STYLE: How dressing for my life brought me closer to style heaven
WHEN it comes to reinventing yourself, there is no easier way of doing so, than changing your look.
Clothes, make up and hair styles are the quickest, simplest ways to change both how we and look and feel about ourselves. But yet how many of us are stuck in a rut, still wearing things that do not suit who we are or our lives?
Last year I was forced to change my image. Not a lot, but enough to make me feel a little panicked. I had to get to grips with dressing my post pregnancy body which was heavier and rounder than my pre pregnancy one. And I had to learn how to dress stylishly whilst caring for a little baby, fast growing into an active toddler.
As I mourned my old wardrobe, I realised that I needed to get a grip, embrace the changes and adapt my image to my lifestyle. To my reality.
Now you might think this is obvious, and in a way it totally is, but here’s the thing…I’m a self confessed glitz and glam addict who falls in love with anything covered in sequins or the most delicate and prettiest lace. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this apart from the undeniable fact that is – these things just do NOT mix with looking after a baby/toddler. So what the hell was I gonna do?
After facing the harsh reality that I am not a Hollywood movie star and therefore cannot dress like one, I stepped back, took a long, hard look at my life and the contents of my wardrobe and made some changes.
So out (into storage) went my many, stunning disco-tastic dresses and in came more pairs of skinny jeans, in a variety of colours. I sadly pushed my beloved heels to the back of the wardrobe and even ditched a few pairs to make room for – takes a long, deep breath – flats. I always said I’d never be parted from my heels but the little lady had other ideas!
Let’s face it pushing a heavy pushchair up a steep hill in killer heels just isn’t fun or practical so I stopped the denial and tried my best, for the first time in my life, to embrace flat shoes. But if I had to buy and wear flats, they had to at least be a little glamorous. So naturally I only bought flats that were covered in sequins or shiny studs.
I started to wear more prints which I now love – brilliant at disguising baby vomit, marks left by sticky fingers and dribbling mouths (Elsie’s, not mine!) – and purchased dresses that were stylish but also comfortable and practical to wear during the day. Seriously, thank heavens for ASOS!
I swapped delicate tights for 100 denier black tights from M&S which go with practically anything (and are now firm favourites) and when it became too hot to wear them, I ignored the many fake tans bottles lingering in my bathroom cabinet and embraced my pale skin.
When it came to make up, I swapped my daily love for smokey eyes (and saved it for the evening) and instead started to concentrate on my lips. I now wear lipstick pretty much every day. Not only has this made me fall back in love with my pout, but it’s also makes me look groomed in mere seconds. Plus, applying it, just makes me feel so grown up!
Hair wise, it was whatever I could do to look presentable, least like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards, in the shortest time possible. So out the window went my daily blowdrys and in came, plenty of Batiste dry shampoo, numerous packs of kirby grips and many a hurried up do.
And finally, wherever and whenever possible, I wore leopard print. On a cardigan, on a collar, on skinny jeans.
Really looking at my life – a mum and stay at home freelancer, in the middle of messy house renovations – and recognising my style needs, forced me to make many image changes, most of which I was hesitant to embrace.
But I’m truly so glad I did. I have learnt new tricks, embraced different styles and now wear things I would never in a million years have done so before. And because of this, I think that my image has changed for the better.
For me, the key to dressing for my life, but managing to hold on to a little of my glamorous fantasy, was to first think practical and then think, me. What makes me tick? What styles do I love? How can I inject my personality into my image, into my reality of getting dressed super quick with a toddler clinging to my legs?
So yes my daily attire is mainly jeans and tees or jumpers, but I do my best to make sure my outfits aren’t boring. I wear coloured skinny jeans not just plain ol’ denim. I introduced statement necklaces when Elsie started to make a grab for my chandelier earrings. I ditched the silk tops for prints. I accept that for most of the week, my glamour will have to be low key but have decided that I’ll make an extra effort to look good on a Friday.
So, if your image and your wardrobe doesn’t suit your life, I urge you to sit back, take stock and make some changes. Being your true self and dressing authentically has to go hand in hand with accepting your reality and dressing for, not against, it.
Ironically, for me, recognising my style needs, instead of concentrating on my style dreams, has brought me even closer to style heaven.
That and a hell of a lot of leopard print too.
Here’s wishing you all a magical – and glamorous! – start to the week.
P.S If you want to see how my style evolves this year, do pop over and follow me on Instagram as this is the place where I post many a style pic. x