Mum style - what does it mean and who does it apply to? I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, particularly as we enter a new season of dressing and I’m confronted with yet another shopping conundrum, what do I want to buy and how do I want to dress? I’ve been a stylist and fashion writer for years, yet I too fell victim to the identity crisis that is dressing after baby…
Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine and Pandora Sykes have weighed heavily on this debate recently, and from their whip-smart musings, it seems there really is no definitive answer as to whether it is motherhood that changes the way you dress, or if it’s simply a matter of age, size, priorities or a change in the way we approach material things in a time where Marie Kondo and Hygge living reign supreme. For me, it’s definitely a mixture of all of the above. While I still love and appreciate clothes more than ever, it wold be disingenuous of me to suggest that becoming a mother had nothing to do with a slight shift in my sense of style.
For the most part, I’m still running after a two year old and four year old day-to-day, so comfort plays a major factor in my outfit choices most days. It’s taken me a very long time to realise this doesn’t necessarily have to mean elastic waistbands and sneakers. As much as I’m guilty of letting my morning workout clothes linger til evening, I’m also trying to come up with a foolproof Spring/Summer wardrobe that will help me look polished but not restricted. For this season that means breezy linen dresses (Posse, Mango and Zara do great styles), cropped, sporty pants (I love Rebecca Minkoff’s Jolie Pant), oversized shirt-dresses (Everlane), and matching two-piece ensembles that take the guesswork out of styling outfits (Free People have this sorted) on hectic mornings.
Working in fashion for a long time has meant my identity has always been intertwined with clothes and accessories by way of default. Even when I don’t really want to care about how I look or what I wear, I somehow do. This is hugely confronting when you bring babies into the mix and no longer have the time or desire to dedicate to your image. I’ve always said motherhood has made me a better editor – of things, people, places, and yes, even shopping, so it makes me wonder if my newfound “mum style” is actually a better representation of my true sense of style than ever before?
Like most mums, I no longer have the time, budget or care factor to deliberate over my next purchase as much as I used to. I try to approach shopping in the most practical way possible without losing myself to stereotypes and cliches. Yes, workout clothes feature more than ever before in my weekly uniform, but I also want to truly represent myself – and this particular stage of my life – with chic and comfortable clothing that work hard and look good. The right basics play a huge part in that – simple, everyday essentials that can be worn back with more trend-driven pieces, from Bassike, Everlane, J. Crew and Topshop, while flattering dresses in this season’s florals, checks and stripes are a no-brainer for times when I’m feeling a little more feminine. When I think about it, this has always been my mode of dressing, but there is an unashamed mum-ness about it now that I guess speaks more about practicality and life-stage than it does about innate style. I still want to look good but I also want to take my kids to the park without having to worry about fussy belts, dangling straps or stitched-up waistbands…
So far I’ve been adding pieces to my spring wardrobe that try to tick all the boxes of practicality while also having an element of fun. I’m embracing colour more than ever before while still stocking up on my yearly quota of white, floaty blouses and dresses; giving shorts another red-hot-go but in this season’s more Bermuda, high-waisted silhouette; opting for camisoles and slip dresses; and going back to my beloved bohemian-style dresses for the epitome of resort-style comfort. In the shoe department I’ve stocked up on enough flat sandals – from classic K. Jacques tan styles to raffia Carrie Forbes and fur-trimmed chain-store slides, to take me through morning to evening with ease, while also eyeing off some seriously fun party heels (strappy, metallic, why not?) for the odd date-night and evening soiree.
I’ve met some of the most stylish women I’ve ever seen in my life along this mum journey – seriously effortless, not-so-influenced by the influencers, truly unique in their choice of clothes and how they wear them – that proves that taking a more considered, individual and practical approach to dressing is actually a wonderfully positive byproduct of having kids. And you know what else? Mum-dressing might just be the very best thing to happen to my wardrobe in a long, long time. Because as much as I have wholeheartedly embraced normcore in all its facets, I still love outrageous earrings, designer heels and a delicately embroidered blouse. So here’s to embracing mum-style in all its glory, whatever the definition is to you.