One of the big life changes many women go through is having kids. And adjusting to life with young children is difficult. Even more so if you have come from a professional workplace and you have a preference for the Classic personality dressing style, one that loves a crisp button-up shirt and a smart blazer or a pencil skirt, which are not really child-friendly clothing items. You’ve transitioned from tailored suits and boardrooms to messy hands and playing on the floor. Classic and refined clothing can feel out at odds with your lifestyle but you don’t have to be confined to wearing active wear.
Now it’s not just having kids that can mean this kind of major style change is going on in your life. Retirement is also a common time of needing to change the way you dress in a similar way, going from a working environment of more professional dressing to a more casual lifestyle.
How to Dress When You Love Classic, Professional, Structured Outfits But Your Lifestyle Demands More Practical Garments
When I had my kids, and as someone who enjoys a more ‘dressed up’ than ‘dressed down’ look, I found that I didn’t feel right in very casual outfits (such as activewear that so many of the other mothers I socialised with wore). So I instead of going down that style route and feeling not-like-me, I bought myself some dressier pants (nothing too fancy, they were from Target) and wore them with a nice knit or machine-washable blouse so that I still felt like me, but the practicality I needed for this stage of my life was still there.
8 Top Tips for combining a Classic dressing style with practicality
- Curate a smaller collection of clothes that you really love that fit the body you have now well. Your body and your lifestyle go through so many changes when you become a mum or menopause. Please don’t try to squeeze your body into uncomfortable and unflattering clothing. Your body is amazing. It may have grown a human, or just allowed you to do everything you’ve done in your life so far, so give yourself some grace. Focus on the favourite aspects of your body and play those up
- Look for fabrics that can be laundered in the washing machine and that don’t need ironing You certainly don’t want to be having to dry clean your daily outfits. You need to focus on items with the right level of comfort, cost, and wearability. This will allow you to relax rather than worrying about stains and creases. Always check the label for fibre content and care instructions!
- Look for blouses, shirts and dresses in patterns so you can’t see any little handmarks (if that’s something you’re currently grappling with…. banana handprints are something I remember getting quite frequently!). Stretch fabrics are ideal for wash and wear, and a looser fit may be more comfortable if you are still holding onto baby weight.
- Try trousers and jeans with higher waistline in a slightly stretchy fabric to allow you to sit on the floor easily. There are so many different options here that I’ve written about previously…
- Blazers and cardigans provide warmth with an elevated level of refinement, instead of more formal woven and dry-clean-only blazers, look for ones made from ponte (stretch) knits that are comfortable like cardigans but give you a more classic look and are more easily machine-washable, or try linen instead of wool. Also consider leather jackets and denim jackets too (they don’t have to be denim blue, they can come in other colours too.
- Comfortable and supportive shoes such as ballet flats, ankle boots, loafers, flat knee-high boots, mules, sandals and Oxfords are all fabulous shoe options. Look for shoes with good arch support, flexible soles and padding.
- Don’t pick a traditional fabric nappy/diaper bag. There are plenty of classic, oversized totes that can be repurposed to carry all your small person needs. Or go for a cross-body bag if you can stuff everything else into the pram.
- Statement earrings aren’t particularly child friendly but scarves, a chunky cuff, fabulous sunglasses and a hat to cover a bad-hair day and to protect your skin are perfect accessories for mums.
Dressing in the Classic personality style can be achieved where you can choose clothing that suits your lifestyle, your environment and where you feel physically comfortable and stylish.
As mum of young kids, you can feel very frumpy if you are dressing without intention because you are pressed for time. Dressing can take extra effort, but it also feels good. You deserve a wardrobe full of clothes that provide you with comfort and boost your confidence.
If you aren’t sure what your personality dressing style is then try my Personality Dressing Style Quiz. It will give you your core personal dressing style. It’s not going to solve all your style issues but it will give you a starting point for create your own unique personal style.