Fashion Blogger - The Style Fairy
Naomi Clarke is Mum to 18 month old Anabelle Ivy, creator of TSF Accessories Collection and owner of The Style Fairy Blog. A qualified fashion stylist and personal shopper, Naomi shares her advice on pregnancy styling, post natal dressing and her hero pieces for functional fashion in this special guest blog post. You can follow Naomi on Facebook, Instagram and her Blog The Style Fairy.
Tell us about your personal style and how has it changed since having Anabelle Ivy?
My style has changed massively since Anabelle Ivy’s arrival, now it’s all about comfort and practicality. I never thought I would hear myself say those words, but it’s true. Trainers have now become my wardrobe staple – if you knew me pre baby you would have laughed if I said that!! As a mammy, and especially if you have a toddler, you need to feel comfortable as you are running around non-stop. Yet at the same time, being a stay at home mum you can loose your sense of self so easily, it’s hard, so I think it’s important to feel good and stylish in what you were are wearing. For me anyway, it makes a big difference.
I always find it hard to define my personal style; the truth is it’s dependent on my mood. I would probably classify my style as classic and feminine with an edge. I like keeping up with trends and incorporating them here and there BUT I don’t like to be a slave to trends either. The key to personal style is finding what works for you, your body shape and your colouring.
My on duty mammy look is a mix of trainers or ankle boots, skinny jeans and knitwear, finished with a wool coat and a chunky scarf for daily trips to the park – It’s what I feel good in. I am all about colour too, black doesn’t suit me much anyway, but I think incorporating colour into your outfit can help lift your mood. If you know my style, you will probably know my love of pink!!
When I’m working or heading on a rare night out I can be more adventurous. I like to have fun with what I wear; mixing colours, prints or textures, I like to take chances’ the odd time, you can’t take yourself too seriously.
Dressing a growing bump can be challenging, what were your hero pieces be for the first, second and third trimesters?
Dressing the bump can certainly be challenging at times. My hero pieces while pregnant were most definitely great fitting over the bump jeans (I preferred over the bump to under by a mile). These proved a staple for almost everything in my wardrobe, especially in first and second trimesters.
I was pregnant over the summer and so in the second trimester I found wrap style dresses really great; not only are they comfortable and can expand with bump but also they are universally flattering.
Another key pieces for me was a long white shirt (from Isabella Oliver), it was one of the pricier items I bought while pregnant but it proved invaluable and it always made me feel more ‘put together’ even if I just was wearing leggings on the bottom half!
Comfy shoes are a must too; my feet were huge so I found plimsolls great and so comfy. And every pregnant lady needs AT LEAST one pair of really high quality maternity leggings – trust me by the last trimester they are a necessity and ideal for wearing with tunic style tops, cardigans, long shirts and knits.
I think it’s important not to always be trying to hide or conceal the bump, be proud, show off that bump and embrace colours during your pregnancy too.
What about postnatal styling, this is a very tricky time for Mums who have a new baby and a new body shape to get to know!
As women we can be so hard on ourselves post baby to loose weight as quick as possible. That initial weight does go, but you need to give it time. I remember being quite shocked at how big my belly was several weeks post pregnancy (I was asked when I was due!!) but my mum, in her wisdom, told me to give myself 6 months, focus on Anabelle Ivy and try not focus on it and you know what, she was right.
There is this pressure to “get back to normal” and the truth is, you will never be that same person again, physically or mentally. Your body has changed and it is about embracing your new and improved shape. You need to get to learn your body again; knowing your best bits and how to highlight them and in turn, knowing the parts you like least and how to best conceal those. Being aware of this is key is dressing well, in my opinion.
I would advise new mums not to go on a huge shopping spree straight away, post baby your body is still in transition. But I would suggest (which is what I did) investing in some nice, comfy, good fitting, high or mid waisted jeans, go up the size or two, or what needs be (don’t worry about the size for now, just worry about how well they fit you and suit you). Those jeans will prove to be an ultimate staple so do invest.
Other good investments around this time, when off course comfort is so important, is lots of shirts, which are great for wearing with skinny jeans, longer length especially can cover any lumps and bumps, plus they are ideal for layering over t-shirts and lastly, for breastfeeding mums they are convenient.
If you have an occasion such as the christening, I suggest keeping an eye out for a wrap dress, as I mentioned earlier they are by far the most flattering shape. Otherwise I advice a skirt and top instead of a dress. I wore a really full, high waisted white skirt with a cerise pink top to Anabelle Ivy’s Christening. It’s all about finding what you feel good in.
You have impeccable style and your popular “What I Wore” section on your blog is a great source for styling ideas, what are your go to pieces in your wardrobe for everyday looks?
Thank you J My ‘Outfit Diaries’ segment on my blog is the most popular, I think it’s because people can see the clothes in real life; it’s all well and good seeing them online on beautiful models or in stores on mannequins but I showcase looks in real life and how I pair things together.
I am all about getting the most out of your wardrobe. When you are buying something new, never buy it insolation; think about your wardrobe as a whole, ask yourself, does this piece fit in? Do I have something to wear it? If the answer is no, then it might not be the best buy. Going back again to my personal shopping and styling days I used to encourage my clients to think of the ‘rule of 3’, one item in your wardrobe should go with at least 3 outfits. It’s all about curating a wardrobe that can be all mixed and matched together.
My ‘Go To’ pieces for every day are;
· Jeans (I always opt for mid or high waisted skinny jeans)
· Black ankle boots
· Long sleeved day dresses
· Biker jacket
· Oversized knits
· A variety of shirts
· Wool knee length coat
· Colorful, chunky scarves
· An ‘investment’ cross body bag has been one of my key buys since becoming a mammy!
How important are accessories?
From early on in my days of working as a personal shopper I have always been an advocate of the power of accessories to update your look.
The simple addition of a stylish necklace can instantly glam up an otherwise simple outfit. For example, an LBD (little black dress) is like a blank canvas to play and have fun with accessories whether that’s a great statement cuff bracelet or a chunky necklace, accessories are a necessity and a great way to invest in your style. You can wear the same piece over and over again by simply changing up your accessories.
I think your accessories are the glue that pulls together your whole look and often an area that is overlooked. Plus they are a fun way to show your personality, weather that’s stacking some cute and delicate rings to rocking a statement necklace on a plain white shirt, accessories can say so much.