Help! I’m stuck in a deep, dark style rut that I’m finding it hard to get out of.
I can see light at the end of the tunnel as I remember wearing nice clothes. I remember being the girl at the party that other girls used to ask where I bought such and such and I remember constantly looking at others for inspiration. Yes, I was that girl in the coffee shop who was checking you out as I admired your boots and made a mental note that I needed some knee high boots in my wardrobe ready for Autumn.
So what happened? I’m not entirely sure as when I was pregnant, I naturally assumed (or desperately hoped) that I would give birth to the baby and become a MILF. That really was my ambition. I wanted to be the mum that all other mums look twice at in envy. I wanted to be the mum that made non-childless women want to have kids as I made it look so fun and cool.
But after putting on 3 stone during pregnancy (going from 10stone to something past the 13 stone mark), a traumatic c-section, a newborn baby who needed to get his sleep routine sorted and being stuck at home with the baby while my husband returned to work, I lost my way. Having sworn I’d rather eat my chihuahua’s dog poo than wear jogging bottoms, sports gear became my new best friend. My husband took me to All Saints in the Westfield shopping centre to give me some stylish wardrobe options but I (wrongly) felt there wasn’t much point wearing nice clothes to sit on the sofa or walk round the park with the baby and so I went back to the sports clothes. Occasionally, I wore some jeans with a plain black vest top because it was easy to wear, comfortable and wipe-clean from baby sick. I’d put on the All Saints outfits if I ventured out of my neighbourhood, and then I’d go back to the jeans.
Part of me felt like I didn’t deserve nice clothes because I was heavier than I’d ever been in my life so I worked on it. I worked like a dog and I sweated like a pig. I ran miles every morning before the baby woke up, I swam and I pedalled round the park on my little bike. I completed the London triathlon, which consisted of a 1.5km swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run and although I didn’t get a great time, I finished it. And eventually, I made it down to 10 st 10 and felt mildly happy with my figure again. I’m still working on losing more, but it’s not a bad weight for my 5 ft 8 inch frame and I can see my waist again.
Anyway, to celebrate I went back to the shops and I looked around, looked some more and then had what felt like a panic attack. I had no idea what to buy. Did I want something smart? Did I want to go for a laid-back Scandi-cool style from Cos or European chic from Zara? How about edgy denim dungarees or a denim jumpsuit? I went home with nothing, put a load of laundry on in a bad mood and didn’t notice that an unwashed pair of indigo jeans were in the laundry with a lot of pale colours, which meant that my husband and I both had even less to wear. What else can you do in those situations but cry?
Sitting on the sofa in the middle of a pile of wet, grey-blue laundry was a definite low point and I realised that I needed to do something to make myself feel better. The only way I would feel better was if I had something nice to wear and the only way I would have something nice to wear would be if I worked out what I wanted to look like and went for it. You can’t beat a good cry to release all the thoughts that are buzzing round in your head and put you on a clear path, so in the middle of that pile of ruined laundry, I realised that working out my new mum style was the same as any other problem in life. If you take things step by step then it becomes less of a problem.
In the past, I looked at other people to help me work out my own style and so that’s what I did. I put the laundry on the washing line while working out if there was any way I could blame my husband (could I say that he left a blue handkerchief in his pocket?). And then I went straight to my other best friend aside from sports gear – Google. I typed things like ‘yummy mummy’ and ‘celebs with kids’ and this listed a few celebs that I could scrutinise. I worked out that Victoria Beckham, Chrissy Teigen and kept popping up over and over again. I consistently liked the outfits they wore.
Some people create a vision board, but I’m more of a list person and so I made my shopping list there and then. This is how I’m going to pull myself out of my rut:
Inspired by Kate Beckinsale
Kate’s outfits don’t look complicated but she looks fantastic – it’s the ‘effortlessly cool’ mum look. Where she differs to me, is that her jeans are new and her blazer in the pic on the right is clearly ‘this-season’. I bought a blazer a few years ago that’s now been washed rather a lot, packed in a few suitcases and battered all weathers and definitely needs updating as it’s become a bit shapeless, (or that may be because I bought it pre-pregnancy and my shape’s changed since then). I’m liking the V by Very jersey blazer from Very.co.uk (below) and for that I’d update my jeans to some flattering mid-blue skinny jeans like the V by Very shaping skinny jeans. I’d finish the look with some suede ankle boots from Deichmann that are a bargain at just £17.99.
I do love a jumper in Winter and my problem is that my jumpers have seen more than one Winter. Knitwear does look better, the newer it is. That justifies getting the Ines cream cashmere sweater from UNIQLO then! Besides UNIQLO have the cheapest cashmere – this one is just £59.50 and feels divine.
Chrissy’s a model mum and I love how she layers. She’s the best at using a contrasting mix of fabrics and complementing colours so the main item and the cover up just about match. I think a long waterfall cardigan has to be in every mum wardrobe as it will go with skirts and jeans and hide all the lumps and bumps that you may still be trying to lose. My favourite one in the shops is Pretty Little Thing Veronica camel oversized coat, which is somehow just £20! the I also like the beige skirt she’s wearing it with, which reminds me of the assymetric ruched side skirt from Missguided.
If you’re feeling a bit more edgy, then biker jackets also look great with jeans and dresses. Pick one that falls to exactly where your waist is and it will slim you down as it will enhance your slimmest part rather than your hips. I like the V by Very premium rose gold zip leather biker, which is below left along with the fabulous KG Hoxton caged sandals.
I am thinking about going back in for the odd shift in the national newspaper office in the not too distant future so l do need an alternative to the black maternity dress that I lived in while I was pregnant.
For me, Victoria is the ultimate mom boss and I love how she sticks to block colours and classic shapes. Keeping it simple but structured makes her look cool and in control, no matter how she’s feeling on the inside. A classic black pencil skirt will have men and women lusting after you as it looks better from the behind as it does from the front. It gives you a super sleek silouhette and will see you from boadroom to post-work cocktails in style. Victoria’s got a below the knee maxi skirt, which is like the Sportmax Ella crepe pencil skirt. Most pencil skirts fall to just above the knee so you’ll stand out from the crowd. Next, it’s good to invest in a high-quality crisp white blouse as you can tell the difference between a cheap one and a luxe one when it comes to material. A brand like Reiss do good shirts – try the Ruben button front shirt, which is £80. A pair of slim-leg black trousers will form the other staple in your work-wardrobe and I, for one, am in love with the black ponte skinny leg trousers from Next as they cover the ankles like Victoria’s but they’re great value for money at £28.
Now I have my shopping list and I’ll keep you posted on Twitter and Instagram – babyvipsblog – with what I buy and how it looks.
Please let me know which celebs you look at for style inspiration and what you’re wearing!