A sense of style

I had the most amazing morning last weekend: I went clothes shopping. For myself! This might not sound like that much of a treat but I’m not exaggerating when I say I haven’t bought myself new clothes in over a year and a half. I was planning on getting pregnant, so there was no point. And then I was pregnant, so there was no point. And then I was overweight, so there was no points. And then breastfeeding. But now, although I am still not quite back to normal and although I am still breastfeeding, I am sick to death of looking frumpy. So I went on a shopping spree!

It was so. much. fun. For 3 hours I didn’t think of kids or meals or work or anybody else but myself. And what was so wonderful (and somewhat surprising) is that I actually still have a sense of style, hidden underneath the practical mom clothes.

When I was in my twenties I was all about clothes. I would happily scour second-hand shops for one-of-a-kind items, and if I was forced to buy something new and ‘generic’ I would personalise it with something – buttons, stitching, a lace glove (true fact). The effect was often zany, in retrospect, especially when combined with the extraordinary number of accessories I managed to pair with almost any outfit, but oh my goodness it was fun. In college I went through a phase of predominantly wearing prom dresses. I wrote a journal called “Everything is more fun in a prom dress”. Another true fact.

But then, you know. Motherhood. Spit-up, snotty noses, nappies, sticky hands. Exhaustion and sleep deprivation making me want to wear pyjamas all day. All of five minutes to get dressed, often no time to look in the mirror. I somewhat gained back a sense of style after Arthur was born, but Ella is now 7.5 months old – there’s really no excuse.

So I went shopping. And because I try to be a minimalist, it was really really easy. I didn’t buy anything I didn’t absolutely love (like 9/10 love) and I didn’t buy anything I didn’t need. I love giving away clothes that aren’t flattering or that I don’t wear enough, so I’d systematically cleared my wardrobe 3 or 4 times over the last year without replenishing it. I have now filled all those gaps – with winterwear at least. Summer may necessitate another shopping spree!

What was so great about the gift of a morning to myself was not just the actual morning, which was wonderful, but putting myself first: it’s something I have always been very good at doing, but being a mom of two has squelched it out of me by sheer force. I have now remembered how lovely it feels to look nice – how good it is for my sense of self throughout the day. So even on days when I’m working from home and unlikely to see too many people, I’m still making an effort.

And who knows? Once Ella is past the grab-everything-and-yank-it stage, I may even haul out the zany accessories again! (Don’t tell my husband.)

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