Confessions of a Fleece Bag Lady

Me in my fleece...after a day in the officeIn high school, I wanted to be shorter…and smarter, so that life would be easier in college. In college, I wanted to be prettier, skinnier (darn Freshman 15!), and smarter, so that I could get married and get into a top graduate school. By the time I was in graduate school, I was tired. And married. And pregnant with my second kid. All I wanted to be was finished. (Successfully, of course, so that I could get a good job.)

In the few years since grad school, I can honestly say that I haven’t wanted much, except to make sure that we could pay the bills and that we were raising well-adjusted, happy and well-behaved children (no sweat, right?!). And suddenly I noticed that now that I’ve reached all of those goals of my earlier life, I am no longer as critical of the way I look as I used to be (and anyone who knew me then, knows I really used to be). Part of me feels that I’m giving up some sort of womanly privilege to look good because I’m too busy being comfortable. Should I put more of an effort into the way I look each day, like some of my friends who actually take time to blow dry their hair or to wear a shaitel just because it looks nice? Should I make an effort to wear more fitted clothing just because I can?

In reality, however, I’m a self-proclaimed “fleece bag-lady.” I just can’t help it. It doesn’t help that 50% of my wardrobe is made of fleece. 45% more is hand-me downs or gifts from generous sisters in law or my mother – or a few pieces that I finally fit into again after high school, purchased in the days where I had to look good or I’d never find a husband. The last 5% is actually clothing that I purchased myself. Probably not recently. It might also help to mention that 9/10 skirts in my closet are made of denim. It’s a really good thing that denim is socially acceptable in Israel, because I’ve worn it on many an interview, since I had nothing else suitable to wear.

Lately, I really wish I could stop wearing fleece (and possibly even denim). I’m not honestly sure why. But no matter how many non-fleece items are in my closet, I find myself with almost no motivation to put them on. It’s probably because it’s the winter, and I’m cold ALL THE TIME. But I think that’s just an excuse. So is the fact that I’m taking care of the kids at different points during the day. After all, my sister is a kindergarten teacher, and she’s not nearly as frumpy as I am. I rationalize to myself that I’m more productive since I don’t waste time on vanities. That I can work with sharper focus because I’m comfortable. And it’s possible that these thoughts have some truth behind them.

A lot of women I know say they dress well for themselves, so they feel good about themselves. But I feel good when I’m warm and comfortable. So should it matter if I always look frumpy? I feel like it should, but I just can’t bring myself to change. Is it laziness? Fear that I might not like what I see when I actually take time to look in the mirror?

I question whether wearing lipstick or stylish clothing will really make me a better person – even if it will make me a more attractive one. Part of my conflict lies in the fact that as the mother of girls, I want them to take pride in who they are, to feel good not only about the way they live their lives (as I do), but about the way they present themselves (which I don’t, mostly). If I continue being a fleece bag lady, I may be serving my own needs, but am I really doing what’s best for my girls? On the other hand, I see that they’re already more interested in makeup and hair things than I am – so perhaps my disinterest has served its purpose, and inspired them to embrace the physical beauty that G-d has given them.

What’s a busy, cold and over-tired mother to do?




Yup, it's true. I write all day for work - and now, apparently, I write for fun too.


4 thoughts on “Confessions of a Fleece Bag Lady

  1. Dearest Sari,

    You are not nearly as “frumpy” as you think you are, at least when I have the pleasure of seeing you.

    Israel, lends itself to the “luxury” of not fretting too much about how you look and dress. I am not convinced that this is a welcome societal condition. “It is what it is.”

    Even though I am almost 80, I must admit that I prefer seeing women nicely dressed and who care about how they look. It must be a relic of my American backround. But I am for non “frumpy” women and, before Malkie jumps on me, and non “frumpy” men.

    As for my great grandchildren, they always look beautul to me, and you manage to keep them nicely dressed.

    Love, poppy

  2. dearest sari, i think you are beautiful just as you are! and, please do not refer to yourself as a “cold and over-tired mother.” you are much more than that- an ambitious, smart and busy woman who happens to have four wonderful children!
    i love you!

  3. Sari, you’re one of my closest friends. So, you know that I tell it the way it is. And when I tell you that you are one of the most beautiful women I know, you’re just gonna have to take my word on it. You even manage to pull off “frumpy” with style. That said, we can play dress up…whenever you come to America next. Of course, all we’ll end up agreeing on is a bra 🙂

  4. You reached all your goals…except getting shorter…but you are perfect the way you are. The ‘cold’…you come by it honestly!! And there are worse things than being cold and tired…whatever you are, you carry it well…I love you.

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