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Your Back To School Wardrobe

dress yourself well

If you’re reading this between emptying the paddling pool, shaking sand out your smalls and silently rejoicing the end of an (albeit wonderful) exhausting summer, the chances are you’re also thinking about yourself for the first time in nearly two months, probably longer. That’s right, it’s Back To School (BTS) season and now that you’ve got the kids kitted out, it’s time to turn some well-deserved attention to your own wardrobe.

Hands up if you’ve been living in Mr Whippy splattered jeggings for the past Lord knows how long? Is your summer mumiform looking a bit sad/stretched/stained? As a mum, I know only too well how easy it is to get in a style rut when you’re schlepping about in the first comfortable thing you can find. But now that we’ve got our BTS head in gear, it’s time to up our game and think about creating a work/life wardrobe that’s not only clean and practical but stylish and coordinated. I cannot stress the importance of spending that little bit of me-time making an effort to look and feel your best, for you and you alone. It’ll translate at home and in the office and give you a rather lovely confidence boost.

The goal here is to build your very own Capsule Wardrobe, namely a streamlined range of items that all work together and can be augmented with seasonal pieces. For those of you who love a bit of order, find choosing an outfit stressful and are extremely time-poor, this is your dream wardrobe scenario. Start by weeding out any of the aforementioned mumiform misdemeanours and anything else you simply do not wear, doesn’t fit properly or makes you feel like crap when you put it on. Most of my clients start this process with a wardrobe rammed full of clothes and absolutely nothing to wear. Be gone holey Uggs and pleather culottes that are two sizes too small. This is one heck of a liberating process and an essential step in exorcising your post-summer style lethargy.

A solid capsule wardrobe should include good jeans, a couple pairs of trousers, skirts/shorts, matching tops, shirts and knitwear, a selection of dresses, blazers, a casual coat, a trench/lightweight jacket and a winter coat. With the right jewellery, accessories, shoes and makeup your key pieces can be dressed up and down for your work/play/mum life, depending on how jazzy you want to look.  Choose items that work for your body shape, forget about anything you’re saving for a diet day and focus on reigniting your style esteem in the most delightfully manageable way.

If you’re guffawing at the improbability of it all, let me assure you that as a long-term plan with your wardrobe it is more than achievable. You don’t have to limit the number of quirkily patterned dresses you buy; they can still be stand-alone style statements. It’s more about having an orderly system for your staples to up your general style game, purchasing strategic pieces rather than lots of anything. The amount of times I’ve gone through clients’ drawers and found ten of the same neglected t-shirt and no bottoms to team with beloved cardies. Be as organised with yourself as you are with your kids BTS gear and before you know it your wardrobe will dazzle and deliver with every opening.


Anna Shaw, personal stylist and colour analyst


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