Around eight months after having my second child I was invited by a dear friend to celebrate her birthday with dinner and drinks in Leeds.
The idea filled me with dread and whilst I initially accepted the invite I spent the days/weeks leading up to the date trying to find ways to get out of it.
You see, I had nothing to wear.
I don't mean nothing to wear in the 'I don't like anything in my vast wardrobe' type of way. I mean, I had nothing to wear.
Having gained weight and lost body confidence during my second pregnancy I had refused to buy any new clothes after giving birth. This meant that I was either in maternity wear that was too big, or squeezing myself into my pre-baby clothes that were too small.
I felt wretched. At this point I had been working as a freelance personal stylist for almost three years and I felt I should know how to pull myself out of my style slump. But I didn't know where to start, I couldn't look at things objectively and I generally just wanted to hibernate until I felt better.
When it became apparent that I was either going to have to let down my friend in a big way (which I really did not want to do), or suck it up and buy some new clothes I had a complete meltdown on my unsuspecting husband. The last thing I wanted to do at that time was shop.
In-between sobs I told him how I was feeling, how nothing fit me properly and how low I felt as a result.
You see, clothes have that impact on this - they affect our mood, our confidence and our self esteem in a multitude of ways. Having a wardrobe full of clothes that don't fit properly, that don't make us feel good in any way, shape or form affects more than your appearance. This was something I had lost sight of in my post-baby haze; style is a form of self care and just as important as the other little acts of self love you show yourself on a regular basis.
Thankfully, my calm, level-headed and considerate husband was able to put things into perspective for me and told me to go back to my training, run through the steps I would normally take my clients through, pull together a shopping list and get myself to the shops pronto.
And that's exactly what I did.
I did my own style questionnaire and found my answers post-baby were different to the ones I'd given pre-baby, I put together a Pinterest board of looks I love, I refreshed myself on the colours that worked for me and the ones I really loved. And I put together a shopping list.
During that shopping trip I bought one bra, two tops, a pair of jeans and the jumpsuit you see pictured on the right. Not a huge haul (I was and still am very particular) but it was enough to give me the boost I so desperately needed.
It all felt great and the jumpsuit in particular has been a staple ever since. I wore it for my friend's birthday meal the following week (accessorised and paired with my favourite heels), shortly after I styled it with flats and a belt for a work meeting in London - on that occasion a stranger approached me on the platform to say how much she loved my outfit (I could have cried and hugged her, she really had no idea how much I needed to hear that) - I've worn it for a wedding, for trips to the park with my children and for work.
Every time I wear this jumpsuit I'm reminded of how I felt when I first put it on, how I felt a little piece of me return that had been lost for some time. I'm also reminded why I do what I do and the reason I'm so passionate about helping other women understand what works for them and how they too can use personal style as a form a self care.
So this one is for you; if you've felt in style limbo for any reason, or for no reason at all, it is possible to find it again, it is possible to feel fabulous whatever your shape, size, budget or age and you do deserve to feel a 10/10 every single day.
Never underestimate the power of a great outfit ladies.
Until next time