When I ask on social media if anyone has any burning questions they'd like to ask, you can bet your bottom dollar I get this at least a handful of times 'How do I look good and feel great when I'm a busy mum?'. It's probably the number one question along with 'I'm a mum, how do I begin to look or feel sexy anymore?' and the follow up ‘I’ve just no idea what to wear’.
Time constraints, lifestyle needs, budget limits and sticky porridge hands can make getting dressed in the mornings a pain, but there are some ways to simplify what you need to get you feeling, and looking, fabulous on even the most ordinary day!
Let’s focus on what most busy mums need – speed! In the midst of getting everyone up, ready and out the house every morning, you need to grab something quick, easy and stylish – this is where you’re ‘go to’ capsule wardrobe will come in. A basic midi dress, or my (and most other stylist’s) favourite – Skinny jeans and a (white if you’re brave) shirt. Chuck on a jacket for a smart casual look that will take you past the school run and straight to a meeting, coffee, shopping, whatever your next commitment is (for a smarter look if you’re going to work and have to dress more formally, cigarette style trousers are perfect with a shirt and jacket).
When I said ‘skinny jeans’ did you immediately have palpitations? Too many women think they can’t wear jeans – that if you’re above a size 12 there’s none that will suit you – but it’s untrue. There are so many good jeans on the high street now, in a variety of fits and sizes, that you’re bound to find something that you like. Fit is everything with jeans – what you’re looking for is no muffin top, choosing a high or mid waist can help with this if you still have a bit of bulge around the middle area (most women do, that’s what having babies does, don’t stress, it’s about finding the best pair for you), cut and material – decent denim is really important! I’m not talking about paying lots for a pair of jeans (I currently love Dorothy Perkins for jeans and have bought my last 4 pairs from there over the past 3 years – when I find a pair I love, I buy 2 pairs, one for best and one for everyday, that way they don’t get worn out too quickly and your good pair should barely need washing!). For cut think about what your body shape is – you can read my advice on figuring out your shape here – and work from there. If you need to balance shoulders and hips, you might want boot cut, if you need to add curves at your waist then high waisted might be great – ultimately, it’s about trying on! (It can take many, many try on sessions to find a good pair of jeans, but when you find them it’s worth it and if you need help you can book a stylist - email me here).
A white shirt should be in every wardrobe – yes it sounds impractical with kids and when my boys were much younger (they’re 5 and 3 now) I wouldn’t have worn white because of the spit, sick and general amount of bodily fluids I would have on me at any given time – but now it’s not such a problem, they wipe their own hands and I stay pretty safe. If white isn’t an option for you, go for bold colours and a good cut. Linen is comfortable but remember if you’re travelling to work or sitting in a car then it creases so you might want to leave the linen for a more casual day. If the idea of a shirt doesn’t do it for you, try one on with your favourite jeans and for a more relaxed, ‘boyfriend’ feel go a size up! It can really add something to the outfit to have your sleeves rolled up and a looser fit – add a statement necklace and you’ve got yourself an easy go to outfit that looks stylish and is practical for an entire day of ‘mumming’ whatever that consists of for you. (Don't shy away from 'double denim' if your favourite shirt is a denim one - just use different shades of denim to break it up).
If, like some women, you shy away from trousers and jeans, then a midi-dress is the way to go! Plain is a great option, throw it on and away you go - it's practical, stylish and modern.
- A jacket for a smart casual look.
- Statement pieces like earrings or necklaces for some interest (generally I’d stay away from both at the same time, but it depends on the occasion and how I’m feeling).
- A red lip – I know, it scares the hell out of most people, but adding a red lip to a white shirt/skinny jeans combo is as sexy as it gets – don’t go overboard with the rest of your make-up and it’s the perfect way to ‘downplay’ glam.
- A great bag – a handbag, or a tote, it doesn’t matter, but grab your brightest bag and against the shirt and jeans it adds confidence to your look. (If you’ve gone with a coloured shirt rather than white, the bag colour determines whether you want to clash or match – clashing is super modern and urban, matching is more twee and cute – there are times to do both, just base it on how you feel!)
Other quick ways to get out of bed and feel fabulous, and look stylish!
- A plain shirt or vest with high waist, wide leg trousers (or a slogan t-shirt for a modern vibe).
- Clashing patterns – find your most floral skirt and team it with a striped top, it works. (Try tucking in to get a real definition between pieces).
- If you don't like shirts buttoned up, pop a vest on underneath and leave the buttons undone.
Experiment – go through your wardrobe every season, put on one top and try on every skirt, pair of trousers etc you own – what goes with what? (Do this with all tops, all bottoms until you have several outfits – take a pic if you don’t think you’ll remember). Hang it on the same hanger, or next to each other for a quick outfit choice in the mornings. You can find out more about how to edit your wardrobe here.
And remember mums, dry shampoo is your best friend!