If movies and celebrity pap shots were your only point of reference, you’d be forgiven for believing the school run was an al fresco fashion event, populated with designer ensembles and fresh blow-dries.
Out here in the real world, however, you’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who hasn’t dropped off her kids in (possibly Weetbix-stained) trackpants and a T-shirt fished from the laundry basket after a cursory sniff test. That’s if she’s even managed to get out of her pyjamas in the first place.
Mercifully, it seems some A-list mums fall into this camp, too — and Hilary Duff is one of them.
While she usually does the pick-up in track pants, the Younger actress has managed to find a “semi cute” outfit that doesn’t require too much effort or forethought.
Hey moms! I came up wth a semi cute outfit for school drop off! I usually roll in sweat pants or lulu lemons and look like a disaster but this morning I managed to throw something cute together and I thought would share. Cut offs or jeans. A light weight trench over a sweater or tee, cross body bag sneaks or booties and a pair of Sunnies! Now you try! Tag me in your photo????????✌????️????(annnnd you don’t have to wear such a serious face haha)
“I usually roll in sweat pants or lululemons and look like a disaster, but this morning I managed to throw something cute together and I thought would share,” the 28-year-old wrote on Instagram. (For everyone wondering what the hell a ‘lululemon’ is, Hil’s referring to leggings.)
Here’s the magical equation: a pair of jeans or shorts + a jumper or T-shirt + a lightweight trench coat + a cross-body bag + a pair of sneakers or booties.
Duff didn’t offer any explanation for her sartorial choices, but it goes without saying a trench is going to be useful for concealing various stains and smells. Sunglasses also made the cut, but that really shouldn’t come as a shock; the dark under-eye circle-concealing powers of sunnies are well known among parents, after all.
While she’s clearly proud of her work, the woman formerly known as Lizzie McGuire isn’t the pioneer of this thrown-together look. Far from it, in fact:
As the eagle eyes at Mic point out, the one and only Lorelai Gilmore beat her to it in the second episode of Gilmore Girls, when laundry day coincided with Rory's first day at private school. Proof that a trench coat can rescue (almost) any outfit.
Although many of her Instagram followers were enjoying Duff's new ensemble, others were less impressed — and not about to keep their views private (this is the internet, after all).
"I would be humiliated if my mum showed up to pick me up in booty shorts. Those look like freaking underwear," one wrote.
Watch: Women get honest about the times they've felt like a 'terrible' mum. (Post continues after video.)
"You call this cute? A lady of class and substance wouldn't be caught wearing this," added another. You can't win them all.
Even if she returns to her original "disastrous" look — her word, not ours — Duff will be in good company.
Self-described "crap housewife" Jessica Rowe regularly documents her own school pick-up style, and despite being a household name the Studio 10 host isn't above doing the drop-off in pyjamas, much to her daughters' embarrassment.
Rowe has even pulled it off mid-hair appointment, with a head full of foils. That's multitasking done magnificently, if you ask us.
Listen to how Jess Rowe juggles parenting and work in I Don't Know How She Does It. (Post continues after.)
They mightn't be Hollywood stars or TV presenters, but the mums of the Mamamia office are equally low-key most of the time.
"I wear the same jeans and alternate between two t-shirts," one explains. "I've not done PJs, but I’ve done pretty bad track pants and 'moving clothes'," another says.
One staffer, who shall remain anonymous, admits she forgot to wear shoes for one childcare pickup. We can all agree that shoes are overrated anyway, right?
What do you typically wear for the school run? No judgement here, obviously.
Featured image: Getty.