I was invited to an engagement party this weekend, which is fabulous because celebrating love is right up there with the joy you experience on a solo trip to the supermarket sans kids, and it’s at a bowls club. We were told it was kid friendly so I assumed it was barefoot bowls and rather laid back. My assumption probably shows my age and how long I’ve been out of the game. It is not barefoot, rather fancy foot attire somewhere between smart casual and cocktail. Crap.
As I stood in front of my small wardrobe, I pondered the history of this part of my life and the changes that had ensued over the years. Having worked in the fashion industry for well over a decade, there had been a large portion of my life where I could easily pull ten outfits from my wardrobe for any event at a minutes notice. It was the ultimate perk; free clothes and an ever evolving wardrobe. It became a one stop shop for sisters and friends alike, a mini department store in the comfort of your own home. YAY!
Then I fell pregnant and discovered only a portion of my wardrobe would carry me through the expanding belly phase and saw it as the first opportunity to cull my wardrobe(s) to that of a manageable size. A few purchases from ASOS maternity got me through those last months before our little boy arrived and I was excited at the prospect of getting back into my pre pregnancy wardrobe. A tiny detail I hadn’t considered, though? Breastfeeding. We had a friends 30th three weeks after Baker was born and I had zero options that made feeding easy. I had to go back and forth to the car all night with him feeling quite deflated. I still remember one mother saying, pregnancy isn’t hard to dress for, breastfeeding is. How had I missed this?
Dresses made up a large portion of my wardrobe before becoming a mother but I could hardly hoick it up to my shoulders and freely feed, I needed easy access and that meant denim, shorts and tees. The arrival of a baby also meant grubby hands and free flying food at unexpected moments, so white and anything that resembled it was out. I farewelled the low slung denim I’d lived in before baby, all the bending over and picking up adding serious weight for the need to buy into the mum jeans phenomenon. Motherhood completely changed my wardrobe and what seemed feasible, even after progressing from the breastfeeding phase.
So as I swiped through my now capsule wardrobe, I felt a tinge of freedom that I was going child free (hauling the kids down the M1 from the Gold Coast to Brisbane on a Friday night after a week at school in peak hour traffic for a 6:30pm start only for them to be over it and bordering on meltdown mode less than an hour into the party wasn’t appealing) and my attire wasn’t bound by little people for the night. I pulled out a navy silk shift dress I’d owned for six years, one of only two dresses that would fit the brief, selected a necklace from an offering of three and slipped my feet into my metallic flats because I refuse to wear heels for anyone. Whilst I looked at my reflection and realised I wouldn’t be amongst the most glamorous at the party, I appreciated that the transition to motherhood had taught me to never underestimate the beauty of simple elegance. Well, that and how silk and kids don’t mix.