A friend of mine has recently become a mum, and this reminded me of that challenging time when your body has changed, few of your pre-baby clothes fit, but you don’t want to spend a fortune on a new wardrobe, because you are determined to get back to your old size as quickly as possible. The reality is that sleepless nights and the never-ending needs of your little one leaves you with little time or motivation to plan a strict diet or to make those trips to the gym. A glass of wine on the sofa or eating a packet of biscuits to fuel your sleep-deprived brain is a more realistic outcome after a day of crying, screaming, cleaning up after little people and stepping on ill-placed sharp toys. Everyone needs a reward, right? Why punish yourself more?
With little time for yourself to think about shopping or clothes, do you throw on the same things day after day, hardly glancing at the mirror as you wrestle the little people into their clothes and fight your way through a messy day?
This week I have concentrated on putting together a capsule Spring wardrobe for SAHMs, new mum’s, part-time working mums, school run mums and if you need a bit of a Spring wardrobe refresh, whilst working with a limited budget.
The White Shirt
A classic white shirt is probably the most versatile item you can keep in your wardrobe and you’ll be able to create many different looks with the same shirt and it won’t date or go out of fashion. This New Look white shirt costs £17.99.
Comfortable flattering jeans
Everyone is shaped differently and know where they can get jeans to fit them. I would suggest a pair of mid blue jeans which suit your comfort zone the best, whether it be skinny, relaxed or wide legged. I have always been a fan of Topshop jeans, even alongside my Levis, Diesel and Ted Baker Jeans, so Topshop is my go to place for jeans.
The Topshop Moto Lucas Low Rise Slim Boyfriend is made from a soft denim with a little bit of stretch, and although the description says that they are ultra low rise, I didn’t think that they were particularly low at all. They weren’t quite high waisted, but I didn’t feel like my knickers would be on show each time I’d bend down to pick up a discarded toy or a scrap of unwanted food. The hem is folded twice, but it’s only secured with a little bit of stitching if you don’t like the rolled up look.
The jeans of the moment are known as Ankle Grazers because they are slightly cropped, but not quite as short as 3/4 jeans. If you’d like to invest in the fashion jeans of the moment, then H&M have a pair of straight cropped jeans for £14.99 with darker strips down the side and at the pockets. I found these to be quite comfortable and flattering and a great price for a pair of fashion jeans. They do not appear to have stock available online, but I have seen them in store. Aside from these jeans, H&M have a huge selection of very well priced jeans, it’s best to try as many as possible to find the one that works best for you.
The Long Sleeve Striped T-shirt
If your budget allows, buy at least two or three striped long sleeve t-shirts in a couple of colours. Uniqlo offers a relaxed boat neck stripe t-shirt with a few colour options for £12.90. If you need to stretch your budget a little to buy more items, then you can also look in Primark. Their long sleeve stripe t-shirts are only £4.00, however, their sizes come up quite small so opt for one or two sizes bigger than your usual size to avoid looking like the tightly cling-filmed sandwich you (didn’t) make your husband for lunch.
If you are still nursing, there are a few suitable options at H&M and Asos that won’t break the bank.
The White T-shirtMake sure that you have at least one relaxed, loose-fitting white T-shirt like this one at H&M for £6.99. Again, nursing mums, you can find the nursing versions at H&M too.
The Denim ShirtIf you can buy one item only, make it the denim shirt. You can use it over your summer dresses, layer it over t-shirts, under jackets, it is one of my favourite spring items to throw on over anything. H&M have a few reasonable priced options and you can also find some options at Asos.
The Pleated SkirtThe pleated skirt has been popular for a few seasons and a black pleated skirt is a great option to have in your wardrobe to wear with your t-shirt and trainers on warmer days or to dress up for an evening out. H&M’s pleated black skirt is £24.99 and very flattering, but if you’re still trying to shift some baby weight, then it would be better to look for a version with elastic in the waist, at least at the back to allow for a little bit of flexibility and comfort. Stradivarius has a pleated black skirt in a good heavyweight jersey for £25.99.
These pleated skirts come in various colours, and grey or khaki or blush would all be useful in your wardrobe, however, if you want the versatility of creating a few different looks for evenings out (yes, if those happen) then black is the best option for you. Of course, the blush option is a perfect spring colour and can be used for evenings out too, so opt for a skirt in blush if you have plenty of black in your wardrobe already.
The sweatshirt is an essential layering item while we wait for the weather to warm up. The sweatshirt featured here is from Next for £22, it has a feminine gathering at the cuff. The blush option in keeping with the neutral base of the Mum’s wardrobe staples.
The JacketThe jacket of the moment is undoubtedly the biker jacket and it certainly works well with the spring staples outlined here, particularly with the pleated skirt. My only issue with this is, if I were to wear a black biker jacket, I would prefer it to be a real leather jacket. Mango offers a leather biker for £119 if you can stretch to it, but this is hardly the budget saving wardrobe that we are discussing in this post, so you could look at H&M’s non leather versions if the biker is what you really want.
My personal choice for best buy in jackets is H&M’s Jersey jacket for £24.99 in Grey Marl. It’s machine washable, easy to wear and very inexpensive for a jacket. I have had this jacket in my wardrobe for a few seasons (in 3 colours) and it comes out each year when the weather warms up. Wear it instead of a cardigan, layer it under you trench coat, parka or whatever coat you’ve been wearing through the winter if it’s still cold outside (and you’re sitting on a park bench with your knuckles turning blue whilst the little people burn of excess energy). Just be careful with wearing it with the pleated skirt, you want to wear it with a t-shirt, layered with the denim shirt and team with trainers or ankle boots to avoid it looking a bit officy.
If you have a little bit extra in your budget, then this Mango short cotton trench is very high on my wish list for £79.99. You might be thinking, it’s beige, not good for the grubby paws, but this jacket is machine washable, and this always gets extra points from me.
Paperbag trousers are this season’s popular pick for trousers. They are high waisted trousers which are pleated and belted at the waist, generally with it’s own fabric belt. They are usually very dressy and chic, but the popularity of this trouser trend means that there is a big variety of styles which offer a more relaxed and casual feel, ideal for dressing up or dressing down. These trousers are frequently made in a crepe fabric which drapes beautifully, but they also accentuate your curves. Yes, the ones you might not want to accentuate, unless your cheeks (the bottom ones) are as hard as a pair of hot cross buns left to dry on the windowsill for two weeks. If you find a pair that you love in crepe, like this Mango pair, make sure that it’s a thick crepe and do a little fitting room dance whilst looking at the back to make sure that you are comfortable with the amount of wiggle that people walking behind you will see.
I would suggest that you invest in a pair of khaki trousers for your staple casual wardrobe. I bought a pair of Paperbag style utility trousers in a heavier stretchy fabric from Stradivarius. They are a very good choice for their elastic in the back waist, and the stretchiness of the fabric makes them an excellent pair of trousers for active times with the little ones, whilst remaining effortlessly fashionable.
Alternatives to look at if you cannot find a pair similar to the ones I bought at Stradivarius are Khaki Chinos from H&M for £19.99, Falmer Utility trousers from Matalan for £18 or Paperbag high rise chinos from Gap in Iconic Khaki for £34.99. You need to be pretty quick to grab your pair of khaki trousers, stock and sizes appear to be dwindling everywhere I have looked.
The White Trainers
Wear them anywhere, with anything, except running through muddy fields after escaping toddlers. Trainers are having a super sized moment and you will find plenty of choices in all price range, whether they be plain or adorned with embroideries or stars.
A Pair of classic white Converse Allstars is a good choice if your budget allows, or you might like something a little bit more fun, like these Linzi Harrietta ones, keeping in mind to choose stars or pattern colours than suit your accessories.
The Patterned Scarf
I love a vibrant or flamboyant scarf in spring to throw on in spring with my favourite basics because it’s an easy and inexpensive way to start adding fashion prints and colours to your staple items. It also hides any last minute food stains added by those little hands or milky spit down the front of your jacket. I love the leopard print scarf from Oliver Bonas, which at £26 is perhaps not the most inexpensive scarf you can find, but it incorporates a few key colours and the ever popular leopard print, so this would brighten up the most basic of your outfits.
Yellow is one of the biggest trends for the season, so I found a scarf on Etsy which will brighten up my basics with this popular colour, without investing too much money in an expensive item, The colour is more mustard than yellow, but with mustard looking to be popular for AW18, you will be able to use it to brighten your wardrobe all through the year.
If the Budget allows
A Pretty Blouse
Invest in a pretty top for those rare evenings out, but keep it simple and neutral. If you need to use it for most of your evenings out, you can change it with different accessories and items of clothing and it will be less obvious that it’s the same top if it’s understated. Look for something like the Ruffle sleeved blouse (£29.99) from Mango in off white or blush. The Black Flared Sleeve Blouse from Mango (£29.99), featured below is a great choice. Yes, it’s black, and it’s spring, but you can add colourful accessories to make it look like a different top each time you wear it.
A few good valued extras
I came across the Zara Reversible Tote recently, with much excitement. Reversible, yes! Two bag options for the price of one. At £19.99, what is not to love? It’s a great size to throw in all those extra things you have to carry and a small inner bag to put your purse and phone into, so no frantic rummaging through the rubble when trying to pay for the ice cream melting in your hand. The Reversible Tote in white comes with it’s second colour as gold and the Reversible Tote in yellow comes with silver on the inside. The only thing you will need to do is remove the care label from inner colour option before reversing it. This bag is going everywhere with me all summer.
Cute Flat Shoes
If you want to smarten up your jeans or your skirt with some new shoes, then have a look at these gorgeous flats from Zara for £15.99. They come in black and in nude. I love the nude ones because they can be worn with almost anything and will look gorgeous with any floral items you add to your wardrobe for the summer.
Once you have these basics for spring, then you can start adding a few brighter and more exciting pieces, but this set of staples should enable you to get dressed each morning without needing to give it much thought and still manage to look great even if you’re feeling so harassed that you want to hide under your bed.
Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram if you need inspiration on how to put together different looks with these items.