Dressy Sweatpants and Mom Jeans; Thirty-Two Weeks In

I absolutely appreciate when companies know their customers; I love when businesses see an opportunity and seize it, particularly this year. It’s a Read The Room kind of thing; find out what the people want and give it to them.

Which is why I find it endlessly entertaining, the advertisements that I have been getting on Facebook lately. It is almost exclusively Peloton gear followed by a company that is making something called “Dressy Sweatpants” or “Dressy Leggings.” It feels very yin-yang to me. It’s the season to move! alongside Why people love the Dressy Sweatpant! Leggings, but Dressy! You guys. I’m all about comfort in our own homes, but let’s face facts here: there is nothing dressy about sweatpants. We can add all the ruching we like but they are still, ultimately, sweatpants.

This is absolutely not a criticism of sweatpants; after all, I am a woman who wears yoga pants at least five days a week. I wear yoga tanks with built-in shelf bras almost daily, to the point that it feels weird to wear a regular bra. I am all about being comfortable in our clothes and in our own skin, but we don’t need to make believe that the clothes we love and wear are something that they are not. Dress pants are dress pants. Sweatpants are sweatpants. IT IS OKAY TO BE WHO WE ARE, AND THAT EXTENDS TO PANTS.

Wow, I have feelings about this.

I was rummaging in my legwarmer drawer and discovered an unopened package of black control-top pantyhose. Pantyhose, you guys. Like, to wear with a dress. I stared at it like it was a relic from another time, which, let’s face it, it is. I tried not to think of my closetful of beautiful (black) dresses; when will they be worn again? Who knows. And heels! Well, it’s best to put that thought away for a while.

Why, you may ask, was I rummaging in my legwarmer drawer? First of all, yes, I have an entire drawer devoted to legwarmers, and that is because I live on Planet Hoth, apparently. Calgary is a city that takes mean-reversion, with respect to temperatures, very seriously; the gorgeous fall weather has completely turned to the depths of winter. As a brief aside, it was minus 18 yesterday morning when I went to the car wash, to help out my husband who was going to put on my winter tires. I filled the car with gas while I was there and I am not exaggerating: it took nearly twenty minutes to fill the tank. Twenty minutes! I kept looking at the numbers moving so slowly, and I would go into the station to tell the attendant that there was something wrong. “It must be because of the cold,” he told me, which, well. It’s Calgary. Minus 18, while unpleasant, is not unusual, and I have filled my car in much colder temperatures. However, there was nothing to be done about it as I’d already prepaid. I tried to be zen and just drink my travel mug of coffee and scroll through my phone, thinking this is what I’d be doing anyway, at home, but meanwhile, I was freezing and wondering if there was a It’s Going To Blow kind of emergency going on with the pump.

Last week was my husband’s birthday and he took the day off work; our original plan was to go hiking in the mountains, but the black ice and blowing snow on the highway deterred us. We ended up in a provincial park in the foothills, and the minus 13 windchill meant that we had the whole park to ourselves! We ended up hiking 8 km in gusting wind and snow, but I am trying to embrace my Nordic ancestry with the mantra there’s no bad weather, just bad clothes and hence, legwarmers. Well, legwarmers and many other layers too.

Circling back to companies and businesses, I have been getting many, many texts lately from Garage, a store I have never shopped at in my life. How did they get my number? Was it sold to them by some other store? I have no idea, but I am amused at their constant texts to me about buying the coolest mom jeans. The Coolest Mom Jeans. I have much to say about this, but mostly: Wrong Audience.

Do any moms – and the group to which I am referring is my own mid-forties age group – actually wear Mom Jeans? I mean technically, we are moms, and so our jeans are mom jeans, but as I am sure you know, I am referring to the high-waisted, pleated front jeans that were ubiquitous in the early nineties. I think there is some kind of Fashion Law that states if you wore something in high school, and the style comes around again – like it has with these specific, high-waisted, loose-fitting, fitted-ankle jeans – then you should not wear it again. Not that I need a Fashion Law to tell me what to do. It’s not a thing that is going to happen anyway.

Remember when the Blue Jays won the World Series? I was rocking the Mom Jeans back then, although at the time they were just Jeans.

I’m not sure anything in this photo could be more “early nineties” if it tried. Pirate blouse! Mom jeans! Spiral permed hair! Evian water! The home decor!

Anyway, thank you very much, Garage, but I am not revisiting my erstwhile youth.

It occurs to me that, since I don’t know anyone at all in the Mom category who wears Mom Jeans, perhaps they should be renamed Grandma Jeans as I think that style is more of my OWN mother’s generation.

Unless – UNLESS – the younger generation of moms are all wearing these jeans. This just occurred to me right now. All of my mom friends are in their forties, but we are the Old Moms. The Young Moms, for all I know, could be rocking these. Meanwhile, I am living in yoga pants and long sweaters and am being marketed “dressy sweatpants” and “leggings, but dressy.” That is, when I’m not getting texts about the latest Mom Jeans.

On another note, this week Le Chateau announced that they are closing their doors; Canadian women of a certain age sighed with nostalgic sadness on hearing that. Le Chateau was where I spent my hard-earned babysitting and Pizza Hut money; I saved up to buy a pair of red plaid hot pants – HOT PANTS – and wore them with black tights, a turtleneck, and a blazer for my first day of Grade Eleven, at a new school. I don’t often wish that we had cell phones when I was in high school, but I wish I had a photo of that outfit. Instead, I will leave you with this classic, from a class trip to Italy:

That was the same blazer I started the year with, sweetly paired with jeans – high waisted and belted, I am sure – and a floral crop top. Ah, the spirit of youth.

Pandemic Reading

I am not going to pan this book entirely because it had a nice underlying theme – be who you are, accept other people for who they are – and it had great descriptions of clothing and society in 1950s New York, Miami, and Havana. However, the plot line was ridiculous and the book itself was very silly.

I like to read popular books to see what the hype is all about, and this one was decent – but ultimately unsatisfying and disappointing. It could have been so much more, but wasn’t.

This was very fun; it’s a contemporary Bengali classic and a translation, which I always find interesting. Three generations of Bengali women, with a little reincarnation thrown in…quite fun and, despite the name, light.

Happy Halloween week, everyone! The decorative gourds are getting mushy and there is too much snow to put up the gravestones and crosses, but who knows! Anything can happen. Don’t forget that Saturday is a Blue Moon AND it’s time change, so let’s take a deep breath and have a treat or two.


  1. I find it kind of amusing our pumpkins are going soft from the heat and yours from the cold. Somewhere geographically in between us must be the perfect climate for keeping pumpkins on the porch.

  2. You are just SO adorable. At all ages, apparently.

    While I am nowhere near a “Young Mom,” I do gravitate toward high waisted jeans. They keep everything tucked in so nicely, and I’m not referring to my shirts. It’s QUITE a departure from what I wore in high school, which was crop tops paired with super baggy, SUPER low-waisted jeans that often showed glimpses of my underpinnings. Which. Gross. But I thought I was So Cool. No way am I revisiting THAT fashion phase of life.

  3. I just love the ‘read the room’ line. And you killed me with no bad weather, just bad clothes. Hilarious. Spoken like a true Calgary woman, I guess. I am counting myself fortunate for not living in your climate. I took out my winter coat today and it might be falling apart, but I do LOVE how warm it is.

    I do not wear mom-jeans. I do wear skinny jeans and my favorite of late are colored jeans. So fun and they feel slightly dressy. I agree, there are no dressy sweatpants. This post reminded me of a time when my OB referred to women’s pants as ‘slacks’ and he wasn’t that much older than me. I almost fell off the table. Slacks, grandma gear for sure.

    As always, your baked goods make me drool.

  4. No one is fooling us with dressy sweats. HA!
    The Coach was getting text messages about weight loss supplements directed towards ME. The nerve.

    My youngest likes the Mom jeans; I’m not a fan. I think back in the day they were just jeans and at some point everything started getting lower and it just worked. I think they make everyone look ’rounder’ than they are.
    Love your flashback pics though; you’re cute now and then!

  5. bibliomama2 says

    It’s even worse than young moms, Nicole – our DAUGHTERS are wearing mom jeans. Like, ON PURPOSE. I keep telling Eve I didn’t look like a dork all those years just for you to do this to me now when you don’t EVEN HAVE TO.
    I”m sort of the opposite with popular books. It takes me forever to read them because I’m kind of a snob and I assume that anything that millions of people like is probably not that good. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes I’m wrong.
    Twenty minutes to pump a tank of gas is ridiculous, and I feel like the gas station guy was just trying to avoid coming out in the cold to check out the pump.

  6. This post made me so happy! What a fun glimpse into your high school days, so similar to my own, just 1700 miles further north. And thanks for the many recent book recs, my to-read pile keeps growing, which is a nice comfy feeling. Happy fall, ya’ll!

Leave a Reply to StephLove Cancel reply