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Where should I be shopping these days....?

(13 Posts)
Wayfarersonbaby Thu 22-Dec-16 00:33:10

I'm late 30s, had a baby about 3 years ago and put on loads of weight which I'm now trying to lose. I haven't really bought any clothes since before I fell pregnant, so nearly 4 years now. Have been living in t-shirts, maternitywear and baggy things during the toddler years and now want to smarten up, but not sure where to go or what to buy any more! (Also, I have a lot less money than before....)

I used to be a size 8-10, trying to think of how to describe what my style used to be....I normally wore lots of black and plain basics (I'm blonde and small), so, mainly fitted jersey dresses, little flippy or straight skirts, black camis and fine cardis/knits, opaques and heels or boots. Before baby I used to shop mainly in Gap and Muji for basics, and then Jigsaw/Comptoir des Cotonniers/Cos/Anthropologie for skirts/dresses/knitwear/jewellery.

Now I'm not only a fair few dress sizes larger but I have no clue what's in fashion or where to go shopping. Jigsaw, where I used to buy loads of stuff in my twenties/early thirties, seems to have totally changed its market and gone much more expensive and "older" - I just took a look at the website and everything looks like it's for much older women and I can't afford it anyway! (Did they just treble all the prices or something? What's up with that? shock) I can't carry off anything in Anthropologie any more now that I'm a lot fatter, either. And even Gap looks like their buyers have gone on strike - it's awful!

I'm to short and plump to work the skinny jeans and breton top with boots look that I see some local mummies wearing - plus it isn't particularly work-friendly. I don't suit the White Stuff casual tunic look and I'm not thin enough to pull off "directional" any more.

Help me, MNers - where should a late 30s mummy shop who wants to look smart but stylish, and youthful but not "fashionable", for work and everyday wear? (I don't need suits or formalwear for my job, but I can't wear casual or jeans either.) Am I missing somewhere I should be looking, or is there a huge gap in the market for mid-priced sophisticated but not over-fussy clothes for 30-somethings?

imjessie Thu 22-Dec-16 09:28:34

What size and shape are you ?

burnishedsilver Thu 22-Dec-16 09:37:44

Based on my own experience, I suspect you're not really going to love any clothes until you lose some of the baby weight and feel a bit more 'you'. You sound a bit lost. I remember feeling exactly the same. Taking up jogging helped me find 'me' again. Even just the head space of getting out for a run was good.

I haven't answered your question so feel free to disregard if I'm way off the mark.

ByJoveItsAGoodUn Thu 22-Dec-16 10:24:19

I am your position but a year behind you. I found it a nightmare looking online so I booked a debenhams personal shopper appointment and got a few good things.
I hate shopping at the best of times and found it much easier to explain what i used to like and then the lady brought me loads of clothes to try on.

WyeNot Thu 22-Dec-16 10:35:17

I quite like Dorothy Perkins, especially the online sales, things like leggings, dresses, pretty tops. I also like New Look and H&M for jumpers and tops, also often in the online sales. Next also do nice things. I'm a big fan of ebay too, searching for things from these particular shops, I basically got my whole maternity wardrobe for a fraction of the price by looking on ebay! I'd recommend going on pinterest before buying anything and looking at 'staple' or 'capsule' wardrobes, or whatever key words you think, and then buying a few items you can mix and match based on these ideas (that's also how in-house what to buy for my maternity clothes so I only had to get minimal items but actually could create a fair few outfits, especially by adding scarves, shoes, and jewellery I already had).

WyeNot Thu 22-Dec-16 10:37:18

*jeggings not leggings

VeryPunny Thu 22-Dec-16 11:28:11

Second the advice about a good department store. Our John Lewis has everything from Oasis and Warehouse to Jaeger and Max Mara, as well as a good denim department. At the moment I've bought quite a lot from Whistles, Modern Rarity, Finery, Cos and Boden (who I think are moving away from the mummy market, as well as having good sales). Other people rate & Other Stories but I've had more misses than hits from them.

Craycr4y Thu 22-Dec-16 11:50:40

As someone who has struggled with their weight and has a wardrobe of clothes size 16-22, I have now started dressing in the size I am and not living in "make do" clothes until I lose weight. I feel much more confident now I feel I have a sense of style and I buy not so expensive clothes so if I do lose weight, I'm not losing investment pieces.

First off I decided on what colours really did not suit me, then decided on what style I am going for. I re-evaluated my wardrobe so I put what I can actually fit in (it was only 8 items of clothes) and now I've started buying a capsule wardrobe - good quality staples and some cheaper clothes with personality that I can use and chuck if needed.

Then I did LOADS of online browsing in: Sainbury's Tu, Asda George, Debenhams, H+M, New Look, Marks and Spencer. I have stuck to my rules and only bought something if it's: the colour I want, the style I want and in the size I am right now. With the sales coming up for about £100, you can get abut 4 or 5 items that will give you back your sense of style.

Good luck xxxx

Wayfarersonbaby Fri 23-Dec-16 00:18:40

Thanks everyone! I'm currently a 14-16 but I'm small and pear-shaped so pretty much nothing looks good at the moment! I think you're right that I'm not going to find things I really like until I've lost a bit more weight, but I find I also don't quite know what's stylish at the moment either - I see younger women starting to wear a more 90s look with heavy boots, jumpers and either short or long skirts, but I don't know what people my age should be wearing to look stylish but not too "fashionable". It's a good idea to check out a department store - I might pop to John Lewis after Christmas and spend some time looking around.

puglife15 Fri 23-Dec-16 04:18:15

I'm late 30s and friends might wear skinnies, straight leg jeans or maybe mom jeans or a midi skirt, ankle boots or trainers, then on top a chunky knit, a loose tee, a cool sweatshirt, or a long sleeve shirt/blouse. Or a day dress with chunky cardi over. If you have an ok waist tucking stuff in can update a look quickly.

Places to shop include Zara, Whistles, Zadie et Voltaire, Topshop, Cos, H&M, occasionally M&S. I do have the occasional Jigsaw piece too but agree it's v expensive.

I'd work out what shapes suit you on bottom half eg you might find a pleated skirt much more flattering than skinnies or vice versa, and work from there.

puglife15 Fri 23-Dec-16 04:19:30

Btw I find our local John Lewis can be a touch "older" so beware!

phoolani Fri 23-Dec-16 11:14:11

I agree with the pp who said you're not really going to be happy with anything as long as you think you're weight is such a problem. Having said that, that gap in the market for me is totally filled by cos (I sound like a broken 'I love cos I love cos' record'). How about straight legged trousers and some of their more structural tops? At the moment I'm living in cos straight or skinny trousers and their polo neck jumpers which hides a multitude of sins and still looks stylish.

DianaT1969 Fri 23-Dec-16 11:46:02

I have to start with the footwear and work an outfit up. That's because I used to be drawn to pencil skirt and hourglass shapes that required heels. I finallly admitted that I hate wearing heels and won't tolerate discomfort anymore. So I decide on the shoe/boot/plimsole that I'll actually get some wear out of and thenbuy clothes that look good with them.
I never seem to have the right jacket/coat though. Can't get that right.

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