A Tale of Two Playground Moms

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I was at the playground with little man.  He’s too little to do anything except watch – which he loves.  He could watch kids run around all day.  It gives me a good chance to watch also, and look for style tips from the other moms.  There was the usual contingent of moms wearing workout gear (which I don’t love, unless you are actually just finishing a workout…but hey — it happens), a couple of moms in t-shirts with animals on them (never do this – never ever do this) and two moms who had obviously spent time getting ready.  Let’s call them Mom A and Mom B. 

Mom B was wearing a perfectly matched outfit:  brown tank with ruching, brown shorts with a pink flower embroidered on the leg, brown flip flops, and a matching pink flower in her hair.  She had lipstick and eye makeup on and her hair was down, with the flower tucked in.  The overall effect was very….overdone.  And too young. 

Mom A was also wearing shorts and a tank top.  She was wearing long-ish flat front shorts in bright yellow, a plain white tank top and patterned flats.  She had her hair pulled back into a sleek ponytail, and was wearing lipgloss.  She looked fantastic.  Not too fussy, but stylish and cute.

So…what made the difference?  Why did Mom A look so much better in her version of tshirt ‘n shorts?  Mom B made three key mistakes:
Mistake One:  Mom B’s first mistake was pairing a very done, dressy hair and lots of makeup with a very casual outfit.  Shorts and flipflops are very, very casual.  Eye makeup, lipstick, and done hair are not. 
Mistake Two:  Let’s call this mistake a matching overload.  I often like monochromatic outfits (slimming, can make you look taller), but in order to pull it off, you really need to vary the texture, and the overall effect is often dressy, not playground worthy.  Think a drapey brown merino sweater paired with brown flat front shorts and heels.  
Mistake Three:  Her third and final mistake was to add accessories that were simply too young.  The flower embroidery on the shorts was reminiscent of the little girl jeans you can buy at Target with flower patches (pictured above).   And wearing a flower in your hair is OK – as long as the hairstyle is sleek enough to pull it off.  Mom A could’ve easily thrown a flower pinned to her ponytail.

So…how to fix Mom B’s outfit?  First, keep the brown ruched tank and flip-flops.  Replace the embroidered shorts with plain, flat front shorts in khaki, navy, army green or even a bright burgundy.  Ditch the eye makeup and lipstick for something more subtle.  She can keep her hair down, but pin the flower to her belt.

To recreate Mom A’s outfit, or Mom B’s new outfit, here are a few ideas (click on any link or photo to be taken to the website to buy):

Mom A’s Outfit
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  1. Chino 9” short in sour lemon at JCrew
  2. Perfect Fit Tank in white at JCrew
  3. Printed ballet flats in fuschia at JCrew


Mom B’s New Outfit

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  1. Tank with Crochet Trim in brown at Target
  2. Rolled Cuff Shorts in butter at Target
  3. Chiffon Rosette Belt in navy at Jcrew
  4. Havaianas Slim Flip Flops in brown at flipflopstyle.com

xo, S

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About Author

Shana founded The Mom Edit in 2008. She lives with the love of her life (his name's Mike) and their two crazy boys in downtown Philadelphia. She loves a good styling challenge (her engineering side shows eventually), appreciates kindness, and usually picks scotch over wine, sneakers over stilettos, and shorts known as denim-underwear, always.

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