What is the Lockdown Style Challenge and how can it help you get out of that funk.

As I write this post, we are in the second month of Lockdown in England. The schools are closed, so like many mums I am enjoying the delights of home schooling, whilst try to keep my wild 3 year old occupied and stop her from trying to ‘ride’ our 6 month old puppy, and stop said puppy from chewing every shoe, toy and dirty sock he can find, and it is tough!
I am not a school teacher, and it is hard work to try and engage a 6 year old to write a sentence with a ‘contraction’ and an ‘adjective’ when he can hear is sister watching ‘Blippi’ for the 999th time. My youngest is spending far too much time on the iPad or watching TV, and I am just about keeping on top of the household chores, getting the dog and the children out for their daily exercise and my brood fed; this is a task in its self, as every 20 minutes I get asked if it’s snack time yet!

However tough it might be, I know that it is required to get us through this pandemic, however I consider myself one of the lucky ones.I have been furloughed from main job which means that I actually do have time to spend ‘trying’ to educate my son. My husband is working from home, so can help out now and then, so I can go to the supermarket alone, fit in at least 2 runs a week and cook our evening meal at least once or twice. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling a bit bored, a bit fed up and a little bit down.
I miss my friends and family. I miss actually having that 1 to 1 conversation, I miss working with my colleagues at the Swan Centre, Eastleigh, I miss meeting up with my clients, and I miss having a reason to choose an outfit in the morning.
Although this lockdown only started on the 5th January, I haven’t actually been in the office since November, so have basically been wearing joggers and a top for nearly 3 months. I haven’t really bothered putting make up on either, as what the the point eh? And the result? I don’t really feel like me anymore. I feel like a washer woman, housekeeper and nanny.
That’s why I thought it was high time I pulled myself together and did something about it. I can’t change the situation that we are in, but I can try and do something to pull myself out of this funk. That’s why I have put together the Lockdown Style Challenge.

The Lockdown Style Challenge is intended to be a fun, mood enhancing challenge that gives us all a theme to create our outfits around. The idea is that if we all have a ‘reason’ to get dressed, then we will spend some time thinking about what to choose, how to put things together and actually spend sometime thinking about ourselves for once, rather “should I wash the darks or the whites today”, “can I give the kids fishfingers again this week” or “what on earth at we going to have for dinner tonight?”.

The challenge is intended to run across 7 days, starting on Monday 8th February, and each day has an easy theme for you to shape your outfit around. The idea is that the challenge just provides little tweaks to our existing ‘lockdown wardrobe’ and that it works in real life and is achievable by everyone, whether you are a working mum, juggling zoom calls, childcare and schooling, a mum with a feeding baby, a toddler and a 8 year old or even a mum who’s kids have flown the nest. You decide how you want to interpret the theme, you tweak it to your lifestyle, taste and wardrobe.

So what are the themes for the week? Well we kick off with an easy one, Colour Pop. The idea with this is that you think about introducing colour to your outfit in some way. It can be by colour clashing your outfit, introducing a print, adding a scarf or a pair of earring or even just sticking on a bit of lippy. Whatever you feel comfortable with, it is your challenge. The reason for kicking off with focusing on colour is because of the proven mood enhancing and brighten effect that colour can have on us, especially when work near our faces. The right colour can not only make us feel happier, but younger and more rested. As we go through the week, we explore colour further with ‘Tonal Style’, learn how to create and style an outfit with Tuesday, Wednesday and Fridays themes, and how to make more of the clothes that we have in our wardrobes on Saturday and Sunday. By the end of the week, I hope that you will feel more confident, and positive about how you look and feel.

One of the things that I have noticed most from talking to clients, friends and family is how the lack of social interaction is effecting everyone, especially women. That’s why I would love it if we could all share this challenge together and join in by posting your outfit pic in my private Facebook community The Busy Mums Style Tribe. This way we can all support each other and give each other a bit of help and advice. It will also give you access to advice from me directly.

I will post a reminder of the theme at 8pm the night before on my Facebook page and on the Busy Mums Style Tribe group, along with some inspiration (you can get a sneak peak on my Pinterest page) and tips. I strongly recommend thinking about what you are going to wear the evening before, as we are all more creative at this time, so you are more likely to be more adventurous and inspired by the theme. It also saves time in the morning and ensures that you don’t ‘duck’ out for the day, as it is easy to resort to you normal ‘lockdown uniform’.

I am excited about next week, and can’t wait to see how you all interpret the themes.

Watch my Facebook Live video here.

Make your wardrobe work for you this Autumn/Winter.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As I write this blog, the rain is lashing down at the window and I am sat in my pjs with a large mug of coffee, trying to avoid the need to get dressed and go and face the outdoor elements head on. On days like this, it can be hard to feel motivated the get dressed, let alone try and come up with an outfit that looks good, but that is exactly the reason why it is so important to have a wardrobe that works for you. Imagine looking in to your closet and instantly seeing an outfit combination that you know works and makes you feel good? As the dark nights draw in and the weather takes a turn for the worse, ‘dressing happy’ is more important than ever, and with a little reorganisation and a small amount of time spent reevaluating what we have hidden in the depths of our drawers, cupboards and closets, we can create wardrobes that inspire and leave us feeling good, rather then overwhelmed and fed up.

With a forecast of wall to wall rain this weekend and through to next week; in the UK, now is a great time to attack that wardrobe and get it set up for the season ahead. So I have put together some tips on where to start, what to look for and how to reorganise.

Step 1- Pull out out all your ‘high summer’ clothes.
The first step in getting your wardrobe ready for the Autumn/Winter season is getting rid of all the items that your aren’t going to wear for the next few months. Some items can be worn transitionally by layering things up, but some items such as shorts, linen trousers, beachwear and sandals and flip flop just aren’t going to be needed for a while.
Where you then put these items is up to your, if you have space, you can store at the furthest end of your wardrobe, however, personally I prefer to pack it away and store it in a vac bag or box to give my current season clothes more room.

Step 2- Pull out all your winter items that you might have tucked away.
If like me you tend to put away all your winter woolies, now’s the time to get it out of storage. Before you put them back in the wardrobe, reevaluate them and firstly make sure that they are clean, check that they are not in need to repair; this includes the need for new buttons etc, and that they fit. Now is the time to start you three piles, a keep pile, a repair pile and a donate pile. If you have a spare rail, I strongly advise that you hang the keep items on this so that you can see what you have.
Don’t forget to do your shoes and accessories at the same time.

Step 3- Reevaluate the clothes still in the wardrobe.
As in step 2, now is the time to review the condition and usefulness of the clothes that you currently have in you wardrobe, go through each item and put them in the either the keep, repair or donate pile. As before if you have a spare rail for the keep clothes, use it so that you can see exactly what you have.

Step 4- Try some outfit building.
If you have time, now is a great opportunity to experiment with creating some new outfits. Play around with the clothes that you have and see how many different looks you can create. To do this, I recommend starting with an item that you love, that you know makes your feel good about yourself and is something that you know that you will wear a lot, then pair it with something that you might not have tried wearing it with before. Remember the rule of three, for example a top, a bottom and a jacket or cardigan, then add at least one accessory. Try creating a casual and smart version of the same outfit.
Once you are happy with a look, take a photo of the outfit on your phone. You can then refer to these photo to remind you later.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Step 5- Put your clothes back in your wardrobe in a organised way.
Now is the time to put everything back. The first thing that you need to think about how you are going to store your clothes. Do you have hanging storage, or do you need to fold your clothes on shelves or in drawers. If you are lucky enough to have a lot of hanging storage, I recommend hanging as much as you can, as this makes it easier see exactly what you have, with everything on one place. If you have limited space, try and hang the items that crease easily, but try to keep whole clothing types together, ie all dresses together in one place. I strongly advise investing in some of the velvet covered slim hangers, as this will not only save space, but stop clothes slipping off and they make your wardrobe look cleaner and tidier. Here is a link to the ones I recommend.
Once you have considered where you are putting your clothes, its important to this about how you want your wardrobe organised. Do you prefer a separate work wardrobe to casual wardrobe or do you mix and match? Whatever way you chose I recommend organising items by type; for example short sleeve tops, then by colour, and within this light to dark versions of the same colour. This will make it easier to outfit build and locate particular items when in a rush in the morning.
Don’t forget to do the same with your shoes, accessories, jackets and coats. If you can’t store everything together, just make sure that you know where everything is and what you have.
TOP TIP: If you store your shoes/coats or jacket in a separate place to the rest of your clothes, try sticking photographs to the back of your wardrobe door to remind you what you have. Also, ensure that your jewellery is laid out or hung so that you can see what you have. I have little Command mini hooks stuck to the back of my wardrobe door and hang my necklaces on there so I can see everything I have.

Step 6- Reevaluate your donate pile
Before you take everything to the charity shop, look and see if there are any items that you can sell on eBay, Depop or other selling sites. Things that sell well are high end high street brands and or designer labels.

Step 7- Organise getting your clothes repaired.
If you are nifty with a needle, make sure that you make time to mend those clothes in the repair pile. If you aren’t so gifted in the seamstress department, try and find a local repairer. Try searching your local community Facebook page for reccomendations.

And that it! Now you should have a wardrobe that works for you and not against you, leaving you more time to enjoy that extra coffee in the morning.

If you can’t face decluttering your wardrobe alone, don’t forget I offer both a virtual and in personal Wardrobe Makeover service. To find out more or to book a free initial consultation, drop me a message.