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It’s the job that no one gives you a manual for. The one that is undeniably challenging, but you couldn’t love more. The one where you’re on call 24/7, never get a lunch break or a hot cup of coffee or even a solo break to go to the toilet.
Yep, glorious, technicolour motherhood is a lot of things. Sleepless nights, lots of baby sick, the joy of a first smile, and a sucker punch of love to the head. It’s a whirlwind, and it’s all-consuming.
So little wonder that, as a mother, you often feel like you can barely remember who you used to be before you were raising tiny humans. It’s actually a fairly common experience for mamas to feel somewhat of an identity crisis. Everything has changed, and you become so used to putting someone else all the time, you start to forget who you are.
Style may seem like a trivial thing, but actually it’s integral to our sense of identity. Our clothes are a language we use to communicate to the world who we are, and when we lose our way, fashion is a tool that we can use to reclaim some small part of ourselves. It’s something deeply personal, just for ourselves. And there’s definitely something about looking good that makes us feel good – and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you.
But if that fashionable part of you feels like it’s become buried under a heap of sick-stained muslins and stretchy yoga pants, how do you set about reclaiming yourself?
Squeeze In Some Me Time
It may seem like the impossible dream, but it starts with a small step – carving out some time just for you. This may seem hard, but it’s also important – if no one cares for the carer, burnout is inevitably. So if you need to call in some favours to grab an hour or so of time just for you, do it! Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty about it. You are entitled to look after yourself. Rediscover something simple that you loved pre-kids and embrace it – a quiet half hour reading, doing a face mask, or listening to your favourite music. Whatever reconnects you back to your old self. After all, doing what makes you happy makes you better at looking after others.
Find New Wardrobe Staples
Being a mother and caring about style aren’t incompatible – but you will find that you have to make a few practical changes to make it all work. Perhaps it’s developing a collection of beautiful flats and kicks rather than going for stilettos. It could be picking easy to care for fabrics rather than ones that are dry clean only and require special care. It could be finding designer nursing clothes that allow you to breastfeed on the go and still look stylish. Or it could simply be finding shapes and cuts that make you feel comfortable with a changed figure. Do whatever is necessary to keep you feeling good. A top tip is to find a few new staple pieces you can throw on in a hurry and rely on to make you pulled together – a sharp tailored blazer, a statement necklace or a bright patterned scarf that can instantly tie a look together and add flair to a plain t shirt and jeans.
Rip Up The Rule Book
Style is about what makes you feel good, first and foremost, so don’t pay attention to what you ‘should’ be wearing. Motherhood doesn’t have to be an ocean of Cath Kidston prints – unless you want it to be! You can still rock a leather skirt, have pink hair or pair trainers with a suit if you want to. Don’t let anyone tell you what you need to wear. Comfort and confidence are the only rules to go by. Dress however makes you happy, because style isn’t about trends, it’s about self-expression.
…And Embrace The Changes
Becoming a mother is all about changes, so remember to be kind to yourself as well. Perhaps your figure has changed a bit and it’s knocked you – it’s okay to stick to pieces that make you feel comfortable. Don’t feel that you have to be forced into skinny jeans or a bodycon skirt unless you want to be. Rock a flowing jumpsuit or palazzo pants to be kind to your new figure. You don’t have time to try on endless new outfit combinations, so it’s perfectly okay to play it safe for a while.
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It’s Not About Budget
You don’t have to have a huge shopping budget to get your style back either, and in fact, if your figure is constantly changing, it may not be worth investing loads in a new wardrobe at this point. Hit up supermarket clothing ranges for stylish but affordable buys that are easy to scoop into your trolley when you’re doing the food shop.
Restrict Your Choices
They say choice is a good thing, but for busy mums, too much choice can definitely be a curse rather than a blessing – there simply isn’t time, and faced with endless potential combinations, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and end up just throwing on the first thing on top of the laundry pile. So why not create a capsule wardrobe instead? A handful of basics that fit well and flatter, that you can style up with different accessories for interest. Take a look on Pinterest fashion boards for some inspiration. You could even create a personal lookbook – when you wear an outfit you love, snap a quick mirror shot so you can remember the combination. When you’re feeling uninspired, refer back to the album for some quick outfit options – minus the effort. Find your ‘uniform’ – a handful of pieces that you feel comfortable and at your best in, and re-wear that style and shape in different variations. This what many famous folk with a signature style do.
Getting your style back as a mum doesn’t have to be complicated or arduous. Above all, remember that fashion is about fun, so don’t let it become a source of stress. Keep your choices instinctive and follow your heart – and then whether it’s a day trip to the zoo with your kids or date night with your other half, you can’t go too far wrong.