There is something about having a baby, or just getting older, maybe, that – even if you are nominally roughly the size you were “before” – means tight clothes, especially around the middle feel wrong. Evil. Terrible. Suffocating. BAD!!
The days that I discovered boyfriend jeans and chinos were the best of my life. At last! The tyranny of my jeans was OVER! I was no longer held hostage to those torture tubes! I no longer had to choose jeans and be uncomfortable all day or leggings and feel like a dag. There was a third way.
Of course, skinny jeans have their place on the days when YOU HATE YOURSELF. But there is also room for other sorts of trousers in a capsule wardrobe and once you’ve found a good pair of each, you won’t look back.
1 Boyfriend jeans.
I got mine from Acne about 4 years ago, long before boyfriend jeans were everywhere. Yes, dammit… I was first! Okay, it was because I literally couldn’t fucking stand my skinny jeans a second longer and needed an alternative, but sometimes necessity is the mother of invention.
Acne no longer make those jeans, but the next-best expensive option is Current/Eliott. If you want to take a deep breath and just think FUCK IT – order these. You can always send them back if you don’t like them. But they may also save your life. My Acne boyfriends I have worn to death. They were I think about £220 – but cost per wear? Pennies.
The ones I wear now and most often are Gap’s Girlfriend jeans – a lot of people rave about these. They are very comfy and remarkable in their un-remarkableness, if that makes sense. They are alas sold out as it’s the end of the season, but will re-stock.
I’ve always found H&M to make really good jeans; I have a pair of white boyfriends that are ace. These look promising to me.
If you are a bit more straight-up, these from Baukjen are the sorts of boyfriend jean that would be worn by a hedge fund manager on her day off.
These from ASOS, also look great. I don’t understand why they’re only £16… I guess they’re a bit too … normal for ASOS, which errs on the side of wacky – god bless its heart. They may well just be the bargain of the century.
Now, look – obviously jeans, whatever cut, size or style, are the most taxing things to buy. You might have to kiss a few frogs before you find The One (see what I’m doing here.. boyfriend?.. oh never mind) but you need a pair of these. You just do.
Take a size up from your usual, wear them low and loose on your hips, feel the cool, forgiving breeze around your midsection, a marvellous non-stragulation round the thighs. Wave goodbye to the hourly hitch-up. It’s just heaven.
I know that when I say “chino” you think “office man on dress down Friday”. You are thinking “slacks” you are thinking “beige”.
Non. I am talking about something like this, below.
For real, Gwyneth Paltrow used to live quite near me and send her kids to a school up the road and whenever I saw her, she was in a pair of these.
Unfortunately these from Gap are sold out (nothing to do with me) but they usually re-stock… the green khaki chino is kind of Gap staple.
Same with H&M – these have sold out in normal sizes, but they will be back. I think these may even be the ones that I have on right now! Except I have rolled mine up because I am not a lunatic like the stylist who did this pic below:
But these from Oasis via JLP look like they might be very great – they’re a fabulous colour, plenty of sizes left and look like a good, relaxed fit. And only £32!
3 Smart joggers
This is a very wide remit. A “smart” pair of jogging trousers or sweatpants can genuinely just mean a pair that is quite new and clean, with no indelible grease stains, (you know exactly what I’m talking about), and the nap of the cloth not just blown this way and that like a cat caught in a storm from wear and washing.
But you can go over to really, really smart – the sort worn by women at parties with high heels. I don’t really mean this sort. Nothing made of silk is necessary, but it doesn’t have to be terry cloth either.
So a lot to play with here. But they are, now, part of a capsule wardrobe. I once went to quite a smart lunch in some clean joggers, very white Stan Smiths, a white t-shirt, black blazer and very serious gold hoop earrings and definitely looked almost nearly the most awesome one there
in my head.
At the other end of the spectrum, on the school run some tidy joggers, neat shoes, t-shirt and denim jacket and you also look perfectly modern and pulled-together. Boden wrap dresses need not apply.
Here are some joggers for inspiration.
These are from Jack Wills – don’t laugh! I’ve got some of these and they’re very good, though knackered. These are now my indelibly stained pair, but in their prime they were pretty magnificent. Obviously I look exactly like this girl when I’m wearing them, too.
J Crew Saturday pant if I am ever in a position to upgrade my joggers, these are the pair I would choose.
4 Denim skirt
Unless you have fabulous legs, do not buy a denim mini, no matter how much you are tempted. They really don’t suit anyone as far as I can see and you will find reason after reason not to wear it. Not capsule.
So knee-length is what you want. Not really long or flappy because they will piss you off while you are pushing the buggy. These are two examples that I’ve found around at the moment, but I think that there will be more around in the autumn as a knee-length denim skirt is quite an autumnal thing.
Whichever one you choose make sure it doesn’t ride up or possibly impede your stride as you dash after a 3yo heading for the road. It needs to have good stretch or a slit somewhere or both. A couple of horrible childbirth comparisons have just popped into my head.
Here is one from White Stuff
And this one is the kind of thing I’m talking about: John Rocha for Debenhams
Okay I argue that a Mad Skirt is capsule. This is your go-to for a lunch party where you don’t want to feel like a frump, but don’t want to wear a dress – you wear this with your white t shirt, jewellery, clogs and a denim jacket (more on this tomorrow). This is also good at night, with your black camisole, jewellery and your clean trainers (unless you’re going to the Ritz, in which case maybe the clogs again). I have two mad skirts, one ancient shiny knackered one from Zara and a Gucci rip-off from M&S back in winter. Both very useful.
Here are some suggestions but god, don’t let me stop you. Wait until you’ve got PMT then go shopping for this skirt and going fucking bonkers.
I sense a lot of resistance to culottes but please, please, please just give them a go, even if you’re not sure. You might be really surprised at how useful and flattering they can be. It will take you a day and a half to get used to them and how they look. Your husband won’t like them, which is a really good sign as they just want you to wear a wrap dress and/or tight sweaters every day. Obviously make sure they are comfy as hell.
The culottes don’t have to be black – they could be navy or I’ve got a pair in chambray. But PLEASE give them a try if you haven’t before.
I try not to wear skinny jeans ever these days, but I find they do come in handy for times when you have to be smart, or for going out in the evening. 1 pair skinny black jeans, plus one black camisole top plus crazy earrings = lifesaver evening outfit. Or jeans, grey uniqlo crew neck, crazy earrings = lifesaver dinner party outfit.
I put them on just before I leave the house and rip them off in the hall as soon as I’m home to minimise the time actually wearing them. The only way one should ever wear skinnies after having kids really.
My black skinny jeans are from J Brand, though you can just pick your favourite jeans maker and buy from there. I like J Brand because they are very stretchy, (though not like jeggings), and the dye has a high pigment so they’re still black as night even though I bought them BEFORE I had Kitty!!!!
This is the link to the J Brand/Net site though obviously being end of season they’re bloody sold out, (AGAIN, sorry – what a stupid time of year to do this post), but if you are near a big department store stockist, they ought to have some. This is one of those times when real life outstrips online by some margin.
Okay. Still with me!? Awake? At the end of this on my Instagram stories I am going to spend an entire morning just putting together and wearing outfits from the capsule items I’ve been mentioning all week, to really get you psyched.