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!
PS, let me know how much you spend per month by completing the poll below…
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?
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?
ASOS maternity strapless dress, £18, worn with silver birkenstocks and silver Zatchel, aviators and Christy’s Nimbin hat
A couple of weeks ago we went to Italy for our friends wedding. I’ll share the travel aspect soon but I realised recently that I haven’t shared much in the way of what I have been wearing maternity-wise. Frankly, this has been due to the fact that we have been so busy in the house, painting, DIYing and running to places like B&Q and IKEA, that there hasn’t been much int he way of dressing up. However, on holiday I got to wear a few new pieces that I thought I’d share today.
In summer, I think strapless styles are a must as I can’t stand tan lines, even if they are inadvertently picked up whilst sight seeing. Unsurprisingly given the amble bust that arrived with pregnancy for me, strapless maternity styles are few and far between, but I love this Sea shell print white dress from ASOS. Unfortunately it’s no longer available but this similar style is.
Everyone needs a maternity maxi and this Striped GAP maxi is super comfy and wasn’t expensive. The only downside is that a strapless bra is required, due to the racer back straps. It’s currently on sale too.
For the wedding, I decided I’d be too hot and bothered in something clingy (like the body-con style I wore at 28 weeks to another wedding.) I had spied this Seraphine Maxi and wanted to buy it for general wear in summer, but realised the luxe jersey draping and elegant front knot were suitable for a summer wedding and I felt a million dollars in it. I wore it again this weekend at the black tie do I went to and loved it again.
Lastly, and slightly oddly, I’ve been back into some of my ‘normal’ clothes! You might remember this favourite Whistles dress of mine (seen here and here before.) – Now that my bump has overtaken my boobs, looser t-shirt and shift style dresses that I love but were super unflattering hanging straight down from my larger chest are now comfortable and fashionable, still showing the bump!
Obviously, I know this is all very warm weather appropriate, but I thought it was time for a bit of maternity outfit inspiration!
Coral is probably my favourite colour so I was super jealous of every non-pregnant person who could possibly buy and wear these sequinned beauties. However, just because I can’t doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be made aware of their gorgeousness! I’m going to a black tie event this weekend and if I wasn’t looking rather like someone who swallowed a basketball, I’d be right in there with one of these.
This year I have had 3 weddings to attend, 1 in March and 2 in May. I thought for the first one I would fit regular clothes (at 22 weeks) but looked dreadful in most, didn’t fit the things I thought I would and fortunately had popped a bump decent enough to show off. I ended up looking at maternity styles and opting for this bright pink asymmetrical dress from Isabella Oliver which I have now worn twice, again just over a week ago at 28 weeks, when we remembered to take some pictures.
Back in March I toned down the bright summery shade by teaming it with a black fascinator, clutch and heels but for this weekend, I wanted something fabulous (it was a rather glamorous affair!) and summery. I borrowed the clutch and fascinator that my mum wore at my wedding and teamed it with crazy purple sequinned heels and a vintage look beaded jacket (not shown, see here,) for an eclectic look.
The dress is £115 but I bought it with 15% off and intend to wear it for another wedding yet, so I’m happy I will have got reasonable wear out of it. I am very impressed with Isabella Oliver so far too. The jersey is thick and luxe-feeling and their service is great – items invariably arrive after only a day or two and packaged beautifully. I imagine this would pull down quite easily for breast feeding post-baby too.
One of the hardest things about being pregnant has been trying to retain a feeling of being fashionable. So many maternity styles are either standard (i.e. stripes or tunic tops,) or not my style at all (empire line swingy or full dresses,) that it’s hard not to feel that you have lost all of your personal style. I was pretty excited to find these trousers and snapped them up for my birthday dinner, to make up a spring-appropriate pale and interesting outfit.
I know a lot of people don’t want to splash out on maternity clothes but I think it’s worth it. You wear the items you buy in much heavier rotation when pregnant as there’s nothing else you can wear. Plus I want to enjoy this amazing period of my life rather than feeling rubbish about myself because I don’t feel good. It’s worth thinking ahead too, I’ll be wearing these for a few months after baby arrives I imagine, with their comfy elastic waistband and a few months of summer yet to go.
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.
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.)
It’s been a little while since there has been any fashion on Florence’s pages so I figured it was time t go shopping! As the temperatures improve and sun comes out I’ve found myself casting off my tights and looking for more summery dresses to wear, both for casual days out and everyday at work. Here’s a little selection for you readers. Have you seen any dresses you’re lusting after lately?
The blue oasis dress would be perfect for work and with a navy jacket I think the printed shift could also do double duty with heels. Don’t you just want to waft about in a field in that boho lacy number too?
For those of you like me, who might not quite fit into regular fashion choices, here are my maternity selections. (Loving ASOS maternity for fashion picks.)
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.