Diary of a mum returning to work – Fashion

Once upon a time, mum of three Lucy Mason would think nothing of throwing on a pair of trousers fashioned from an old pair of curtains. Today her fashion crimes are a little more dull. Like many mums around the country, she’s come to rely on the same old jeans and top combo to get her through the day. This week, she owns up to her mum-fashion crimes.


I don’t think I’ve so much sunk into a style rut as fallen head first into a deep, dark crevice. On the rare occasion I do buy new clothes, my first thought is ‘is it comfortable enough to walk to school in?’, which even I recognise is a pretty sad state of affairs.

Most mornings I get up, throw on some clothes, get the kids up, washed and fed, and walk almost a mile to school. My chosen outfit is usually what I wore the day before, which is mostly jeans and a stripy top, a jumper, comfortable shoes and a warm parka-type coat.

Probably I should cut myself some slack because I’m no different to millions of other mums – and dads – who do exactly the same thing every school or work day. But lately I feel like I’m dissolving into a pool of millions of other people. I look like them, talk like them, and sometimes I think if I don’t make an effort I’m just going to turn into a drone.

I know it shouldn’t matter what you wear, and it’s what’s on the inside the counts. But I think it does. When your day is full of looking after little people while trying to fit in work, cleaning, cooking and all the other stuff, it’s easy to forget about yourself. But it’s still your life, and taking care of yourself and how you look – how you present yourself to the outside world – is important. Not only for meeting people and making a good impression for work, but also for your own confidence too.

I never used to be like this. Not so long ago I was actually quite choosy about what I wore, even (dare I say it) adventurous. In fact, in my student days I’d think nothing of making clothes out of old saris (although I wasn’t any good at it and I’m not sure it’s something I should be proud of).

I remember a phase I went through of buying material – I think once even a pair of old Noddy curtains – laying it out on the filthy cigarette-butted floor of my student house, placing a pair of trousers over it, cutting out the shape twice and then just sewing the two pieces together. When I wore my new trousers going out (yes, I really did) I remember the crotch area would tear as I walked, but even that didn’t stop me. I’d just tie a long-sleeved top around my waist to cover it up and carry on.

Now I’m not saying I should start making my own clothes again, but I think I need to put more time and effort into how I dress. If I ever do have the time or money to go clothes shopping, I always seem to end up looking for something for the kids. I need to start thinking about me a bit more – at the very least so I look half presentable for work.

Maybe I’ll start buying Grazia magazine again for style ideas, and start looking at what other people (who don’t look like me) are wearing? Perhaps I should use the rest of the winter to regroup, get some inspiration and then when spring comes, slowly emerge from my stripy top and jeans cocoon like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly? Or, I could always pick up a pair of old curtains and some scissors and make something for myself!