ASK MOTHER

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THE MOTHERSHOP SPEAKS TO ALEX JONES

This week, THE MOTHERSHOP caught up with top TV presenter, Mum-to-be and very lovely Alex Jones.  Alex and her partner are expecting a baby in the New Year. So at just over half way through her pregnancy, we thought we’d have a quick chat to see how she was finding dressing her bump so far….

THE MOTHERSHOP: Hi Alex! How are you going about choosing what to wear during your pregnancy? 

Alex: I haven’t at any point worn anything that is maternity wear so far! Apart from my jeans. I’ve just been going to my usual high street shops like Zara, & Other Stories and H&M and then I will adapt the styles I would usually choose to suit the bump.

THE MOTHERSHOP: Have you come across any difficulties in retaining your original style? 

Alex: I haven’t found any problems with retaining my usual style so far. Of course, it’s more tricky the further on in your pregnancy you go but I think with some clever use of shapes and colours you can stick to what you like whilst embracing your growing bump.

Somerset by Alice Temperley Bow Blouse

Alex’s Blouse is Somerset by Alice Temperley from John Lewis. The cream style is now sold out but this newer blush version (which Alex also has) is available here See Alex wearing hers here

THE MOTHERSHOP: How do you find the choice of what’s available for maternity wear?

Alex: There is no choice at all! I think Topshop have some nice bits and H&M jeans work well once you’re past about 22 weeks, I found them to be too low before then. But otherwise, it seems to be that all maternity wear is based on everyone being the same size where the reality is, is that you’re a different size every week. It’s tricky as no one wants to spend a fortune on clothes that are essentially only useful for 5 months but there is a gap in the market for different styles for different stages. I also found most maternity wear to be extremely mumsy.

THE MOTHERSHOP: Do you have any style tips/advice for people at the beginning of their pregnancy?

Alex: Try and stick with your own clothes for as long a time as possible. If you have slim arms, make sure you try to show them off. Oversized styles and tent like dresses or tops really don’t do anybody any favours!

H! by Henry Holland at Debenhams
[Alex wearing H! by Henry Holland for Debenhams. You can buy this shirt here]

THE MOTHERSHOP: What items of your maternity wardrobe have you found invaluable?

Alex: Only my H&M jeans so far!

H&M
[Image via hm.com]

Here are a few more examples of non-maternity styles Alex has recently worn during her pregnancy…

Warehouse
Dress £49 Warehouse [image via Warehouse.co.uk]

See Alex wearing hers last week here

Topshop
Dress £75 Topshop
White embellished shirt, River Island
Shirt £38 River Island [image via Riverisland.com]
[Main Picture Credits: Instagram]
WE SPEAK TO LOUISE BOYCE OF MAMA STILL GOT IT!

Hi Louise! Thanks for talking to THE MOTHERSHOP!

Q: Many women find the first stage of pregnancy difficult to dress, where they don’t look ‘pregnant’ but have a bigger tummy, do you have any tips for styling out this tricky trimester?

“Spanx! In the early weeks of pregnancy where you look bloated, it’s perfectly ok to wear Spanx – it does not effect the baby and can boost confidence as well as keeping sidewards stares at bay from your work colleagues or family members who may have an inkling you’re pregnant.   If you’re not comfortable wearing hold in lingerie, undo the top button of your jeans and loop a hairband through the button hole and attach together with a loose fitting top or jumper to hide it.  I was in my first trimester during December so it was easy to hide – until I flew to Cape Town to shoot a TV commercial at 11 weeks.  I wore spanx under my clothes and having seen the commercial, it did the trick!”

Q: “What have your learnt from your two previous times of maternity dressing? Anything you’d do differently this time?”

Comfort comes first especially towards the end of your pregnancy.  I had a really great pair of maternity jeans with my other two pregnancies that looked great but they were really uncomfortable when I sat down.  I wanted to look good but I felt like crap.  This time around, I have decided to wear more dresses, skirt and maternity tights as these don’t pinch as much as some jeans and I think can look more flattering on a curvy pregnant body.  Dungarees are also a new fave of mine – they’re cute, comfy and cool.  I am also wearing more non maternity clothes and working in the bump – for example tops and dresses with an empire waist line work really well.  

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Q: Have you found your style changed at all when you were pregnant, or since becoming a Mum?

“I actually feel like my style has got better since becoming a mum.  I look back of photos of me in my twenties on my Facebook page and I’m always wearing the same formula of clothing – jeans, tops, hair up.  I didn’t explore much, but I think that’s because in my job I was always putting on clothes and dressing up and when I wasn’t working I just wanted to be comfortable.  Since becoming a mum I didn’t want to fall into the trap of literally ‘dressing like a mum’.  When we’re up to our eyeballs in motherhood, we still want to feel fabulous and I have learnt that when I dress well my whole day goes better.  It’s nice to hear people say ‘I love your outfit’ and now that I have a Instagram page and post fashion on it from time to time, it’s great to know that I also inspire other women with what to wear.  Hence the name Mama Still Got It!”

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Q:How easy did you find following trends when it came to maternity wear?

“To be honest I find a lot of maternity clothes a little dull.  Sorry! Sometimes it feels like your fashion style has to disappear as your placenta grows.  I’ve really like the last two season’s of Marks and Spencer’s dresses but unfortunately they only have 1 maternity dress online – so I bought it, love it and live in it, but wish there was more of a collection.  As mentioned earlier, I have tried to stay on trend with working non maternity tops with maternity jeans.  The other day I bought a lovely top from Mango that was new in and I loved it.  I matched it with jeans and a white maternity vest underneath and it did the trick.  I don’t want my fashion sense to have to change because I have a bump.”


Q: Do you have any tips for getting ready in a rush?

“Firstly, I always mentally plan what I want to wear the night before I get into bed so I have an idea.  But if it’s a huge rush, I will always go back to  jeans and top with trainers and a leather jacket (my usual dress code for the school run) and then if I have an event or meeting to go to later that I day I will go home and plan my outfit properly.”

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Louise in her non-maternity Mango top


Q: Which Mum’s do you look to for style inspiration?

“Laura from @thefashionbugblog, Erica from @erica_davies, Emma from @finlay_fox and Meghan Markle!

For more great tips from Louise on maternity and motherhood head over to mamastillgotit.com

THE MOTHERSHOP SPEAKS TO JEM + BEA

This ASK MOTHER post should in fact be titled ‘ASK MOTHERS’ as I was lucky enough to pin down the super duo behind hit changing bags JEM + BEA. Friends Dominique and Rebecca both found themselves plunged into motherhood at the same time, where they soon realised the limited market of changing bags which were both functional and had a designer feel to them. With Rebecca’s previous career designing handbags for Mulberry, Anya Hindmarch and Burberry combined with Dominique’s background in law, the girls had the perfect weaponry to found JEM + BEA. And if you’re wondering about the name? It came from an abbreviation of their two children’s names, Jemima and Beatrice.

THE MOTHERSHOP: Hi Dominique and Rebecca! Tell us a little bit about yourselves and why you started your business?

JEM + BEA: We’re old school friends who found ourselves starting our families around the same time. After spending our 20s in London, we ended up living back in Tunbridge Wells. We chatted about our dream of having our own business centred around our babies and our love of bags. We knew there was a huge gap in the market for a changing bag with the same designer look and quality materials as a luxury handbag, but with all the practical bits and bobs you need in a changing bag, so Jem + Bea was born. The bags are centred around simple, modern shapes with a luxury edge and made from handpicked leathers and materials.

THE MOTHERSHOP: What advice would you give to working Mum’s?

JEM + BEA: Don’t try to do everything because it is impossible. Always take the help that is offered. Don’t feel guilty for delegating to husbands / cleaners / child minders to get things done.

THE MOTHERSHOP: How would you describe your clothing style and has it changed since having children? 

JEM + BEA: We still want to keep our style identity as well as being parents but obviously you need to be able to get ready in 5 minutes. We tend to invest more in key pieces such as jeans, a nice coat and footwear and then add trends from the high street. Working from home means we only need a casual wardrobe most of the time.

THE MOTHERSHOP: Which brands do you love – maternity or otherwise? 

JEM + BEA: We love COS and Zara for basics, Self Portrait for nights out (though these are not so frequent!), The Outnet is great for designer bargains, Isabel Marant Étoile, Tibi and Acne. For maternity-wear we go to Just Polly, Nine in The Mirror and Topshop.

THE MOTHERSHOP: Which Mums have a great sense of style in your opinion?

JEM + BEA: We love how Miroslava Duma dresses. We follow her avidly on Instagram and love her style.

Apphia Michael, who shot our AW16 lookbook totally nails maternity chic…

and Laura Wills of the Fashion Bug Blog mixes high end and high street effortlessly.

THE MOTHERSHOP: What’s your go-to item? 

REBECCA: I’m dressing a bump at the moment, so I’m wearing Current/Elliott X Hatch maternity jeans, which I live in with a Topshop Breton top and my Stan Smiths.

DOMINIQUE: I’m always in jeans too. I love Frame at the moment. I like to layer so I usually have an American Vintage tee under a jumper or leather jacket with my Isabel Marant wedge trainers. Neither of us leave the house without our sunglasses to hide the mum bags!

Thanks girls! Check out JEM + BEA’s fab collection of arm candy here

[Pic credits: Instagram, JEM + BEA]

For this week’s ASK MOTHER section, I had a chin wag with TV presenter, Heart Radio DJ and super stylish Mum-to-Be Zoe Hardman.
With her keen interest in fashion, I wanted to know how she’d found dressing during pregnancy and also to get some insider tips for the tricky path of maternity dressing. I caught up with the lovely Zoe just a week before her due date, where she offered some great advice…
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THE MOTHERSHOP: Hi Zoe! What have you found challenging about dressing during pregnancy and what have you most enjoyed?
ZOE: “The challenge for me was, I was a high-waisted type of girl and I would always wear something that was tucked in to make my legs look longer! But because I had this growing waistline, suddenly everything had to go over the bump and down.  I had this initial ‘Oh my god I don’t know how to dress!’ as I’d dressed this certain way for such a long time. I found I started wearing longer length tops instead which would cover the bump but also much tighter styles than I was used to. Then sometimes I’d try putting a belt with them or tying a bigger shirt underneath the bump to try and keep some sort of a fashion edge to it. Another thing I felt I was struggling with was what the high street was offering me; I wanted to retain the fashion edge that I really love but at the same time keep my look different and quirky and I didn’t feel like that was offered to me”.
THE MOTHERSHOP: Did how you feel affect the way you dressed when you were pregnant?
ZOE: “Yes. Because I felt so horrible for the first 10 weeks, when I did go out I made more of an effort to look good because I wasn’t feeling good in myself. It’s only actually in my final trimester, when I’ve felt really big for me, that I’ve dressed a little bit differently. I’m dressing more for comfort now as everything is really tight. The clothes that I bought at the beginning of my pregnancy, like my maternity jeans for example, don’t fit me now which is upsetting! But they are a size 6 so what do you expect!! I’ve also been wearing long sleeve dresses that are tight, but still really comfortable. I actually have a really nice mid-calf one from Isabella Oliver that I really like”.
THE MOTHERSHOP: One thing that’s really tricky when you’re pregnant is dressing for special occasions, do you have any tips for dressing for outings like weddings or Black tie events?
ZOE: “Well, this is my first pregnancy and I’ve had 7 weddings to dress for! I’ve found Asos quite good. I have this really cool Grecian off the shoulder dress which was really lovely. It went over the bump but still showed a bit of leg which I liked [click here to buy]. And then for other occasions what I did was buy a few sizes up. If you can’t find a maternity dress you like then my tip for occasions is just buy bigger, I went to a wedding in Ibiza and I bought this really nice Self Portrait dress in a size 12 which worked really well for that time of my pregnancy. Self Portrait
Another great tip, if you are buying for a special occasion go to the website Nine In The Mirror, it’s all Designer clothes that give you the option to wear during the different stages of pregnancy. I really liked the website for helpful tips and hints”.
THE MOTHERSHOP: Do you have any favourite items of your maternity wardrobe which you couldn’t live without?
ZOE: “There’s a brand called Envie de Fraise and they have some really nice tight tops which I’ve worn loads. Weirdly, when I wasn’t pregnant you wouldn’t catch me in anything bodycon, I was into wearing A-line, looser styles but since pregnancy I’ve found I wanted to show off my bump and Envie de Fraise do some really great cuts in their tops. My maternity jeans are from Seraphine and also some really nice ones from Topshop both of which I’ve been living in. I’ve always worn a really pair of skinnies and then a really nice top which I always feel good in and felt good in before I was pregnant. When it’s been really hot, I’ve been wearing dresses and belting them, just to emphasis a bit higher in the waist and then show off the bump slightly. Topshop maternity dresses have been great for that”. [See below]THE MOTHERSHOP: Are there any maternity items you think are worth spending a bit more money, things you may wear post pregnancy perhaps?
ZOE: “I’d say invest in a really good pair of jeans as you will end up living in them. You can always dress them up with a great top and pair of heels which I’ve been doing lots.
My feet have only just swollen up in the last couple of weeks so I’m in gladiator sandals and open-toe sandals and none of my boots fit me! I recently wore some boots to a restaurant and I was immediately sweating! It was probably one of my lowest points during pregnancy, I had to get one of my friends to yank my boots off under the table! So if you’re pregnant in the summer invest in a really nice pair of open toe sandals!!”
“One thing I would say is yes, you can pack away your six inch stilettos for a while but you don’t have to stop feeling glamorous. I think that’s something pregnant women maybe sometimes forget, mainly because they feeling like their bodies are being completely hijacked, but make a point of spending a bit of money getting your nails and your hair done to make yourself feel nice. And do invest in your maternity wardrobe because you will want to throw on nice clothes right up to the end!”

 


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THE MOTHERSHOP SPEAKS TO A MOTHERS EDIT – ASHLEY WILSON

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Hi Ashley! Thanks for talking to THE MOTHERSHOP! Let’s go…
 
What essentials would you recommend buying for the perfect maternity wardrobe?
Definitely a longline vest. I bought a few from H&M and wore them my entire pregnancy and then under tees and jumpers when I was breastfeeding. Some comfortable maternity jeans, nice underwear, and a cool pair of trainers as my feet definitely swelled up towards the end and shoes were so tight.
 
Which maternity and non-maternity brands did you wear when you were expecting?
The only real maternity pieces I invested in were jeans. With my first I bought some J Brand skinny jeans but with my second i stuck to the high street and found the H&M jeans were fantastic. Other than that I tended to just size up on clothes so a lot of them I still wear now just as more of an oversized look. 
 
 
Where or who did you get your maternity style inspiration from?
I always look to Pinterest when I get stuck for style inspiration. But mostly I wore the same things. I really missed not being able to tuck tees into my jeans though.
 
 
What did you learn from your first time dressing a bump to help second time round?
Comfort is key – that heartburn is a killer and you do not want to add tight clothes into the mix!
 
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Is there anything more you think maternity brands could offer that they’re not doing right at the moment?
I think there’s so much more now even compared to when I was pregnant with Vivienne seven years ago. Even Zara has a maternity offering with a selection of styles that work with bumps.
 
 
THE MOTHERSHOP TALKS TO MOTHER OF DAUGHTERS

This week we caught up with Author, Midwife, Mother to 4 girls and professional Superwoman Clemmie Hooper. In between delivering babies, doing the school run, chasing after twin toddlers, knocking out the odd book and providing support for women everywhere with her blog, Clemmie was kind enough to give us her words of wisdom on maternity dressing. With 27 months of maternity dressing under her belt, THE MOTHERSHOP had to get her insight.

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TM: Many women find the first stage of pregnancy difficult to dress, where they don’t look ‘pregnant’ but have a bigger tummy, do you have any tips for styling out this tricky trimester?

CH: My boobs were the first thing that got bigger so I wore looser tops and nothing too restricting around my stomach, especially when I was feeling so sick. But don’t go too ‘tent look’ if you suddenly start dressing is really over sized clothes people will start getting suspicious

annaelizabethevents.com via Pinterest\

TM: Are there any items you’d recommend investing in for maternity wear that could also be worn post birth?

CH: I wore my usual jackets in pregnancy, (I don’t believe in maternity coats, what’s the point?) a really lovely soft scarf which will be perfect for breastfeeding and I treated myself to some cool trainers, you do a lot of walking with a new baby so comfy but stylish trainers are a great investment. Oh and never underestimate the importance of a good maternity bra, I bought a few which I wore all pregnancy and then breastfed in
 
 
 

TM: Did you find your style changed at all when you were pregnant, or since becoming a Mum?

CH: I tried to keep to my style and shopped in places like Cos which do great oversized tailoring perfect for pregnancy and then wore those post baby. I’m more confident now, I wear bright lipsticks, mix prints and colour. I guess when you become a mother it’s easy to let those things go as you have less time but looking nice on the outside makes me feel good on the inside too. Also, be brave!

TM: How easy did you find following trends when it came to maternity wear?

CH: Each pregnancy the style/trends were different but with my last pregnancy I felt the most confident that knowing what you really need to buy vs what you think you’ll wear. I spent every evening in the comfiest tracksuit bottoms and cotton tops, comfort is key. The high st now is so much better than it was 10 years ago when I had my first daughter, shops like Gap, M&S and H&M have a great selection of key pieces, I was lent a few items from friends which is ideal when you’re on a budget

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TM: As a Mum of four, how do you find the time to think about your outfits and what to wear?

CH: I have very little time in the morning but I really try to have a small but better quality wardrobe these days. I add colour with jewellery and lipsticks. Depending on my mood I’ll mix it up, keep my outfit simple but go all out on my shoes.

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TM: Are there any Mum’s you look to for style inspiration?

CH: So many mums inspire me, especially on Instagram. Zoe (@dresslikeamum) has such a great attitude to clothes – basically wear what makes you feel happy, Erica Davies (@erica_davies) for all the colour and prints also Nat (@stylemesunday) has a great style too!

For more pearls of wisdom from Clemmie check out her book ‘How to Grow a Baby And Push It Out’ available here