If your life is anything like mine – dressing in a way that makes you feel glamorous and powerful has dropped way down your to do list – like way below buying a nit comb, and falling somewhere between getting a wax and cleaning out the fridge.
Did something happen to your wardrobe when you became a Mum? Mine suffered something of an identity crisis. My wardrobe became a place for my daughters to play hide and seek and for clothes to pile up like a jumble sale. I can’t find the will to sort them out and colour code them on velvet monogrammed hangers. Or whatever it is glamorous stylish super mums do. I’d hang my super hero cape in there – but I might risk never finding it again.
Do I Need Trinny and Susannah?
I don’t want to worry you that they’ll have to bring Trinny and Susannah out of retirement and throw me in front of the 6- way mirror (can I have a diazepam please?) It’s not that my fashion sense is dwindling – it’s just gone a bit dormant. And been replaced by what our own mother’s generation would have called sensible clothing.
I am ashamed to say that when I’m not at work (where I definitely make an effort), I have a Mummy uniform – skinny jeans complete with a muffin top – the kind of stuff that makes my gay brother gasp audibly and send me off to Harvey Nics with his credit card.
My Mummy Uniform
Long boots and any number of jumpers or tops are my 'at home togs' -which start off looking lovely, then shrink because I’ve forgotten they were dry clean only. Or that suffer such irreversible toddler inflicted damage that Oxfam says they're only worth 50p. Today, they nodded politely and then put them in the box that says SHRED in foot high letters. But it was when I was invited to a photo-shoot for Fairtrade that something clicked. First, the stylist Grace Woodward was there also being photographed and complete with her adorable baby Larkin. She looked glowing and real and beautiful in a not,perfect and matchy way. Like a Mum but also like a person.
I felt inspired; I needed to dig out what I love wearing and feel like me again – even if I’m only going to the park to feed the ducks.
So I performed my own style intervention. I started by wondering what Gok would do? He’d say dress like everyday is your last… Sounds great but in practice a sequined mini dress is not going to hold up in Tesco, in the park, loading the washing machine or doing forward rolls whilst pretending to be in a circus. Just to be clear I have never tried this manoeuvre but I’m convinced it would not end well. Maybe you’ve tried this and can let me know?
So I took a deep breath and started by doing a wardrobe audit. I invited over my brother who is a wardrobe Nazi. He spent 1 hour shouting ‘Hate it’ and filling bin bags. I can tell you it was slim pickings in there when he’d finished but I did feel the sort of calm that goes with being able to see what you own. And I got to fall in love with a few things again.
Back to Basics
So these are the statement pieces I was left with
· A Burberry trench
· Two sequined capes – I WILL do the dishes in these.
· My trusty leather biker
· A beautiful light blue Top Shop Blazer – pastels for Spring apparently.
· My black leather A-line skirt – wipe clean and my husband kisses me extra hard when I wear it.
· My maroon patent stilettos from Top Shop. I can’t say it enough – they're shiny, Spring shower proof and make your legs look LOOONG.
People Tree to the rescue
When I shared my wardrobe audit with Mia at People Tree, she became my Spring fashion Fairy Godmother! She dived into their Spring Summer collection and said pick a couple of things. So I chose carefully, and the wonderful photographer Jean Goldsmith put together our Fairtrade fashion story. My Spring Picks are...
· A soft grey Fairtrade cotton sweatshirt with a beautifully stitched heart – it feels like wearing a hug and you can’t feel down when you’re wearing something so positive!
· A beautiful belted Fairtrade cotton dress by Orla Keily for People Tree – it swishes and makes your waist look little even after all those kettle chips.
· A delicate and hand sewn white shirt with beautiful detailing around the collar – I can wear this on-air reading the news or with just about everything else I own.
Check out the pics to see my newly slimmed-down wardrobe...
Heading into the Studio with Sophia & my Nora Shirt
Reading the news & getting pelted with raisins
Wearing Love and feeling Loved
It feels like wearing a Hug and you can change a life by buying a 'Love' shirt.
A Orla Keily dress for going out in...Add a cable knit when it's still chilly.
So what is the secret to Power dressing when you’re a Mum?
· Be practical but not so much that you’d go around in an oil-cloth onesie if you could.
· How you dress affects how you act –if you don’t enjoy what you wear around your kids – that’s a lot of time you’re spending not being YOU.
· Leather and patent are awesome – they are sexy and practical. They come up nicely with a baby-wipe!
· Invest in the best that you can afford – I’ve had my trench for years, and it still looks and feels great.
· Buy Ethical Fashion when you can – there’s no more powerful way to dress than knowing your purchase is truly changing someone's life.
Clothing People Tree, Photographs Jean Goldsmith and Make-up Fiona Rogers