The Easiest Way To Upgrade Your Momiform: The Button-Down Tied Around The Waist




Let’s chat mom fashion… No but seriously, like “mom” fashion. The fashion people picture when you say that out loud. Most days you’ll find me cheering you on to avoid looking the way people would assume a mom looks. You know, not look all “dead mommy”. Mommy Zombie. Mommified? You get it. Most days we just need to take that extra step to change out of the basic tee and sneakers. Feel beautiful. Have one more cup of coffee and add a little bit more concealer under our eyes to just “fake it ’til we make it”.

But then there are the days that we mommas go from faking it to barely holding on. Where sleep from the night before can be counted using 3 fingers. Be it from growth spurts, to new teeth, to monsters under the bed, or [insert drama here]! It’s rough out there. On the other hand, there’s the great days. Where the spring sun is shining with a gentle breeze. And the playground, long walks, and carefree outside-time all keep you moving until the sun has long since set. While polar opposites, these days call for a little more comfort. They demand that basic tee and sneakers. And I like to survive the former and embrace the latter in realistic style. A small amount of effort goes a long way with fashion. One added element can take a total “mom” outfit and make it cool.


My Take:


From the beginning of posting on here I’ve tried to make it clear that I will rarely be kick-starting any fashion trends. This 90’s look of the shirt around your waist has been back for quite some time. But, it is spring and layering is practically essential. Here in Colorado we get like 40º shifts in temp in a single day. Hence, I embrace any look that combos with versatility. However, it can be tricky. It all comes down to how you wear it and what colors you do it in. Oh, and don’t forget that outfit you’re pairing it with.

My favorite ways I’ve seen this look are typically monochromatic and let the shirt around the waist be the pop of color or interest. Going “all black” looks great with chambray shirts. Denim jeans paired with a simple white or black tee looks great with plaid, white, or even denim on denim. You want to look effortlessly cool. Like you stole that shirt from your date the night before. You know, just grabbed it on your way out the door and slung it around your hips.

tme-waist-shirt-photo-02 tme-waist-shirt-photo-03


The Breakdown:

Clearly there are more, but these three start with the basic momiform as the core.

The Grunge Chick

Beanie, Vans, Docs, black Sneaks, loose white tee, biker jacket, jeans, cutoffs, black pants — it all works here. The girl that looks like she smokes. In a hot way (if that is even possible). Tough and casual. And she’s almost always paired with a plaid button down.

The ‘It’ Girl

This is the pulled together / chic version. Monochromatic outfit — almost always all black, booties, hair down and done, long statement necklace(s), nice bag, impeccably fitting clothes (fit is everything here). Ok, so maybe not so effortless. But damn. It looks good! And she almost always pairs with the chambray button down.

The Carpool Crush

Plain white tee, denim, hair up, another denim shirt, and Chucks. She’s effortless. She may have just cleaned the house right before running carpool. She looks like she actually plays with her kids. On the floor. And runs all around the playground with them. All while still looking that good. And the Carpool Crush kinda works with all 3: plaid, chambray, and plain white button downs.


While I love all three of these looks I probably attempt to rock “The ‘It’ Girl” and “The Carpool Crush” the most. But no matter who you are channeling the rules typically remain the same:

✔ The shirt is kept unbuttoned while around the waist. You button it, you lost the look.

✔ It’s low slung and not too high. Nothing says “mom with no style” like when it’s up above the button on your pants.

✔ Use a single twist and not a knot. You knot it… you’ve gone dork.

Relaxed is the key here. Trying without trying. A tiny effort for those days where that’s all you’ve got. And let’s be honest, those days come far too often. I’ve gathered some of my top button-downs if you wanna try out this upgrade!



Wearing In This Post:

Pant: Wit & Wisdom Stretch Skinny Jeans

Top: Veronica M T-Back Tank

Shirt: Old Madewell (Similar)

Shoes: Vans ‘Classic’ Sneaker

peace ‘n love — OE

(Opening pic photo credit — left/right: Dunno [Pinterest Abyss], middle: Ivana Revic)


  1. See, this. THIS is what I need. I need you to tell me stuff like, “You knot it, you’ve gone dork.” THANK YOU. It’s those small, finishing touches that somehow elude my eye until someone points it out to me.

    OE, I like you. Keep it up.

  2. LOVE this- maybe because it brings me back to my college days…not to date myself. But I think this could be THE look I am going to try out. OE you, my friend, are a ROCK STAR!

  3. OE, I’m so glad you joined TME. I’ve followed the blog for years and always loved Shana’s voice and suggestions, so I was initially nervous when I read that two new contributors were coming onboard. I should have known better! I especially love seeing outfits on a variety of figures – my shape is a lot more like yours, OE, and it’s so helpful to see how clothes look on you so I can get an idea of what will work for me. Thank you, all of you, I love what you do!

  4. Love the effortless look – but how do you keep it from loosening if you don’t knot it? Any tricks for keeping it from sliding down or coming undone while moving with kiddos in tow?

    • This was my question too. While I totally agree that knotting it takes it to frump territory, I would hate to constantly be tightening the single loop while chasing my boy around the playground. Does it stay put better than I imagine or is it just something you deal with?

  5. OMG! OE!! The second pic! Of you looking at you!! How did you do that?! So flippin’ cool. Wow! I am inspired and want to get some of the photo editing funk on Kremb de la Kremb. If you care to elaborate, I am all ears. Right on.

    And, yes, to the outfit. It’s rockin’ awesome, but that’s a given. Keep it up OE! You’re RAD!


    Ann of Kremb de la Kremb

  6. This is a great tip too to rock the all black look without looking boring and drab. This *may* have pushed me over the edge to go buy a pair of distressed/ ripped black denim. I can do this look I think. And I looooove the 90’s vibe, totally badass, even if I’ve already rocked the look back in 1993.

  7. “You knot it….you’ve gone dork.” This just made me laugh out loud at my desk! 🙂 Thanks OE. I struggle with sizing on button downs and don’t own any, but maybe it’s time to give chambray another try.

    • I struggle too! I think it is way easier to buy the ones that are cut square. I a lot of times buy from the mens section especially at places like J.Crew where their tops are cut more narrow. But fit doesn’t really matter at all if you are just using it as an accessory around your hips. Good luck girl!

  8. I just realized that I’m guilty of tying shirts around my actual waist….way above my pants button. No wonder I felt like a “mom with no style”. Thanks OE.

    Also have to say that I actually like you in a smaller shoe. I think the vans flatter your shape more than the Uggs. Just my two cents.

  9. Pretty sure I’m too old for this since I wore it first in high school. Also,it looks good, but how the heck does the shirt stay on if it’s not knotted?

  10. This look will always make me think of girls having period leaks in middle school and wearing a shirt around the waist to cover up the stain. Not for me.

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