When you've just had a baby, leaving the house without milk marks on any part of your clothing is a major achievement. But as you get more of a handle on motherhood, your sights get higher. It's time to focus on looking as good as you can, in order to help you feel the best you can too.
Personal Image Consultant and mother of two Pippa Rees runs Style Company, and is the author of the guide to looking good From Slummy Mummy to Yummy Mummy. Here she talks you through a typical week, and shows you how easy it can be to get in touch with your inner stylista again:
How to be a Yummy Mummy – you're not at work, you're not slobbing around, what do you wear?
I think the best way forward is to have five stylish outfits in your wardrobe that will take you to any occasion that you may suddenly find yourself in, when not at work. You need to do a bit of planning to find out what these outfits will actually be, and to help you on the right road, I've put five different options together. All of these are practical, but stylish and particularly useful for going about your day to day business when you don't actually need to be in a suit.
It's the beginning of the week and a time when you can feel a bit low, as everyone has suddenly gone off to 'do' something and you're left at home with the children, so it's important to make a special effort to set you up for the week.
Wear a dress. They are so easy and versatile these days, from the patterned wrap dress (or even better a pretend wrap dress, so it doesn't gape open when trying to put the supermarket food in the car!), to the knitted, wool variety. Pop on with a toning vest underneath and in the winter, wear with opaque tights and long, flat boots, a gillet or denim jacket and in the summer, team with pretty flip flops.
A smart jeans day. Choose some dark blue, bootcut jeans and wear with ankle boots that have a small heel or wedge sandals in the summer. Choose a jersey long sleeved top and pop on with a classic semi-fitted, single breasted suit type jacket. You can even use a jacket that you will probably have from a work suit, that you've never thought about tearing away from its matching skirt or trousers. Wear a belt and a necklace.
Yummy Mummy day! Wear some ¾ length flared trousers with wedges and team with a sharp fitted shirt and soft V neck cashmere jumper. In the warmer days you can choose a tank top and t-shirt combination and wear with flip flops.
Exercise day! Even if you're not going to the gym, you may have a day when you want to go for a brisk walk, clean the house and feel comfortable when you're doing it. If you put on some training gear, you're even more likely to do it with extra vigour and burn off a few extra calories at the same time.
So get a really nice set of gym kit. Choose some flared, Lycra full length trousers in navy or black and get a co-ordinating t-shirt and fitted track suit top (it looks better if you avoid the obvious 'matching' track suit, as you look as though you've tried too hard!). Invest in a good quality pair of trainers and sports socks – not forgetting a good fitting bra. You can then wear this outfit all day, pick the children up from school and answer the door to unsuspecting visitors without embarrassing yourself or them.
Whatever you do, don't do what an ex neighbour of mine did and walk around in your old grey baggy tracksuit bottoms, that you bought when Fame was cool, then go outside to work in the garden, bend down and show everyone your grey 'granny' knickers through the holes in the bottom!!
Hooray – you've got through the week and it's nearly the weekend. Friday can be a 'cool' jeans day – they could be slightly more scruffy than your Wednesday pair, maybe skinny jeans. Wear with some flat ballet pumps or fashion trainers, add a belt and simple white t-shirt. If you need an extra layer of warmth, put a long sleeved t-shirt underneath your short sleeved one and slip on a casual leather jacket.
I hope this helps – and with this in mind, why don't you write down now, which five outfits you have in your wardrobe that you could start to wear. Maybe it will be the start of a shopping list - we all need some retail therapy every now and then.