Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A Wardrobe Overhaul - Smart Casual, with and without kids!



Dress shabbily and they remember the dress. Dress impeccably and they remember the woman. 
Coco Chanel


So, having talked about the quest to find my style mojo, I've been spending quite a bit of time thinking about my wardrobe and what I want it to look like going forwards. 

I've been through my wardrobe and pulled out those things that I no longer like. It's still left me with quite a big wardrobe, no capsule wardrobe for me! 

However, I have noticed that I don't seem to have versatile outfits. I have half outfits, or pieces that are good for one season but can't be transferred to another season with ease. 

So I've decided to work on adding on those things to my wardrobe which I think will enhance what is already in it, and not adding in more than one or two new outfits. 

I have also realised that I have different wardrobes for different occasions, namely: 

  • Work;
  • Going out;
  • Casual with the kids;
  • Smart casual with the kids;
  • Smart casual WITHOUT the kids. 

So I'm going to work through what I have in my (recently reduced) wardrobe, and those items I am thinking about adding to my wardrobe to make the pieces I have work a little better. 

Smart Casual

As much as I love my yoga pants, I don't really like being photographed in them! I also want to be that woman who is pristine; who always looks well dressed. 

At the same time, being a mum, my clothes need to be practical and comfortable, especially as I spend a lot of time sitting on the floor, and I get covered in sticky fingerprints. 

I feel like my recent efforts to be practical and comfortable have left me with a sensible wardrobe but it doesn't really suit me. 

I want me wardrobe to reflect me, and be able to be dressed up or down depending on where we are going and what we are doing. 

We spend quite a lot of time at National Trust properties these days, and as autumn rolls in, I'm sure I'm going to need a fully casual section of my wardrobe, fleeces and walking boots and all. 

But, we live in a town, and we also spend a lot of our time in and around town, in shops; coffee shops and restaurants. So I imagine my smart casual wardrobe is one I'm going to be wearing regularly. 

Outfit 1, 2, 3 and 4:

Quite possibly my favourite purchases this year are these jersey dresses from H&M:






When I initially bought them, I was bemoaning the fact that they didn't come in brighter colours, particularly as they were intended for daytime wear on our holiday to Spain. I do love a bit of purple, blue and red, and would love these dresses in those colours (hint hint H&M!). 

But, as the weather is turning and the clouds are rolling in a little more often than I would like, I'm starting to see some real potential in these dresses, and ways to make them befit the colder seasons. Save for maybe the pink one, that one might have to be stored away at the back of my wardrobe until the warmer weather returns and hotter climates beckon. 

These dresses are lightweight, easy to wear and hide sticky fingermarks really well. It also comes in black, but I prefer the colours above. 

Carrying kids and their endless supplies around means that I'm often hot, then cold, then hot again. So I'm finding that thick jumpers and warm coats often don't work as I'm too hot and then freezing when I take a layer off. 

So I'm hoping that a bit of layering will mean that these dresses can be worn even in the depths of winter! 

So, first things first, I'm going to need some long sleeved tops to go under the dresses. I want tops which I'm happy to wear on their own, either with jeans or a skirt. 

So far I'm looking at this double layer t-shirt in black from The White Company. They also do this in Navy, which I think may well make the list too: 



I would love this top in the dark grey too, but it's only available in a size 8 now, and so likely to be sold out by the time I get around to buying it! 


However, The White Company does have a v-neck double layer t-shirt in both a mid-grey and a navy blue, which looks so comfortable. At £55 it is a significant investment in what is a plain t-shirt, but I think it's something that I would like to try on. After all, better an expensive and well fitting t-shirt that is fit for purpose; than one which will languish at the back of the wardrobe for the next year. 

It's also very pretty and something I would happily wear with jeans or a skirt for a relatively relaxed look. 




Black tights are my winter staple with and dress and I think I'll be repurposing the 80 denier black tights from Heist Studios from my work wardrobe (if they are as good as they claim!). 


Boots. 

I already own a pair of black suede ankle boots from Jones the Bootmakers. They are fab, and are fur lined, so they are lovely and cosy. 

However, being out and about with kids usually means grass; and grass and mud and suede isn't really a great combo. 

I really struggle with knee boots because I have wide calves, and regular knee boots just do not fit (and wellies, but that's a whole other post!). 

So I'm undecided between these black Reflection knee boots from Duo Boots:


Or these Heavenly Soles knee high black boots from Simply Be:


  
Both companies allow you to measure your calves and select the appropriate width fitting; the main difference here is the price. I'm torn between choosing for these boots to be an investment piece, or whether to try to be sensible and just buy the Simply Be boots for the moment, as I have quite a bit of finishing up of my wardrobe to do. 

The heels on both of those pairs of boots are low enough for me to handle three children and a pram, but big enough for me to feel a bit more put together. 

I'm also seriously coveting several pairs of Duo Boots in tan leather, but I think I'll get more wear out of the black ones, so I'm shoving the tan ones to the back of my mind for now! 


Next up, the leather jacket. I am in serious need of a leather jacket. I wore my old one literally until it fell apart. Then we moved to the Middle East and the need for a leather jacket vanished into thin air. 

Again, there is a whole range of leather jackets out there and it's so easy to spend a LOT of money on one. The reality for me is that I need a leather jacket now, and I just cannot justify sinking hundreds upon hundreds of pounds into one at this moment in time. 

So I think I'm going for this Bella Leather Biker Jacket from Superdry: 



Over the summer, I've been wearing these dresses with my pale blue Converse trainers. I can't find the exact pair, which have pink piping, but they are similar to these:




As we may still get some sunny days, even as we head into autumn, I've added this denim jacket from Gap to my shopping list. I think it will be great for slightly warmer days, when you don't need the additional warmth of the leather jacket. 





Outfit 5:

I now own several pairs of these Gap Boot-Cut jeans. Unfortunately I promptly dropped 3kgs in weight a few weeks after buying them (which I had been trying to do unsuccessfully for some time!). 

Luckily I bought them in the sale for £15 each, so I don't feel as bad as I would have done if I had bought them at full price. I'm hoping they drop the price again in the next sale so I can downsize. 

They are really comfortable and don't stretch that much, so they hold their shape really well. 

I'm definitely a boot-cut girl, I've been embracing the skinny jean phase, but I really just don't think it suits me. The boot-cut definitely balances out my curvy hips! 



I've picked up two t-shirts from Joules, which I really like, but I'm not convinced they like me. 

I really struggle with Joules, I love their clothes on other people but I don't feel like the cut of their clothes really suit me. 

So while I'm continuing to keep and wear them for now, I'm on the look out for something to replace them, or to relegate them to the casual look!



I'm completely in love with this top from Karen Millen! They have it in three colours, but I'm hankering after the blue and the black. 

I think it will be a great pairing with blue jeans for a smart casual look, probably along with the leather jacket and my ankle/knee boots!


Outfit 6:

I also have this gorgeous dress from Oasis. I love love love it but I'm just not sure yet whether this is going to have to be relegated to a summer only dress or whether I can make it wearable throughout the winter months. 

I'm undecided on whether I can pull this off with black tights and a leather jacket; if you have any ideas, please let me know!