I’ve been embracing mum-style for the last few years, obviously since becoming a mum – flats over heels, jeans over trousers, dresses that skim rather than hug the body. That said, I’m pretty sure I’d be making these same choices at this time in my life regardless of my family situation, so I don’t think ‘mum-style’ is exclusive to being a mum. The relaxed but I-made-an-effort style appeals to women much more generally, possibly to women who reach an age at which they want to focus their energy somewhere other than wearing five-inch stilettos for morning coffee.
Most women in their thirties, forties and fifties are juggling many responsibilities such as careers, friendships, home life, relationships, families (not necessarily children), fitness, and varying appointments, with a limited amount of free time to address each commitment. So, it makes sense that the days of body-conscious dresses and high heels are gone, or at best, saved for once or twice a week on days that don’t have any errands to run.
How do you know if a) you’re embracing mum-style or b) if mum-style is for you? There are a few basic criteria that are probably being met. Ask yourself the following questions – if you answer yes to three or more, you can most likely count yourself in the club.
Does this item tick more than one box?
If what you’re shopping for doesn’t already fit in with at least two different items in your wardrobe you are quick to put it back on the rail. The only way I buy something that doesn’t really work with my personal style or existing pieces is if I absolutely fall head over heels for it. And even then, sometimes my more practical (read as older, wiser) mind gets the better of me.
Will I still be wearing it in five/ten/fifteen years?
If I don’t see myself wearing it in two years’ time, I won’t buy it. I’m really against buying things that will be given to charity within a year or two. Now, I always ask myself if I’ll wear it in five years, or ten, or even fifteen. If I can answer yes then I allow myself to make the purchase. Similarly, if I haven’t worn something in my wardrobe for two years, I pass it on.
Is it comfy?
Let’s just leave it at that.
Can I avoid ironing this?
Middle aged women have enough sh*t to do without adding to their mountain of ironing. If you can save ironing, it’s a winner. That said, I will not buy polyester or acrylic anymore – I’d rather iron fifty items than wear something entirely synthetic. Is that snobby? I don’t think so, I think it’s more about understanding that there is greater satisfaction in choosing quality over quantity, if you’re in a position to.
Can I wear this all year round?
Yep, I now look at clothes and ask myself if I can wear them throughout the year to get the most use of out each piece and avoid having a wardrobe for everything e.g. work, weekend, summer, winter, holidays, Christmas, etc. There are some items or fabrics that are best for particular seasons, for example, I have a linen jumpsuit that works only in summer, while cashmere jumpers are only for the colder months. But, mostly, I look at dresses or skirts that can be worn both with trainers and a t-shirt in the summer and with a jumper and boots in the winter (this Baukjen skirt is a great example). I buy Zara’s fine knit crew-neck jumpers – they’re great for throwing in your basket on cooler summer days but they’re a staple in my winter wardrobe with jeans and trousers, skirts and over dresses.
Are my hands-free?
Having my hands free is a real bonus, so I usually choose a bag with a shoulder strap now. This Mulberry Lily has been a wise investment, but it’s only good when I’m not buying anything because it only fits the necessary inside (keys, phone, a small notepad or sunglasses, minimal make up). Alternatively, a bag with large enough handles to slip your arm through will work too, and these are usually easier for piling shopping or groceries into as, generally, they run a little bigger in size.
In essence, mum-style is attempting to look and feel good while making sure you can go about your daily business without hindering ability or speed!
Do you feel the same? Are you a fan of this look? Tell me in the comments box, I’d love to know what you think.