Style On The School Run

As a busy mum (or grandma!), sometimes just getting everyone up, dressed and breakfasted in time for school can seem like a major achievement.  With virtually no time to spend on ourselves, it’s no wonder we sometimes resort to throwing on the first clothes that come to hand and dashing out the door looking a bit dishevelled.

If you envy other mums who somehow always manage to look stylish on the school run and make you

Young woman
Picture courtesy of Boden

feel a bit inadequate by comparison, you are definitely not alone.  The good news is that looking good is not about how much money you spend, or even how much time you take, it’s about understanding what works for you.

Here are my top tips:

Decide what you’re going to wear the evening before. Despite your best intentions, you’ll be too busy rushing around in the morning to think about it then.

Invest in a great coat – this can be slung on over even the most disreputable clothes and no-one will be any the wiser as to what lies beneath.

For warmer / transitional times of the year – a jacket or blazer instantly smartens up jeans and a tee shirt or sweater. Make sure that the jacket length works for you though. If you tend to carry your weight around your tummy, you will find that a longer length will camouflage it nicely, whereas a shorter jacket will help balance out your proportions if you have short legs.

Buy a couple of pairs of well-cut jeans or trousers – they don’t have to be expensive but they do need to fit. These will be infinitely more stylish (and forgiving!) than leggings which I’d only ever advise wearing  with longer length tops that cover your bottom. The good news is that this season there will be much more choice in terms of style, so if you haven’t been blessed with the sort of  long slim legs that look great in skinnies (I wish!), you can always opt for a straight leg, wide-leg or bootcut. These styles are also particularly good for balancing out wide bottoms and heavy thighs.

Pattern is the busy mum’s/grandma’s friend! A patterned top doesn’t need expert ironing and means the inevitable sticky-finger/vomit/snot or toothpaste stains that seem to accompany motherhood are less visible. It’s also great for disguising lumps and bumps.

A scarf adds a stylish touch to most outfits.  Wear a plain one in a flattering colour with your patterned tops or throw on a patterned scarf and pick out one or two of the colours for other items of clothing. In this way, you will instantly look “pulled together”, without looking like you’ve tried too hard.

Carry a statement bag. It doesn’t have to be designer, there are loads of inexpensive ones around. A neutral colour such as black, navy or tan will go with everything but if you can afford a second bag, choose a bolder colour to add impact to your more neutral outfits. Use a bag liner so that you can quickly transfer everything from one bag to the other.

You’ll probably want to go for comfort if you’re walking the children to and from school and, so long as your shoes are well maintained, there’s no reason and flats can’t look stylish. Fortunately these  days white and metallic trainers are also very on trend as well as being practical.

Subtle make-up makes almost any woman look more attractive so, unless you’re a stunning natural beauty, taking a couple of minutes to apply blusher, mascara and a slick of lip gloss is time well spent.

And finally, take heart, most of the women you see on the school run feel just the same as you!