12 March 2011

The Style Blogger and The Jersey Shore (Updated)

We spend a lot of time at the beach. The Jersey Shore, to be exact. (The Bean even says it, unprompted, complete with accent.) And while 30 minutes away there are renovated shops and high-end stores in Atlantic City, our little family beach town doesn't exactly ooze style. Or at least the style that I'd normally tout. There are a bunch of little local shops here, but they're full of t-shirts and sweats (and gak! warm up suits), not fashion-forward dresses or accessories. (Though a girl can find an el-cheapo fun purse, headband, or bangle on occasion.) The one boutique that bucked the poly-cotton blend trend? Between the end of last season and this weekend, it started the transition to pizza place. Another one. On trend garb makes way for I-talian fare.

Says a lot.

So much so that I'm seriously debating (and have been for years, quite frankly) what level of style I really want to maintain while here. We're here a lot of weekends, and plan on spending June here (hoo-ray! for telecommuting). If I know H and I are going to get a night out, I throw in a dress or cute T and good jeans. If I don't, well, the situation (yes, I just wrote that) ain't so pretty. Good jeans, yes, but Tshirts, my low-top chucks, and no makeup.

And today I bought a Big Comfy Sweatshirt.

2015 Update: We all have at least one, if not more, lifeguard sweatshirts. They're my absolute favorite, and love being able to throw it on, mostly unironically, and just go. Sometimes, despite what the Fashun Rules say, it just. doesn't. matter.

My boys on our promenade in 2013.


No secret that I've been feeling less than fabulous about my physique lately. I've taken to borrowing H's sweaters, and on the one rare occasion when I was freezing at home, a Big Comfy Sweatshirt. I haven't owned a sweatshirt in years. A decade, maybe. The last one I had was emblazoned "MARYLAND," and bowed out of my wardrobe at some point before it became big and comfy. I was at a point where I wasn't even wearing jeans (couldn't find ones I was comfortable in), and banned everything big and blousy from my wardrobe. I figured that, if I wasn't happy with the way I felt, I could at least pretend by dressing it up a couple of notches. As I learned way back when from my Italian "friend," it worked pretty well.

But with the advent of Really Good Jeans as ubiquitous, and Tshirts making their way out of the college closet, aaaaaand the loss of about 30 pounds (pre-wedding), both made it back into my wardrobe. Now, as a mama to two Beans, they're my go-to. And sometimes it works better than others.

So I'm sitting here typing this, happily unshowered, wearing a Big Comfy Lifeguard Sweatshirt, jeans, and tennis socks. My hair is pulled up in a schlumpy bun, as it was all day. My only consignment to style today was a practical one: I wore contacts so I could wear my Big Sunglasses while we were out and about. And I didn't really care.

Well, I cared a little bit. OK, a lot.

As we shopped the Tshirt store, I shuddered at most of what I saw. But I really wanted a sweatshirt. Somehow it's perfect for cozying up on the couch on a winter beach weekend. It'll be ever so useful when the weather gets just a little bit warmer, and H and I can leave my MIL with the sleeping kids while we stroll on the beach.

That brings me to my dilemma: what will I do this summer? Will I continue my rationalization of no makeup, "giving my skin a break" when we take up residence in June? Will I wear the dreaded flip-flops? (For the uninitiated, as soon as the weather breaks in DC, The Great Flip Flop Debate starts. For all sorts of reasons.) Will I buy shorts? And wear them? And will my T shirts be stylish, fitted ones, or will they bear logos from my favorite teams and towns? Just bringing along a dress "just in case" doesn't seem to count.

Beach time is break time, and I seem to want to take a break from it all - even from the way I normally look in DC. I don't think - at least I hope (ok, please shoot me if you ever catch me) - I'll ever wear neon tiger stripes or 80s-style track suits, but I do need to find a breezy way to make it through our beach time without leaving my hard-fought (as it is for any mama, I think) style somewhere in the EZ Pass backup at the Delaware line.

2015 Update: Since I wrote this originally, I've embraced the "schlump" fully for our time down tha shore. Rarely do I not care what I wear at all, but I take our week and weekends there (gone are the days of our month-long jaunts) seriously: the sweatshirt gets loads of wear in the cooler temps, loose maxi dresses keep me cool on the warmer days, and perhaps most importantly, I look forward to Days Without Makeup. I've gotten much better at taking care of my skin, so do the creams + sunscreen thing daily, but that vacation from my 10 minutes of face artistry? Heaven.

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