How To Dress Like A Mum

Do I look like a mum? I often think about that. In my favourite fantasy I’m out with my girls and I get mistaken for their nanny (it has never happened)...

But what do mums look like? If it’s harassed then, that’s me. Sleep-deprived? Oh, hi! But what about their clothes? I marvel at any mother who says they don’t feel any different since having children. Really? My life has changed beyond recognition. And so has my wardrobe. I was always conservative by fashion standards but now I have adopted a veritable uniform.

To me, school and nursery are my daughters’ domains, not for me to take-over with my own mini fashion show. Whenever my work has coincided with a pick-up and I arrive in my ‘fashion fare’ I feel a bit self-conscious. But I don’t have time to think, and that’s the point. I wear nothing that requires certain underwear/ shoes/ planning/ specialist cleaning. I am able to throw an outfit together in 30 seconds (ten on a bad day) and I consider myself to be winning if I find time to brush my hair.

I have no desire to be pigeonholed as a “yummy”, “martyr” “slummy” “hippy” or “tiger” mum – I just want to be Cecilia and Ursula’s mummy. So, these are the things I think are great to wear.

My Uniform

If I was using fashion-speak I would say my uniform was filled with “elevated basics” – versatile, hardworking pieces with great detail that are covetable right now. So a pair of Gucci loafers and a navy cashmere sweater. In the real world, it’s on-trend leather trainers, great jeans and a classic round neck jumper. But as a general rule, it’s the beautiful basics you need to look out for.

Leather Trousers

Top of my list are leather trousers (I know they’re a cliché) but they’re slimming, warm, wipe-clean, polished and I’ve lived in mine since having my girls. Tailored or skin-tight, I like both as long as they are streamlined and simple. Zara and Mango are great for sporty, faux styles, & Other Stories I like for tailored fits. And I keep my Joseph ones for when I’m not going to be bending down and getting baggy knees.

SHOP: Click on products above to shop


Jeans that fit perfectly are a no-brainer and I always shop for a new pair in the sale. I want the designer cut and finish but without the price tag. The Fenwick of Bond Street denim sale rail is an undiscovered joy, as is Browns boutique – I bought a pair of Alexander McQueen jeans that were a third of the usual price and I still wear them. And check out The Outnet, it has a brilliant denim shop.

SHOP: Click on products above to shop


You will need more coats than ever before – on the school run/for the playground – it’s the item people will most see. In warmer months, Swedish brand Stutterheim is cool, practical, wipe-clean (again), good for most weathers and has lovely cheerful colours. In the winter I like a sheepskin aviator. Acne is the dream, but Topshop is the reality. In this cold weather, a teddy bear coat is also worth trying. Max Mara is the ultimate – Ganni the affordable alternative.

SHOP: Click on products above to shop


I have spent a large part of my career studying who does the best knitwear and concluded it’s not a brand, it’s the whole menswear department – especially in Uniqlo. I also am in love with all of the Fairisle knits around at the moment and & Other Stories is top of the list.

SHOP: Click on products above to shop

Hands-free Bags

Remember that liberating feeling with the crossbody bag when you could hold your drink and still swipe. The belt bag is pretty much the same, but think scooter in one hand, little one in the other. Wandler is the brand to know but I really like the Kate Spade one and it’s not too pricey. Just avoid names like “bum bag” and “fanny pack” if you don’t want the children to dissolve into giggles every time you wear one.

SHOP: Click on products above to shop

Blanket Scarf

A big blanket scarf is as much a way to make a fashion statement as it is to keep warm. Burberry’s monogrammed one would be wonderful, but Zara is always bringing out great colourful and animal print designs that are perfect.


SHOP: Click on products above to shop


Trainers are every mama’s best friend. Common Projects’ butter-soft leather styles are super-slick, Veja’s are a staple and Gucci’s instantly make an outfit look cooler. (I buy the size five from Melijoe kidswear as they are a fraction of the price).

SHOP: Click on products above to shop


A watch is another essential – it’s also the only jewellery you will have time to put on, and it stops you looking at your phone (time has taken on a whole new meaning as a mother). A smart watch is a great idea – the Hermès Apple watch is stunning and I also like the Tommy Hilfiger smart watch. But my ultimate would be the Cartier Tank Solo.

SHOP: Click on products above to shop

Finishing Touches

Nothing says I’m holding this shizzle together like a beautiful butter-soft leather belt. I am a sucker for anything Gucci, but the Saint Laurent monogrammed style also does nicely. Then if you are wearing sunglasses (instant cover for dark circles /no time for makeup). Buy a glasses chain as you will lose them – Frame Chain’s are amazing – you are a mother, after all.

SHOP: Click on products above to shop

Claire Brayford is our UK editor and founder of Pret A Parent