A thing that goes out of the window when you have small kids is accessories – those final things that take an outfit from plain to interesting.
There’s just no time to think about putting them on – and babies don’t half love yanking on anything shiny within reach. Bangles get in the way, scarves get tangled up in buggy wheels and you wash your hands so much with kids around wearing rings suddenly seems insane.
But then the babies move past the yanking-on-things stage, or you’ve sorted a bit of childcare and what happens is you forget to put the accessories back on.
If you’re going to work a capsule wardrobe, you just need to remember to put those accessories back on. Maybe not every day, all the time – if you have got a shitload of messy childcare coming your way you don’t have to deck yourself out like a Christmas tree.
But don’t forget about them.
And get organised.
Chuck out or put away out of sight any tarnished or clattery jewellery, any earrings missing a pair, any rings missing insets. Stop going into Accessorize, it’s for teenagers.
Then pick just a few things that you can practically wear and have them out where you can see them – I got myself a small jewellery stand.
It’s hard for me to say exactly what you ought to buy, because jewellery is an area where you ought to choose the things you, personally, just really like.
But what I would say is this – the jewellery I get the most compliments on are my gold Dinny Hall hoop earrings, a neon tassel necklace and some long necklaces from Hulqvist.
I reckon a standard pair of gold hoop earrings – (or silver if you really, really don’t “do” gold and I can’t persuade you even with this here little glass of sherry?) – if you have pierced ears, are incredibly useful. If you don’t already have a pair wait until the time is right and then invest in something gold or silver plated that won’t go brown in a month.
Obviously I think Dinny Hall is the only place to get these. Mine are as shiny and pretty as the day they arrived and they are small enough that they don’t get caught in stuff and piss me off.
I would also argue that one pair of mad earrings is useful. My favourites at the moment are this neon pink ones from J Crew that I bought in the sale.
The ultimate mad earrings are of course from Spike favourite Toolally. I already have a pair of beautiful art deco glittery ones for winter but I also absolutely love these abstract watermelon ones.
You can either buy here from John Lewis, or there is a wider selection on the Toolally website. You will wear these with a white t-shirt and your mad skirt and your clogs and look fucking massively awesome.
I got my tassel necklace from Ibiza, (don’t get excited, I have never set foot inside any nightclub, let alone one in freaking Ibiza), but there are others available. The thing about a tassel necklace is that it’s quite unusual and small children cannot turn it into a ballistic missile.
I do love a made-to-order item and like the look of this seller on Etsy
This is cute but has ballistic potential from Anna
I rather love these mad, garish ones, which are most similar to mine. They cheer up a white t-shirt no end and look great with denim.
Only buy one of these tasselled things, no matter how much you like them – I had three and only ever really wore one.
I also found a long gold metal necklace came in handy to cheer up anything black I was wearing. There’s something about gold and black (or black and silver, really) that always looks modern and chic. Just don’t wear it anywhere near a child under 2 years old.
Mine was similar to this one from Hulquist.
Multi-layered gold necklaces are quite the thing at the moment. But getting necklaces that work together and all match is quite the palaver and possibly not a thing you’ve got time for.
If you’re in the mood to genuinely hurt yourself financially, look at Adelphe for full Stevie Nicks necklace layering heaven, or rich girls’ favourite Brooke Gregson .
Otherwise, just stick on a simple necklace and earrings and be done with it.
Davina Mulford, who imports Panama hats from Ecuador, got in touch with me, having been enjoying the capsule wardrobe series and said maybe I ought to include a panama hat?
I was a bit circumspect as I’m not sure about hats. And I was also nervous about her sending me a sample because it’s conflicting – if it isn’t really nice, ought I say it’s nice anyway and then be a liar?
BUT – it arrived and it’s AWESOME. Light as a feather and looks really great, just incredibly chic. Of course, any old straw trilby that suits you will probably do, but I find most hats a bit sweaty and claustrophobic, which you’re not really after when it’s 31C. This, though… this is like a magic hat. It’s kind of like it’s not there. I am massively in love with mine – it makes everything you wear look totally on purpose.
And as a proper treat, Davina is giving us 15% off on her website! Shop the one I’ve got here. Use the code THESPIKE at checkout. I had a lovely email exchange with her – she is a true Spiker.
Davina says that these can’t be folded as they don’t have a seam along the top , but I watched this video of some Savile Row fellow folding a hat and tried with hers, then popped it out a few hours later and it was fine.
I just can’t imagine for one second that I would make it from my house in London to my holiday destination still with my hat and my children and my passport so it really needs to go in the suitcase.
I’m sure you’ve got a million scarves that you bought because you like the pattern but don’t use any more. Get them out! If they are small, try tying them round a ponytail in your hair or round your wrist. If they are large, see if they won’t liven up one of those new white t-shirts.
Channel Rosetta Getty:
I have got two small scarves I use the most – one black and white from Nina Ricci and one skull-print one from Alexander McQueen.
I’m toying with the idea of buying a leopard print one – I don’t consider leopard print to be quite a neutral, (but that is because I am covered in an exotic spotty pattern all of my very own… I see gun barrels glinting everywhere, someone just waiting to turn me into a purse. YUK), but I think a leopard-print scarf round your neck, wrist or in your hair looks fabulous.
I spied this one from H&M at the checkout and didn’t buy it and now regret it.
Stop fucking buying bags! Just stop it. You don’t need another one YOU’VE GOT TOO FUCKING MANY.
Especially cheap bags. Stop buying them. Stop it, stop it, stop it NOW.
Just say No! Non. You can do fine with the 4m ones you’ve got. Do what I do and set yourself the £500 lower limit and only get a new bag every Christmas. And if Christmas comes around and you’d rather have something else then… there you go – just shows that you don’t really need any more bags.
Look after the bags you’ve got. Dust them off and put your head on one side, look at each one and think “How could I wear this in a new way this week?”
STOP BUYING BAGS YOU BAG LADY.
Item 1 You don’t need some tiny micro bag because a fashion magazine told you you needed one.
Item 2 You don’t need a straw bag with your freaking name on it, covered in pompoms
Item 3 You don’t need a crazy scuba fabric bag shaped like a pineapple because Leandra Medine has got one
Item 4 You don’t need a bag because that blonde actress Michelle thingy who used to be married to Heath Ledger is holding it
Look I’m so angry about this I’m formatting.
1 runaround day bag, possibly cross-body with an outside pocket for your phone (mine is from Marks and Spencer and is about 15 years old. I love it.)
1 black evening clutch (I use either one from Accessorize or Anya Hindmarch)
1 jazzy holiday clutch (I picked mine up in Ibiza 4 years ago)
1 multipurpose tote (think the ubiquitous Longchamp nylon one – mine is a navy Herve Chapelier thing) and also I admit a grey YSL one, but that was another revenge-attack on my husband’s wallet one Christmas
1 kids-day-out black rucksack (mine is from Kipling)
And that, my friends, is the ugly truth about how many bags you *actually* need. If I was in your house right now I would toss out so many of them. So just thank your lucky stars that I’m not there and treat the ones that you have like I’m about to come round with my binbag and this is your last day with them on earth.
Use one you haven’t used for a while with an outfit tomorrow and you get to keep it.
My attitude to sunglasses is scattergun and resolutely non-designer. I buy a clutch of mad ones from TopShop, Uniqlo and occasionally TK Maxx, keep them all in the basket next to the front door and wear whichever pair I feel like as I’m leaving. This is an area where I am absolutely slavish to fashion. Fuck classic completely and go wild. I lose them within three months anyway.
This is a contentious area, though – a lot of people say that cheap sunglasses are bad for your eyes because they don’t have proper UV protection. Is this actually right?? I can’t find proper evidence to support this. I kind of feel like it must be illegal to sell sunglasses that damage your eyes, but you might know better than me.
In the meantime, I want to encourage you to buy the maddest and most modern sunglasses you can. That way you can wear a white t-shirt, boyfriend jeans and espadrilles and MENTAL sunglasses and look just red-hot. Women will stop and stare at you in the street. Men won’t understand. It will be… amazing. Maximum impact, minimum effort.
I like the look of these
At the moment I’ve got a real crush on 70s style barely-there glasses like these (Chloe rip-offs) but I worry that they will send me blind within weeks.
At the moment all the fashion girls are wearing white plastic-rimmed Kurt Cobain jobbies like these (don’t worry that they are nominally for men), which you can get or not depending on whether you fancy the look of them.