Winter fashion


I was having a conversation recently with Gen, one of my mummy friends. We were discussing how we had a set of clothes that we always relied on, which Gen referred to as her 'mummy uniform'. I thought this was a great description and it made me think about how I put together an outfit that's practical as well as stylish.

It's really easy to fall into a rut with clothes and makeup, especially so when you're a mum. Even though I want to look good, there are so many considerations to make when choosing clothes...

It has to wash well over and over again because it's going to get splattered with lots of messy stuff.

It has to be affordable because it might very well get ruined - some messy stuff just doesn't wash out - and have to be consigned to the bin.

Comfort is important when I'm constantly bending down to pick up my daughter, or toys, books and other items that a toddler litters the floor with. Besides, have you ever had to negotiate a soft play area in clothing that doesn't contain Lycra?

I walk most places so, as well as comfort, I need practical, weatherproof clothing. This means something I never thought I'd wear - sensible footwear. Actually, when I first started dating Tom, who's a real outdoors action man, he despaired at my lack of suitable attire. I remember getting a text the day before we were due to go camping, saying, 'bring something warm!'.

Finally, time is an issue. When you have a toddler as well as yourself to get ready in the mornings, you don't have the luxury of standing in front of your wardrobe trying on different items of clothing until you're happy with how you look. You need to grab what you're going to wear and know it will work as an outfit. This inevitably means relying on your 'mummy uniform'.

The illustration I've done to go with this article is of me in my current winter mummy uniform. I like to think it wouldn't look amiss on one of my style icons - Sienna Miller. I got the padded jacket in the sales, it was just £15, and I really love it, it's showerproof and incredibly warm. When you live on the Atlantic coast, that is exactly what you need as the weather can change in the blink of an eye. The boots, which I also love - although white is an incredibly difficult colour to keep clean - were also in the sales. They are waterproof Isotherm boots and, as they are children's footwear (I have small feet), were only £24.99. My leggings, beanie hat and sunglasses were supermarket buys, you can find those anywhere. Finally, the surprise of the whole outfit, is my handbag. It's big enough for all the things I have to carry around with me - nappies, wet wipes, nappy bags, snacks, drinks container, purse, keys, camera, etc. My mum gave it to me, it was a freebie from one of her catalogues.

You know, when Gen and I were having our conversation about clothes, it was with a sense that we were falling back on this one outfit and had somehow lost our way from the stylish ladies we were before becoming mothers. Yet, when I look at my mummy friends they all look fabulous in their own individual ways. There's something about becoming a mum that gives you a real sense of yourself, a confidence that comes from discovering just how amazing a woman's body is, that's not connected to what size or shape it is, or what it's dressed in.

A couple of weeks ago, I read an extract from a new book Get Gorgeous: 21 Days to a More Beautiful Confident You and what I discovered is that I am already doing what some of the most beautiful, stylish women in the world do to look great.

One of the most heartening things I read was that wearing the same outfits repeatedly helps you create a strong identity.

Also, wear what looks good on you and what you feel comfortable in. You aren't dressing to please other people, you should be dressing to please yourself. Besides, no matter how up to date or trendy your outfit, if you don't feel good wearing it, then it's not going to look good.

Finally, it takes time to acquire self-assurance, we aren't born with it - remember those awkward years as a teenager, following the crowd and yet never feeling like you fit in?

Style icons, like Sienna Miller with her wonderful boho outfits and casual street look, or Audrey Hepburn who redefined classic elegance to fit her unique personality, could never be accused of following the crowd. They had the confidence to dress for themselves and in doing so created their own recognisable and much copied style.

So, I'm going to rock my mummy uniform, this is who I am and I love it.

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