How Jessi Klein Finally Learned to Dress Like a Mom

One day I wandered over to this annual event in my hood called the Echo Park Craft Fair. I was picturing the kind of New York street fair where tube socks are sold in a bag of ten pairs for four dollars, which as far as I’m concerned is the only appropriate packaging and price point for socks. However, this fair turned out to be a collection of the most rarefied, preciously twee, peak LA pseudo-shamanic objects you’ve ever seen in your life: Hand-hewn clay vases. One-inch-wide brass bowls in which to store seeds — or weed? Or weed seeds? Japanese block-print pillow covers. The only thing that cost four dollars was the ticket to get in. It’s all so LA, which is to say, it’s ridiculous. That said, I secretly wanted to buy all of it. The fair was packed, and all around me women were dressed in the sister-wife style I’ve described. Young and old, thin and less thin, moms and non-moms alike were all walking around in this cultlike garb. Everyone actually looked attractive, but moreover — deeply comfortable?

In one particularly teeming corner of the fair, there was a popular vendor selling a lot of these kinds of threads, and I finally decided — just for a second, no strings attached, low presh, no presh — to throw on a linen jumpsuit, just to see how it felt.

I looked in the mirror.

The jumpsuit had four pockets, two on the chest, two on the hips — pockets for a cell phone or string cheese or car keys or a monkey lovey or mace, all my womanly / motherly needs. And, of course, I was as comfortable as I’d been since, well, since I was a toddler, free from the constraints of hard seams or button-dependent pants.

It was loose, but not in a tent way. It was — what’s the euphemism? —Forgiving.

My flappy mom stomach and butt were tastefully draped and hidden from view.

Did I mention the pockets?

And, of course, I was as comfortable as I’d been since, well, since I was a toddler, free from the constraints of hard seams or button-dependent pants.

I bought the jumpsuit. I figured I’d give it a try.

After wearing it around for a few days, I realized that not only was I in love with the jumpsuit, but it was all I ever wanted to wear every day for the rest of my life. I loved that it wasn’t trying to be sexy or chic. It wasn’t even trying to be considered clothes for daytime, or public exposure, or even really clothes. By being so aggressively out of the game, it was, in a way, a uniform of gentle retirement, a quiet exit from effort. And yet, ironically, it was so completely unsexy that it circled back to suggesting, if not quite allure, then the confidence of someone possessing allure. It’s a fine line between a woman wearing an adult onesie because she’s embarrassed about her body and a woman wearing an adult onesie because she’s so confident about her body she doesn’t need to not wear an adult onesie. The sexual intrigue is in the guessing, if that makes sense? I mean, which one IS she? Only the luckiest gentlemen will find out!

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