Or rather, the style of motherhood
My personal style has evolved significantly and for me there hasn’t been an event more influential than motherhood to really help me hone my style. Which over the years has moved from a ladylike to look more causal and gamine. An outcome that has taken me by surprise considering that our personalities are often quite closely linked to our clothing choices and I wouldn’t consider my personality gamine, though perhaps my current hairstyle is.
Having a child, travelling for most of the year, and a calendar filled with events from weddings, play dates, creative meetings and formal meetings has brought a few key insights to the fore. Here are a few that I feel I can articulate somewhat intelligibly.
Attention to texture. While I love the idea of a crisp white shirt appeals to me greatly, it simply doesn’t work for me. I now only purchase items that are soft and natural. Linen is a two edged sword for me. I adore the feel and look of it, but ironing is something I don’t do and an un-ironed linen isn’t something that I’m entirety comfortable with, yet. Texture also proved vital as I’m still breastfeeding, soft and snuggly tops allow Rafa and I both to be comfortable.
A regard for fabric. I haven’t paid attention to fabric as much until I had Rafa. His constant touching and pulling has lead to many damaged knits (which while soft and natural, are not entirely practical). I tried on a pair of wool pants recently that fit like a glove, and were oh so warm, but the thought of Rafa’s grubby hands all over them had me out of them quick smart.
A changing silhouette. In the past I was all about fitted silhouettes, particularly fitted leather pants. Playground adventures, tumbling at the gym and constant movement that would rival a triathlon has had me swap the skinny for the pegged and the fussy for the unfussy (on most occasions). These days looser, yet flattering bottoms are my go-to.
A colour palette. I have a very limited wardrobe and having a neutral colour palette has allowed me to not only make the most of the pieces I own but to also not come across (I hope) like I’m always wearing the same thing (which, really I am). No one is really going to pick out the same black pants you wore three times in a row, but you might not be so lucky with a pair of pink ones. My colour palette is black, white, grey and stripes. I am thinking a few subtle accents here and there might be on the horizon.
A sense of what doesn’t work. This has been immensely useful. I might not be able to instantly explain what defines my style but I can clearly articulate what doesn’t. For instance, I don’t wear skirts (I don’t even own any, anymore) and I don’t wear prints (other than stripes, but that hardly counts). So already I know these two things are out, even if I am tempted by the latest trends, I know they don’t work for me. I reluctantly wear dresses. Essentially I can narrow down what I do wear and what will work for my personal style by understanding what doesn’t work.
Carefully paying attention to my days, the activities we have, what I reach for from my closet and how I feel in them has made getting ready in the morning a breeze but has also meant that my clothes don’t get in the way of my mothering. That muddy hand prints on my black pants become marker of a precious moment rather than a monumental disaster. I know the fabric will launder easily, at its worst it would be a mild inconvenience. Motherhood has affected my style, it has forced me to become honest about what I enjoy wearing. It has allowed me to assemble a few pieces of clothing that make me feel good and work for the many roles I play throughout the day effortlessly.
Though, in all honesty not even the practicalities of motherhood will deter me from wearing entirely white outfits. Instances where the white pants and tops come out, it simply is a game that Rafa and I play – where mumma constantly runs away from the bubba with outstretched grubby hands. And that’s okay too.
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