I’m happy to have Alison to the blog today. She’s sharing her expertise tips about how to feel better about the ‘Mummy Uniform’ or the ‘Tracksuit Rut’ as I affectionately call it.
Guest Post by Alison Campbell Rasheed
I always say my husband subscribes to the ‘Aeroplane Crisis Theory’ of getting ready to leave the house – always make sure you’re OK before helping others. I, on the other hand, tend to leave myself until last and end up dangerously applying eyeliner in the rear-view mirror! I know for a fact that many Mums are the same, always rushing to make sure that food is packed, kids are watered and the house is reasonably tidy before leaving for the day, just in case there’s a surprise mother-in-law visit on the horizon.
The vast majority of my online personal styling clients are busy Mums who don’t get a lot of time to for themselves, but still love to look stylish. I love to put together looks for them which are easy to co-ordinate in the mornings with colours and styles which all work together.
This ‘rush factor’ is exactly the reason that most of us have a ‘go-to’ style, which, whilst on the whole isn’t exactly high-fashion, is generally passable for the playground and supermarket. Jeans? T-shirt? Trainers? Ponytail? Sounding familiar? Yes – I am talking about the Mummy Uniform. Let’s look at how to improve it.
Step 1: Know your colours
Generally speaking, everyone fits into a ‘season’ colour-wise
Summer people have light hair and eyes and olive or light skin – your best colours are cool, soft pastels and neutral.
Summer Colouring — Gwyneth Paltrow
Autumn people are the most easily recognised, with auburn or neutral beige hair, warm skin tone and brown or green eyes – your best colours are rich, earthy and warm.
Autum Colouring – Jennifer Lopez
Winter people have either very dark or very light skin with darker eyes – your best colours are cool, deep intense shades that are sharp, stark and clear.
Winter Colouring – Anne Hathaway
Spring people have a warm skin tone, blonde or auburn hair and light eyes – your best colours are bright and clear.
Spring Colouring – Nicole Kidman
Once you know the colours to look for, shopping becomes much easier and less overwhelming, and you’ll be secure in the knowledge that what you’re wearing suits your skin tone, hair and eye colour.
Step 2: Know your shape
It is incredibly important to have a realistic picture of your body shapee; many women I have styled actually think they are bigger than they are, or dress to cover up the bits of their body they don’t like. In doing so you actually draw attention to that part (jumper tied around the waist, anyone?) and can look bigger than you really are. There are five main body shapes: the bottom heavy pear, the top heavy apple, the curvy hourglass, the smaller petite and the slim, athletic column. Once you know your shape, you can dress to highlight the parts you like and conceal the parts you don’t.
Step 3 Invest in good quality basics
- Great fitting jeans which suit your shape – bootleg for curvy girls, straight or skinny leg for the apples and columns. A darker wash is always classy, too
- Trench coat – always worn open and tied at the back, or buttoned and tied (not buckled) or tailored jacket
- Neutral ballet flats, converse trainers in a cute colour, long boots to wear over jeans
- A few coloured T-shirts to suit your shape – wide, lower round or V neck for those bigger in the bust, higher round neck for those who are smaller up top
Step 4 Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise
Here’s where you can really make a difference and amp up your look without breaking the bank.
Accessorise with a:
- patterned long scarf which picks up many of the colours in your ‘season’ palette
- beads in a few key colours, again from your season palette
- stand out bag – preferably in a shade other than black – by choosing a brighter colour or an alternative neutral such as grey or light tan you can lighten your look and make more of a style statement
- on-trend vest (think fake shearling) to add warmth AND style
- multi-coloured woven belt, again always in your own colours
By creating a wardrobe of good basics in colours and shapes which suit you and by co-ordinating this with on-trend accessories which ‘pop’ – you’re guaranteed to move beyond the Mummy Uniform.