Winter has arrived and with it a new stack of clothes. The winter additions to my ‘new mummy wardrobe’.
Pre-babies, I never left the house without heels. I had a collection of handbags of different sizes, colours and materials. Most of my clothes were work-attire (suits) or going out outfits. Jewelry was an elaborate affair, featuring long necklaces and earrings.
As a mummy, all that has changed. My pre-baby wardrobe is now reserved for those occasional baby-free evenings. My clothes now have to withstand being pulled and stretched, long hours playing on the floor, and continuous trips to playgroups. Dry-cleaning is out – clothes need to be able to be thrown into the washing machine if covered in milk or worse. Shoes have to be comfortable and safe enough to carry and run around after two mobile toddlers. Beautiful handbags have been replaced by the ever-present diaper bag. Jewelry has been put aside as it only represents a new shiny toy to be tugged on by little hands.
After the first few weeks of motherhood (during which I spent a lot of time in / near home), it became quite clear that most of my beautiful clothes were completely unsuited to life with babies. I also had no time to think about putting outfits together or accessorizing. As spring approached I realized that what I needed was effectively a ‘mummy uniform’ – a set of clothes that were both baby-proof and, crucially, all matched; so that if a baby spat up on a top I would simply need to change it for another one in my wardrobe that I knew would go with the bottoms I was already wearing.
So here are my tips for creating a ‘new mummy’ wardrobe that is both functional and ensures that you look good, no matter how many times you have to change in a morning:
1) Enlist the help of a babysitter and go shopping alone. It is much easier to think without two babies competing for your attention.
2) Find an whole outfit (top, bottoms and extra layer for warmth) that works and fits you well. For my spring / summer wardrobe, this was jeggings, t-shirt and cardigan. Ensure all items are machine-washable. Trousers or long skirts are essential if you don’t want to run the risk of a wardrobe malfunction while playing with your children on the floor.
3) Buy multiples of those same tops, bottoms and layers. If you buy different colours, make sure they all match on all different combinations (e.g. if you have bought trousers in dark blue and black, your tops could be bright blue, orange, and green). The number of each item you buy depends on how often you do laundry.
4) Buy a pretty, functional diaper bag – this will be your new handbag. It should work with the clothes you have already purchased.
5) Find a pair of shoes that fit and are comfortable. They will most likely be flats as you will be carrying babies (I still cannot risk carrying BabyBoy or BabyGirl while wearing my favourite 4 inch heels). Buy two pairs so that if one suddenly breaks, you have spares. If these are different colours, again make sure both work with your clothes and diaper bag.
6) Don’t worry about jewelry. It just gets in the way.
7) Voila! You now have a mummy uniform that will see you through spring and summer. No need to shop again until autumn / winter (and let’s face it, if you’re a mum of twins you probably won’t have the time).
For autumn / winter – repeat the same process, replacing t-shirts with jumpers and jeggings with warmer trousers. Layer t-shirts under jumpers for extra warmth. Flat shoes can be replaced by flat slip-on boots.
It might not be the most interesting wardrobe, but by having a uniform you eliminate fruitless shopping trips and know that, whatever you have grabbed while a wriggly baby was trying to escape from your arms, you still look good.