The half-yearly holidays are crawling to their blessed end and it’s back to school this week. Regular visitors will know that my son started kindergarten at the beginning of this year, so I’ve spent the last six months fine-tuning my school-pick up style.
That signature style is not something that can be mastered in the first week. The evolution of my fashion palette has been fascinating to watch: from the early clumsy attempts at dressing like I was going to a job interview, to the drab hoodie and jeans combo that characterised the end of term two, when I finally realised that no one gave a shit about what I was wearing. Least of all me.
In hindsight, trying hard to not look like a total loser was a massive waste of time anyway, because I’ve made the sum total of ONE new friend in the first two terms of school.
Style tip: don’t hand out your business card as a casual strategy to hook up with other school mums, because they will take one look at your blog and decide that your kid is suddenly not desirable playdate material any more.
(No, really. I kid you not. That ingenius little strategy has netted me a whopping 0% success rate so far. #awkward. Even more #awkward if those same people are still blog-stalking me in absentia)
In the 12 months before my kid started school I had this whole positive manifestation thing going on. I would visualise myself as this shit-hot blogger, sauntering through the school gates (5kg lighter, of course), effortlessy dressed in the hipster threads of a shit-hot writer: casual but edgy, low-key but kick-ass.
Fast forward 18 months: I’m still 5kg heavier than I ought to be, I’m not the shit-hot writer of my endorphin-inflated fantasies and my wardrobe is less edgy than it is daggy. I’ve managed low-key, but I’m closer to lame-ass than kick-ass.
My five year old still thinks I’m super-cool, but this is a kid who gets OTT excited about a new roll of sticky tape or a trip to the petrol station to fill up the car, so he’s not my most unbiased source of critique.
So, after six months of rethinking and refining my style strategy, here are the winning school pick-up combos. I call it Postmodern Tracksuit Chic. You too can look this good for less than $300.
1. Grey Hoodie
I am definitely a 50 Shades of Grey kind of gal, but it’s not the kind of sexy you think it is.
50 Shades of Grey describes the lacklustre contents of my unsexy wardrobe: a flair-free zone full of wash-faded t-shirts, charcoal hoodies, ash-grey tracksuit pants and slate-coloured jeans. There’s plenty of grey-on-grey action in my bedroom.
2. Running shoes
Scientifically-proven* to burn 42% more calories as I schlepp around with the other bored-looking parents at the school gates.
*According to peer-reviewed studies from the Garnier Laboratories.
3. Grey Tracksuit Pants
On the days I’m feeling super-pumped I will pull on a pair of tracksuit pants instead of jeans. It sounds counter-intuitive I know, but it sets my intention to possibly think about doing exercise at some point during the day. The tracksuit pants serve the dual function of 1) ass-kicking fitness inspo and 2) circumnavigating my laziness by ensuring that I am at least partially-dressed for exercise if the opportunity for exercise ever happens to present itself. It’s aspirational. And comfy.
4. Ripped jeans
All my jeans have holes in them them these days, not because it’s some kind of deconstructionist fashion statement but because I’m forever down on my hands and knees: crawling around for countless pieces of lego, cleaning up puddles of piss around the toilet or kneeling down to negotiate with tantrumming toddlers. I NEVER ripped though denim before I had kids. Now it’s fucking de rigeur.
5. Neon Yellow Sunglasses
It is often said that nothing in life is certain other than death, taxes and Kanye West’s next self-congratulatory statement of braggadocio. I can add one other weary inevitability: my good sunglasses always get lost or broken, while the shitty back-up pairs I keep in reserve seem to have the half-life of radioactive waste.
I paid 50 cents for these hideous yellow sunglasses at the op shop one day because I’d left my good pair at home. My husband calls them my “Corey Worthington sunglasses” and at least one of the other school mums has mentioned them in jest, which is clearly code for “You look like a total dick in those glasses”. They never die. And they always seem to be the only fucking pair I have in the car at 3pm.
6. Bum Bag
If there is one signature item that defines my everyday style, it’s the bum bag. Definitely a hero piece, it causes lively debate wherever I go. Hot or Not? Opinion is pretty evenly divided on this one, but if this recent shot is any indication then the bum bag is back, baby. Fanny packs and massive tits are like Chanel suits: they never go out of style.
So there you have it: Hugzilla’s school pick-up style. Scrape that greasy hair back into a messy mugshot ponytail and you’ll be rocking that little bit of glamour at big school.