You’d think after over a decade as a fashion editor I’d know a thing or two about shopping, but after the birth of my daughter almost three years ago now, I totally lost my shopping mojo...
I’ve always prided myself on being a hawk-eye when it comes to online shopping and nabbing a designer bargain, but after countless sleepless nights, a new life which involved less going out and more time at home, as well as the complete life adjustment that is parenthood, I simply didn’t know how to get dressed. This sartorially-challenged state lasted a good six months, and while I’m thankful that the normcore trend was in its prime at the time (which meant Birkenstocks and tapered tracksuit pants were not only acceptable, but kinda cool too), I’m happy to have found my shopping spunk in a much more finely-edited, refined way. Here’s how…
1. No Time? No Problem
It’s no secret that time gets swallowed up as soon as you give birth – these days if I’m not tending to my toddler’s endless request for snacks or play, I’m feeding or settling my infant son. When you factor in daycare drop-offs, park hangs and the countless activities day-to-day, there’s not a lot of time left for browsing shops, in person or online. Which is why I now don’t fluff around when I need to purchase something new. I’m ruthless in my online editing and always use the filters available to really hone in on the items I’m looking for. Sizing, colour, price and style are all selected before I even bother searching, which means I’m not clicking through hundreds of products I know I won’t be interested in. The same rule applies to bricks-and-mortar stores. I always scan the front section as this is usually where they merchandise the latest and best pieces, and if nothing catches my eye, I leave. Browsing through racks and racks of clothing isn’t really an option anymore.
2. Mum-life, mum-style
When I worked in an office, I’d spend the majority of my clothing budget on dressy clothes. Working in fashion meant it was totally acceptable (and often encouraged) to wear the latest trends no matter how extravagant. These days I splurge on everyday basics and scrimp on trend-based items for a rare night out. I buy T-shirts, dresses and pants from bassike and J.Crew almost every season, and opt for high-quality denim as I live in jeans most days. I don’t think twice about spending a little more on flats, sneakers and sandals because they’re on constant high-rotation, unlike the heels in my wardrobe which are slowly gathering dust. If I do need a fun outfit for an occasion I don’t hesitate checking out my favourite chain stores and online retailers for a quick and affordable fashion fix.
3. Ignore the influencers
I’m as guilty as falling into an Instagram black hole as the next person, but seeing what all the bloggers are wearing is more of a deterrent than inspiration these days. I get it, Gucci looks great in a street-style pic, but if it doesn’t translate for my everyday life, then I don’t bother obsessing over it. Having a clear vision of what works for my mum-life is not only refreshing, but it’s saving me a lot of money! The older I get, the quicker I realise which fads are worthy of my time and cash.
4. Create a capsule wardrobe
Since becoming a mum, I’ve focused more and more on creating a capsule wardrobe that I can easily add to rather than mindlessly buying pieces that sit unworn for years. Focusing on quality versus quantity has meant I have a uniform-style wardrobe which is a no-brainer for my often hectic Monday-to-Friday schedule. Neutral colours, denim, floaty tops and streamlined bottoms blend function and style brilliantly so I feel polished yet comfortable every day. Simply put, I just don’t have the time, or the inclination, to wear fussy outfits anymore.
“ I think it’s safe to say that all mums have a bit of an identity crisis in the early months with a newborn, and that can often translate to your wardrobe ”
5. You’re still you
I think it’s safe to say that all mums have a bit of an identity crisis in the early months with a newborn, and that can often translate to your wardrobe. When my daughter was born I just couldn’t work out how to incorporate my old life’s clothes (dry clean-only dresses, designer handbags, restrictive skirts) with my new life (feed, burp, sleep, repeat). It took a while to blend my sense of style with my new sense of identity. After a little trial and error, I came to the realisation that staying true to my style was actually easier without the influence of an office environment I didn’t really relate to anymore. These days I dress for no-one other than myself, and it’s been the biggest blessing for my wardrobe, as well as my mind.