My Week Without Leggings: One Stay-at-Home Mom’s Journey Away from Comfort

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Before having children, I was a career woman with a fairly decent nightlife. I wore heels. A lot of heels. And pencil skirts. I wore mascara every day.

Fast forward. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for the past five years and my wardrobe has gotten . . . let’s say, more and more comfy as time has gone on. Leggings have become a way of life. And it’s not that I have anything against leggings – in fact, you can pry my Zella high waist live-in black leggings off of my cold, dead legs. But my youngest is now 2 years old. I’m getting out into the world quite a bit more. And I need a bit of a fashion boost. Maybe it’s to shake off the stay-at-home monotony. Maybe it’s to prove to myself that I’ve still “got it.” Maybe it’s just because fashion is fun, even if it’s casual.

So, I’ve challenged myself to a week without leggings. 7 whole days without those stretchy delights. And I’m chronicling my journey for y’all. Here we go.

DAY 1 – MONDAY

[Photo cred: my 5-year-old son. #headless]

Since I knew from vast experience that my children don’t prefer giving me more than 5-10 minutes to get dressed in the morning – and I didn’t want that fun fact to derail my legging-less goals – I actually put out my clothes the night before. I eased myself into this challenge with some distressed skinny jeans, a light striped sweater, and loafers. Thanks to my genius move of planning ahead, I even had time to accessorize. Is this necklace even close to on-trend anymore? I don’t know (this is one of the many bizarre time warp-esque side effects of being a stay-at-home mom, similar to not knowing anything about what movies are playing or what the current top music is), but, y’all, I’m wearing a necklace so I’m considering it a win. This outfit got me through a whole day of stay-at-home mothering, including bringing the kids to the zoo, cleaning the house, handling a yogurt-covered (and I mean covered) toddler, playing in the yard, and grocery shopping. The challenge is off to a good start.

DAY 2 – TUESDAY

[Ignore the smudgy toddler fingerprints that are ALL over this mirror.]

Today was a day I TOTALLY would have worn leggings if it weren’t for this challenge (I know, I know . . . day 2 and I’m already ready to break). We had errands and play group, I had a painful dentist appointment in the afternoon, and my husband was working late so I’d be doing bathtime and bedtime solo. But, I stuck to my gussied-up guns and pulled off this look. Distressed jeans (these are my “best” jeans – in other words, not from Marshall’s, Old Navy, or Target), mustard cardigan, ankle boots, statement earrings (I know – statement jewelry two days in a row . . . who am I, Cleopatra?).

DAY 3 – WEDNESDAY

[Shhhhh…they’re jeggings.]

Ok. I almost broke today. It’s raining. I made the decision to stay home with both kids all morning and do crafts, bake cookies, be cozy. The day was screaming: Leggings! Sweatshirt! Slippers! But if there’s one thing you need to know about me, it’s this – when I set a goal for myself, I follow through no matter what. And so, here’s my look for today. You may be asking, how many pairs of distressed jeans can one gal own? The answer, apparently, is as many as she can. Full disclaimer, however – these jeans are actually pull-on jeggings. I allowed myself this one little comfortable pseudo-treat! Feeling a bit more put-together actually really helped me stay on top of things all day long. But – drum roll please – it’s time for a new challenge within the challenge. Tomorrow I need to break away from jeans . . . they’re starting to feel like a fashion crutch.

DAY 4 – THURSDAY

[#knotyourshirt  #leopard]

Y’all, check me out. Not only am I not wearing leggings, but I’m also not wearing jeans, either! (Consider my denim shirt an homage.) Today is the first day of the challenge that I actually wasn’t secretly longing for leggings as I was getting dressed.

DAY 5 – FRIDAY

[#amazonforthewin]

Ok. What do you do when you’ve been up since 4 a.m. with your teething toddler and you’re tired and cold and you were even going to try to rock a dress today but now you just want to crawl into a cave while wearing your leggings? Leggings that have never failed you but you challenged yourself to this crazy notion of not wearing them for a week and you really, really want to stick to it, even if only because how you look is the only thing that feels under your control and even that is an overstatement because your kids cut off your shower time and they tug on your clothes and oh my Gosh enough with this day?!!??

You dust yourself off. You break out the dry shampoo. You banish the thought of the dress because you have to give yourself some grace. And you dress up a sweatshirt by adding a scarf and ankle boots and a great bag. This tunic-length sweatshirt is from Amazon because a) I clearly need to be a complete stay-at-home mom cliche and because b) what CAN’T Amazon do for us?

DAY 6 – SATURDAY

[This outfit is son-approved.]

I did it. I wore a dress. And I made a discovery. Tights are just as comfortable as leggings, y’all.

DAY 7 – SUNDAY

woman wearing red sweatshirt and white vest | week without leggings | providence mom

[The vest makes it look like a totally different outfit, right? Right?]

Last day of the challenge! We were off to a farm festival so warm and casual was the way to go. And you sharp readers may notice that I basically just wore the same outfit from Friday but added a vest and a hat. Not re-wearing clothes multiple days in a row might need to be a separate challenge. Stay tuned.

*****

Well, challenge completed. What are my take-aways? Putting together actual looks and wearing jewelry is great. I liked feeling somewhat stylish (even if over 90% of the above looks are from the stay-at-home mom trifecta: Old Navy, Target, and Amazon). But I must admit – I am dying to slip into something more comfortable. You can bet I’ll be wearing leggings tomorrow – sort of like when you eat really healthy all week long and then dive into that pizza on Friday night. Yes, I will continue to rock the leggings. But I’m going to keep mixing up my looks, too, just to remind myself of the whole woman I am, ankle boots, earrings, and all.

woman wearing leggings

[The day after the challenge (I still haven’t cleaned this mirror).

Leggings, I just can’t quit you.]

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Elizabeth Bettencourt holds a BFA in Theatre and a BS in Secondary English Education from the University of Rhode Island, a Masters in Reading & Literacy from Endicott College, and a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home parent full time, Liz taught English Language Arts and theatre at Plymouth South High School, where she also served as the ELA department head and the drama club advisor. Liz has also worked as an instructional coach and education consultant specializing in literacy instruction and differentiated instruction. In addition to her work as a mother, Liz currently directs theatre productions for Massassoit Community College and serves on the board of directors for New Bedford Festival Theatre. The majority of her time, however, is spent raising her son James and daughter Muriel with the help of her super supportive spouse, Matt. Liz is excited to be a part of the team at Providence Moms Blog, where she hopes to refresh her writing skills and reflect on this crazy and beautiful thing that is motherhood.