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How do you look vaguely stylish and well put together with small children?!

(23 Posts)
missmillimentscardigan Tue 30-Aug-16 20:39:29

I don't know what to wear and feel so rubbish and slobby/frumpy most of the time.
I actually love fashion and clothes but you wouldn't know it it look at me now! Pre DC I think I dressed fairly well, but most of my clothes were smart work outfits from Reiss, NW3, Zara etc and I have no need of those clothes at the moment - plus I can't get into them sad
Inevitably anything I wear ends up covered in food, dribble etc from the baby, and I need to be comfortable and practical because of all the bending down, picking up children, lugging a pram around.
Today I was wearing a cheap ill-fitting t-shirt from H&M with some slightly bobbling black harem trousers from Next and tan leather flat sandals. I look a right old state.
I've given up on buying very cheap clothes from places like H&M because everything I buy looks great the first time I wear it, and then shrinks to half its size after a couple of washes. So I'd rather buy fewer things which are better quality.
Any suggestions?

Featherstep Tue 30-Aug-16 22:16:39

Following. I could have written that.

I also breastfeed my baby so feel severely restricted in my choices... this summer it's pretty much been the same 4 plain H&M nursing tops with skirts, jeans, maybe a shirt thrown on top. I can't wear most of my summer dresses and ANY of my stylish clothes. I am not comfortable with bf enough to carry on wearing my usual clothes, and in any case I don't want milk and dribble all over my nicer things!

I also stopped wearing jewellery, perfume and most of my makeup is not used due to baby. Ditto nice shoes. I live in supergas or Birkenstocks.

I am enjoying being on mat leave but look forward to going back to work part time just so I can look like myself again!!

I think maybe buying better fitting, more stylish jeans is a way to go? They are practical and can update your look. That's my plan anyway...

Puppymouse Tue 30-Aug-16 22:21:54

I feel like this all the time. To be honest I've sort of embraced the "worrying less" side of it. I have more confidence than pre DD so I'm happy to trudge round in jodhpurs and a sweatshirt most of the time and not feel unsexy.

But I've gradually got my mojo back and I steal grown up opportunities like work trips to London etc to get an old favourite dress out of the wardrobe or wear heels more. I've also shifted the remaining stone of baby weight I had left to lose.

I think it's just being comfortable with it for this short time and gradually clawing back your style.

I'm definitely more about flats and Boden than I was pre DD confused

the3amclub Tue 30-Aug-16 22:26:56

Am in the same boat.

I hate jeans and shorts (legs like a Ukrainian shot putter) and would prefer to wear skirts/dresses but skirts + small children = trip hazard/bum flashing. In my dream I'm one of those mums who can rock a pair of turnup denim shorts and a slouchy tee plus some leather sandals and look amazing. In reality, not so much.

Leggings + tunic is my thoughts for Autumn go to wardrobe. Sainsbos do great leggings and I've seen some lovely (if ££) tunics on white stuff. Can wear cropped legging with converse or Birkenstock whilst warm and then onto opaques and Chelsea boots with chunky cardi when it gets cooler. I'm investing in a really good attractive raincoat this winter (thinking joules for something cheery and stylish but practical) as small kids and formal wool double breasted coats don't mix very well.

Mumstudentbum Tue 30-Aug-16 22:29:46

God I'm same and my DC are 6, 9 and 14. Not looking good for me is it?

Most of the time I'm in a cheap tshirt and some m&s skinny jeans. Sometimes with tan leather pumps sometimes with trainers. I do wear some perfume (usually a cheap one from next) but my hair is scraped up in a messy bun and I usually have no make up on.

Desperately wanting to make more of an effort so watching with interest cake

GingerLemonTea Tue 30-Aug-16 22:31:58

So you're outfit today could have been better with maybe a plain black tee & some kind of tan/ black accessory/ bag.
Can you plan outfits in advance so that you can work with what you've got or buy a few cheap things to make the outfits pull together a bit more?
My youngest is only 2 & I feel like I'm just starting to get back on track looking good now & some outfits work better than others, but coordinating the outfit, adding an accessory or 2 & hair & make up helps a lot.

GingerLemonTea Tue 30-Aug-16 22:33:36

Oh & I still use baby wipes to salvage an outfit if I've had something spilled/ wiped on me.

Glitterkitten24 Tue 30-Aug-16 22:38:23

I've just had dc2 and actually, I'm feeling a lot more confident in my mat leave style this time than last time.

My clothes still don't fit me but I've bought a good pair of denims that fit me well (and are high waisted to hold my cs tummy in). I don't wear anything fancy, usually long sleeved tops or slouchy jumpers- they are all cheap as chips as I don't want to be this size for long, but I like them so feel nice in them.

Always wear simple jewellery and makeup- I have my make up routine down to 3 minutes but it helps me feel 'together'.

I wash my hair the night before when kids are in bed so it is clean. (I know clean hair sounds basic!). I've watched some YouTube tutorials of quick, interesting braids/ up dos so I feel like I've made a bit of effort even if my hair is just up out of my face.

I felt in complete dispair last time I was on mat leave and had a bit of an identity crisis because I couldn't wear my smart office clothes and heels so this time round I've been careful to try and maintain some standards, if not style!

Cellardoor23 Tue 30-Aug-16 23:16:05

I've felt the same. I'm on maternity leave and I feel like a frump. Even when I get nice clothes they just don't look the same as they used to. Everytime I look in the mirror I cringe. I know it's stupid and I get the odd advice 'you've just had a baby, don't be so hard on yourself' it doesn't really help the situation!

I've found just taking the extra time to do my hair and makeup, even just a little bit like putting blusher and concealer on goes a long way. Takes five minutes if that.

Clothes wise I've started reading the labels and buying things only in natural fibres. At the very least minimum synthetic. They don't have to be expensive, I bought a pure cotton top from gap in the sale for £3 and it's by far my favourite top I own. More so than my more expensive clothes. I always have a spare top with me just in case I get baby sick, milk on it etc.

I agree about investing in nice but comfortable shoes as well and also washing your hair the night before! It saves so much time in the morning. Well for me anyway.

missmillimentscardigan Tue 30-Aug-16 23:37:57

featherstep - I'm breastfeeding too, although not so much in the day now. It can be pretty limiting, clothes-wise. Are you on the fb group, Can I breastfeed in it? It's really useful.

Glad I'm not the only one feeling like I don't know what to wear at the moment. I'm actually not too bad with hair and make up - I wash my hair everyday. I used to do every other but it really didn't look good by the afternoon of the second day, which made me feel worse. And I spend 5 mins putting a bit of make up on. It makes me feel a lot better.
The clothes situation is not good though.I do need to plan my outfits but I don't feel I've got anything that particularly goes together at the moment. And what to do about bags? Lugging around a massive changing bag really ruins any kind of 'look'.

whiteonesugar Wed 31-Aug-16 09:29:16

While I was on Mat leave I wore a sort of uniform of skinny jeans (ok, jeggings!) which were high waisted to hold the belly in, and a range of plain t shirt style shell tops - mostly from Matalan as theyre cheap and had bright colours, with a necklace. Hair in a bun usually (no time to dry / style). Flats like palmaira sandals or converse. I bought a good foundation and made sure I wore that with some blusher and mascara and kept my eyebrows done. having your nails painted helps you feel more put together too. I don't spend time getting ready really, even now im back at work I'm ready in 20 mins! So it can be done. And you do feel much better when you feel like you look half decent!

knowler Wed 31-Aug-16 09:40:12

I'd concentrate on having a basic 'uniform' so you do't have to spend a lot of time choosing clothes in the morning and try to buy stuff in 'your' colours so everything will go together. It doesn't have to be fancy, but look out for good quality well cut t-shirts and decent jeans, neither of which has to cost a lot. I also find that a decent slouchy scarf or big necklace finishes off an outfit very quickly and scarves in particular are very good at hiding grubbiness on tops smile

also try to focus on the little things if you can find time - eyebrows, nails, hair and make up always makes me feel massively better. It'll be different for everyone, but the day I put on mascara after DS1 had been born (he was 3 mo!!) was a huge turning point for me in reclaiming my look.

ElspethFlashman Wed 31-Aug-16 09:49:29

I like looking at the My Fashionable 40s blog for inspiration.

Actually now that I think about it I have no clue if she has kids or not, but she always looks comfortable and practical in a cool way. Lots of flat shoes etc.

Actually I think shoes are important. Shitty grey trainers just make you feel shitty. If my shoes are cool and have a bit of personality, then I can get away with jeans and a boring top. Shoes are one of those elements that always fool onlookers into thinking people are put together even when they're not.

Runningupthathill82 Wed 31-Aug-16 09:57:07

It's not easy, but I've developed some short cuts!

For example, I paint my nails and pluck my eyebrows while watching the children in the bath. Shower, shave legs and hair wash as soon as they're in bed.

Just gone back to work after mat leave, so I have to look "polished" if I can. Hair goes up in a bun. Earrings, perfume, very basic makeup.
On work days I live in simple tailored dresses and smart flats (NOT ballet pumps!) Looks put-together with minimal effort.

On non work days it's skinny jeans (Topshop Jamie or Next cigarette cut) or harem pants (Asos) with a simple T shirt or vest (Topshop, Gap, Warehouse or Oasis, usually). Again, two mins makeup and basic jewellery. Usually not a necklace as DD grabs it while she's feeding. Birkenstocks (brown) as they're comfortable and go with almost everything, or nude sandals (Asos).

I also find a smart-ish jacket makes a difference when I'm going out and about. I have a decent leather jacket and a selection of plain-coloured Jersey blazers (Zara, Miss Selfridge, Oasis) which IMO look much more stylish than the Joules/FatFace prints most mums seem to sport. A plain black Montane waterproof when it's wet.

Also, being almost back to pre-baby weight helps. Still got a bit to go, but I feel much better now my old clothes fit again and there's no overhang. Being back at work helps with this though, as I have time to run to/from the office and at lunchtimes.

MrsUnderwood Wed 31-Aug-16 10:20:21

I'm breastfeeding a baby and also have a 3yo.

To a certain extent you have to just let certain things go while you're wrangling a baby- I can't wear necklaces and need boob access, and also I can't wear my hair down as he likes to pull it. I do wear skirts though.

My personal style is kind of weird and all over the place- I like to look witchy, vintage and eccentric, so I've adapted that to be suitable and practical whilst looking after the baby. Generally my clothes tend to be neutral and plain in black/grey/ earthy colours and my accessories are bold/ colourful/ statement pieces. Also I look atrocious in summer clothes. So what I've been wearing is hats, plaited hair, earrings (button if the baby is in a sling, drop if not), round sunglasses or my NHS specs, light scarves or crochet shawls as a nursing cover-up, deep scoop necks or wrap tops, and either skinny jeans, long gypsy skirts or leggings under denim cut-offs. On my feet- black ballet flats, leather flip flops or Chelsea boots. Oh, and plastic bangles- they work as a teething toy. I also like to wear lots of hair flowers. In terms of make-up I've gone for minimal- BB or CC cream with high SPF, brow pencil, blush, powder, clear mascara, tinted lip balm. I think I'm managing to still look like me, pre children, but a bit more toned down and practical.

Lndnmummy Wed 31-Aug-16 10:57:31

I used to wear tights and dresses on maternity leave. Roomy comfy COS ones that did not clinge to all the wrong places. Takes two seconds to get ready in the morning, dress/tights= done. So easy and takes the thinking out of getting dressed.

If not a dress it was skinny jeans (GAP do amazing ones that stretch ALOT). They were high wasted and held everything in. I always got them on their 40% off. With them I would wear oversizesd shirts (often GAP as well). Not flowery patterned ones as they made me feel frumpy but more masculine looking ones either stripy, checked on just in one plain colour.

I thread and colour eyebrows and lashes every four weeks and did gel nails (cheaply via a friend). This always made me feel more groomed.

In terms of makeup I would do a tinted moisturiser and some bronzer, takes 90 seconds (I have timed it) and then I would pop on some tinted lipbalm or not so glossy lipgloss. My favourites are the Lipstick Queen saints range or the MD no lipstick lipstick

StopMakingMeLogOn Wed 31-Aug-16 11:03:59

Wrt the changing bag, I left a normal plain one on the pram at all times and still carried a small but nice cross body handbag with my purse etc in. If you are not taking the pram out then there are some nice backpacks which are fashionable now and still leave your hsnds free.

I second getting some jamie topshop jeans. They are super strong and stretchy. I have some in plum and dark green which are lovely. Also the more expensive jeggings from m&s are made of nice thick material and seem to keep their shape.

I bought some nice plain tops on the hobbs sale last year for £15 each. So far thry haven't bobbled so might be worth a look as there is a sale on at the moment.

I am currently trying to lose weight so although I had my last baby 8 years ago I'm kind of in the same position of trying to reclaim myself. There is a 'princessing' thread on here if you fancy it.

Bibs2014 Wed 31-Aug-16 11:29:23

I felt like this too.

I found wearing a shirt with skinny jeans instead of a cheapy Primark top looked so much better.

Get your make up routine down to 5 mins – BB cream is excellent for this.

I lived in skirts, tights and boots before DS, I hardly ever wore jeans before and never wore blue denim, so being in jeans every day was quite a shock! I got some Eden jeggings from Dorothy Perkins in a variety of colours and mixed and matched with various tops.

Get some flat sandals – New Look have a sale but only buy the leather ones as I find the others can hurt your feet.

But yes, my style has totally changed from trendy to practical. I read some really good advice on here about dressing for the life that you have now. It changed the way I shopped for sure.

SplatPancake Wed 31-Aug-16 11:37:37

Not a lot to add, OP, only that I LOVE your user name - am mid Cazalet binge this summer grin

Cellardoor23 Wed 31-Aug-16 11:37:48

I agree about a 'uniform' all my tops are in block colours. Mainly scoop necks, slouchy t-shirts, v-neck jumpers and Jeggings. I find this style the most comfortable and not too tight around the tummy area. It's also quite a flattering style imo. I still stand by natural fibres though or as close to it as possible! I bought most of mine in the sale so it doesn't have to expensive.

I have quite a few scarfs! I love them I find they're pretty good at hiding problem areas without putting too much effort in. I have one light grey pashmina and a couple deep red tartan scarfs. They would probably work quite well if you were breastfeeding too.

I know what you mean about the changing bag. I have a Pacopod so I'm thinking about just using just the pods then carrying my own bag. Although the bag is quite nice and I will probably end up using it a lot I just don't need a huge bag at the moment.

sexyfish Wed 31-Aug-16 13:36:10

Simple, well fitting clothes which can be lifted up easily for breast feeding work best.

Mid- high rise jeans to hold in tummy a bit plus long line strappy vests from H&M (I've found these very good quality) that can be lifted up of down to give tummy coverage when feeding. H&M Conscious cotton jersey tops on top also very good or a shirt (Gap good, H&M also have some cotton ones that I have seen). Jersey skirt can also be substituted for skinny jeans.

I find it easiest to stick to a colour palette because everything goes together and it is easier to grab things that go together.

A bit of jewellery/ big scarf and make up helps hugely and a couple of simple hairstyles e.g. messy bun/ low pony tail.

Getting up a little earlier/ washing hair the night before helps too.

missmillimentscardigan Wed 31-Aug-16 20:21:33

Love the Cazalet Chronicles, splat - would love to be off to Home Place for the summer!

Some excellent advice here - thank you. I do actually have some Topshop Jamie jeans and they were great pre dc2. Haven't dared try them on since but I should dig them out. I'm just not sure whether skinny jeans/jeggings are all that flattering on me at the moment. I have a couple of stone I need to lose and my tummy is pretty grim, so would need pretty loose tops to disguise it.
I definitely agree with going for plain or striped shirts and avoiding the floral/patterned ones. I got rid of a few flowery gap ones recently as they were so frumpy.
And I'll try and get a few scarfs for when the weather cools a bit.
Has anyone got a link for the kind of top that works for them please? I just feel really clueless at the moment as I feel like I'm dressing a completely different body...confused

FreeButtonBee Wed 31-Aug-16 21:21:42

I just embraced proper gym leggings and loose fitting drapery tops from eg Cos for a year. Nice pair of Nike fly knit trainers and a big parka. Wages well and dries instantly. Can baby wipe if needs be.

Dressy day, the ubiquitous skinny jeans, good tight fitting vest top (primark good and can replace constantly as so cheap) then I have really got lots of wear out of a few Boden stripey tops. Denim shirt for layering. Uniqlo heat tech long sleeve tops for warmth in various colours.

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