#MomStyle

Have you seen the new ‘Mom Jeans’? When I was looking for boyfriend (or more aptly named by Warehouse Girlfriend‘) jeans recently, it was suggested I ‘take a look at the Mom jeans which are really similar’. They weren’t similar at all – they were high waisted and reminded me of the eighties – a look a flat-stomached teen could perhaps pull off in Shoreditch, but not for me. It got me thinking about how we stereotype mothers in the fashion stakes, whether it’s imagining a frazzled woman with spit-up on her shoulders or a Boden wearing middle class mummy. As I’m giving so much thought to my own capsule wardrobe right now I got pretty put out at the thought fashion is no longer aimed at me and can be seriously impractical at times.  (Who am I kidding? I’m a good 10 years above Topshop’s target customer profile!). Luckily for me there are loads of fashion trends right now that fit perfectly with my requirements of pram-pushing, baby carrying, new-body style and I thought I’d share some of the key pieces that I love from both a fashion and everyday reality perspective…

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Joggers
Yes, the humble sweatpant (re-named ‘joggers’ to avoid the mental image of sofa lounging and baggy bums,) is bigger then ever. Re-imagined in drapey fabrics and new prints for work wear or going out, the good old jersey type is also a winner for every day. Wear with flats by day and pointed heels or sandals by night and unexpected tops like a buttoned up blouse for serious style credentials.

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Fashion Trainers
Massive at the last fashion week in Spring and not going anywhere as a trend, this look is steadily filtering through to the mainstream. Perfect for pram pushing, keep it out of slummy mummy territory by choosing statement finishes like reflective metallic silver, neons or brights, and old school classic styles like New Balance, Adidas or Nike.

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Boyfriend Jeans
I did end up finding a pair during the search I mentioned above and have lived in them since. Once you’ve got the right fit for you, they’re super comfortable with an air of off-duty cool. Boyfriend jeans just like joggers can be dressed up or down and are much more forgiving than skinnies if your legs aren’t as ‘skinny’ as they used to be. ;)

If you’re interested, I’m always collecting images of looks I love on my Pinterest Street Style board for outfit inspiration, take a look!

So what are your go-to wardrobe items that you turn to day after day and make life easy? I’d love to hear…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Warehouse AW14

Two weeks ago I was invited to view the Autumn Winter 2014 fashion trends in Warehouse. It served as a good idea of some of the big themes for fashion this season and so I thought I’d share the looks styled for the evening here with you and the trends I picked up on and liked the most. As an aside, Warehouse has always been one of my go-to high street stores. Although it’s up to the minute and aimed at a young market, I find the quality is good and the pieces fit well – great for a fashion fix.


Jason Lock

Surprisingly for the darker colder months, there are still a whole lot of pastel shades going on. I loved these fluffy coats and check out the dress below right -its actually printed leather and quite the showstopper close up, without being a bank breaker.


Jason Lock

I’m a big fan of sporty fashion and street style looks are still going strong with parka’s, joggers in drapey fabrics, more leather and the perennial neutral, animal print.


Jason Lock

My favourite looks were the new ‘co-ords’ – matching prints worn together as separates. It looks really modern and fresh in boxy shapes and big bold prints.

Jason Lock

Less my style but a look that is classic and going to be really big this season is the 60′s influence. Think shift dresses, a-line mini’s, shorter hemlines (for skirts and cropped tops or knits) and block colour.


Jason Lock

So readers, it’s fashion friday, are there any looks you would recreate here? And can you guess which one I’ll be wearing this season?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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

PS, let me know how much you spend per month by completing the poll below…

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

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

[Baby} Fash Flash: Changing bags

Now that we’re not getting the Cosatto pram (which came with a changing bag,) I’m starting to think that I can’t bury my head in the sand about changing bags anymore and need to find something to do the job. Trouble is, I’m kind of fussy about my bags and whilst I’m not bothered about finding a bag that is trying to pretend to be a handbag, I do want something that fits my style.

I thought I’d share some of my criteria and some of the better brands and bags I have spotted.

Needs:

  • Wipe clean/waterproof (for pushing the pram in Manchester drizzle.)
  • Reasonably priced ie, significantly less than £100
  • Stylish (puts a rucksack out of the question – not me at all.)
  • Not huge – I’m not a big packer and don’t want to lug around everything but the kitchen sink.
  • Not overtly feminine (I have asked Pete about this and he doesn’t care what the changing bag looks like, but I don’t want him to feel totally silly.)
  • Not too bothered about inserts/included changing bags or bottle holders, but the more expensive it is, the more bothered I would be.
  • Cross body strap for hands-free ease.


Cara Navy stripe £55 // Satchel jumbo dot (navy) £42 // Big slouchy £47 // Amanda quilted, £57.95

Babymel bags are from London (I do love supporting British brands) and have great designs and patterns. I really like this navy spot bag as it will work in winter and summer, without looking silly on Pete.


BabaBing Day Tripper £50

This weekend I saw my girlfriends for a kind of pseudo baby shower (Read: indulgent afternoon tea and dinner out while I grilled them for birth and baby info.) One brought along her 5 week old and this changing bag recommended by 2 of the others there as a unisex option and it has some amazing features, like top access without lifting the flap and a waterproof sealed pocket for soiled items.


Pacapod Napier £85

I’m a real sucker for anything organisational, so the Pacapods really appeal to me. Is it just a gimmick though and will all those compartments just add to access difficulties?


Skip Hop Forma changing bag £65 and grab and go wet/dry bag £13

Also love the chevron print of the Skiphop Forma bag and the wet/dry grab and go bag. Although there’s no cross body strap for this one.

What do you think readers? Got a recommendation I should look into? Roz suggested TK Maxx. What I really need to know is:

What are your essential changing bag contents?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Max it out

When I shared a selection of summer dresses a couple of weeks back there were of course several gorgeous maxi dresses I could have chosen and I thought they deserved their own dedicated post :)

I love a maxi and thought I might be able to wear a few of my old ones during pregnancy but apart from the stretchy jersey styles, as per all my other dashed fashion expectations during pregnancy, the waist hasn’t been in the right place or the boobs haven’t fitted…


Coral lace back maxi, Warehouse £85 // Graphic yellow print maxi, ASOS £55 // Pink poppy print dress, French Connection £240

I’m thinking of buying the French Connection dress (above right) for a holiday later in the year and wonder if I will be able to fit it now and after baby too…

And if you happen to fancy wearing a maxi to an occasion you have this summer, here are a few more dressy styles. I love the beautiful prints of these floral styles and can vouch for the MANGO dress which my friend Jess wore to her rehearsal dinner the night before her wedding a week ago – she looked stunning.


Plunge neck floral maxi, ASOS £55 // Cross back Silk maxi, MANGO £129 // Floral Maxi, Warehouse £80

And lastly, a little selection for my fellow pregnant ladies. The pickings are slim as always(!) but I bought this striking emerald maxi for a couple of occasions I have coming up this summer (as I’ll be in full bloom!) and think it would dress down just as well with flat sandals. I also like the bandeau style to prevent strap marks on sunny days and the Gap dress for casual ease.


Emerald knot front dress, Seraphine £59 // Twist back maxi, GAP £34.99 // Bandeau (with detachable straps) maxi, ASOS £45

Have you spotted any gorgeous maxi’s or have I turned your head with one of these?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Triple temptation: Printed pants

It might be a case of ‘the grass is greener’, but right now, all I want to wear is the lovely printed pants that I am seeing everywhere. I’m so missing trousers! I was all over them last summer and this year the trend is still going strong. I like to pick out a shade from the print for a block colour lightweight knit or silk tee to pair it with, but the up to date way to wear this season would be print on print – either top to toe in the same pattern or clashing a large and small print.


Delft blue and white patterned trouser, £35 Oasis // Bright patterned trouser, £35 Zara // Floral trouser, £40 Warehouse

Francesca bought the first pair above and has been wearing them with a navy knit. It’s a pulled together look that work perfectly for those who are a bit nervous of trying the trend. Personally, I think it’s hard to choose between all of them but the second and third pairs are right up my (non-pregnant) street. (If you happen to be looking for a maternity pair and have a bit of cash to spare, these are the best I have seen from Isabella Oliver.)

Have you been rocking the trend?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Friday Frock O’clock

Right now, ASOS has 25% off dresses. When they’re already well priced, that means super bargains are there for the taking. Instead of outdated wintery styles as you so often get in mid-season sales, there are some dresses perfect for stocking up on for summer holidays and events, so I thought I’d pick 4 favourites today.


Embroidered cutwork dress // Origami heavy satin dress // Open back dress // Graphic floral maxi dress

Happy Friday readers,

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Fash Flash: Maternity Jeans Reviewed

I’m going to talk more about maternity clothes and how I have been dressing in general as the weeks go on, but I wanted to dedicate a post to something that has been a gigantic effort and huge pain in the behind, maternity jeans. It’s a key wardrobe element and often one of the the first things you might buy (2nd for me) as jeans can be uncomfortable at the best of times, let alone when they start digging into this invisible passenger that is filling out your belly. I write this at 20 weeks and up to last week when I last tried I could still wear my jeans, (these New Look skinnies I reviewed a while back,) as they are plenty stretchy enough around the waist and quite soft. But I need a belt to hold them up which isn’t great and sitting down is really not comfortable at all. So, I have canvased Instagram and done a fair bit of personal research and wanted to bring you the results here for anyone who is looking, or might be in the future. Please do add your comments and suggestions at the bottom!

The first thing I did was ask you guys. There are a lot of places that do maternity jeans but I wanted to see where the popular ones were and hopefully reduce my shopping efforts. (I hate jeans shopping at the best of times.) So I asked Instagram for your recommendations and here is how the recommendations panned out:
Gap 8
H&M 10
Topshop (Leigh) 8
New Look 5
ASOS 3
Seraphine 3
Mamas and Papas 3
JoJoMamanBebe and Very.com also got 1 mention each.

Gap, H&M and New Look came out top of the pile by far, H&M being the winner, with New Look closely behind them. Your advice was invaluable too so I have shared a couple of comments that I felt were useful here. It’s worth remembering that one pair might not do all the way through as your shape changes, ‘Under bump Topshop ones were fab for me, but now at 33 wks everything is going over bump for sake of comfort’ and there were quite a few people (despite those people who liked Topshop,) who complained about them, ‘Some Topshop jeans fall down, others are ok. It’s trial and error!’. Under bump jeans were also deemed as good for ‘post partum wobble!’. Another reader suggested ‘Find one pair that fit you well then hit eBay for the same style’, although I wonder how second hand would stand up to the repeated wash and wear that is necessary with mat jeans? One other tip that Rachel gave was that they sell out fast, so if you see a pair you like buy them or order to try at home as if you go back they might not be available. I saw lots that I could have bought online and looked good but they didn’t have my size.

I decided that I wanted an ‘under the bump’ style because the majority of my pregnancy will be in summer and I thought it might be hot with a top layered over a bump band if I went for an over bump style. One gripe when shopping was that some shops do exclusively under (Topshop) or over (H&M) bump styles and you often can’t find the same wash or style in both (hello Mamas and Papas.) I found a lot of them lacked detail, even simple things like contrast stitching and as a result looked like jeggings. New Look and Gap under bump jeans waist band extended all the way around (as the over bump styles do,) which I wasn’t as keen on as they don’t look ‘normal’ from the back. My biggest problem however was finding the wash I wanted. I wanted a skinny jean, dark indigo wash (so it could be dressed up or down,) and prefer a bit of subtle fading or distressing than a block dark shade. It was almost impossible to find decent colours with a lot of paler ones or just generally cheap looking washes. A lot of the advice I received was to size down too which I didn’t – I tried on mostly size 10 everywhere, but having said that I wouldn’t normally fit a size ten Topshop jean so perhaps there is something in it! Here’s what I tried…

Number of pairs tried on: 13
Number of shops visited: 7
Number ordered online: 3

M&P Dark indigo wash under the bump skinny jean £36
I happened to try these when Pete and I were browsing Cots and they felt so comfortable straight away with a nice skinny style and contrast stitch. I actually went onto buy them but found when I got them home that the waistband at the back started to gape. They were falling down the minute I sat or bent over in the them after only having them on for 5 minutes, so I took them back.

Topshop Maternity MOTO dark vintage Leigh underbump £38
These were very tight and stretchy like leggings which I didn’t like, but they did have a contrast stitch and different leg lengths (mine are on the short side but I still preferred the 32 leg, so tall types wouldn’t do here.) After a few laps of the changing room and some bending/sitting the bum was sagging already so these were not a favourite for me.

GAP 1969 demi panel always skinny jeans £44
I love GAP jeans so was keen to try these. The only problem I had was availability. I could only get a pair to try in ankle length and they were SHORT but otherwise they were great. Great jean material, no sagging, and a slightly deeper ‘underbump’ band (although it goes all the way around) style that was a better shape on me. If I can get another pair in a better length these are my second choice and I’ll be looking out for a ‘summer’ style even though they were the priciest I tried.

Mamalicious Slim leg jean £38
These were considerably bigger than expected (in a size ten) and the leg wasn’t as slim as I would like. In the right size they might have been better, but I had found my winner by this point and didn’t persevere.

New Look £20-26
New Look’s offerings I didn’t test as vigorously as the others as I just couldn’t find a wash I liked. They are cheaper than most (look on ASOS as well as instore and online at New Look.) and very soft but availability was poor (online too,) and they are cheaper in finish/look I felt.

H&M Overbump (‘high rib’) £29.99
I initially discounted these completely as I found instore that there were only overbump styles but after seeing how popular they were from your Instagram recommendations I thought I’d give them a go. Over bump definitely gave me a better shape to look at and H&M came up trumps with the wash options and look of jeans rather than jeggins too. My one comment would be that they are VERY low cut for the actual jean bit before the bump band starts meaning you might be stuck with longer tops with it. This is both good and bad – good because the jean part is very tight around the hips and waist which means they stay put instead of falling down but in a size 10 (which fitted) I found it really tight and uncomfortable just above my pubic bone and bump so I sized up to a 12 (still super tight) and the discomfort wasn’t a problem. They are also amongst the cheapest! Winner!

So there you have it readers, the result of my extensive investigations. 1 week on having worn the H&M pair a LOT, (including long periods sitting down and walking around over the weekend,) I’m still impressed. They haven’t stretched excessively or gone saggy around the bottom and they are ridiculously comfortable. It’s is however a very personal decision and I’d love to hear your opinion readers, and any tips or recommendations you have. Hopefully this will be a really useful resource for those yet to need it!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS. If you still want more advice or brands to try, Hello Baby Blog posted about her Top 6 Maternity Jeans here.