Why I Started The Tea Shirt Shoppe

After a shopping trip several years ago, my husband said “oh you bought ANOTHER black tee shirt.” I started to defend myself and realized that I was stuck in a rut. Being a busy mom had me wearing yoga pants and tee shirts every day. I found it really difficult to find things that fit me correctly because I was short and round and weighing in at 230lbs. How do you make a sausage roll look sheek and sassy, you don't. (At least that's what I thought.) I also noticed that most of the women in my life were in the same slump. And to make things worse we live in the mid-west, the so called “bible belt” where there is a certain expectation of what a “Lady” should wear. I saw all these cute girls in ripped jeans and cropped tops and I loved the BOHO style, but I felt awkward even trying them out. When I did dress up every where I went I was over dressed! I got to the point I would avoid the mirror so I wouldn't think about it. Honestly this body after 4 babies is not so pretty anymore. I was embarrassed because I didn't have time (take time) to take care of myself.

At the same time I was taking a few online courses on public speaking and one of the things this teacher said was, dress for the job you want to have, not the job you have, even if no one sees you. That really challenged me because, lets be honest, dressing up takes work! I still had to wear my yoga pants and tee shirts for my job, but I challenged myself for 3 months to dress up anytime I wasn't working. Even if I was only hanging out. PS, I still love my yoga pants and tee shirts.

Here's what happened. I found myself more productive during the days I dressed up. People treated me differently in public. People complimented my outfits which made me feel better about myself. Then people started asking me where I got my outfits. My husband loved it! I felt sexier and sassier! So my marriage changed, and he started dressing up too! Which I loved. People at church would say they loved that I had such a unique style. I figured out that I did have time to take care of me. I found out that I really had lost touch with who I was, and got lost in the cycle of what others wanted me to be.

At that point I started questioning things, like why do people say dress your age?Do I have to wear floral up to my chin dresses that tie in the back to be a modest woman? Do I have to wear cardigan's and slacks to dress my age? Am I doomed to nudes, black, and navy because I'm almost 40 and shaped like a sausage? Why do I hate my body so much? This body that brought four amazing beautiful human beings into this world.

I found out that it didn't really matter what I wore, and I'm still shaped like a sausage roll. It was a mindset or belief that I had about myself that was limiting my connection with others and my ability to appreciate and value my own uniqueness. Through this process I truly was able to connect with myself, and I came out of it with so much confidence and joy. It's a wonderful thing to be a wife and a mother and not feel like its a burden to bear. We do not have to lose our identities amidst other peoples wants, needs, and desires, life can be fun if we let it!

I finally decided last October to take a stand for myself and the women in my life. Just because we are moms and wives and middle aged doesn't mean we can't be the unique, beautiful, sexy, sassy women that we are. You may not like that word sexy, but the truth is every woman I have ever met wants to feel that way to some degree. I'm not talking trashy. I'm talking Audrey Hepburn, or Princess Diana, sophisticated, confident, light up a room type sexy. You don't have to have a plunging neckline, or a crop top. (No one wants to see this mom's tummy trust me.) It's all about your perception of yourself. That's why I started the Tea Shirt Shoppe. I knew that I could effect the lives of moms hunting for that perfect tee given the opportunity.

My dream and hope is that you find the Tea Shirt Shoppe to be a place where you can be inspired, and connected. We all have busy lives, and schedules that are usually ran by the pulls of children, husbands and work, and I want this to be a safe place to find out the Beauty of Being Yourself in a safe environment. I am so looking forward to getting to know you. To hear about your lives and experiences! So please anytime feel free to post whats on your mind (Keep it clean). Let's be a community that builds each other up, encourages one another, and pushes one another to be the best version of ourselves that we can possibly be. 


  • I love this, Lori! My epiphany came when I was in PE class for college a couple of years ago. We were measuring ourselves and checking out our BMI, and I was too fat to even be on the charts. I started saying terrible things to myself because of my weight and the way I looked and felt. I realized that if anyone else said the same things to me, I’d punch them.

    Then I started thinking about how I saw myself when I was younger. When I was 18 and 180 lbs, I hated my weight and body just as much as I did at 37 and 270 lbs…and I was a hawt little thing back in the 90s!

    It dawned on me that if my view of myself was so distorted then, it was probably distorted now. It began my campaign of learning to love myself for who I am instead of judging myself for how I look. I’m still learning, but I’m developing my own fashion sense right along with you.

    You and your journey inspire me! I love the joy and acceptance you’re spreading – keep going, sister! Love ya!

    Jennifer Benson
  • You are a beautiful ROCKSTAR and I 💜 U!


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