Thursday, May 25, 2017

"Toddler Grandma Style" Is Speaking to My SOUL

I've never really nailed down a personal sense of style - such as it is - before. I mean, I've shown you guys how much I adore the Mori Girl look, with it's frilly layers and comfy cottons, and you might remember my everyday corset looks from a few years back, for when my menstrual pain hits - but then I also love rainbow glitter sneakers and giant cat head purses and retro holographic Disney tees. You know, as one does.

WELL, this week I discovered my stylistic soul mate, as described by Cynara Geissler in her must-read article for The Establishment:


How cute is this?? And this, my friends, is Toddler Grandma Style.

Billing it as "The Fashion Approach That Will Set You Free," Cynara describes a style that goes light years beyond pairing prints or deciding if you're a Spring or an Autumn. She gets right to the heart of fashion: whether or not what you're wearing makes you happy - and then proceeds to question everything we know about "dressing like a grownup."

 "Our culture has absorbed and perpetuated the mind-numbingly dull idea that the best way to signal that you are a smart adult woman is to don suit jackets, favor neutrals, and wear heels."

So why Toddler Grandma Style?

"Because toddlers and elderly women are seen as devoid of any sex appeal, they stand outside the male gaze and as such get to ignore the rather limiting “rules” set out for women (in culture, and by ourselves) when it comes to personal presentation.

"Toddler Grandma Style has a message: Boys, this isn’t about you.

I can't stress enough how much I want - nay, NEED - you to go read the whole article (I'll link it again at the end), because it is in-your-face joy, and drops some serious, perspective-shifting wisdom at the same time. 

Also, I see a fair amount of outfit selfies over on Fans of Epbot, and I've gotta say: I think a lot of you are already on this style bandwagon. We just didn't have a name for it before. I can't help but wonder if we geeks are more likely to dress for ourselves, just because we're already used to liking things society considers childish or uncool.

Now, I dress a little Toddler Grandma sometimes already, but I was still curious what John would think of all this. After all, he's a guy who still likes to see my hair down and my boobs up, if you will, from time to time. So I read him all the bits about patriarchy and challenging societal norms, then showed him some of Cynara's awesome outfits.
John's response?

"That is awesome." 

 And, "Ooh, you'd look great in that."

I don't mention this because I think you need anyone's approval to wear what you love. I mention it because while this style isn't about "attracting the male gaze," it is about confidence and daring and being unapologetically YOU. And that is attractive.

John doesn't find me any less sexy because my shoes light up. He likes my bright colors and flouncy skirts. More than that, I think he likes how happy I am wearing them.

OK, enough of my cheerleading. Go read Cynara's article and fashion tips. (Plus she has more outfit photos!) Then, if you're feeling ambitious, head over to the Epbot FB page and show me your best Toddler Grandma style. I think I'm going to be shopping a little differently from now on, and I could use more inspiration!


Now let's announce some Art Winners!

The winner of the Flower Robot is Panthera
The winner of Dapper Harley & Joker is Amanda (of NerdHuffing)
And my Wild Card winner is Liz Jopson!

Congrats, you three, and please e-mail me your mailing addresses!


  1. Yes! I dress for myself and when people ses me they either smile or snicker. Don't care have flair! I am a pink haired (2 years now!) farming mom of three boys who is working on starting a business that centers around crativity and photography. Why wear "adult clothes" clothes are clothes. Wear what makes you feel like you.

  2. Toddler grandma style is how Rachel Berry dresses in the early seasons of Glee

  3. As a Thrift Stylist (why yes, that IS a Thing!), I heartily agree with the article's author on how to find your best, most personal look:
    My clients never cease to be amazed at how fabulous they truly look when they cast off the "rules" and get creative.

    The only reason that *anyone* can "pull it off" is simply because they say they can. Try it. People might raise an eyebrow for MAYBE one month, but usually far less than that. They easily forget you ever looked any other way, and begin to view you as someone who can magically 'pull it off'.

    Thanks for posting, and for the link.

    1. I dyed my hair bright red a few months ago. I also wear fascinators every day. I had a friend recently tell me that she doesn't even notice those things any more. My friends and coworkers just accept that I'm unique. Now, when I go out and about, people still notice, and I get my share of stares, but I just keep on going, because I know I look awesome!

  4. THIS IS MY STYLE. I just never knew it had a name :)

  5. That article truly was a delight to read, especially the bullet points at the end. "Overall jorts are actually good." You know what? I'd wear the heck out of some overall jorts. I should go shopping.

  6. Now if my "Grunge Grandma" look would just take off...

  7. You should check out dresses by the company "cowcow" - you can order them via amazon, and they're not prohibitively expensive and they have the most amazing "toddler grandma" prints/patterns.

  8. So, my black asymmetric hem knit dress with the oversized pockets from EShakti, a bright orange cardigan, my garden gnome LuLaRoe leggings and my leather Sperry loafers? Because this was my work outfit yesterday.

  9. All I can say to all of this is, "HECK TO THE YES!!"

  10. A couple weeks ago, I read her article out loud to my two teen daughtbots, both of whom already rock this style. They cheered. Then I read it out loud to the husbot. His only comment: "Hm. 'Bout time somebody else figured this out."

    1. Wow, mom! You commented on a post! :D (yay for use of 'daughtbots' again!)
      Pinkie Welborne, 16,

  11. Never thought I needed a defining label for the type of fashion I enjoy, but now that I've found this label, I love it!
    I think it's a sign that you're with the right person, if they can appreciate clothing that makes you happy as being attractive because of how it makes you feel, rather then how it looks. If they saw someone else wearing that item they wouldn't stop and think "ooohh hot!" but if they see you wearing it, they love it, because it makes you happy, and happy is beautiful.

  12. "John doesn't find me any less sexy because my shoes light up. He...likes how happy I am wearing them."
    And that is the difference between "the male gaze" (wolf whistles) and the real affection of a man who finds you attractive on every level, not just the superficial.

  13. I haven't updated my wardrobe in much too long. Everything is getting holey and I'm bored. This may be the motivation I need to go shopping! And I'm going to buy ALL THE COLOR! PRINTS!

  14. I have a need for functional pockets. And all the clothing that has them definitely rock this style type. I love it.

    Colourful, a lol gothy, and a lot of who the heck cares. And I've found a source for shoes that are for adults but fun, funky, and very colourful :D

  15. Modcloth was made for this style. I totally get that feeling, though. A couple of winters ago, H&M had the most adorable bunny and kitten emblazoned clothing I would have given all my money and other things to own. The fact that the largest size it came in was a 5T is what really broke my heart. So, I am a 47 year old, plus size, real life nurse who owns a dress with space kittens on it. (Thank you, Modcloth.)

  16. Thank you, just thank you. I remember back when I was in 7th grade (circa late 1990's) and I showed up on the day of yearbook photos wearing tapered jeans, a black long sleeved shirt, a vest (handmade by my aunt) of maroon fabric printed with cat faces, AND a broach of a teal colored cat made out of recycled paper bags. *I* thought I looked great. The rest of my classmates were not so kind. Although there are too many other factors to begin to list, I always wondered if the response of my peers to that picture contributed to my development of anorexia, social anxiety, and major depression 6 months later. Both are something I still struggle with today. Even now, when my anxiety gets bad and my hamster wheel of a brain gets going, I will flashback to that day and wonder why I didn't just wear something else, something, "normal". After reading your post and the article, that outfit was the definition of toddler grandma! Thank you for making me feel like I fit in somewhere!

  17. Sigh. I love her embellished blue boots...but I don't think I'd be brave enough to wear them.

  18. This! This! This!
    I admit that I'm trying Stitch Fix, and some pieces have been wonderful, but the last batch was "You're trying to make me look like everyone else!" So I left a note saying, "I want my clothes to tell a story. The story this month is Mermaid." We'll see how they do.

  19. While I favor jewel tones and earth tones to the brightness of most of the outfits in the article, I LOVE the philosophy behind this fashion movement. I'm really gonna start taking some of this to heart.

    As someone who struggles with chronic physical and mental illness, it's SO easy to just wear PJs every day, or cycle through the same three or four outfits when I have to go out in public. And yet I've learned over and over again that I feel *better* when I dress up, even if it's just a piece of statement jewelry or some basic layering.

    Anyway, thanks for introducing me to the Toddler Grandma way of thinking!

  20. Great post and great article! Thanks for brightening my day, Jen!


  21. I think as I'm heading more towards my grandma (and further from my toddler) years, this style and this attitude have definitely become "me." I'm a nurse, and as such have had to be pretty conservative for years. Plus, wearing scrubs all day doesn't lend itself to variety, when your company tells you what kind/color.
    So, with much pleasure, I realized my company has no policy on hair color. Mine now has a chunk of bright blue in a sea of my natural silver. I've received more smiles and compliments on it than anything I've ever done, style-wise. I think it's my first happy little skip-step towards my Grandma-style. And, I'm gonna be a funky grandma!

  22. I'm done with eShakti after my last order of three dresses were all defective. And now I have am dying to try Lularoe but I am just so broke.

    If any readers here have tried Lularoe, please post to say what you think of the quality of the tees and dresses. I probably wouldn't bother with the leggings.

  23. Our culture has absorbed and perpetuated the mind-numbingly dull idea that the best way to signal that you are a smart adult woman is to don suit jackets, favor neutrals, and wear heels.

    Actually, most high tech, economic power-house societies have absorbed the notion that, in order to signal that you're a "smart" (competent, capable, possessing good judgment and not likely to flake out on a project or abscond with the funding to Jamaica to "find yourself.") man or woman, you have don boring suits.

    Gals at least get to opt for heels and flaunt their style that way, but if guys try to show up with a flashy belt buckle or tie, they get the hairy eyeball. It's not fair, granted, but there you are.

    All clothing is costume.

    If you have the economic freedom to wear a costume merely to please yourself, you are very fortunate, and I hope you go for it. Boring, staid and respectable gets the job done, but having some colorful, joyful eye-candy about is pretty sweet, too.

  24. Anonymous @4:01, I was actually just coming to say, this whole thing describes my style so well since I pretty much ended up replacing my wardrobe with Lularoe stuff. It wasn't intentional, and I don't sell for them or anything, but it's pretty much the first clothes company I've found that I can get really comfortable, quality clothes without feeling weird about my size. Someone I know was being really nasty about it one time, describing a Lularoe party as "a bunch of women dressed as overgrown toddlers," and I bristled and then was like, "Well, so?" I'd rather wear bright, fun colors and prints than jeans every day.

    As far as your question about the quality, I've been really happy with them - I've had a couple of the tees get some pilling after a while, but nothing major. I am pretty religious about following the care instructions.

  25. Yes, yes and yes! I work in a professional environment but still tend to err on the side of this style of fashion over more traditionally accepted outfits - particularly since I started wearing dresses a few years ago (long story). Princess Highway (and it's associated brands) in Australia is great for this sort of thing. I'm looking forward to looking into some of the other labels mentioned here ... and hoping that they ship to Aus :)

  26. Ok. I read this post and didnt want to like it. Excuse me while i judge the name...toddler grandma style...sheesh. But over the last couple days i couldnt stop thinking about how i used to wear whatever i wanted in high school and sometimes it was truly hideous but it was always comfortable. And how now that im older and...fatter all i wear is black and grey and it is truly depressing. So i went to the tjmax, my fav clothes store, and bought so many colors. And truly feel the freedom to be myself again. But forgive me if i just call it TG style ;)

  27. My husband and I call my look "hobo librarian" in case anyone wants to appropriate that instead of toddler grandma. :)

  28. Yes!! Love this. reminds me of Kimmy Schmidt style.

  29. That's a really cool article. Thanks for sharing.
    Ever since surviving the fallout from your bra post (I've been lied too! and I do so have boobs!), I've had a bit of a who-cares-what-anyone-thinks-I'm-wearing-what-I-like approach to dressing but never really thought out any philosophy or rationale behind it. Some of the things she says really ring true though.

  30. I don't have a pic but I was complimented today on my outfit: teal Mary Janes, hot coral jeggins (although I don't like the word) from Stitch Fix, and my Mustard corduroy jacket because Boston still hasn't decided that it is spring. I told the complimenter, "Toddler Grandma Style! It's a thing!"

  31. Can I reply to this old post, please? I bought the most beautiful pair of embroidered jeans yesterday, which is something I've wanted for YEARS, but I never bought. In part, I hesitated because I felt like only toddlers wore those, and I'm (ahem) over 40. :( But now I'm over that and delighting in the fact that one of the perks of being a grown up is choosing my clothes to please myself! Thanks, Jen, for all the internet support over the years!


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