Style Advice desperately needed!(34 Posts)
OK, recently I have been perusing this S&B section. I used to be very into fashion and beauty before I had children, but body image issues and also just lack of time and money to spend on myself has meant that after my second DC was born I just gave up and stopped bothering much.
So over time I have been gradually getting more and more slovenly and (a word my granny would use!) - bedraggled.
I had a moment of realisation this afternoon whilst doing the school run - what am I actually wearing?
I was/am wearing -
scrub trousers (yes those things medics in theatres wear - I work part time but not even at work today) over jeans.
Really old black platform style shoes with the strap missing with visible men's socks.
My eldest daughter's pink fleece (she is 7! but it's big made) with no bra underneath.
A jacket (only OK part)
No make up.
Hair in ponytail but not even brushed (didn't have time this morning so I thought who cares I've already been out like that this morning - stupid I know)
I really REALLY need a style overhaul. I used to spend a lot of time and money on clothes and beauty and I think the problem is I don't know how to "downsize" to a more manageable amount or time so just gave up caring at all. Since I only have 30 mins in the morning and 30 mins in the evening (I use the evening time to shower and wash hair).
Any advice / tips , or even just an outline of what you wear and your "routine" would be very helpful.
Will also get eye make up remover. Or could I use this coconut oil everyone is talking about on here?
I used to have really brittle nails and used to get salon nails put on (before the days of gel ones I think), but now with my job and DC that is a definite no-no, and my nails are actually much better condition post children (better nutrition probably, I used to eat junk). I don't want to go for salon manicures or anything but would a soak, file, moisturiser then some neutral polish be ok? I literally haven't worn nail varnish since I was 16! DD actually has lots of Rimmel nail varnish, some in neural colours so may try it, or buy clear.
Ooh they look like a good introduction to ankle type footwear (I don't think I suit them). I have doc martens too from years ago but feel too old / frumpy / non punk (!) to wear them.
I really really need to stop all this feeling too old for everything. I am 25 !!! I think it's a mindset thing. Recently my face has been looking a bit dull and teeny tiny wrinkles starting (stress of children!) so I've just thought feck it .. no make up or I will look too try-hard. I have tiny thread veins on legs and my feet are not good, little tummy pouch sticky out bit from DC so I've thought feck it going to hide in baggy old stuff. But in reality it's not like that - I do want to make an effort to look better.
It's got to the stage where every time I am wearing anything other than a dressing gown or some dowdy jeans with an oversized hand me down jumper (even shock horror - a sweater which actually FITS , I have a couple), DP comments "Oh you look nice" . And my grandmother says "You really do need to make some effort you look like a you've been pulled through a hedge backwards" .
If you do decide to go for waterproof mascara you will need a decent eye makeup remover too.
L'Oreal do an eyeshadow compact with 3 shades which you choose according to eye colour. It comes with instructions too and I find it really easy to apply and long-lasting.
How about some clear nail varnish (Rimmel do a 5 in 1 nail care which is good).
If you like a vintage-y look, an easy style is a tweedy skirt, opaque tights, fitted cardi or jumper and lace-up brogues, maybe with a little platform. Or the same tights and shoes with a tea dress. I find a heel like this easy to walk in (I walk everywhere too):
My eyelashes are pretty fair. Oh yes the pink and green tube one , my ex boyfriend from years ago used to swear by it (don't ask! , hence he is an ex!). Will get that one I think.
Will check out Bourjois too.
The Bare Minerals kit has a "colour" powder thing which is like blush.
I would say if you have very fair eyelashes, go brown. If not, go black. Maybelline have one in a pink and green tube I like and is cheap.
Check out Bourjois for neutral colour palettes. I find a blush in a pinky tone stops me looking washed out.
Yes re the make up. I only have the following -
Dr Hauschka Cleaning stuff in tube (aunt gave me cause I loved it so much)
Witch Hazel (found in cupboard tonight, going to use as toner)
Dr Hauschka Melissa Cream (again from aunt)
The Bare Minerals starter kit gift from sister (has primer, foundation, bronzer/blush type stuff)
Some Concealer which I do sometimes wear at the moment.
The only thing I've been using for ages make up wise is concealer occasionally. I look totally washed out tbh.
Just bought Vaseline tinted rose lip gloss today.
Tomorrow am going to buy mascara. Don't know if I should get black/brown or waterproof / non waterproof. Anyone? I'm going to get a cheapish one as even in my make up wearing days I did find that they are all similar, YSL etc I found back then only marginally better than the cheaper brands and expensive.
I have some eyeshadows but they are horrendously outdated - bright pink and powder blue, silver glittery, pure white . I'm going to try and get a cheap palette with brown, nude, mossy green, and maybe one other colour tomorrow.
Thanks I do have a few scarves, again hand me downs from my sister (but she is only 23!) - they are from primark I think and similar to the lovely warehouse one. I have never ever wore them though .
I have a feeling I suit small prints, not large prints, as I am so small in height.
Ooh that is a lovely dress to start with.
Are you starting from scratch with make up too? Head to boots who have lots of different brands. I like bourjois, rimmel and l'oreal on a budget. I also think a spritz of perfume each day helps me to feel good.
You could also try ebay for clothes and accessories. If you are dedicated, there are some bargains to be found.
Good idea to do something with little bit of freetime you have. Following a rough time myself, I took up running. It's nice to do something just for me. Even just sitting down with a cup of tea and a magazine is great.
Please come back and tell us how you get on with everything
If you're on a budget (who isn't?!) It might be worth going to a charity shop and picking up say 4 scarves. Wear them all over a week or two to see if any really appeal. You might find that one particular colour is just 'you' and crucially you won't have shelled out very much.
After that, you'll probable feel more confident about branching out into different looks
Try warehouse for scarves.
They are a really good size, so good to get lots of volume with them and do some lovely designs. Something like this: http://www.warehouse.co.uk/drafonfly-print-scarf/scarves/warehouse/fcp-product/3063068004
Also H&M are having a fabulous season and you are no way too old for it! this dress is a great buy, easy to wear with opaques or leggings and ankle boots or knee boots.
Oh thanks so much, this advice has been brilliant. I half thought I'd be judged for having let myself go so much. I am not depressed now, but I did spend a couple of years depressed and even going in the shower was a chore. I just got stuck in a rut and a fog and when I came out of it, sort of don't know who I am anymore - this person who somehow managed to have 2 children and a proper job .
OK, the plan is -
1) Go through wardrobe (again) and get rid of even more ridiculous hand me downs (seriously - size 12 "tall" jeans from DP's cousin, size 16 Penny Plain jumpers belonging to my Granny, there are some 70s style very cheap platform boots you know the kind in Saturday Night Fever , I got from my cousin who I love and miss since she moved away so was hanging onto them). I will make way for new stuff. Had a look last night and following all your great advice I will probably get some High Street stuff which fits and suits and some new jewellery (not gold or anything!). I will try to conquer my frumpy feeling and embrace some of the shops mentioned.
I think that is the best plan. And putting my outfits out the night before will definitely work to stop me from just thinking "what the hell" in the morning.
I don't think I could or want to spend too much on clothes etc, because I am a saver and also not on a good income, unless I do overtime , which I don't due to other issues (over bearing MIL and being the person who does all household stuff). I would spend more on a jacket/coat and maybe boots/heels, jeans if they fit well, and skincare/face make up, but everything else will need to be el cheapo
2) I might start doing something for "me" on DS nursery times when I'm not working, ie a Wednesday from 9-11.30 me time, instead of doing housework or sitting around doing nothing.
3) Make up and beauty. Have worked out a plan (I think).
I was staying with my aunt last month when DP took the DC's fishing / camping and I used her Dr Hauschka cleaner and rose cream and it felt really nice on my skin. She also told me she uses diluted witch hazel and that's it. She is late 50s but look much younger. She gave me the tube and a sample size of Melissa cream but due to my laziness I've hardly used it. So I will start. Got witch hazel somewhere in here too.
I watched the Bare Minerals DVD so will start the starter kit (hopefully just 5 mins in the morning).
Going to buy a cheap eyeshadow palette with a nude colour, brown, and mossy green (I know my eyes suit green). I have an angled brush set so I guess I could use the brown as liner too if needed. And will buy a (waterproof?) mascara
Will get eyebrows waxed occasionally, like someone suggested. The rest of the time I will pluck a little.
Bought tinted vaseline today in supermarket.
I used to love perfume but now can't justify the expense really, but it always did make me feel better wearing it. Are the Body Shop scents any good? as they are cheap. I like either musky feminine scents, or fresh "grassy" scents.
and ...... thanks to whomever recommended a sock bun. I looked up tutorials online last night and it seems really good idea for work and children and to get the look of thicker hair quickly without styling. And also it's ready made curls (I do not have time for curlers).
Hopefully the morning routine should only take about 20/25 mins I'm hoping.
Going to sort wardrobe and do a trial run tonight when DC in bed.
Your advice has been invaluable MN. If there is anything else anyone can think of would be great.
Someone said it looks as if those groomed mum's at the school gate took hours on their appearance, but actually you have made me see it may be possible with short money and time x
It is easy for us all to lose our way and become overwhelmed at times. We also have to work at feeling comfortable in our own skin and loving ourselves.
I get my eyebrows threaded for £3 in a local shopping centre . Have a shop around. I know our local college also offers some beauty treatments very cheaply.
Yes, I go for the petite fit Leigh jeans. The length is better for me. Next petite also do some reasonable high waist skinnys at less than £30 if you are looking to spend less.
I don't think you need to spend a fortune on scarves. H&M, Primark, M&S, Dorothy Perkins all have some cheaper ones.
In terms of shopping, I am a high street kind of a girl. Over the years I have worked out what fits me well and from where. Next petite and Topshop petite for jeans and shirts. Next petite for dresses. Boden petite for blazers and dresses. French Connection for jersey dresses. H&M for shorts, tops and scarves. I also like fine wool scarves from white stuff. M&S do short length trousers, jeans and jeggings. I like Clarks for shoes. My wedge trainers were from Ash and ridiculously expensive. Probably wouldn't pay as much again. You can pick them up in Topshop, New Look, Dune etc...
Agree with others. Go through your wardrobe and decide what is still ok. Then look to fill in the gaps each month on the budget you have.
Oh, and I shop at gap mainly but also some bits from fat face, white stuff, Dorothy Perkins, oasis and mango.
Not sure what I can add here as there's some really good advice. I'm a SAHM and live in jeans from gap in both straight leg and boot cut and converse. I tend to go for neutral colour tops, grey, black, navy, white and have a rather large selection of different coloured cardigans. That way everything tends to go together. As you say adding jewellery can make you look more groomed. And a good bag.
When I had pnd I used to look at people and they all looked impossibly glam but I've realised it only takes a bit of effort to be like that. I've just become a SAHM and I can see that it would be easy to get sucked into the whole tracksuit/crappy clothes thing as when you get covered in baby goo for the 100th time that day you wonder why you bother with nice clothes. But it really has helped with my self esteem.
Eyebrow wise I tend to get them waxed 2 or 3 times a year for important occasions like weddings, birthday etc and then I just pluck or wax myself in between as like you I can't justify paying for it every 6 weeks. Make up takes me about 2 mins but I only wear powder, blusher and mascara. Nails I do at night before bed and find it really relaxing.
Have fun shopping.
In terms of feeling too 'old' for certain shops - I'm 32 and shop in Topshop, Urban Outfitters and H&M so certainly don't think you're too old! Also, the thing you said about feeling self conscious, the 'who does she think she is?' thing, I used to be massively scruffy and dowdy for work, and felt like I'd get those kind of comments, but other than the odd 'you look nice', there was nothing! So don't worry about that.
Maybe try Dorothy Perkins for skinnies if you're on a budget - mine were only £25 and are super skinny so suit very slim legs and are available in petite too.
I am trying to have a massive overhaul at the moment as my shape has changed post DC.
I went through my wardrobe and made 3 piles: keep, eBay and charity shop. You have to be a bit ruthless here, if it doesn't fit it goes, if its totally not your style it goes. Don't hang on to things because you "might like them some day"
The next thing I am working on is a "capsule wardrobe" of outfits that are interchangeable. I tend to stick to the same colours for my basics (jeans, vest tops, dresses etc) then use brighter colours for my accessories (scarves, bags etc)
My daily "uniform" tends to be jeans, a vest top, nice jumper/cardigan (uniqlo merino wool is fab) and good quality leather knee-high boots with a stack heel.
I store things as "outfits" in my wardrobe so I just have to grab one hanger and it has my tops, jeans and accessories all in easy reach.
Treat yourself to some yummy new PJs, it's great to feel good even when lounging about the house.
In terms of your beauty routine, I have my brows threaded regularly as it saves time. My make-up routine consists of tinted moisturiser, blusher and a bit of under-eye concealer (all benefit as it suits my extra pale skin) and a bit of mascara and white eye liner on my inner lids to make me look more awake. Practice makes perfect and it only takes me 5 minutes each morning now.
Mraw, as L says, I think you sound a little overwhelmed by it all, so start from the bottom.
Get everything for your wardrobe, throw all the ridiculous hand-me-downs away. Sort out a few pieces that you feel good with. It's a difficult transition to go from no DCs, some-one who cares about fashion, goes out a lot & whose wardrobe reflects that, to a working mother. You have to completely re-think what will work for you.
So you're building from the ground up, you need foundations, what do you do everyday? You're a HCP, I guess you wear uniform at work so not too much to think about there. So casual, always a good place to start (but not so easy - it took me years to learn how to dress casually, it's not as easy as it looks.)
If I was starting from scratch, I would look for a good pair of jeans, ignore fashion in this case - every-one is skinny crazed atm - try on lots of pairs, see what suits, with your height & size, try a straight leg that can be rolled up & worn with flats or heels.
Once you have the jeans sorted I would look for skirts, shirts, tops & woolens - you favour a 40's style - there's loads out there - go with it - it's you & it is practical - why not? My natural style veers between 50's & 70's (I love a 70's mum look, equally I adore a 50's Dior New Look) - just a cut in a certain item can bring it all together.
So get a shirt, a few tops, a decent bra, a couple of bits of knitwear, a skirt & a dress & you've got quite a few outfits going on there already.
Two pairs of shoes maybe, if you're into 40's, a flat, lace-up granny shoe & a glamorous block-heel & you're there.
A tweed coat from ebay or a vintage shop would look great.
& if it's 40's you're after only do a scarf if it's on your head.
Get ya victory rolls in (do wonders for thin hair), whack on a bit of tinted moisturiser, a slick of liner & mascara & red, red lips.
Have fun with it, don't stress, it's only fashion, too many people take it too seriously, don't worry what anyone else thinks. Do it for yourself.
Thanks LtheWife x
I know, you are completely right no offence taken . I am thinking a quick fix - buy x, y and z and I will transform instantly. But no, it will take effort and practice.
It's all been so gradual to this point . I used to be one of those people who wouldn't leave the house without make up and wouldn't have dreamed of tracksuit bottoms (but now ironed tracksuit bottoms would be an improvement!). But very gradually I started getting frustrated with the lack of time and looking shit at events or family parties cause 2 DC hanging all over me I couldn't have time to get ready, got PND for unrelated reasons then came out of PND and had a second child which was hectic for a while. After he was born I got into the habit of wearing the closest thing to hand and practicality ruled. Then gradually got even less motivated and sort of low level depressed and started trying to 'hide' I suppose. But I really need to get a grip, I caught myself the other day knowing my jumper was inside out underneath my jacket but not bothering to turn it the right way round, and wearing old work scrubs on days off is really bad.
I sorted my wardrobe the other week and got rid of a LOT of things which don't suit me, too young, don't fit, stained, worn, outdated etc and was left with some decent stuff so will try that. And wearing a necklace (I have some bits of accessorize type jewellery and a very few pieces of real jewellery) wouldn't hurt.
I am now going to watch the BM DVD and do have mascara although I don't wear it often (but should I know since I have small deep set eyes). Going to get tinted vaseline tomorrow.
What on Earth is a Sock Bun?
In the nicest possible way you sound like you're in a rut and completely overwhelmed, so Ill make a few simple suggestions that you can do straight away without too much effort.
Start by going through your wardrobe and pick out the best items that you can get away with wearing during the day, even if it's the stuff you usually keep for best, and start wearing them and only them. Even if you can only cobble together a few half decent outfits you'll look better wearing the same half decent outfits on a more frequent basis than you would by having lots of different but not so good outfits and you can change things up a bit by adding different accessories. Set out your clothes the night before so you can just grab and go in the morning.
What's your hair like at the moment? Is it long enough for a sock bun? If so that's a great practical hairstyle that takes only moments to do with a bit of practice.
Make up wise, reintroduce it to your morning routine a bit at a time if needs be. Start with mascara, it's amazing how just a quick coat of mascara can make you look more awake and put together. Keep a lipgloss in the kitchen and another in your coat pocket. If you get one of the squeezy tubes you can add a quick slick of gloss whilst sorting out breakfast and if you forget you've got one in your pocket so can do it as you step out the door.
Then think about giving the bare minerals a go, the starter kits come with a DVD but if you don't have it then there are videos on their website. Basically, put a tiny bit of the foundation powder in the lid and swirl the brush in it, tap off any excess then buff it in to your skin in a circular motion (imagine you're polishing a streaky mirror). Repeat that process with the mineral veil. If you've got enough time you can also use the foundation powder with the concealer brush to cover dark circles and any blemishes etc (do this before the mineral veil). With practice you can do the all over foundation and mineral veil without having to look in the mirror.
When you get to that stage you can have foundation, mascara and lips done in under 5 minutes. Add a bit of blusher for a bit of colour and a sweep of eyeshadow to your lids and you'll look even more groomed. With a sock bun you should be able to get ready in around 15 minutes.
It's not exactly a make over, but those few simple changes might just be enough to get you feeling a bit better about yourself. When you're not feeling quite so self conscious you're more likely to be able to identify your style and start scouring the shops for new clothes.
I'm with you on the price of eyebrow waxing! I use
Smooth appeal hot eyebrow wax, it hardens and you just rip the hard wax off, even I can do it. Go gently the first time but if you've got bushy eyebrows it's way easier and quicker than plucking... If you've just a few stray hairs ( lucky girl) tweezing may be better. Good luck!
Thanks, some great advice
I am a bit scared of the hairdresser tbh as I have a medical issue which causes hair loss to varying degrees some people almost total loss and some people mild shedding and whilst everyone who knows me well has reassured me that my hair doesn't look that thin or balding or anything at this time anyway, I'm still paranoid about it. Although I have a friend who has alopecia and another friend who is a pre-op transexual and both their wigs are expensive but look really lovely and natural so that does give me hope in a worst case scenario, but I don't like facing up to the issue of possible noticeable hair loss in the future. But I will try. Hair is shoulder length currently and not much style to it, naturally a little wavy, have never thought I suit straighteners.
Oh those leigh jeans look lovely! £40 about the max I would pay for jeans nowadays, however if they fit well I would get them. Do you get the petite or regular?
Midnight, I am getting some tinted vaseline tomorrow! Seems like a good first step.
I used to get my eyebrows waxed and liked it but don't know if I can justify £18 a month for eyebrows now (they grow quick and the cheaper places I used to find always done them that too thin "surprised" look!). Would plucking work the same (trying to pluck properly I mean)?
I like shirts, I always have so may try to get some.
Scarves too, I like scarves and can't be hard to get 'right' surely? Would cheap scarves do?
Where do you get your wedge trainers? I used to have some years ago when DD was small from Rocket Dog and wore them to death.
I have been thinking about all this for a while and telling myself it didn't matter but it has been annoying me. It's one thing to wear boring stuff but quite another to go out in hand me downs which are 4 sizes too big belonging to a 80 year old and wearing work scrubs on days off and generally looking like a tramp. I think it's poor self image, like I'm scared of making an effort because I imagine people will laugh at me and think / say , "Who does she think she is" or something. (mad I know).
Was walking around shops the other day (I live 4 miles outside a quite largish city, so have a branch of most shops you could think of) as I had a childfree day . I wandered around feeling hot, sweaty and completely out of place. But I did get a feel for some shops I may like to try and frequent now with my new post DC budget. I came up with -
H&M (some junk but even I did manage to see some really nice stuff, sort of my style if I had one)
TK Maxx (some of the stuff)
New Look (?? not sure about this one)
Urban Outfitters (too young / trendy?)
Office and Schuh for footwear.
River Island and Topshop (although Topshop seemed too young/trendy)
Where do you all shop? x
(sorry for all the questions!)
I am similar height and size to you.
As others have suggested, get thee to a hairdresser and find a style that suits. Get your eyebrows threaded and have your nails filed and polished. These things instantly make me feel more groomed.
Day to day I wear skinnys. Try Topshop leigh jeans which I find a good fit. They come in lots of colours. I pair with quirky shirts and pretty blouses. Or try a fitted cashmere sweater.
I also like dresses and opaques. Topshop have some nice skater style dresses and French Connection jersey dresses always fit me well.
I have just bought a petite fit blazer from Boden which is proving really useful.
I also wear a lot of scarves.
Footwear, I like heeled ankle boots - Ash jalouse style are nice and everywhere. I also do wedge trainers.
Firstly, I'd say go to a decent hairdresser and get some advice about styling your hair on a everyday basis, they will advise re products. Any good hairdresser should do this as part of an appointment.
These are the things I do to get ready in the morning with 2 DC's hanging around.
Make-up: I have a small make up bag with just my every day essentials in it. I put on some primer to 'fix' my foundation. Then foundation, which I use a brush to apply. Quick dust of bronzer (Nars laguna is fab), bit of blush (Nars again, Orgasm this time). Very quick smudge of eyeliner - I use Mac Blooz, which I find is a really easy pencil to use and then mascara. If I can't be bothered with lipstick, I just use tinted vasaline.
I get all my clothes out the night before, underwear, scarf etc, everything. Shoes at the door.
I have all my hair products/hairdryer in a basket. If I am running late I can bring it downstairs and do my hair whilst the DC's eat breakfast or watch some TV!
I use the DC's bath time to do some beauty stuff in the bathroom, so paint toenails, pluck eye brows, face mask etc.
Oooh glad to hear that make up can be done so quickly. Would you mind explaining how you do it so quickly? like how to apply it so quickly, or is it just practise? I used to take 5 mins each eye (!) to do make up.
I like the idea of floral dresses with tights (I assume opaque as sheer wouldn't be good for running about after DC?) , it's a bit of the vintage style without the high maintenance I guess.
Yes, definitely needs to be machine washable, comfy, and good in the rain (it's very rainy here most of the year).
Ugg boots I think are fine actually. I doubt they'd be too practical with me though, walking everywhere and it can start raining any minute here.
Will read the small boob thread. M&S measured me at a 34a (I was still wearing 34c maternity bras 3 years after stopping bf! until recently), but I think the 34 part is rubbish, like it said on the other bra thread. I'm too petite to be a 34. I feel comfortable in a 32b, pre dc and now although after repeated wear they have always gaped a little at the top, so I'm assuming 30C? Tried some on recently and they were tiny though breast tissue was squashed, double boob effect, so maybe will try a 30D. DP bought me a 28" back bra from Bravissmo last Christmas (well his sister bought it after him telling her I'm probably the smallest size weight wise) and I cannot breathe wearing it so I think 28 prob too small on me.
Recently, I have noticed even my family dropping hints at my scruffiness . My sister bought me a Bare Minerals Starter kit with mineral foundation and bronzer stuff but don't know what to do with it as previously used liquid foundation). DP bought me this coat in black for when we went walking and I quite like it, it's the only thing in my wardrobe I like - http://www.cotswoldoutdoor.com/index.cfm/product/merrell-womens-haven-jacket/fuseaction/products.detail/code/2C110125/id_colour/117/group/713/level/3.