How to create a stylish mum wardrobe

Being a mum is hard work and creating a wardrobe that is not only chic, but also practical can seem like a daunting task. But it is possible with a few simple tricks.

The key to nailing that effortless mum style is having key pieces in your wardrobe that work for you and not against you. This means avoiding fabrics that require loads of ironing or dry cleaning. Investing in certain pieces such as outerwear and footwear and keeping things simple. Combine this with a few styling hacks and you have a fail safe formula for simple and chic mum style.

So here are my perfect pieces and styling tricks to help you create you mum wardrobe.

Get yourself a pair of stylish trainers

As a mum one thing is certain, you are going to be on the go all day. This means that you need a pair of comfortable and flat shoes that are easy to throw on but still look good. In my opinion a pair of leather style trainers with a good solid sole are the perfect shoe for busy mums. They are easy to wear, easy to care for and comfortable. I would recommend either going for a white, black or neutral coloured shoe to ensure that they go with everything in your wardrobe. If you can stretch to real leather it is definitely worth its as they will last longer and age better than faux leather shoes.

There are a huge range of trainers available and you can still show off your own style personality with them. If you are more attracted to an edgier style, look for leopard print details, prefer something more classic, keep it simple with a plain lace up style. The key is that they work with everything in your wardrobe. Make sure that your give them the occasional quick wipe over to ensure that they aren’t covered in mud and that’s it. Wear them with skirts, dress, jeans or trousers.

Think about outerwear

Don’t think of outerwear as an after thought. If you have a fab outfit underneath and a shabby coat thrown over the top you are going to ruin your look. However a fab jacket or coat can actually elevate and pull a very basic outfit together.

For Autumn and Spring I love a simple utility jacket in a heavy cotton. You can get so many different cuts to suit so many shapes and they can look edgy, classic and feminine depending on the styling details. Many of them are machine washable too which is an added bonus and you can pick them up everywhere and at every budget. I like to roll the sleeves back a little to elongate my arms and add interest to the outfit.

For Winter, I would advise getting a wool style coat. This can be long or short, but as a busy mum myself I think a short to 3/4 length is most practical. If you can go for a coat with a high wool content, then I always recommend this. You can get good quality coats from places like Zara and Mango and in fact my go to coat is 90% wool, is over 10 years old and only cost me £70 from H&M.

What ever style you choose, make sure that it works for your shape and is practical for you.

Go for a dress

On those morning where you don’t have time to think about what to wear take a shortcut and choose dress. With a dress (or a jumpsuit) you don’t have to worry about what top goes with what bottom. Simply chuck it on, add your go to trainers and your done! There are so many different styles in the shops right now, you are sure too find something that suits your style and shape.

Go hands free

Free up your hands with a cross body or backpack style bag. Not only are these style really on trend right now, but they are practical and stylish. After all what mum doesn’t need an extra pair of hands? I personally love the leather cross body bags with the interchangeable straps, as they add personality and really jazz up a simple outfit, but a back pack can look super cool too.

Stock up on easy to wear basics

As a mum you often have very little time so having good basics that you can throw on is vital. That’s way having a good stock of t-shirts, both long and short sleeve and a few sweaters and a cardigan in a neutral colour is an important part of building the perfect mum wardrobe. Remember though, that just because these are your basics, it doesn’t mean plain. Slogan and graphic tees and sweatshirts are a great way of adding personality to your look. Or try experimenting with ‘neutral’ prints, such as stripes, spots and leopard. I call these prints ‘neutral’ as they can be layered up together and still look fab.

The same applies to basic bottoms. Choose a few different styles that you know are easy to wear, comfortable and can be mix and matched. As a mum I know that I find myself being drawn more to trousers, so my basics bottoms would be a pair of mid blue slim straight jeans, a pair of leather look jeggings, a pair of nice plain leggings and maybe a leopard skirt. All of these work with my t shirts and jumpers, so I don’t have to think too much about how to put an outfit together.

Just a few examples of some good basic tops

Choose hassle free fabrics

Now I love cashmere and silk as much as the next girl, but these are not everyday mum clothes. For a practical mum style you want fabrics that are easy to care for. That means that they need to be non iron, machine washable and can be dried on the line or airer. If the label says ‘hand wash and dry flat’ walk away! It’s just not going to happen, and they will either end up languishing in the laundry basket or end up misshapen or shrunk to baby size because you accidentally throw it in the machine.


You have your basics, you have your go to trainers and outerwear, and you have you hands free bag. All you need now is few funky accessories to jazz up you look. Simply choose a couple of patterned scarves, a couple of pairs of earrings or a necklace or maybe a belt and make sure that you add just one of these to finish you look. It is amazing how just by adding one accessory you can look and feel more put together.

Need help creating your mum wardrobe? I can help. Samantha Woodbury Styling offers both online and in person styling packages that include advice on creating a capsule wardrobe. All styling services can be booked online or you can book a free styling call to see how I can help.

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.

8 simple steps to savvy sale shopping.

It’s that time year when our inboxes are full of emails shouting about ‘further reductions’, and you are being targeting by online ads tempting you to indulge in a bit of sale shopping.
But is shopping in the sales at this time of year a good idea? In my opinion, yes and no. If you are shopping wisely and making good choices then now is a great time to update your wardrobe. We still have a few months of winter, so there is still time to get as many £s per wear as possible, and if you may even be able to buy something that is a real investment piece that has been out of your reach until now. But it is important to plan and be truthful about whether you actually need, want or actually like some of the things that you have popped in your basket, or you could be just wasting your money.

So to save you time, hassle and money, I have put together my top tips for savvy sale shopping. .

Don’t be swayed by the discount
Just because an item is 70% off doesn’t mean that you should buy it! So many of my clients have pieces in their wardrobe with the sale tag still on them. They have never worn the items and in fact don’t actually like them that much. The key is to consider whether you might have bought it at full price. If the answer is no, then you probably shouldn’t buy it.

Know whats in your wardrobe before shopping
Everyone is naturally attracted to a a certain style, and it is easy to buy the same or similar piece over and over again. To avoid having a wardrobe full of black jeans and striped tops; for example, make sure you know where your gaps are.
Have a look at your closet and see if there is anything you don’t currently have that would enable to you wear more pieces in different ways. Think about whether you are missing knitwear or winter boots? If you can wear that new sale piece with existing items in your wardrobe in at least 3 different ways, then buy it. Once you know your wardrobe, you will be able to make better sale choices.

Shop more aspirationally
Have a look at some brands that you admire but would never normally be able to afford to shop at. Now is a great time to get some great quality, investment and statement pieces at the prices will be more attainable whilst in sale. Have a look at John Lewis to get an idea of what brands are out there.

Know you measurements
No two size 12s are the same on the high street. Every brand has a different fit model, based on who they think their customer is, this is why it is important to know your measurements and use the size guide when shopping. Once you know what bust, waist and hip measurement you are, you will be able to compare it to the size guide and discover which size is likely to fit the best. 

Invest in your wardrobe
This tip works hand in hand with knowing your wardrobe and shopping aspirationally.  Now is a great time to invest in some pieces that are going to last for years, such as a cashmere cardigan, and classic coat or good quality leather handbag. When you look at cost per wear, it won’t seem so scary spending such a large chunk of your budget on one piece.

Know your budget and stick to it
It is so easy to get caught up and go off piste when sale shopping. The key is to know how much you have to spend and make sure that you make the right purchases within you budget.

Go for quality not quantity
If you are able, I always advise that you shop for fewer good quality pieces that are going to last, then lots of low quality items that are going to shrink or the decoration is going to fall off. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to shop high end, just make sure that you look at the reviews, consider the original price and look at fabric composition and care instructions if possible.
Cheap fabrics such as nylon, polyester and acrylic will not wear as well as wool, silk or cotton, so always try to go for natural fabrics. Fabrics such as viscose will also crush and crease easily, so unless you love ironing I wouldn’t advise buying anything in this fabric (unless its knitted) because you will never wear it. 
If you can, check the care instructions before making a purchase, basic items that say things like ‘dry flat’ will probably warp at the hems and neckline if you don’t follow to the letter, and who is going to dry a basic white tee flat?

Know the stores return policy
No matter how savvy you are with your sale shopping, once you get the item it still might now be right. This could be down to the colour, your body shape or the quality and fit isn’t quite right. So it is important to know whether you can return for a full refund, or whether the store only offers credit or and exchange. Don’t forget to check out how much the postage is to return either as this may add more money to your purchases than expected.

So there you are. My top tips for savvy sale shopping.

If you still aren’t ready to hit the sales solo, don’t forget I offer an online personal shopping service from as little as £35. Simply email me at for find out more.