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Help me make a capsule wardrobe

(25 Posts)
beela Tue 06-Sep-11 09:41:20

Right, so here is the brief, can anyone help?

I am 32 yrs old, with an 11mo DS who is very active and eats very messily enthusiastically. I'm going back to work (office based) 2.5 days a week in a couple of months and imagine that I will spend the rest of my time chasing round after a very active and lively toddler.

I am 5'4'' with an hourglass figure - small waist massive boobs (32H), and still got a bit of a mummy tummy. Size 12 on a good day, 14 on a less good day.

I usually wear jeans and v-neck t-shirts or jumpers. I'd like to try the tunic / dress and leggings combo but haven't found the right tunic yet. I usually wear bootleg jeans as I think my hips are too big for skinnies - again, with the right top I could possibly change my mind.

I used to shop in places like Gap, Kew, White Stuff, boden etc - but more recently my wardrobe is full of hurried purchases from supermarkets, which last 2 washes and then lose all their shape blush. Happy to spend more money on stuff that will last though.

So, all you seasoned mothers-of-toddlers - what do I need?? What works? And where shall I buy it from?

wideawakenurse Tue 06-Sep-11 09:58:04

I have a 21 month old DS and also work part time too. For me, getting my clothes right on my 'days off' is really important and very much helps my self esteem.

Re Jeans: Personally I think bootleg jeans always make an outfit a tad frumpy. However, if you are not comfortable in skinnies you could try something like these which have a very slight bootcut. They have had very good reviews from other posters here.

Long sleeved blouses look good with jeans too.

Another way to freshen up the tunic/leggings combo is to go for leggings/tights with a short ankle boot. Also try a slouchy jumper for autumn rather than a tunic, and then you often can get away without a coat which is a blessing when running after a DC. I have a few from topshop, this is lovely.

Shop wise, depends on your budget. High street, I'd head for Zara, French Connection. Slightly more ££ Whistles and Reiss.

beela Tue 06-Sep-11 13:27:38

Ooh, I like that jumper - thank you, I hadn't thought of that. I will try to be brave, I always feel like I'm wearing tights with no skirt when I've got leggings on (but think they look great on other people!).

Gillybobs Tue 06-Sep-11 14:53:21

Great advice from wideawakenurse! Totally agree a very slim bootleg in a dark indigo wash would be great.

I just avoid wearing "t-shirts" altogether as I feel scruffy in them, I only wear them as layering under nice knits or blouses in cold weather. I love blouse type tops with cute little cardis over the top with jeans and ankle boots. Ive just bought these two tops this and this too . Both look great with jeans/boots/cardi but they can also be dressed up for work or going out. DOrothy Perkins also have some great little boots, I love these

wideawakenurse Tue 06-Sep-11 15:45:27

this dress could be a good buy for leggings/tights. Don't be put of by the length, the model is tall and is wearing heels.

missmehalia Tue 06-Sep-11 15:50:44

If you'd like to go for blouse-type tops, I saw some gorgeous ones in TK Maxx recently, and the bonus was that they didn't need ironing and could easily dry on a hanger overnight. TK Maxx does have a website.. the shops themselves are a bit of a rat race (don't go with kids) but can be worth trawling through. Their knitwear was v good too!

missmehalia Tue 06-Sep-11 15:51:39

PS I had a look at that link for the dark slim bootleg, pretty much all sold out. Anyone know of similar elsewhere? (Sorry to hijack your thread, OP, but if you want to buy them you may have similar problem!!)

wideawakenurse Tue 06-Sep-11 16:02:35

I think selfridges stock nudie, and Harvey Nichols.

Gillybobs Tue 06-Sep-11 16:51:09

I also like gap Real Straight jeans, they are slim enough to tuck into boots etc but not skinny so less unforgiving on the figure. Gap have 20% off this week I think

RemusLupinsBiggestGroupie Tue 06-Sep-11 18:20:22

If you are curvy, try Oasis for jeans: they seem to be cut a bit higher than Gap ones and are therefore more flattering. I've got some Oasis skinnies (am also an hourglass) and am v pleased with them. They look okay with either heels, ballet flats, or tucked into boots.

Personally, I'd go for dresses and opaques rather than tunics and leggings. Just as comfortable and deffo more flattering. Have a look at The White Company for some lovely, comfortable jersey dresses.

Warehouse can also have the occasional good find in terms of nice tops to dress up a pair of jeans.

wideawakenurse Tue 06-Sep-11 18:32:58

Agree that Oasis are good for denim. Also found this and this on their website.

Also, what about this as a t-shirt alternative? and this is nice too.

Can you tell I love shopping for others? grin

beela Tue 06-Sep-11 19:19:18

Some great ideas, thank you ladies and keep them coming smile

You are inspiring me to chuck out all my old and unflattering clothes and go for a proper wardrobe makeover. I think I need to do it all in one go (gok-stylee) or I will end up just cramming in more things that don't really work with anything else. At least that is the excuse I shall use grin

chocolateteabag Tue 06-Sep-11 19:22:36

I would look at getting clothes in 1-2 colours - Grey/Navy/white/black.

Then get brighter belts and scarves. I've had a couple of cheapie scarves from Primark which really don't look like they came from there. One is actually 2 scarves sewn together so it was long enough. Then even if your DC does splatter it or it dies in the wash - you've mot lost alot.

Also try ebay for bright patent belts - LK Bennett ones are £££ normally but much cheaper on ebay You can then make a black or Navy dress look different every week by having 2-3 belts to chop/and change with it.

I am a big fan of a black wrap dress with white vest and opaques and then colourful belt/scarf/cardieand/or jewellery.

GeorginaWorsley Tue 06-Sep-11 19:27:58

Great advice.
Slight thread highjack if I may,
Gillybobs can i ask your thoughts on the Ebay waxed jacket that I remember you bought a few weeks ago??

Gillybobs Tue 06-Sep-11 19:33:11

Georgina, what a good memory : ) I have only worn it twice as it's been fairly mild but am very pleased with it so far, DH was very admiring (not a frequent occurrence) . I'd say it's well finished and looks far pricier than it was. Can't yet comment on durability of course. All in all, v pleased.

GeorginaWorsley Tue 06-Sep-11 19:36:10

Thanks Gilly.
I have been looking for something like that for ages and when I read your post immediately put it in my 'Watched Items'.
Will go ahead now!
Did you get navy or black??

Gillybobs Tue 06-Sep-11 19:38:08

OP, I also agree that a "big" shop, carefully planned, is what you need rather than buying in bits and bobs. My sister has done this for years and always looks very put together as she goes out 2 or 3 times a year and buys 9 or 10 things that all go together. whereas I tend to buy constantly : / Also agree that you should pick a colour palette and stick to it. 2 neutrals and a bright that really suits you is a good place to start.

Has anyone mentioned the website? Awesome search facility for internet shopping. Type in whatever you want eg "stripey top" "green dress" and it will bring up everything for sale on UK websites that fits the description. I honestly cant live without it, saves so much time.

Gillybobs Tue 06-Sep-11 19:39:02

Georgina, I got black but might be tempted to go back for Navy too...or the tan looked lovely also...eeek!

GeorginaWorsley Tue 06-Sep-11 19:39:29

Scarves and jewellery 'make' an outfit too.

Fuzzled Tue 06-Sep-11 20:27:39

Can I recommend Pepperberry ?

Great blouses etc for big boobs and I saw this in store and was sooo tempted.

Saving pennies for it now! grin

beela Tue 06-Sep-11 21:53:13

Fuzzled I think that looks like it could be the start of my work wardrobe!

There's a plan emerging. This is great, thank you all smile

All I need now is to find an opportunity to spend a whole day shopping...

wideawakenurse Wed 07-Sep-11 07:52:44

without sounding like a total weirdo, can I suggest this idea pre shopping trip? (given that shopping alone post DC's is often a rare treat)

Write down a list of 'events' that you need outfits for. They don't need to be things like weddings or interviews, but rather every day life situations where you want to make your clothes work for you. Ideas might be: Lunch with family in a pub, coffee with friends, playing with DC's in the park, dinner with DH, etc.

Then draw up a list of what you would like to be wearing each time, lots of things will cross over, such as jeans, and therefore I would suggest you spend more on these items as you will wear more.

Take this list with you on your shopping day, and maybe plan out which shops you are most likely to the items in, i.e Jeans - higher end ones from a department store or denim shop, Jersey dresses - White company.

Sounds a bit military, but when I first started shopping for clothes post DS I just felt overwhelmed in the shops and the would be so frustrated that I had 'wasted' my precious few hours!

Good luck, and let us know how you get on!

higgle Wed 07-Sep-11 09:38:01

wideawakenurse- what a great idea. I have loads of lovely dresses, that I seem to buy ad hoc, but spend my weekends in old tracky bottoms and cheap fleeces because I haven't planned properly. Must get smartened up fo;r the dog walking.

beela Wed 07-Sep-11 09:51:24

Yes, it is a good idea, and it means I can check the list against what I've already got before I head out to the shops. It will also help me ruthlessly throw out the stuff that I am realistically not going to wear again.

It does sound very efficient - never previously one of my main characteristics, but I have quickly learnt that efficiency is very helpful when it comes to life with DC!

I was so fed up of feeling frumpy but now I am looking forward to a revamp smile

Gillybobs Wed 07-Sep-11 11:05:52

There is a great list of events like that on one of the Wise & Avid threads, think it was late April/early May time. I found it helpful to read through anyway and identify what I was missing.

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