parent opinion

"I could see the disapproving look": I was told my outfit wasn't "appropriate" for a mum.

I remember catching up with an old friend while wearing my favourite stretchy shorts a few years ago. 

I joked I was worried they were getting too short for me these days because of my age, and I could see the disapproving look on her face as she tried to kindly tell me they “don’t look appropriate on a mum”. 

Yikes, I hadn’t considered that mums had a special dress code.

With that on my mind, I went home and sorted through my wardrobe to get rid of a bunch of clothes, believing the advice preached at me. Short shorts: gone. Bikini: gone. Short dresses: gone. 

Watch: Things mums never say. Post continues below. 

Video via Mamamia

Once all the ‘inappropriate’ clothes were removed, I of course needed a new wardrobe so I could look like an ‘appropriate’ mum. I bought longer skirts, longer shorts, flowy shirts, and basically anything that made me look like I was preparing for the school bake sale.

Now, that may be what some people feel comfortable wearing and that’s fine, but to put it simply - I didn’t. I felt frumpy on the outside, with a wild spirit on the inside. It didn't work for me.


Yes, being a mum has changed me and influenced some of my outfit choices, but surely that didn't mean I had to reinvent my entire style to suit someone else’s opinion?

So then I thought to myself, what does an appropriate mum "look like" anyway? I tried to picture one in my head, but I couldn’t narrow it down. I pictured a variety of outfits, lifestyles, bodies, and personalities.

I pictured mums wearing leggings because they feel comfortable.

I pictured mums wearing jeans and t-shirts because it’s the easiest outfit to throw together.

I pictured mums wearing figure-hugging dresses because they radiate confidence. 

I pictured mums in t-shirts and board shorts still learning to love their new bodies. 

I pictured mums in bikinis owning their marks of life. 

I pictured mums giving their kids an enormous cuddle before rushing to work to earn a satisfying pay check. 

I pictured mums snuggling their kids on the couch at 11am still in their pyjamas, soaking in every moment. 

I pictured mums who have worked their asses off to feel confident and empowered through their bodies. 

I pictured mums embracing their new bodies from bringing life into the world.


I pictured mums who keep to themselves and enjoy listening to others.

I pictured mums who aren’t afraid to share every last gory detail. 

I pictured mums who worry they aren’t doing enough even though they’re perfect.

I pictured mums struggling to balance the person they were, with the person they’ve become. 

Light bulb moment: almost every mum I pictured had a little piece of me, because I don’t fall into one simple style category.


Image: Supplied/Katie Bowman. 


I’ve since learnt that “things that are appropriate for mums to wear” don't exist. What I choose to wear each day doesn’t impact the way I parent, and I don’t want my kids to think they have to fall into a category when they pick out their clothes each day either.

Once I had this realisation, I went back out to buy a new sexy swimsuit because I refuse to accept that we can’t embrace our bodies or personalities after we’ve had kids.

Some days I need a pick-me-up so I’ll put on a cute jumpsuit and wear it with confidence, other days life is kicking my arse so I’ll throw on jeans and a plain tee which doesn't require the use of any brain power. I’ve still got superhero jumpers I love wearing, dresses from my teen years, and dare I say – I still wear sexy lingerie.

I may be a mum but I’m also still me, and I refuse to change who I am based on someone else’s opinion.

This post has been expanded and republished with full permission from the Facebook page Living My Family Life. For more from Katie, follow her here.

Feature Image: Supplied/Katie Bowman.