When I was pregnant, and especially towards the end when the back pain made it impossible for me to wear my beloved high heels, the thing I missed most was wearing my smartest clothes: the long skirt with high waistline, the tight dresses, the silky fabrics. In my innocence as a first-time mother-to-be, I thought I’d be able to wear everything just like before, as soon as I got back in shape. Nothing further from the truth.
It’s not ‘just’ a question of getting your figure back. It’s a whole new lifestyle. It’s not about mothers having to dress ‘like mothers’. It’s just that all of a sudden our choice of the day’s outfit is influenced by various factors that meant nothing to us before.
1) Walking around with a baby is not compatible with 4-inch heels. Especially not on Portuguese cobbled pavements. Which leaves us with two options: either we use flats or we keep the baby in the pushchair (my choice). And a pushchair actually helps when it comes to the arduous task of walking down the street.
2) Keep your fingernails colour neutral. Because with all the endless rinsing of bottles, baths, nappy changes and fiddling with tiny buttons and clasps on baby’s clothes, the Rouge Noir is wrecked after two days, believe me. So my option is to keep my fingernails pretty with clear gloss and save the colour for my toenails.
3) Some clothes should be kept well out of the way of babies. Drool, milk, baby food, fruit and puke are just some of the fluids that can ruin a silk blouse or satin dress. Take my word for it: wear all the aprons you want, your little one will find a way through your defences. Usually in such an affectionate way that it lessens the pain of seeing your dress or blouse ruined. For a while. Later, when you’re trying to get to sleep, it comes back to haunt you. What to do? Before I put anything on, I ask myself ‘Will I be really upset if this is ruined?’ If the answer is yes, it goes back to the wardrobe until I wear it to an adults-only dinner.
4) Earrings and accessories are great toys. And dangerous too. While they’re useful for keeping the baby entertained when you’re in a restaurant and a tantrum is impending, they can also be an enormous headache, like when he breaks a necklace and puts the tiny pieces in his mouth, or tears your earlobe when he tugs at your earring. The alternative? Clip-on earrings, stuff that doesn’t break. Or buying belts and handbags instead of bracelets and necklaces.
So the bottom line is: there’s no need to renounce the latest trends; we just have to adapt our style and remember we aren’t unaccompanied any more. And that’s the way we want it.