I don’t know about you but since becoming a Mum, my ‘Mum style’ generally involves jeans, (with faded crotch) and some sort of Breton striped top, accessorised with a smear of that morning’s Weetabix, baby sick and maybe some toddler snot if I’m lucky.
Imagine then finding yourself on the same school run as former Fashion & Beauty Editor for Hello! Magazine, the super-stylish (and lovely) Sophie Jones-Cooper. Aka My Stylish Friend, Sophie runs a styling business in the Cotswolds, designed to help Mums stay sane AND stylish!
Fellow Cotswold Mum of two, Amelia talks us through her #wardrobeworkout session with Sophie as she prepares to go back to work after maternity leave…
How did you meet Sophie?
Sophie is a local Mum and our children go to school together. But I had no idea she was ‘My Stylish Friend’ until a mutual friend liked something on Facebook and it came up. So I spent a nosy evening on her website!
Tell us about your current wardrobe and style
Old, ill-fitting and covered in food. Most of my pre-children clothes don’t fit, and I had a small selection of maternity jeans and old hoodies that I throw on every day. I do have some things that I love – a leather jacket, some cashmere that the moths haven’t hunted down, and an (embarrassingly large) collection of awesome shoes.
Why did you decide to have a session with Sophie?
I am heading back to work, and so have started to think about me and the next steps for my career. I realised that if I asked myself who I was, I could only come up with ‘Mum’. This is obviously something I am incredibly proud of and wouldn’t change for the world; but I realised I’d lost any sense of who I was independently to my children. And this included any sense of style.
Sophie’s website was inspiring – she focuses on building confidence and knowing your body, especially one that is now different post-carrying, birthing and feeding small people. I was amazed at the cost too – I thought any involvement with a stylist was for the famous and therefore unaffordable for, well, normal people.
Were there any aspects you were apprehensive about?
Of course. Unfortunately I don’t look like Giselle, I only shop online and I don’t own a full-length mirror (kindly Sophie brought one with her for the session!). The thought of having to come to terms with my body shape – that doesn’t match what I remember from before kids – made me pretty nervous.
Talk us through what happened during your session
Sophie and I had a quick consultation first to decide what I was looking for and agreed on a ‘wardrobe workout’: a 3 hour session focussing on defining my style; understanding my body shape and lifestyle and how to dress for that; and, going through my existing wardrobe to identify what worked and where the gaps are. When she arrived we discussed the three words I wanted to use to define my style. We also stood in front of the dreaded mirror and worked out what my body shape actually was, as opposed to what I thought it was. I then tried on most of what I own.
Sophie advised on what suited me and how I might think about styling it differently so I loved it and actually wanted to wear clothes that I’d forgotten I owned. We identified a wish-list of clothes to fill the gaps in my wardrobe and that would pull together my new-found style. Three hours flew by!
Were there any ‘charity shop’ pile clothes you wanted to keep?
No. Sophie was really clear that she wasn’t going to force me to throw out anything I loved. With her guidance though, it was really obvious when I was trying things on what didn’t suit me so it was easy to say goodbye. Some of these were really nice, just not me – I really hope they make someone else feel fab.
Any new wardrobe combos that Sophie put together?
Yes. Sophie made suggestions on how I might wear my existing clothes in a different way to get more wear out of them. At one point I tried on a dress I had bought for a wedding which I was keeping for special occasions.
She suggested I thought about putting it with a chunky jumper or jacket, and trainers, and making it more of an outfit to meet friends in, or a weekend trip to the pub. I would never have considered this, but it makes loads of sense and now I get to wear something I love more than once a year.
What did you take away from the session?
A renewed interest in clothes and style. I found myself (over)excited to show off the shoes that I loved, and Sophie’s obvious passion made me want to feel the same about my clothes. Shopping feels more structured for me because Sophie has helped me find what shapes I need to be looking for.
‘The luxury of focussing on myself … made me think again about me as a person, rather than me solely as a Mum’
Inspiring. The luxury of focussing on myself and my style for three hours made me think again about me as a person, rather than me solely as a Mum. And that’s given me more self-confidence than I’ve had in years, ahead of going back to work.
I’ve read so many times that our Mum bodies are amazing because of what we’ve put them through for our wonderful children. But probably like a lot of women, it’s easy to read but then forget when you can feel your top button digging into your tummy, or your cleavage is now a larger receptacle for baby sick. Most of us probably don’t look like Giselle (she probably doesn’t touch wine though, so who’s really winning?!). But, however clichéd it sounds, I learnt that I want to be kinder to myself, that we need to accept our new shape and dress so we feel as good as we deserve to!
Would you recommend?
100% – I couldn’t recommend Sophie and a wardrobe workout session more highly. She said that we willingly pay for other parts of our life (haircuts, cleaners, waxing, exercise etc.), but that styling was something most people would consider too decadent. She’s right, but aren’t we wrong if we think that? Completely worth it just for the confidence boost – I just hope I can look good too!
Sophie offers some great tips below for spring cleaning your wardrobe and some easy spring style. Read on for more!
Spring Cleaning Your Wardrobe …
- Try on everything in your wardrobe for the season ahead – only keep something if it fits, makes you feel fabulous (or can be altered or repaired) and you have items you can wear with it. You want a wearable, effortless and clutter free wardrobe.
- Do not just throw unwanted clothes away – create piles for selling, donating, swapping, for rags (you can leave these for recycling or donate to some charity shops) or the recycling centre.
- Try and think of new ways to wear and style what you have, before dismissing something.
- I like to make sure my current season wardrobe only contains items for that season. You will have a less cluttered wardrobe and it will be easier to see everything, rather than picking up the same ‘safe’ items over and over.
Sophie’s Easy Spring Style Tips …
- Don’t be afraid to mix prints and patterns. If you have a classic Breton striped top, try wearing with some animal print or polka dots.
- Push yourself to try a new style of jeans. Jeans are comfort clothes, but why not try something different, perhaps a boyfriend style, a mom jean or a cropped wide legged style.
- Invest in a midi length dress, (practical and comfortable) a blazer, (ring your style and length) and some fun trainers or ankle boots. This is the recipe for effortless, ‘no thinking required’ spring style.
For more great style tips, be sure to follow Sophie over on Instagram, @mystylishfriend or head to her website, mystylishfriend.
The lovely Sophie has offered our fabulous followers a 10% discount off her styling services, with a wardrobe workout starting at £195. She also offers video and e-mail consultations so don’t let distance be a barrier! Simply quote ‘STYLISH10’ at the time of booking, offer valid until the end of February.