime, I wear my Boden shorts as often as I can.  And when those are in the laundry I wear the dreaded Dockers, or the on-the-line white shorts (for 30 seconds or so until they get filthy).  When the laundry situation gets really dire, well, if you knock on my door just don’t be surprised if it takes me awhile to come answer.

image via

“Hang on a sec!  I have to put on my barrel!”         image via the U. of Ky

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9 thoughts on “Getting To the Bottom of It [Style & the SAHM]

  1. Just a shout-out for skirts and dresses–I LOVE them. They feel much more flattering and fail to remind me (the way my shorts do) that my thighs are not the size they were when I was 12. My husband loves them, and always just feel prettier than when I’m wearing shorts. And when I’m concerned about bending over (which is most of the time since babies aren’t concerned about my modesty), I like to add a cute pair of leggings.

    All that is to say, I feel your pain! AND I love Boden. Their maternity clothes are the cutest I have EVER seen.

  2. I really like skirts for summer…my favorite is the athleta foldover skirt (Old Navy makes a cheaper version which I own as well). I wear skirts quite a bit, and honestly, my kids are worse at pulling them up or exposing me than the wind is…although I have had a few wind incidents. I still wear them though and try not to worry about it..but you can wear bike shorts underneath (I don’t because I hate wearing too many layers in summer and the point of wearing skirts instead of pants is that they are cooler.

    I need to check out those shorts, because I’m looking for a good pair of shorts!

  3. I really love this whole series! I’ve been a modest summer dress kind of person in the past but now that I’m having my first I’m-nursing-a-baby-and-it’s-Florida-hot summer experience I’m at a loss as to what to do. I keep going back to the store to find the perfect modest but still baby accessible outfit that doesn’t make me feel like I’m about to pass out from heat exhaustion when said baby is tied to me but I’ve almost given up my search and decided to either sacrifice modesty until we leave this wretched climate next year or tell my boys that we’re having summer inside this year 🙂

    • Thanks Cristina! I’m so glad you enjoy it. … Oh man, the Florida heat and humidity are just brutal. And the usual nursing combo: nursing cami + shirt + warm moist baby + nursing cover = stifling. I do think modesty is somewhat relative to your locale and situation …. Good luck and crank up that AC!

  4. Laura, I love your expression in the pic with the ON linen pants! They looked good, but youre right, their quality control is off. I admit that I’m having trouble finding shorts I like, too. What’s a girl to do? Maybe it’s related to height ( I’m not that tall!), but sometimes shorts that are supposedly 5″ seem so short! And I’m not on the modesty police force – but I can’t imagine how I’d feel/look in the 3 “!

  5. Shorts are a conundrum! I had to do away with some of my shorter shorts after having SK… the time has past when those were appropriate/I can pull those off! I haven’t given up on shorts all together though. My winners these days are the Gap boyfriend roll-ups and old Loft shorts that still do the trick (I barely shop at Loft these days though because I think the quality has gone down the tubes). The thing I focus on with shorts is the length, vs the fit on the bum. They don’t necessarily flatter my backside the way jeans and other pants do, but I’m ok with that as long as the length is modest, classy and flattering. Also, most of my shorts are fun colors. I feel like that distracts from my mom-butt situation, whereas wearing khaki shorts is more of a mom look. You know what I mean? Anyway, one day I’ll have to give them up for good because my varicose vein problem is just going to get worse with age and babies. Wop-wop!

  6. I just love your posts on shopping/style 🙂 Shorts are hard! I like the J. Crew 5-inch inseam ones (I have two pairs from end-of-season clearance). And I second Ellen about the Gap boyfriend roll-ups! They’re a great length and fun colors. I just ordered a pair and have to return them for a size smaller, which is always sort of nice haha.

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