Mom Brands – Do You Buy ‘Em?

shopping for mom brands

Here’s a question Kate and I were just discussing (and I believe the readers were yesterday as well): at a certain point, have you found yourself buying brands for yourself that you would have previously considered “mom brands,” either out of convenience (like if you’re already buying your kids’ clothing at the store), a lack of patience for delicate-care clothing, or the desire for a more forgiving cut than you wore prior to kids? Do you seek out brands where the in-person shopping experience is best suited for moms, like the Evereve stores (here’s an interesting Inc. article about them)? 

Let’s face it, Lands’ End, J.Jill, Eddie Bauer — these are not usually the brands the stylish 20-something wears. In their marketing, the companies even try to brand themselves as mom brands, using models who are past their 20s (some even, gasp, with gray hair) and who have medium-sized and actually plus-sized bodies. I always think of the ill-fated Jones New York as the classic example here (although I did wear a ton of their clothes in my 20s), but I used to love the model they used on their site because she was pretty but medium-sized, with a much boxier, almost athletic build than you see on most models. So let’s hear it: Which brands have you recently tried, or tried again? Which do you like? Which brand used to be in the “mom brand” camp but is now crossing over — for example, Talbots has made huge strides lately to getting more fashionable clothes and cuts in.

For my $.02: A while ago I posted on my personal Facebook page, “I’ve reached the point in my life where everything in the Lands’ End catalog speaks to me.” (It was one of their winter catalogs, with a zillion bright, happy packable jackets and the like.) “Oh honey,” a friend replied, “I’ve been there.” (I still say their ponte dresses are great. OK, and their DD+ swim options. I also like their t-shirts. And, yes, packable jackets.) For me I definitely answer “yes” to all of the questions I posed above. Yes, there’s a convenience factor — I buy a lot from Old Navy and Lands’ End because I buy stuff for the boys there. Yes, there’s a lack of patience for delicate care, particularly since I work from home — it has to be pretty special for me to dry clean it regularly. Yes, I do seek a different cut — partly because I carry my post-baby weight in my tummy (grrrrrr) and my once-hourglass figure is more of an apple figure now. It’s also partly because I wear flats so much more often than I did before kids, and pants from the petite section just make more sense to me now. I’m usually seeking a different price point now as well — I want more affordable clothes that I won’t cry over too much if they get ripped in the laundry or if one of the kiddos somehow manages to get marker on ’em.

I’m a bit of a weird Nordstrom shopper in that I love their website (it’s one of the main places I love for online shopping), but I can’t stand the way actual stores are laid out — but I suspect I’d be solidly in the “mom section” of their store, as well. Some of my favorite brands to buy/sale-stalk from Nordstrom include Kut from the Kloth, NYDJ, Vince Camuto, Eileen Fisher, and JAG jeans — whether they’re targeted at my demographic or not, they all seem to fit really well.

Psst: here’s a link to the old but hilarious video on mom jeans, from SNL. No crocheted vests, ladies!

Ladies, what are your thoughts? Have you crossed into “mom brand” territory, either for workwear or weekend wear? Which are your favorite brands to wear now that you have kids? 

Pictured.

Comments

  1. Maddie Ross says:

    I own items from Lands End, Talbots and Vince Camuto (shoes only though), but everyone single thing there I purchased before I had my daughter. I don’t consider any of these to be “mom” brands – I do consider them to be more “mature” brands in may ways though. Honestly, my style since having kids has become a bit more classic, which means that I am actually buying more higher end items in smaller quantities now – so real DVF dresses, Theory suiting separates, etc.

  2. Clementine says:

    For me, wearing the same type of clothes I’ve always worn makes me feel like I’m still myself. Granted, I’ve always been very practical, but I was also surprised that my body didn’t change that much post-baby. I wear clothes that make me feel good, and part of that is having them fit in a good and flattering manner and look stylish to me.

    I seem to mostly shop at the limited, br, and White House black market with a little target/tjmaxx in the mix.

    • +1 to all the above including your favorite stores!! But I don’t consider kat’s list to be mom brands, just not me.

  3. NewMomAnon says:

    My closet used to be a lot of Ann Taylor, Talbots, J. Crew, Banana Republic – lots of wool, silk, dry clean only, and very fitted and tailored. Since having a kid, my pant size has fluctuated so much that I am hesitant to buy suiting separates which may not fit in a few months. So I’ve been wearing lots of ponte dresses from Lands End, and I’m back to buying suits at the Limited (so many different cuts in the same fabric!) and Calvin Klein suits at Macy’s (low price point). I also buy more tops at Target because (a) they have cute tops and (b) I grocery shop at Target so it’s easy.

    My clothes shopping motivations are “mom” motivations (lower cost, body composition changes, low maintenance, convenience), but other than Lands End, I don’t feel like any of those are traditionally “mom” brands. If anything, I think of Target, the Limited and Calvin Klein as throwbacks to my early professional days. It’s a little strange to be a 30-something mom in a dressing room surrounded by college students buying suits for their first big interviews….

  4. Two Cents says:

    I don’t like the Mom brands (Talbots, Lands End) and I think it wouldn’t like them even if I weren’t a mom. Too frumpy for my taste. I’d also add Brooks Brothers and NYDJ and Eileen Fisher as mom brands I stay away from. I tend to like my clothes fitted/tailored and the mom brand stuff is usually too baggy.

  5. mascot says:

    Even way before kids, some of the more “mature” brands were the things that fit my body best and fit my preppy/classic style. I’m a short, busty, hourglass and have been since puberty. My size has changed and has always been in higher end of regular sizes, but my general body tendencies haven’t. So before I felt kinda awkward about looking at “mom” brands even though those more classic cuts looked better on me. Now with less time and more self-confidence, I’m more at peace.

  6. I’ve loved Not Your Daughter’s Jeans since before I had two daughters. They actually fit!

    Most brands are not roomy or stretchy enough in the thighs. One memorable “designer” brand had a size 32 waist but I could not squeeze my calves in.

  7. Even without kids I’ve bought lots of more practical clothing, including plenty from Lands End from your list specifically. One of the main reasons I buy from Lands end though is that they have a great selection of tall sizes! Finally long sleeve shirts and sweaters that don’t look like 3/4-sleeve shirts on me! I don’t understand why so many stores have petites, but so few have tall sizes! The quality at Lands end is great, although their fit could be a bit more modern. I recently bought this tee-shirt in the striped floral (http://www.landsend.com/products/womens-art-t-shirt/id_297659?sku_0=::Y8P) and it’s so nice! A white tee that’s not see-through for a change, and in a very pretty pattern. Gap brands are also good for tall sizes, but I tend to like the offerings at Old Navy the best but the quality is usually just ok (which is what you’d expect at that price point). I like the buttondowns I get from Banana Repulic much better than the Lands End ones in terms of fit, but Banana seems to rarely have anything except white and maybe baby blue in stock in tall, while Lands end has lots of colors and patterns all the time.

  8. I’m in that horrible grey area where I’m slightly too tall for petite, too fine-boned for many brands’ 0-2, so mass market ‘mom brand/ mature brand’ sizing doesn’t quite work for me. I do go for lower cost, convenience, and practical materials in classic styles, so most of my work wardrobe staples are from Uniqlo and I wear a lot of ponte…looks good on everyone.

  9. I have kids and I emphatically do not wear mom clothes. I continue to dress in a flattering manner. I like figure flattering shapes, still take care with my makeup. I dress from The Limited, White House Black Market, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, and Nordstrom. I love jeans from American Eagle. I have kids, I’m not dead.

  10. CPA Lady says:

    Talbots #1 fangirl, reporting for duty. I’m petite and hourglass, so Ann Taylor and Talbots have always looked the best on me, including when I was in my early 20s. I can’t do Lands End or Eddie Bauer. Their stuff looks awful and boxy on me– no idea about J Jill, since I’ve never been in one. For casual clothes I do Loft and J Crew Factory and some t-shirts from Target. I dont think I dress “like a mom” and sometimes I cringe a little at the expectation that being a mom means changing everything about yourself.

  11. Patty says:

    I admittedly do think of Lands End, LL Bean, Talbots, Chico’s, etc. as “mom” brands, but sometimes I can find non-mom pieces. One of my favorite dresses working in my early 20s was a ponte cowl neck dress from Lands End. Their ponte stuff is flattering as long as you size down, and washes really well. Another of my favorite ponte dresses is a swingy mod one from Talbots. But overall, I shy away from “mom” patterns and prints. This is probably the main reason that Lilly Pulitzer really turns me off.

    I think my style will change once my kids are out of diapers and aren’t continually spitting up/spilling things on me. That’s a few years away. For now, I still try to shop the way I’ve always shopped, just for more casual clothes since I am a SAHM now instead of going to an office full-time. I go to the gym every day during the week, so I have a lot of Athleta/Lulu/GapFit/etc. If I am going to a playdate, I wear jeans (albeit my “fat” ones since I’m still 15 pounds away from my pre-pregnancy weight) and an actual top. I love LOFT, Nordstrom, Banana Republic, etc. for those types of clothes. On the weekends, I’ll break out my own heels and wedges and all the old dangly jewelry I can never wear around the kids.

  12. It seems like we’re all saying similar things here: the brands we choose are mostly to do with aesthetic and fit. If you like more classic styles, then you’re going to gravitate towards something like Talbots, Lands End, Eddie Bauer, etc. They also have a lot of simple basics that can be building blocks for a range of styles (a plain white T-shirt is a plain white T-shirt).

    Maybe the reason some consider them “mom brands” is that classic basics are also typically the most practical items for the wardrobe of women who are now functioning in both the home space and the work space while also (often) dressing for a new body.

    Personally, I’ve always had a more classic/chic aesthetic and worked in a non-dressy environment, so I didn’t find my wardrobe changing much at all once I become a mom.

    And Lands End ponte knit dresses are kind of magical.

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