Post Natal Style Dilemma’s

I’m tempted to follow that title with ‘what style?’… I certainly feel like I’m in the fashion wilderness right now. I know lots of women simply don’t care what they wear after a baby because they are too tired/sore/busy to even think about it and I totally get that, but for me, feeling well dressed (not necessarily smart,) is what helps me feel good about myself. With a new and different body, the biggest eye bags I’ve ever had and a slightly hazy and emotional take on life due to tiredness, cheering myself up with my wardrobe was something I needed to do.

Unfortunately for me and lots of other new mamas out there, it’s flipping difficult. I’ve got a double whammy of factors to consider, not just the mum tum and my still rapidly changing shape, but the soreness I’m still feeling post c-section. I’ve no waist to show off right now, and lots of things I would normally choose to sit lower on my waist or hips are too sore to wear for long or at all over my scar area. Fortunately that is improving day by day. Then when I find something that works for these issues (like my beloved t’shirt style shift dresses,), you can guarantee it doesn’t work for feeding in too. And don’t get me started on ‘breast feeding tops’ – the majority are dire, or simply not my style.

All of this led to a mini melt down (on my long suffering husband,) about how unattractive I was feeling and made me realise something had to give. I had been wearing old tee’s and tops (that didn’t fit,) my maternity jeans (no longer flattering,) and leggings (whilst breaking the cardinal rule by combining them with tops that didn’t cover my bum.) I’d been feeling even more morose as I realised that I couldn’t even shop the new season due to my changing shape and feeding restrictions. Whilst trying to save money on pointless purchases that I thought wouldn’t be needed for long, I was actually making myself unhappy by consigning myself to ill-fitting, inappropriate clothes!

By happy coincidence I happened to stumble across a blog on capsule wardrobe planning (Un-Fancy) which really speaks to me right now. I’ve talked before about packing for holiday and making sure you have pieces that work together by choosing a similar colour palate, then they can be combined in loads of different ways, so the idea of a capsule wardrobe wasn’t new to me. And giving it some thought has been a real eye opener…

I’ve realised for the foreseeable future my shape isn’t likely to change massively. I may or may not loose weight secondary to breastfeeding, but of my friends who did BF, I’d say more kept their ‘insurance blubber’ (what I call the extra pounds many women carry post baby that insures their breast milk against possible improbable cake famine,) for the duration that they fed, than those who were fortunate enough for the pounds to fall off. I’ve also realised that my usual ‘style’ isn’t that conducive to having a tiny baby. I need clothes that are comfortable to sit/lie/roll on the floor in, that wash easily and quickly, that don’t have hazardous embellishment on that might prevent me cuddling 24 hours a day and that are forgiving to my new shape. Oh and my favourite garment, the Dress, is pretty much out. Aside from that, I love the idea of having an edited selection of pieces that I can quickly get dressed from, feel good in and spend time on my life instead of fretting about how I look. And there’s the small matter of money – this way I hope I’m striking a happy medium between not spending anything and feeling rubbish about myself, and splurging on a wasteful short-term solution.

Some of the items I already have that will work for AW14…

So with Caroline’s blog and theory as a guide I have decided to create a capsule wardrobe for the next 3-4 months. It’s not an ideal time to start as I often find the weather in the UK is transitional in September and October, with as much chance of a crazy day or week of warm weather as freaky frosts, so it will be a tough job. As my circumstances are likely to change (I do hope I’m not wobbly and BF forever!) I don’t want to spend a fortune on this and Caroline champions using items you already have in your wardrobe for some of your capsule wardrobe. I’ve been surprised at how much of my wardrobe I can use already when I had a good look at it all. As you can see, I’m sorted for knitwear and found that I have historically invested in wardrobe classics and staples but I’m lacking in everyday jersey pieces. I’m using her tips to clear out my wardrobe (and the boxes and rails upstairs!) and find what is still good for me. I need to let go of things that I’m never going to fit again (hello wardrobe of 2009!) and get tough with the things I won’t normally ‘throw’ because I feel bad getting rid of clothes that aren’t technically ‘worn out’. Who am I kidding, I don’t throw the worn out stuff sometimes!

So over the next week or two I’m figuring out my capsule wardrobe for September to November/December, starting with the pieces I have and figuring out where the gaps are. When it’s all finalised I’ll share it here with you. I really want to start doing some what to wear posts again too so I will do some kind of periodic posts on the outfits I’m getting out of my wardrobe.

So readers, have you ever created a capsule wardrobe? Do you think you need one? or are you struggling with your wardrobe after a baby? Give me a shout with your thoughts in the comments or on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Friday (not a) Frock O’clock


Baujken jumpsuit £99, Shoes & clutch Baujken, necklace Whistles // H&M jumpsuit £29.99, Tote and sandals H&M, bracelet Whistles

Always a fan of jumpsuits, I was pleased to see they are staying put in the new season collections. This one from Baujken caught my eye for it’s bright shade of blue and the lovely wide v-neck but then I spotted a (much cheaper) version in H&M. It’s not quite as eye catching but a great price if you’re not sure how much you will wear the trend.

Here are two ways to wear it to get you started… styled up for drinks or dinner, or dressed down with casual accessories for end of summer casual cool. What do you think readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Boho kaftans

Good Morning readers! Sorry for the lack of posts – I’m having some camera trouble which has been getting in the way and Pete is on his official paternity leave so we are out and about enjoying Bea. I’m sure things will get back to normal soon. Bear with me!

Maybe with the recent change in weather I’m already feeling nostalgic for the end of summer, or perhaps I’m hoping for an Indian summer to spend with Bea and the earth mother in me is coming out, but right now I’m leaning towards a much more relaxed sartorial style. Floaty tops, bright embroidered touches, cool fabrics and comfortable shapes are what I’m coveting, so I’m looking for the perfect embroidered top to pair with shorts, sandals and sunglasses for summer style.


Monsoon £29.99 // Monsoon £22.50 (sale) // Zara £29.99

They double as beach wear and don’t have to be restricted to summer – the black detailing on the first choice above would transition well into Autumn to work the folksy seventies vibe that will continue to be a hit for AW14. They’re also super kind to a lingering mum-tum and work well layered with a vest for breast feeding.

What do you think readers? Would you wear a kaftan?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Spotted: Monsoon x Pippa Small

I’m a real sucker for jewels and in recent years have moved towards buying pieces of real jewellery from favourites like Monica Vinader occasionally and building a collection that will last a lifetime, instead of frittering 10 and 15 pounds away here and there on inexpensive but poor quality costume pieces. I’m sure prolific accessory buyers would end up spending the same amount when totted up.

I have always loved Pippa Small’s pieces on Astley Clarke but they are way beyond my usual price point for purchasing so when I saw that Monsoon had collaborated with Pippa to make a capsule collection I was immediately interested. The collection also benefits the Turquoise Mountain Foundation (a minimum of £5 per piece is donated to the foundation) which employs craftsmen and women in Kabul, Afghanistan. Made of aquamarine and kunzinte, and 18K gold plated, the pieces are sure to be treasured for years to come.

What do you think readers, would you fork out a bit more for real materials instead of costume pieces?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Nursing Bra’s

Possibly the least sexy thing about being pregnant has been the bra’s. Conflicting advice about under wiring do’s and don’t's is confusing enough, without the then hideous selection available. Personally, I needed larger bra’s pretty much from the off and struggled on in my usual ones until about 17 weeks, when I headed off to the shops and spent a necessarily brief (for my sanity) trip scoping out the available options in M&S and John Lewis. I found a selection of twee or cutsy polka dot, floral and generally hideous bra’s and a rude sales woman who flat out refused to sell me an underwired bra ‘because I was pregnant’. Cue me leaving without getting measured and buying a 2 pack of navy and white lace non-underwired, lace bra’s from M&S (36D at the time and they were nursing bra’s – all of the maternity ones were.) The only other bra I have bought in pregnancy has been a strapless nude (heavily underwired) number to see me through events and various stroppy/halterneck tops. (FYI, I went from a 32 C/D pre-pregnancy, to a 34/36 E currently, and that’s pre-feeding.) The other 2 have been on rotation depending on what is not in the wash.


Nursing Bra’s all from Figleaves.com £29-40

So with a new baby and the intention of breast feeding, I figured I’d need more bra’s – to help with the washing and also to try and make me feel better. I’m not obsessive about underwear and it’s certainly been a long time since I was wearing a matching set, but I know I’m going to feel a bit upset about my postpartum body and reckon if there’s anything I can do to make myself feel better, it’s worth shot. Plus, hopefully it’ll be a long stint of breast feeding, so on a cost per wear basis, these bra’s are going to earn their keep. I headed to Figleaves.com (first time customer) to check out their range after seeing a patient wearing a very pretty nursing bra and asking where it was from. It was Panache and I also found Elle McPherson’s range and HOTmilk. I was initially looking for a nude one but I bought all three of the above and sent the HOTmilk back, as it was too big (the others fit but have a little growing room, whereas the HOTmilk was slightly baggy.)

The service was great (free delivery and returns,) as was the range, so I wanted to share my finds. Have you bought any pretty nursing bra’s or can you comment on online sizing? I’d love to hear of any other brands that would be worth checking out…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Spotted: Baukjen Pre-Fall 2014

As I’m already thinking post-baby clothes I was pretty excited to be able to legitimately consider the new Baukjen pre-fall collection that landed in my inbox last week. I’m looking for comfortable yet stylish clothes that I can wear around the house and out for baby groups and lunches with friends (whenever that happens!) and more than anything ease of wear. There’s a lot to be said for a capsule collection (I’ve talked about restricting seasonal clothes to a specific colour palette before to make getting dressed super easy,) and this capsule collection is perfect for late summer and early autumn days. These are my picks from the collection and they also act as great casual outfit inspiration.

What do you think readers? You can see the whole collection here.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple Temptation: Lounging around

One of the things I have been looking for lately to no avail has been a light cotton summer dressing gown for hospital and ease of feeding post baby. I’m not a dressing gown wearer and usually just opt for a vest and PJ bottoms when I’m up and lounging around out of bed, but I know the post natal wards will be hot and stuffy and I will want easy access so the hunt was on.


Pink bird print kimono, B by Ted Baker at Debenhams £23.70 // Good Morning Beautiful Rosalie long dressing gown £60 // Cyberjammies Bernidette print robe £21.60

I eventually found the Cyberjammies one online then a friend told me her wedding party’s getting ready dressing gowns were Sainsbury’s so I started casting the net a bit wider. There are a few out there, just not in the places I expected and it’s harder again to find one that’s not too short/see through/silky. There’s always Etsy too, but I left it a bit late for that sadly. You should definitely check out Good Morning Beautiful to champion a boutique British brand too.

I hope you like the selection!

Love
Rebecca
xo

PS Thank you so much for all of your positive and supportive comments on yesterdays post. I’m feeling much better about it and it means a lot to have all of your input. x

Triple Temptation: Summer Skirts


Midi skirts, both Warehouse // Maxi, ASOS.

It’s fair to say that I am really getting to the stage of being truly fed up with maternity clothes. Dresses are fine and there are plenty of cute ones about, but when it comes to this warm weather I have been living in a pair of denim maternity shorts and vests. Comfy but I’m not feeling like much of a glowing mama. I’m also turning my thoughts to what I’m going to wear post partum, comfortable clothes that make me feel less of a wreck and allow me to wear something on top that is conducive to feeding. I decided a maxi skirt would be good and spied some in GAP (non maternity) with fold down waists that could go under bump now and over after baby, but they are not super inspiring. If you’re in the same boat as me, Seraphine also has a maternity split side maxi in the sale. However I did spot some gorgeous ones in the non-maternity sections (lucky for you guys!) and thought I’d share a couple here.

I’m going to do a feature on style for Breast Feeding soon, but if you have any tips, I’d love to hear them!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

[Girl About Town] What to Wear: To an Indian Wedding

It’s not me sharing outfits today but Victoria. I saw her recent escapades on Facebook and just had to ask her to share her outfits, pulled together for what looked like a fabulous Indian wedding. Victoria is always glamorous and her four (yes, four!) outfits didn’t disappoint so I hope you enjoy looking and perhaps get some ideas for weddings you are attending this summer (or share some of your own outfits.)

I’ve been to a lot of weddings. 37 to be precise, not including our own, and I have four more over the next 12 months. I therefore have a lot of practise in putting together wedding outfits. Some of you that follow me on Instagram may have seen me in my wedding outfit planning efforts. I treat them in the same way I treat work projects – lots of preparation, diagrams and chat about the final product, but all thrown together in a panic in the last few moments, that often works out quite well, but is very different from the original plan. Shhh, don’t tell my boss!

I used to buy something new for each one – a new hat or dress, shoes or clutch… but then I totted up 12 invites in one year, some of them being two or three day events (so you know, you also need a special outfit for the big “night before” dinner and then something fancy-but-hangover-comfy for the morning/day after “survivors” gathering) and seeing as I’m neither a Kardashian nor a Middleton, it all got a bit much for my bank (in)balance and so I started recycling. I now have a pretty good suite of “occasion wear” from which I can mix and match future outfits.

So for 2014′s five weddings I sorted all my outfits out at the beginning of the year and knew exactly what I was going to wear…. and then I realised one was an Indian wedding and I had literally no clue where to start.

Thankfully the bride was on the ball, arranged a number of shopping trips for us less-clued up guests, provided a handy “what to wear, when” guide for the girls and boys for the various events and was kind enough to pick up little bits and pieces for us on her numerous trips to India.

So, here’s a run down of what I actually wore…

Civil Wedding (Friday afternoon)
For the Civil Wedding, the guideline was “British summer wedding” and having checked out the venue (One Marylebone) and spoken to the bride about her colour schemes (soft colours, white and pale pinks) at length I knew exactly what to wear.  I pulled out a dress (special edition Olivia Rubin/Dorothy Perkins collaboration), a white Whistles clutch, some H&M hair clips (as I couldn’t fit a hat in my overnight bag) and my old faithful pink Louboutins (my wedding shoes – still the comfiest heels I’ve worn in five years!) and a fussy H&M pale pink necklace. I had intended to wear some new baby blue ankle strap shoes from New Look, but it was far too hot and I didn’t fancy “ankle-muffin top”.

Sangeet/Mehndi party  Friday evening
For the celebrations on Friday evening the guidance for Indian clothing was a trouser suit/Salwaar Kameez/Anarkali or Lengha (a skirt and a top with a scarf) and for western clothing, something bright. On a shopping trip with the bride, I found a nice hot pink and rose gold anarkali (a long floaty dress/top, trousers and a long scarf) which I dressed up with a pair of neon blue pointed courts (super cheap but super comfy from Linzi), some large gold chandelier earrings, some hot pink and gold bangles (a gift from the bride) and a rose gold evening bag from Mulberry.

We were performing a dance to Jai Ho as a tribute to the bride and groom at the event, and as it was incredibly hot and sticky that day, it was a no brainer that my hair was glued up and off my face in a bouffy beehive. It may look fancy, but let me assure you it’s not, I got dressed in a corridor and my hair is held up with a ton of dry shampoo, a gallon of elnett and quite a lot of sweat. Gross! Sorry!
Saturday was a day of rest and recovery for me, not so for the bride who had another two outfits to rock!

Hindu Wedding  Sunday day
The guidelines for this included “any type of Indian clothing, most guests will be in a sari” or if I chose western clothing, to be respectful and make sure it wasn’t too short or revealing. I was worried that wearing Indian clothing might have seemed odd, or offensive, seeing as I’m not Indian, but the bride assured me it was a good idea and even lent me one of her saris – in a beautiful pistachio green, embroidered and embellished in gold. It consisted of a petticoat, a blouse and a long, loooong piece of material which you fold, wrap, gather, tuck and drape around your body.

Thankfully, the bride’s mother had pre-folded and sewed the pleats at the front, so when I arrived (in essentially my underwear at a posh five star hotel (The Grove)  it was only a case of wrapping, tucking and draping in the nearest toilet cubicle (which was thankfully rather plush, considering the venue). I found someone to pin everything in to place so I flashed no tummy (too soon in the year for that!) and to keep everything secure. I accessorised with big gold earrings, a sparkly hair band, more bangles from India (another gift from the bride) and some gold sandals I wore as a bridesmaid 7 years ago, from Faith, which are still going strong! I took along my trusty Lulu Guinness lips clutch for a pop of colour!

Reception  Sunday night
The instructions for the reception, the big finale, were “think black tie – go glam”… now those instructions I had no trouble with! I wore a bargain ASOS dress, that looks way more expensive that it was. I also have it in white, but I thought for the evening’s decor and theme, Art Deco London, the black would be better, as I last wore it at a Claridge’s Christmas party. You may have also seen it on the wonderful Rebecca as well. Great minds think alike and all that!

I accessorised with a box clutch (a fiver in an Oasis sale years ago, and until now, unused, due to its rather unuseful size!) pewter peep toe heels from the Ted Baker sale, also years old but dead comfy, some Swarovski earrings which were a 30th birthday present, a super-bling chunky bracelet – also a 30th birthday present – and again some bangles from India, given away as favours at the Sangeet/Mehndi party.

On Monday I wore pyjamas, lots of Sudocrem and Vaseline on all my sequin chafe and allergic flare ups from all the safety pins and soft, soft socks on my dance-weary feet.

I can’t publish photos of the bride without her permission, but rest assured, no matter what effort we put in, we paled in comparison to how stunningly breathtaking she was. Her outfits (designed bespoke to match each venue, theme and setting), accessories and make up had my jaw on the floor.

When she’s back from her well-deserved honeymoon, perhaps I’ll convince her to give you a sneaky peek.

How do you plan for wedding outfits? Or is it just me that’s this bonkers about planning?

Victoria x

PS! Find Victoria over on her blog Sugar Plum Slipper or on twitter @VictoriaHale.

Fash Flash: Summer Shoes

There were some murmurings on Twitter recently about work appropriate shoes for summer and it can’t be only me who has been feeling stifled in shoes during these warmer days.

I’m in the market myself for some smarter sandals that are work appropriate so thought I’d have a look for some options – the bonus is that many of these are in the sale or will soon go in, so there are bargains to be had!

Obviously, ‘work appropriate’ is a relative term and really depends on your place of work. I am lucky enough to be pretty flexible about what I wear but I appreciate some offices may be much more formal and other places more accepting of trend led styles.

Tips for keeping it work appropriate:

  • Check your work policy about open toed shoes
  • Choose Tan for a classic look that goes with your whole wardrobe or modern neutrals (white/nude/khaki/navy/animal print/metallics)
  • A low wedge can look smarter than the same shoe when flat soled.
  • Done right, a block colour can lift a conservative outfit and not look casual.
  • Look for good foot coverage – i.e. wider straps and formal details for fastening
  • Avoid ‘thong’ or flip flop toe post styles
  • Unless you work in a high fashion environment, avoid ‘flatforms’.
  • Avoid woven or punched leather and canvas finishes.


Dawn orange suedette flat £45 (also available in white) // GAP two band tan leather sandal £29.95 (also in black) // Kurt Geiger London Dahlia gold sandals £99 (also in nude or leopard calf hair) // Flexi-P calf hair blue sandal, Steve Madden at Dune £32 (also in B&W animal print)

Flats this season are all about the wide strap which is lucky as it’s a little more office appropriate if you are allowed to get your toes out. Metal plaque details also up the smart factor.

Maximilla navy low wedge Nine West £99 (also in white, black and nude) // Baylee6 gold low heel court, Anne Klein at Kurt Geiger £65 // Amber blue suede low wedge, Carvela £65

If you feel better with a little lift, but can’t face a proper heel, the mid or low heel is also bang on trend and wedges work really well for summer. Peep toes are perfect for a bit of cooling ventilation too.


GAP tan wedge £45 // Silver wide strap heels, Office £60 // Unice leather wedge heel, French Connection £95 // Gia buckle heel navy shoe, Whistles £185

For higher heels, look for a block heel or wedge and again those wide straps to kept the look fresh and modern, although I take my hat off to anyone with the patience to wear a pair like this to work when it’s hot!

Have you seen any work summer shoes readers?

Love,
Rebecca
xo