How to dress like you made an effort (without making any)


Everyone knows Mothers are time-poor. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mum with a full-time office job or one that is with child 24/7; children are totally time/life-consuming and there is never enough minutes in the day.

Nowhere does this become more apparent that when trying to leave the house. Leaving the house with kids in tow becomes a mission of mammoth proportions, depicted perfectly here by the brilliant Michael McIntyre:

So faced with such chaos each morning what is a mother meant to do? So often I have left the house before 9am (mostly on the school run) hoping and praying I do not see anyone I know. I often have not had time for a shower or time to wash my hair, or even brush it. On really bad days I’ve not even brushed my teeth! I usually quickly pull on yesterday’s clothes (found on the floor) and go out with old mascara smudged unglamorously around my eyes. Not infrequently I have had weetabix thrown at me. Sometimes I’m still wearing my bed socks… (Just to clarify, I do normally wash and re-dress later in the day when one child has been off-loaded to school!). But recently I have consciously tried to up my early morning Mum game.

I have not acquired more minutes in my day or decided to set my alarm for 5am, like some kind of super organised individual, giving me a full hour before the kids wake because I’m not that kind of girl; I hate mornings. They suck. So do not worry, I’m not about to gloat about how efficient and clockwork-like mornings in my household have become. There will be no envy-inducement here. All I have are 5 simple tips to help you look like you made an effort before leaving the house (without having to actually make any effort).

  1. The Statement Coat. Honestly I cannot over-egg this one enough. I was bought my coat of dreams last Christmas and it is absolutely brilliant; it hides ALL sins. You could wear your PJs underneath and all anybody sees is the coat. It doesn’t matter if you’re covered in weetabix or baby sick or your boob has leaked or you’re having a fat day; the coat hides all. I got mine from Whistles and it’s pictured below but any statement coat would work. I honestly get a compliment every time I wear it, and there’s nothing like a compliment from a stranger to give you a little boost!

Whistles statement coat

2. Shellac nails. Doesn’t chip, lasts for weeks, looks mega glossy and drys super fast  – tick, tick, tick, TICK. If all else has literally gone to ruin, if your nails are painted, it looks like you a) still make an effort and b) your life isn’t falling apart. Plus you don’t have to look at your tired puffy face throughout the day or count your grey hairs but you can admire your shiny manicured nails. I go for a bright colour like ‘lobster roll’ because I bite my nails (shame on me) and for some reason think bright colours make them look better…and helps get them noticed (therefore detracting from the less finished elements of your ensemble).


3. Lipstick. The matter and longer lasting the better. I’m a big fan of Mac Ruby Woo because it stays on for hours and hours (sometimes overnight!). If you’ve no time to apply a full face of make up pre-school run (and let’s face it, WHO DOES?) simply swipe a bit of lippy on (a BOLD LIP as the wonderful Mother Pukka calls it) and you’re armed to face the day. Also, here’s a fact*,  if you wear a bright lipstick, people are more likely to look at your lips than the dark bags residing under your eyes. Not only that but a red lipstick helps make your teeth look really white.

mac ruby woo* might not actually be a fact

4. Number four is seasonal so we have a sunshine option and a more cold weather option. Where there’s sunshine, wear sunglasses! Also known as a tired mother’s best friend. The bigger, the better. People will never know you have crows feet, puffy bloodshot eyes, no mascara on and massive bags. If the glasses are big enough they might even partially hide the eyebrows which no doubt are in need of a deep thread. In colder grey weather, where sunglasses will make you like a wannabe rockstar (not a look most mums aspire to), wear a hat! A knitted one with a big pom pom works really well but I can imagine a large fedora would work equally well. Not only will the hat hide greasy /unwashed/ unbrushed hair but it will also detract from the face. Win win.

rayban clubmaster

5. Finally shoes! Do not leave the house in slippers. I did this once. I went to the supermarket in my slippers. It was embarrassing and is best avoided where possible. Invest in a good pair of comfortable shoes that still look good. Both elements of that sentence are important here: You are going to be pounding pavements for a long time; comfort is key. Equally you are nowhere near old enough to consider embracing middle-age so don’t buy solely for comfort. A colourful pair of flat loafers, a pair of Nike hi-tops, a pair of boots with a small block heel, whatever takes your fancy – all are good options.

leopard print boots

So there we have it! You can overhaul your hot (cold) mess look in minutes and look like a mega mum from head to toe with just a statement coat, decent shoes, a bold lip, shellac nails and a pair of sunnies or a woolly hat!

Keep the coat and shoes by the door, ready to pull on and hide whatever it is you find yourself wearing at 8.40am. Try and get the nails done once every few weeks if you can. Running a bit of lippy across your lips as you leave the house whilst sticking a pair of sunnies on (or woolly hat) takes no time at all and I can almost guarantee you will feel 100x more fabulous for it! And as you swish your way confidently to the school gate you’ll know that at best, you look absolutely amazing but at the very least, you’re not of those women, doing absolutely nothing in their active wear:

Disclaimer: all of the above is written slightly tongue in cheek. Most days I do not manage to nail it but when I do the above, it does make a difference to my day!! Give it a go this week: Coat, Shoes, Lippy, Sunnies, Nails. BOOM!

Also check out DRESS LIKE A MUM for TONS of style inspo and good advice for breastfeeding-friendly outfits! Zoe, the Mama behind it all, is single-handedly inspiring a whole generation of millennial mothers to preserve their identities post-procreation, whilst changing the world’s negative opinion, Instagram post by Instagram post, of what it is like to dress like a mum.


2 thoughts on “How to dress like you made an effort (without making any)

  1. Thank you for the mention. Cat’s sister here lol – I can send you a picture of Shellac if that helps – you have Vinylux up there which is polish – they are different from each other – still, thrilled you love it!!


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