I’ve done this parenting gig 3 times over and the one thing that’s been consistent is by the time the baby gets to a year old I want to leave the stretchy waistbands and feeding tops behind and start looking like a regular, semi-fashionable person again. 

Last month my baby turned 1 and this process started to happen…… completely without my realising or preparing for it. I reached into my wardrobe to select the usual Mummy uniform of jeggings, vest top and hoodie only to find myself recoiling in disgust. Nope not today. Not any day for that matter. 

This wouldn’t be a problem if I wasn’t an incredibly lazy shopper when it comes to clothes. Whilst I want to look nice and generally know what suits me (no crew-necks, square necks or frills), I utterly detest clothes shopping. Seriously, ask my partner. Once after traipsing round the shops with him whilst he was looking for ‘the perfect’ run of the mill, long sleeved t-shirt in an exciting shade of black, I lost my shit, turned on my heel and waited for him in a coffee shop while he whiled away the next hour or so comparing the fabrics and prices in the high street stores. 

And so I learned the hard way that if I ever want to buy new clothes I need the magic formula: 

  1. Do not go shopping with my partner.
  2. Do it online. 

On top of online shopping if the retail store also has an app where I can login using Face ID, pay via PayPal and search with relatively extensive filters then we’re onto a winner. 

Luckily the technological leaps of the past few years makes all these things possible and all I have to do is look at the clothes, try to imagine what the outfit looks like in real life. By this I mean, not the weird position the model’s in and accessorised with hand prints of smushed up baby food. 

Here’s a tip for new parents – until your child is old enough to not want to touch you every few minutes, prints will be your friend/go-to/lifesaver. Oh and banana turns black on clothing and doesn’t come out. You’re welcome.

Armed with my disgust at my wardrobe, iPhone and PayPal account I set to work. I ordered a dress that looked ok on the model and waited for the postman to deliver. 

So far so good – the dress arrived, my 1 year old immediately accessorised it with the requisite grubby hand prints so it couldn’t be returned even if I decided I didn’t like it, we were good to go. 

What I hadn’t accounted for was fashion moving on between the last time I ordered something which wasn’t modelled by a teenager with a fake baby bump and my needing clothes now. 

So….. the dress arrived, I tried it on and looked like a semi-fashionable 30 something mother. All good. After a couple of minutes modelling my new dress for my partner he pointed out something I hadn’t noticed…. what the hell has happened to sleeves in the past 18 months? As a  life-long fan of tight, push-uppable, 3/4 length sleeves what on earth are these long, billowing, flouncy things covering my arms?? A quick check across various fashion sites and it’s official, ginormous, impractical sleeves are here and it looks as though my regular, tight sleeved stuff is about to be considered as fashionable as shell suits are. Brilliant. 

With Glennon Doyle’s mantra of ‘we can do hard things’ in my head I stuck with the flouncy sleeved dress and went about my day. Until I couldn’t. You see my day doesn’t just consist of designing websites and answering questions on Facebook groups, I also walk the dog, clean the house, entertain the baby, so things need to be versatile as in, be able to roll up sleeves and have them stay there. 

After several failed attempts of this, I had to answer the door to the (poor, long-suffering) postman with full make up, hair done, tights and my dressing gown as I’d dipped the flouncy sleeves in the washing up water, my food and other places whilst cleaning the house and realised I can either be fashionable or practical, not both. Quite frankly my weird ensemble (I still have the Little Miss Naughty dressing gown from when I was 19) wasn’t cutting it. 

Time for some more shopping I think and this time I’ll definitely be checking the sleeve styles before adding it to my cart.