The cackling of millennials and the steady hypnotic boom of trance music should have been my first cue to walk away. But the mannequins shrouded in bohemian dresses beckoned me to reconsider, promising incomparable treasure were I to venture inside. I am not one to turn down an invitation. And we all know it is rude to refuse the advances of a mannequin on display.
Despite the semi-ominous landscape, I made my way into the land of Forever 21. The sheer number of pre-teens shopping along side of me should have been my second cue to leave, but it was too late. My mind was under the spell of cheap retail possibilities and no amount of cueing could turn me back now.
Forever 21 is an abyss of trends and classics collected over the past 40 years. A meager twenty dollars will make you the proud owner of blouses and dress pants in every cut and color imaginable. The promise from my bohemian mannequin of incomparable treasure did not lead me astray; I secured the ideal outfit to host my family’s first Thanksgiving dinner as a freshly married woman. I bought three different colors and cuts that day and skipped home in preparation for my turkey making festivities. According to my calculations, my shopping binge equipped me for hosting, casserole peddling, and turkey-related endeavors for at least another decade. Or so I thought.
Little did I know that my poorly ventilated apartment would lead to my awakening.
It was a simple outfit. A tie-necked cream blouse paired with black dress pants. I was polished and ready to conquer the pending holiday. Unfortunately, so were the sweat stains that permeated my creamy blouse. Perfect timing as guests began to trickle in. I feigned a series of dramatic yawns so I could discreetly stretch my arms and leave them suspended in air to dry out my armpit’s transgressions. But it was too late. Once my blouse had dried, a charming brassy yellow stain made its eternal home in my underarms as aunties and uncles began to take notice. I blamed my overactive sweat glands for sabotaging my perfect Thanksgiving blouse.
Then the inevitable cool draft began to take over. Though welcomed in my now sweltering apartment, it was a strange sensation, and I spent most of the day trying to locate its origins while basting an insatiable bully of a turkey. With every movement I made, I felt a strange draft. It wasn’t until the end of the day that I realized my new pants were pilling along the crotch and two gaping holes had been formed throughout the day. My shopping binge at Forever 21 left me brassy and crotchless for the holidays.
With all the holiday responsibilities surrounding a needy and volatile turkey, armpit stains and crotch holes are not style blunders I had time to field. I needed clothing that could go the distance, but my clothing could not even make it until dinner. Similarly, as a new mother, with a host of new responsibilities and the task of ensuring your little human’s survival, you don’t have time for clothing that will leave you brassy and crotchless. The name of the game in motherhood is having style staples that are durable and can withstand the wear and tear of nibbles, drool and the delightful stink of your Diaper Genie. You need an MVP style staple that can weather the storm of motherhood and provide easy multiple wear options. Nothing fits the bill like the classic jean jacket.
Not all jean jackets are created equal. At the moment, I am notably obsessed with the majesty of LL Bean’s 1912 women’s jean jacket. The jacket was tailored with comfort in mind, offering a luxurious blend of cotton and spandex that provides both structure and stretch. Additionally, this little gem of a jacket is handsanded, which means that it offers a natural broken-in quality that instantly feels like it has been with you for years. Let’s go over some dynamic ways to rock this classic and durable style staple.
Option 1 - Button Up
The jean jacket is the great shapeshifter. It has the potential to quickly morph into a new outfit depending on the creativity of what you pair it with. Buttoning a jean jacket up to the collar is a simple way to turn this jacket into a structured blouse of sorts. Combine it with a colorful pair of jogger pants, which are typically sweatpants with an elastic seam above the ankle, and the jean jacket offers balanced structure with a relaxed fitting pant.
Option 2 - Open Up
When the jean jacket is paired with a chunky scarf and sheath dress, all seems to be right in the world. This trifecta was made to be together. The look is finished with a neutral colored or neutral patterned sheath dress which is a fitted straight cut dress that is tailored along the waistline. This look offers casual structure with an opened jean jacket and needed contrast with a form fitting dress. The chunky colorful scarf will bring the look together and provide a bit of flare to a neutral palette.
Option 3 - Layer It Up
There is nothing that adds dimension like a well-planned layer. Pairing the thick material of washed denim with a thinner casual button will instantly add visual intrigue. For this look I have paired my jean jacket with a blue and white striped button-up. When choosing a button up to pair with your jean jacket, be sure to select one that hits 2-3 inches below the length of your jean jacket, as the contrast will showcase your layers. Tie the look together by simply cuffing the jean jacket sleeves with the bottom layer sleeves and you are ready to conquer the day.
The Durable Style Chameleon
When it comes to selecting style staples in motherhood, one ill-informed choice could leave you crotchless and bearing brassy underarm stains. With your mind numbed from sleepless nights and a grueling marathon feeding schedule, clothing that won’t go the distance could sabotage your entire mothering routine. Thankfully, the jean jacket is both durable and a style chameleon that can be buttoned up, opened up and layered up. The jean jacket offers infinite looks for a mother with finite time.