AD – This is a post written for Very.co.uk and contains links to their website where appropriate.
It feels like only yesterday that I was lovingly folding away my pre-pregnancy clothes. I remember thinking how exciting it would be to fit into them again. I had no idea that it wasn’t the size of the clothes that would put me off wearing them as a Mom. It was the fit. Firstly, all my tops and dresses made way for alternate versions that were breastfeeding friendly – I needed zips, button down shirts and layers. The dresses I had always considered to be of respectable length were suddenly too short for crawling around the floor and all the bending and crouching required. My old faithful low rise jeans were suddenly horrifying. I didn’t just want high-waisted jeans. I needed them.
Fashion as a parent is a whole new ball game. I’ll wager that there’s a very small percentage of the population of the country that would even label themselves as ‘fashionable’. I’ve never bought a copy of Vogue Magazine. I don’t follow the trends and the only catwalks I’ve ever been interested in have been bridal ones. In all honesty, a lot of what’s considered fashionable baffles me. But yet, I buy clothes. I wear clothes I think I look alright in. And I enjoy choosing an outfit that makes me feel good, and is suited to the occasion.
So, what does that mean when it comes to me talking fashion? It means I’m not going to be quoting women’s magazines to you. You won’t find the latest trends here or any organza puff-ball sleeves. I’m going to be chatting real talk. Mom to Mom. You want to know how to best style denim for a family day of fun? Here are my real tips.
1. Don’t Try to be Fashionable, Be Comfortable
Before you read the heading and run for the hills – I’m not saying we should all chuck out our sexiest items, throw on a pair of trackies and call it a day (although, athleisure wear is a pretty big look right now, am I right?). I’m saying: wear what makes you feel comfortable, and that includes wearing the clothes that give you a confidence boost (like the skirt of dreams below paired with my favourite denim jacket). I feel physically most comfortable in my pyjamas, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing them to go and visit my Mother in Law. I’d feel awkward. Self-conscious. Under-dressed.
Part of feeling comfortable is being comfortable in our own skin, and either that takes a lot of practice in not caring what anyone else thinks, or it means dressing in whatever way you feel is most appropriate, makes you feel good and doesn’t leave you feeling restricted. As an example, I love how Mom jeans look on other people. I love the idea of Mom jeans. But I cannot pull them off. For me, it’s skinny jeans all the way. It’s what I feel most like myself in, regardless of what the latest fashion trends is.
2. Consult your Weather App
Magazines, fashion blogs and Pinterest Look Books move over. The only thing I consult before I choose my outfit for the day is my Weather app. I just need to know: short sleeves or long sleeves. Trousers or shorts. Cheeky vest for warmth or not? If I’m planning on chasing my toddler through a field, I just want to know the depth of the puddles I’ll be dodging and whether mid-height wellies are going to be enough to keep the mud at bay.
I firmly stand by the principle that nothing looks good if you’re shivering from the cold or sweating from the heat. Again, it all goes back to being comfortable.
3. Layer Up, Girl
If in doubt, work those layers. You can always take things off, but you can’t magic a jumper out of thin air when you’re getting blasted by a chilly wind in the middle of a National Trust property. (Oh, on that note… if you’re heading to a National Trust property: wear stripes. Trust me).
The good news is: jeans always provide a great base for layering as they pretty much go with everything – whatever layer you take off on the top half, you can almost guarantee whatever is underneath will look fine with your favourite pair of skinnies.
4. The Squat Test
I reckon all online fashion outlets now should have a new model pose: the squat. Yes, we all know most jeans look great when you’re stood tall, but how do they fare when you’re crouching down picking up god knows what off the floor or scrambling around after a crawling baby? I need to know if my jeans are squat-proof, and what’s the risk of my pants being on show? This is the reason my old faithful low-rise jeans have been sadly shipped off to the charity shop (that, and low-rises don’t quite control the old Mum-tum in the way high-rise jeans do!).
5. Do you Love it? Don’t Wear It!
My last tip goes against a lot of what I’d usually suggest… I’m not one of those people that saves ‘best’ for special occasions, but when it comes to a family day out, I’d advise against wearing your absolute favourite items if you’re not prepared for them to get covered in muck, dirt and bodily fluids. You know they say you only need to wash jeans when they’re dirty rather than after every wear, every 2-3 wears etc.? Well, I still usually end up having to wash mine after a single use. I’m sure most Moms are the same. But you know what? Isn’t that the sign of a cracking day out?
Embrace the dirt, cherish the wear and tear, and if you come home smelling of smoke after toasting marshmallows on a bonfire? You’ve hit the jackpot, my friend. And you know what? I’ll wager that the shirt you wore, or the jeans that helped you make some of your most cherished family memories, will quickly become your new go-to favourites anyway, never mind the condition they’re in.