Editor’s note: This is series in which we help Styling You readers solve a particular wardrobe or clothing crisis with a little advice and some shopping suggestions. If you think you’d like to be featured as part of a Wardrobe Boot Camp post, then please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a couple of photos and a brief run down of what specific help you would like.
Di is a 35-year-old mum of two kids aged seven and six. She works full-time and wears a uniform while at work. She’s a size 12-14 and looking for guidance as to what to wear on the weekend.
“I think, to be honest, I’ve never had a style. Pre-baby, I was skinny without significant curves. I went from a B Cup to a G Cup when I had my babies. I suddenly had curves with no idea of how to dress them or what on earth to do with such a massive bosom. I have lived in post-baby body limbo ever since,” she said.
I need some help discovering my style.
I wear pants and t-shirts but want to wear dresses and skirts. Or at least something other than daggy singlet tops. I feel like a 35 year-old trapped in a 20-year-old daggy style space and that’s just not cool.
I need something functional but fashionable on the weekends, after work drinks and going out. I am not bothered with daggy during the week (it’s good to just blend in on the way to work!).
So, on the weekend, inspired, I decided to at least fix my bras. Since I haven’t been “fitted” for a bra in four years, I thought I should get that checked. The conversation at a well-known department store went thus:
“Can I get some help with a fitting?”
“Um … ok … for a maternity bra?”
Oh god. Kill me now. I stopped feeding my kids 5 years ago.
I went through the process, brought three bras with my new “size” but no-one checked me after I selected the bras. So, a few hundred dollars later and with brand new bras that now hurt, I am feeling less than excited, even less inspired (and a little sad that someone thought I was pregnant/breastfeeding).
1. Kudos to Diana … she’s worked her way through my Unlock Your Style holiday camp. She cleaned out her wardrobe and spent quality time browsing Polyvore and Pinterest but she didn’t stumble across anything that screamed, “that’s you, baby!” It takes time and is always a work in progress. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
2. Wearing a uniform all week is a good thing because it takes the guess work out of what to wear for the majority of the week but a bit like being out of practice with something, it is difficult on those “off” days to know what to wear. A key thing to remember is that it doesn’t have to be a daunting task.
3. Try to move away from the thought that you’re “not bothered with daggy during the week”. The more you play and build on your casual wardrobe, the more easily putting an outfit together will become.
4. It’s crucial to nail those basics (I know, I’m always banging on about that) because if you have pants or shorts that you’re happy to wear, then adding a top and accessories becomes easy.
5. On the bra front, I am horrified. Horrified that that has been your experience. My tip if you’re ever game enough to do this again is to seek out a smaller, independent retailer, explain what happened last time and don’t let them let you leave the store till you have bras that work for you. It’s not just about the size of your bosies, it’s the shape of them too. I found out this the hard way.
6. When it comes to casual dress shopping, look for knit dresses that can be worn now or in a couple of months’ time with tights and boots.
7. Just because it’s casual, doesn’t mean you can forget to add at least one accessory – a statement necklace or scarf is an easy addition – even to a plain tee or tank.
I’ve put together a capsule weekend wardrobe that includes pants, tops and a dress as well as key accessories. The emphasis is on fun, easy-wear and easy-to-throw-on garments. You are still young, Diana, so embrace that fun side of fashion.
1. Mavi jeans @ Birdsnest $139.95 | 2. Motto scoop jersey cami $60 | 3. Target jacket $31.20 | 4. Esprit dress @ Birdsnest $109 | 5. Red Phoenix Emporium Faux Rocco tassel necklace $149 | 6. Nine West heels $139.95 @ Style Tread | 7. Walnut ballet flats $39.95 @ Style Tread | 8. Seed top $59.95 (on sale) | 9. Sussan scarf $39.95
Do you have your week-day wardrobe sorted but, like Di, struggle at the weekend? Or have you got any tips for Di that she could take on board?
PS. For more autumn-winter casual style inspiration, click on over to my Pinterest board.