baby and me magazine
I used to spend a good hour in front of my wardrobe in the mornings before children. Some days (feeling righteous about my egg-white, carb-free brekkie) I’d play with different looks and dress up with accessories, even snapping pics on my phone to file away for inspiration. Other mornings (last night’s wine being soaked up with a bacon roll) I’d be less creative, searching for what I knew was the only cure: failsafe jeans, requisite flowy top and of course the darkest sunglasses.
How things have changed. Now that I’m a mum and back in the workforce, there’s little time to eat breakfast let alone linger in front of the wardrobe. Not that I’m complaining. In fact, becoming a mother has boosted my self-esteem and given me keener clarity about my style. Age may also be a factor. New research by the retailer CC suggests that, after years of experimenting with different styles, women in their mid-thirties find new confidence in their image. That’s why I’ve been telling all my mum friends that – as surprising as this may sound – now is the time for the ultimate wardrobe cleanse.
It turns out I’m right – my husband will tell you that happens all the time. Renowned fashion stylist, wardrobe editor and personal shopper Annabel Hodin (annabelhodin.com) says, “Any time you reach a pivotal point in life, it is an exciting opportunity to redefine your style. Your clothes represent the ‘new you’ and the image you wish to portray.”
Hodin has worked with many clients postpartum – editing wardrobes to help women feel beautiful while embracing their new role as a mother. Her trained eye is invaluable so you can’t go wrong using her services. “Getting dressed in the morning is no longer the half-hour struggle of despair that I have ‘no clothes’ despite a credit card that is maxed to its limit.” You must be ruthless while culling your wardrobe, subjecting every garment to the following questions: does it fit properly and do I feel good wearing it? The advice from Hodin is to find the perfect trousers to use as a base to assess your tops. Stick to classic colours, she says, like black, navy, grey, white and camel. For jeans, invest in one pair in blue and one pair in another colour. V-neck sweaters, a casual jacket and, of course, the LBD are all part of your core wardrobe – then mix in investment pieces like a cashmere cardigan and a dress coat.
As for a postnatal wardrobe detox, this doesn’t mean chucking all your loungewear to make room for new Louboutins. In fact, Hodin, suggests it’s important to be well-groomed no matter what you’re wearing: “Have flattering loungewear in classic colours according to your colouring. Stick to clean lines and a neat look in good proportions to your body.” Hodin also says comfort is important for both stay-at-home and working mothers: “Going to work or staying at home makes no difference to the quality of the wardrobe you should have at your disposal. The only difference is those practical requirements.” When it comes to shoes “Try on every shoe with your outfits and get rid of any that do not go with your clothes or are uncomfortable or tatty”.
The old adage, “Less is more,” also applies. According to a new report from COTTON USA, the average British woman’s wardrobe contains 128 items despite living space having declined over the last three years. It’s not only a space issue for many of us, any new mum can tell you how little time and energy remain to focus on herself at the end of the day. That’s why a streamlined wardrobe is more crucial now than ever before. “Only you will notice if you wear an outfit more than once,” says. “Looking and feeling good are all that matters.” It turns out this might be the best-kept secret amongst fashion insiders. ‘Too much choice only clouds your judgment – if you know what works for your body, you can actually turn 15 or 20 great items into 100 really stunning outfits.’
style tips for busy mothers
Having children changes our lives in so many ways, not least of which is the time crunch that comes with getting everyone dressed and out the door in the mornings. Personal stylist and wardrobe editor Annabel Hodin says, “Every milestone needs a wardrobe rethink. As a mother, your whole wardrobe must work together proportionally and colourwise so, when hurrying, whatever you pick up works.” Hodin’s wardrobe staples include a sexy tracksuit, a brightly coloured dress and a tailored blazer. Then, she recommends, “Big sunglasses, ﬂuoro orange or pink lipstick, Chanel blue nails, eye liner and a soft cream blusher – and you are ready to go.”