I'll make this quick - most magazines seem to feature pages of fabulous clothes, adverts for exceptional avent-guard creations, and models that albeit beautiful and scarily tall, don't ever need to think about getting their raincoat on over 'That' at 8:30 am on a wet windy morning whilst carrying a Ben-10 lunchbox.
Personally I accessorize most of my attire with a Hello Kitty lunchbag and an Angelina Ballerina drawstring kit-bag. Really sets off my flat boots and my cereal covered jeans!
When I do get dressed for purposes other than to just cover up, I actually LOVE fashion, but it has to be practical, affordable and look-the-business. We all know how slightly odd Elle Macphearson looks collecting the kids in leather trousers, a Balmain jacket and Louboutin platforms, but we let her off... I don't think many of us can get away with it.
Here are the best solutions to stop you looking like your own worst enemy.
Obviously this fleeting season sees a return to some brilliant colours, Wine/Burgundy red, Forest greens and Mustard yellows. All go well as interchangeable and if you think, "whats the point in buying anything fashionable, its only in fashion for 8 weeks then its over"- then look at the cheap versions.
All of these are current in shops, and online right now at New Look, most £20.00!
I've discovered some rather surprising things in places like Miss Selfridge, New Look (yes!) and H&M. Not normally places many mothers shop, but I have to admit, quality vs. £ and its not that bad.
Complete look for £50 from New Look and NEXT.
1. Cords and Trousers (swap your jeans for something smarter - GAP are perfect but can look a bit frumpy, try River Island or even better NEXT, for some great slim-leg, ankle length trousers in Navy, drak green or maroon.)
2. Jumpers; stock up on some current shapes, always buy 2 sizes bigger than your normal dress size in jumpers as only teenagers should actually wear tight jumpers. Length gives away staleness in your cut of jumper. Its really the most variable thing next to colour that makes it current season or not. Discard IMMEDIATELY anything that sits above the pocket line on your jeans... (unless you are a svelt size 6 with a 26" waist). Sorry but its true - as lovely as cropped jumpers may appear, you need to wear higher waisted jeans, a belt and NEVER have any inches to pinch.
Best in the shops now -
3. Get a haircut. Most mummies neglect their skin and hair when they are rushing. A really good haircut shouldnt need blowdrying. Umberto Gianni himself told me this. If your haircut is done well you can disgard your hairdryer on a regular basis. So make an appointment for something that suits your face, and preferable stops you from always scrapping it back it a rough ponytail. Change your shampoo - go to a salon and be prepared to spend at least £10 on a conditioner. It will be worth it. You will need to use less than any supermarket-bought ones and it will make a big difference to you being able to leave your hair down.
Best easy haircuts to print off the picture and take to your salon ; Rule of thumb most women over 29 look better with shorteer hair - leave the long locks to the teenagers unless you have wonderful hair. Most women will suit ONE of these hairstyles. Current trends are long or NO fringe, longer at the front than the back, soft and NO straightening! Keep it simple.
Plus don't wash it everyday unless you absolutely have to. Fortunately freshly quaffed hair isn't that "in" anymore, so unless you are Kate Middleton ditch the tongs.
4. Shoes - flat shoes are having an unmissable revival. Mothers we are officially TOP of the fashion stakes accidentally.
However, Go brave. Studded biker boots, buckles, lace up brogues are not only superbly practical, they now don;t have to cost loads. Office currently had some great boots, brogues and flats all for less than £45. Hard to resist them at that price. They haven't got to last forever - think of them as more disposable than that. Top picks.
5. Coats are so hard when you have kids, especially if you have young children, as they inevitable need picking up and they will get their muddy little boots on your coat. There is no avoiding it, and if you walk to school in the morning its got to be warm and a little bit splash-proof.
Don't bother with something expensive unless its going to last you every winter for the next 10 years - Barbour is the fail-safe but my GOSH they are pricey. However eBay will turn you up wonders at this time of year. Watch all items you are vaguely interested in. Look for items finishing at odd times, these tend to be cheaper final price, and bother less about marks and missing buttons. Second hand coats are great- and you will worry a lot less about wellies and paw prints.
If you go for something new, get something practical - pockets and large sleeves are vital for mummies. The more pockets the better, (like cup-holders in cars) and sleeves, don't buy something that's going to be 'fitted', as you'll never get any of the current season jumpers in the arms. Capes, blanket shawls and knitted cardigan-coats are great, as they will go over everything.
Some labels to look for online - Gharani Strok do great angora/mohair jackets, All Saints do good macs and parkers. Espirit is a very practical fashion brand. Good quality and easily found in a department store/shopping centre. Don't buy a coat from Topshop - you'll be seriously disappointed with it. They are designed for 6th formers. You are not a 6th former!
6. Get a geleration jessica manicure. This WILL last un-chipped and maintenance FREE for at least 2 weeks, even if you do the washing up every day, walk the dogs and vacuum/dust/mop/scrub. I promise. Its £30 well spent. Takes an hour, uses UV light to set the gel, its hard as nails and goes straight on your natural nails. There are no tips (making you look like a WAG), and is super shiney. Gives the impression you are very "polished". I am a convert. I factor it into my tiny personal budget, I make one last me a month and it means I always look finished.
Red, Burgundy, Browns all look timeless, easy and on-trend.
7. Investing in good underwear - I get a kick out of wearing fabulous underwear on a daily basis. I make-sure anything with a hole, faded or colour-run goes in the bin immeidately. I try and always wear matching underwear. I never shop in Ann Summers and try and get as much as possible in TK Maxx. True story.
Go for designer labels in the sale rails. Very few women fit Calvin Klein underwear well. Its cut for small ROUND boobs - (no women with children has ROUND boobs anymore.) Get something that has good straps, fits right the way around your under-boob and lastly make-sure you are the buying the right size! That means when you are shopping try on the size up/down bigger/smaller than the one you THINK you might be as every designer has different cuts and fittings. You may be a 36DD in one bra and a 38B in another make. Anything under a D cup, get a moulded bra if possible to give shape and everything over a D cup get a full-cup shape otherwise you get 'double-boobs'.
Have fun shopping and don't be afraid to let go of your fleece. No one looks good in fleece! Ever. Don't buy boot-cut jeans unless you have LONG legs and wear heels and if time is short in the mornings cheat! I am commonly known to only shave my ankles and shins in=f I'm wearing trousers. Gross I know, but who has the time to shave all the way to the knee!!! Its winter!