Lessons In Style From American Moms

New Column: Belle Across The Pond

Writer Jackie Wilson talks American Moms in her first column as Belle Across the Pond

FREAKY FRIDAY, Barbara Harris, 1976

I’m a Brit Mum just landed in Cincinatti, Ohio, for a couple of years.  I have therefore just become a Mom.  If you are British, just try and say that word, you basically just did an impression of a goldfish didn’t you?  Anyway, if nothing else it’s a great cure for ending the practice of referring to oneself in the third person….

Moving on!  In these early weeks of being here I’ve adopted the approach of keeping a fairly low social profile (OK, I haven’t got any friends – hopefully “yet”) but in this period, I’ve observed one thing.  The American Mom has got swagger.  There’s me sitting there in my M&S comfy jeans, ballerina pumps and 3 winters old Barbour jacket watching these Moms in awe.  Here are the main reasons I think they are rocking Mom-chic:

Active Wear

An American Mom OWNS her active wear.  So much so, it isn’t really even active wear, its just wear.  It seems to me that all Mums here are wearing what only the most stylish and active-wear confident Brit Mums were wearing.  Trippy print leggings – check!  Lululemon yoga things – check!  Double layer tanking (a tank is a vest here!) – check!  Even the ponytails look effortlessly Olympic.  Up until now, myself in active wear is basically akin to the girl who forgot their PE kit in junior school.  That’s going to change!  I’m aiming for Mom now.

The Baseball Cap

I have always wanted to be able to rock a baseball cap.  This aspiration stems from a photo of Posh Spice (she’s a Mom!) wearing one on a plane whilst looking smokin’ hot – I’m sure it must have been en route to LA.   My issue here is that I have a surprisingly large head for a short chick and on the occasion I can find headdress large enough the result is invariably landscape gardener.   My hypothesis is that Americans basically understand baseball and this aids the sporting of related attire.  My imminent to do list includes this “attain a greater understanding of the sport of baseball with a view to confidently wearing a baseball cap”.  This will of course bring added benefits of shadowing most of my face and covering my hair, thus reducing grooming hours significantly #squadgoals!

Jeans and Trainers (Sneakers)

I’ve always associated jeans and trainers with school trips and exchange students – think kagool, think Jansport rucksack, think basically not-chic.  The American Mom look is nothing like that.  Here it is effortlessly stylish giving the wearer a look of enviable comfort all whilst managing to look a little bit sexy too.  The Mom in jeans and trainers is mostly Daisy Duke.  This is where my bar is set.


There is a possibility that this is not a thing attributable to the Mom, moreover, ’tis attributed to everyone but me.  I have however, noted that the Mom’s jewel adornments strike that balance between looking luxuriously pricey and utterly non-showy.  It ain’t about the ber-bling – maybe it’s the tans?


OK, I know you can’t wear a car, but it can be sort of an accessory right?  Here the Moms and their cars are formidable partnerships.  The cars themselves are generally bigger by a factor of about 17 and have grills that don’t smile meekly, moreover they bellow “come and have a go wise guy” in a guttural, Texan lilt.  It’s not that though.  It’s the Mom and her attitude to the car.  The American Mom has no soft toys in her wagon.  I’ve not yet seen a “baby on board sign”.   What even is a Nissan Micra or a Ford KA?  “Ah so cute – are they toys?” asks the Mom?  The Mom is not a fast driver, she’s not reckless; this is just Mom and machine in perfect harmony

Moms, I salute you, and for the next few years I’m going to be shamelessly channeling you.  Every now and then though, I will throw on my Cath Kidston tea dress, the one covered in Beefeaters and London Buses.

I might even wear it with sneakers. 



Jackie Wilson

Jackie started writing for Belle on her return to the UK after 3 years living in Kuala Lumpur. Formerly a Marketing Manager of British institutions such as Cathedral City Cheddar and Twinings Tea, she wrote columns and web content in KL for several local and expat magazines and sites and was a contributing author for the book Knocked Up Abroad. Jackie is now back on the expat beat living in Cincinatti, USA where she is engaged in a feast of writing projects while desperately clinging to her children’s British accents and curiously observing the American way.

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