Style crisis – what do I wear?
Fashion just doesn’t feature when you have babies. Perhaps occasionally you might look in the mirror and grimace at the Womble-like vision in front of you – all saggy maternity jeans, giant nursing bra and baggy cardi (very much my baby years outfit – see photo) but you don’t have time to think about it really, and nor should you. It’s a crazy busy time and that Wombley outfit is darn practical (and comfy) and what you need to get the job done.
But eventually you do start to emerge from the baby bubble and you want to claim some of your old self back. That’s where I am now. Baba 2 is now 18 months old and the scruffy vision before me in the mirror is no longer acceptable. But, the thing is, I’m different. It’s less about reclaiming my old style but rather finding a new one. My body has changed – my several posts about post-natal exercises (or lack of) are testament to the fact that my mum tum is very much here to stay, at least for now. I’m also older. I had my first baba at 32, when I was largely still wearing the same clothes from my 20s and still just about getting away with it. I had started to make forays into a more sophisticated look, especially for work, but generally my look had been the same for about a decade.
Now I’m in my late 30s with my 37th birthday fast approaching. My old outfits just don’t cut it anymore. But what do I wear now? I’ve been trapped in the baby bubble for the past 5 years and just don’t know where to start. A few evenings burrowing about on the internet turned up this inspiration:
1. High street fashion for women in their 30s (listed roughly in low to high price order)
- Comptoir des Cotonniers
- French Connection
- The Pretty Dress Company
- Hoss Intropia
I found more shops than this but these are the ones that I liked the look of most (for more recommendations, especially for more formal and office wear, check out my source links at the end of the post).
Monsoon is my own addition; I did find it mentioned in an article as being too ‘hippy’ to be considered, and although this is true of some of their stuff, I have found many beautiful pieces that aren’t like that at all (such as the lovely 1950s style day dress in the photograph).
None of these brands are particularly ‘green’ but I’ve added all of them to my eBay search lists to buy secondhand – a green and budget friendly option.
2. Great clothes for post-baby bods – concealing the mum tum
1950s style dresses – a recent revelation to me, the high waist and full skirts nip you in at your slimmest point whilst gracefully concealing the mum tum. You’ll also look glamorous and gorgeous instantly with this slightly more structured and tailored look which is perfect for your 30s. I had some from before I had my babas but was convinced they wouldn’t fit anymore. After this research I dug them out and was blown away. My new favourite go-to outfit.
- Flowy sun dresses and tops with empire waists – a fab boho option for summer
- Wrap dresses and tops – also perfect for breast feeding.
- Drapey dresses (not shapeless)
- Cardigans and jackets
- Dark colours, especially black, and patterns
- Accessorise to draw attention away from tum – scarfs, wide belts, jewellery.
- Mid rise jeans
- Avoid clingy clothes
3. Style tips for 30 somethings
- Quality rather than quantity. Only buy clothes that you absolutely adore.
- Invest in good quality basics, well-fitting underwear, and quality tailoring.
- Accessorise with good quality shoes, bags and statement jewellery. Add one statement, on trend piece to make your outfit special.
- Show either legs or cleavage, not both.
I also used Pinterest to look up my favourite celebs of a similar-ish age to moi and their ‘street style’ to see what they rocked when they popped to the shops, walked the dog etc. For me that’s Duchess of Cambridge (recently voted the UK’s most stylish woman, not bad inspiration there!) Kate Winslet, Angelina Jolie and my most recent faves Claire Danes and Morena Baccarin from Homeland, my new boxset obsession. Rather refreshingly I found some photos of them when they were in the baby bubble and they often looked as wombley as me – it’s nice to know it happens to us all.
I still wear my baby years outfit most of the time because I still do lots of baby stuff, but as I start to have time for other things I now I have other options. I won’t be ditching my old style completely, I’ve always been a bit of a hippy and loved the rock chick look and they’ll still feature pretty heavily, but I’ll be building on my 1950s wardrobe and adding in a bit of royal sophication too 🙂
I feel excited about clothes again and am eagerly scouting eBay for new pieces! I feel confident about the way I look in these new styles – a big improvement to where I was a few weeks ago. I hope this post offers you some inspiration too.