Gulp! I’ve been wearing a variation of the same outfit for the past few years.”
Since having my little boys, I had well and truly fallen into a fashion rut, and it felt dark and lonely down there.
On a mission to dig my way out, I consulted my usual go-to fashion resources – magazines – and hardly found a thing I could possibly wear to the playground. Within the 350 pages of gloss and promise, I would perhaps find one or two images or ideas that could apply to my day-to-day fashion needs. I felt more stuck in my rut than ever.
Just as I was about to curl up in there, resigned to my ‘mumsy’ fate, my inner nerd came out and, just for fun, I developed an online survey to see how other women with young children were feeling about fashion.
In less than a week, I received close to 150 responses from women all around Australia and as far as the USA, Netherlands, UAE, Cayman Islands, New Zealand, Singapore and Canada. The swiftness and depth of responses made me realise it definitely wasn’t just me who was feeling this way.
Here are the key findings:
41% cited increased weight, different body shape, and concern over their tummy as the biggest issues.
65% claimed to be unhappy with their bodies.
53% said their ‘mummy tummy’ was their least favourite body part.
64% were less confident about the way they looked.
“Getting rid of the baby weight is hard, and no one really warns you about the massive change to your body post-baby”
24% said they didn’t have time to shop, get ready, or sort through their wardrobe.
A quarter said time to shop is their biggest fashion issue.
The frequency with which women shop for themselves declines dramatically after they become a mother.
Before kids, most (64%) were hitting the shops fortnightly or more often. After their first baby arrives though, more than half are shopping only every three months.
And on those rare occasions they do make it to the shops, the time allowed is minimal or filled with distractions if the kids are in tow.
“I have one hour (max) to walk around a shopping mall to find the perfect piece. My mind is elsewhere and I inevitably end up in the kids shop anyway. I can’t achieve much in a rushed hour”
However time remains an issue.
54% say they “would look significantly better if they had more time to make the most of their current wardrobe.”
Time to get ready has also diminished.
62% spend up to 15 minutes getting ready in the morning, compared to before kids, when 60% spent longer than 45 minutes.
This was the single biggest concern for 20% of respondents, who mentioned obstacles such as keeping up with trends, age appropriateness, a lack of fashionable breastfeeding items, and not knowing how to make everyday outfits look good.
“I don’t feel there is an easy way to research and find clothes that are trendy enough to suit those of us who don’t go to an office or out clubbing anymore”
Some claimed this was due to the money going toward the children instead.
For most, it was due to the reduced family income as over 50% of mothers are at home with the children full-time, 1/3 are in part-time employment, and just 12% are in full-time paid roles. As one woman shared “we are now on one income, which means I can’t go out splurging on clothes. I spend some money on my work wardrobe, but my home wardrobe really suffers.”
“…being able to afford the extra nice things and not feel like you are depriving your kids of something”
Not surprising given 97% are getting less than the recommended 8 hours sleep per night.
34% are getting less than 6 hours of zzzzzzzz’s.
“I’m just soooooooo tired that my care factor is ZERO.”
“I have loads of issues! Finding something comfortable and practical but that doesn’t make me look frumpy and doesn’t break the bank.
I also live in hope that I will lose weight so don’t want to spend money on clothes that will potentially be too big for me in the future. Who am i kidding ”
The survey showed that, after they have kids, women face one mother of a fashion dilemma.
And no matter what our age, or the number of children we have, or the place in the world where we live, the obstacles to looking and feeling good remain pretty much the same.
Fox in Flats has been created to celebrate those mothers who look fantastic despite the challenges, and to help the rest of us dig our way out of our motherhood-induced fashion ruts, to (hopefully) make it much, much easier to navigate motherhood in style.
What is your biggest fashion issue since you became a mum?