I had a lovely email from Kate saying that I did a post last year about good clothes to wear on the school run. I don’t remember doing that, so I’m assuming she’s confused me with another blogger but who cares! It’s a good subject.
So here is my school run capsule wardrobe. I am not saying that these are the only clothes you need – by all means buy whatever the hell you like, but if you have all of these things to hand, you will always be comfortable and basically stylish (if probably not actively fashionable). There are many other people who think that the school run is an opportunity for a proper fashion show, but I am not one of those and I am here to tell you it’s okay to just keep it simple.
1 You will need a massive stretchy bra. Because who the hell wants to put on something underwired at 7am? My favourites over the years have always come from Gap.
2 JEANS. Again! How many times have I written about jeans, and yet there’s still more to say. For as much of the year as possible I favour a looser, boyfriend-style jean as skinny jeans can make me feel quite homicidal by 11am. I have a pair I like very much just called “Straight” from TopShop. My other best jeans right now are Levis – I wear a Mile High Cropped Flare – not for everyone but I find it balances out my wide bum if that’s an issue that you have to, go for it. I can only find them online in black URGH. Why do I bother. Although with jeans you really have to go into a store and try on about 100 pairs anyway. What a faff. But worth it, though, for when you find a great pair.
If you are looking to change up your jean style generally, Levis are definitely the brand to go for if you want to be absolutely au courant.
3 T-shirts. One black, one white, one grey. Again, t-shirts are very particular to the individual and at the moment I am bumbling along with some non-ideal ones. I have always liked ones from Hush – but whenever I mention Hush T-Shirts everyone says that they don’t wash well, which I guess is kind of true. To be truly on-trend if that’s a thing you want you actually need to be wearing t-shirts that look like you borrowed them from a teenage boy – big, crewneck, white. Wear with a heavy gold chain like this from Tilly Sveaas to be so hip people won’t be able to look directly at you. Like you’re THE SUN.
4 Crew neck sweaters, from Uniqlo. One beige, one navy, one grey. These drape wonderfully and do not pill or bobble.
5 Sweatshirt. In grey or navy blue. Again, if you’re looking to be very up to date, get one with a discreet logo by Adidas, Nike, Champion or any of those bozos. Asos do a good range.
6 Masive cardi. Something like this or my current one is from M&S.
7 Trainers. Stan Smiths are still fine and are a very easy way to look and feel current, but be warned, they are quite heavy. If you get white trainers make sure they are leather so that they can be given a good clean – it will also make them doubly waterproof. Everyone seems wild for Veja these days – but I have had mixed reports on how comfortable they are. Personally, I am very attached (as I might have mentioned) to my Hummel high tops. Allbirds are not very cool but they are insanely comfortable and you don’t have to wear socks with them. I didn’t realise what a hassle finding and putting on socks was until I didn’t have to. I am devoted to mine and they have just bought out a waterproof range. Out me way.
8 Leggings. For when even jeans give you the heebie jeebies. I know it’s a cliche, but only a plain pair from LuluLemon will do. Yes they are £88 but I’ve had mine for years and they still look brand new.
9 Tracksuit bottoms. If you work from home or don’t work at all, celebrate this by occasionally wearing tracksuit bottoms. My best ever have been the Lindsey jogger from Hush. Their one downside is that they don’t have side pockets but perhaps that’s what makes them so flattering. Wear with a denim jacket and a frown
10 Jewellery – Margot and Mila. Here is some advice that I really need to take myself – get yourself some gold hoops that you can permanently wear. My friend MC has an assortment from Margot and Mila that they are just ridiculously cool and you can leave them in all the time, meaning no messing about putting in damn earrings in the morning, you can just roll out of bed and already look like a gangster. They look particularly great if you have multiple piercings – a row of little neat gold rings up one side. Cute. If you email them you can request 3 singles of any of their earrings so you can mix and match.
11 Cosy coat – and I don’t mean a parka. Parkas have their place – the tyranny of the Canada Goose has left us all with a £900 coat in our wardrobes that we still have to wear for 300 days until we can justify the cost-per-wear. In fact a more useful coat for the school run is just a big cosy one. Something unstructured and loose that won’t hassle you or make demands. Something with big pockets. This from Hush would be perfect if only it had slanted pockets. This from Stories is wonderful.
12 Oversized hoodie. A hoodie is just a hoodie, until it is massive and slops down over your hands and over your bum and then suddenly it’s a fashion item. It must be thick and cosy and cover everything up – think one you might have borrowed off a WWF wrestler. For extra points, its best if it has an obscure provenance – I have got one from the Plymouth Aquarium and also from Alcatraz and also one saying NYPD across the front. If you don’t have an obscure one, just a plain one will do – but make sure it’s a pop-over and not a zip-through. Don’t ask me why. If you don’t want to mess about, Asos does very plain ones. Just make sure it’s BIG.
13 Cosy boots. This will start a row, it always does – what with many people believing that wearing your cosy boots outside is not okay. BUT there are certain months of the year, when it is bitching cold from sun up to sun down and at those times of year, if you have a pair of shortie cosy boots to put your little frozen toes into you will simply weep with gratitude. I get mine from Celtic&Co. The thing I like most about this company is that they will recondition any knackered old Celtic&Co boots (for a small fee). But that is really an admirable attitude.
14 Rugby socks – to bridge the gap between the top of your trainers and the bottom of your leggings in cold weather. These are mine and everyone asks me where I got them from. Weirdly sexy, like Kelly Le Brock at the start of Weird Science. Possibly only in my head though.
15 Very chunky beanie hat. If you wonder why you don’t look nice in a beanie hat I am here to tell you: your beanie hat is too small or too thin. What you need is a massive, chunky beanie and you will look superb. Maybe I’ve just got a massive head, I don’t know – anyway I have yet to absolutely find the best one, but this one looks terrific to me. I am quite tempted by one of their bucket rain hats, too.
16 Raincoat. You can either get a massive dog-walking raincoat from Seasalt, which has the requisite large hood and huge pockets OR Uniqlo have just started doing these gorgeous little soutien collar raincoats, which are water and windproof and are so chic and so very Japanese. A huge dog walking coat has a lot to recommend it, but they don’t look that great in town. Most of the time rain isn’t that bad or heavy enough to require a hood and if it was I would take an umbrella or a hat – I find hoods a bit unnerving because I a bit jumpy and neurotic and I don’t like to not be able to see all around me at all times.
Sorry this post was far, far, longer than I intended it to be. I hope it was helpful. Please leave any recommendations for anything you think might be useful to readers in the handy box below.
YES this is what I have been waiting for! Thank you, Esther. I have been bereft and lacking in guidance, but no more 🙂
Kate Malloch says
Thank you Esther! Lovely. Im off to peruse that jewellery & am v v keen on those Vejas. It was def you, I might have taken nuggets from your various posts tho & compiled them in my head! Ive been hunting online for just such a hoody but as a busty size 14 5ft11 suspect may even struggle in men’s to get it big & baggy enough 😐. Anyway. Thank you. From sunny Aberdeen. Kate xxx
Kate, I have the Veja Esplar with the Velcro straps and they are literally the most uncomfortable pair of trainers I’ve ever had. They might as well be made of cardboard. If you’re getting some, make sure to try them on first. Maybe it’s only the Velcro ones and the normal ones are ok?
It’s not only you and not only the Velcro ones. I ordered some of the mace up ones and they were the most uncomfortable trainers I tried on. The tongue is super long and stuck into the front of my ankle. Very odd. I have some lovely silver LK Bennet ones now that I have just seen are on sale..
Zoe Fowler says
Yes absolutely agree about uncomfortable Veja trainers !
Thank f*ck for this post Esther! I think this will be the year I finally buy a Uniqlo sweater – do you tend to go large with these (I mean that literally, not existentially)? I am 5’7’’, size 10/12 and I don’t like a tight fit with jumpers – what would you recommend in Uniqlo sizing? Thank you so much 😊
last time Esther recommended the Uniqlo sweater I recall she suggested sizing up and I believe she said she does go Large
Thank you, that’s great 👍
An L will fit perfectly x
Thank you! 😘
“A denim jacket and a frown” = my current school run uniform. At least you only went weird science with the socks and not the rubber or barbed wire bra. Those raincoats are really nice. I quite suit hats but I have a big hair situation combined with a larger quantity of ear than brings me joy and when I did find one I thought was stretchy enough my husband said I looked like I was in East 17. That jewellery is lovely – I’ve lost one of my favourite pair of hoops so probably could do with replacing them with 2 or maybe 3 pairs and a slightly sick, guilty, yet euphoric feeling. Fully agree on obscure hoodies. I’ve never bought one from Plymouth Aquarium but I did laugh as I do have weird habit of buying a lot of shite from there – a shark tooth necklace, a bag with whales on, a bookmark – my usually unbreakable gift shop resolve always fails me after I’ve been mesmerised by the octopus at the end of a long rainy day. It’s like it’s the only place I’ve ever visited.
Cindy, that husband comment about East 17 is just so mean but funny. He clearly has no sense of FASHUN at all. And everyone knows that Brian Harvey’s ace.
Thanks for the support. I’m going to get the biggest beanie in the kingdom and if he wants to Stay Another Day he can learn to like it (sorry that was intentionally awful but I don’t think that excuses it)
At least he didn’t say you look like Radar from M*A*S*H. Mine did. And I do.
I’m sure you DON’T look like Radar from Mash. Men are dicks. My friend had some striped trousers on the other day and her husband came in & said ‘evening, Beetlejuice’
I would take all these as compliments. What do the shirt-and-jeans crew really know. We are rewatching Seinfeld and I have found myself really liking some of Elaine’s looks and that got the raised eyebrow. I told him he was lucky I wasn’t going full Kramer.
Alison D says
Can anyone recommend a vegetarian version of the absolutely bloody wonderful looking Woodsman Boots from Celtic&Co? I wants them so bad I am almost on the verge of returning my Vegetarian4Life card…..
PETA have a list of Ugg-type alternative brands on their site, there may be something there
You are so right about large woollie hats. I couldn’t work out why I looked like an egg until I found the BIG pull on. The cuff should be very thick which gives a very good look.
I agree with the big cuff on the beanie hat. I’ve got a large heid and if I wear a cuffless one I look like an egg with a knitted egg warmer thing on.
This is my favourite hat. It’s desperately crap and cheesy but I bought it in Reykjavik and I love it.
Could you provide me with some ideas for what to wear for a weeks sight-seeing in New York next month. I’m going for my 50 th birthday treat with my two hyper-critical teens and my lovely husband. Thinking of cold weather I have bought a long hooded down coat in grey – my son commented ‘urgh is that dressy enough for New York – we re not walking a dog’ It is from Lands End though.
Other apparent fails are a longish brushed cotton plaid shirt in maroon/black/white ( obv lumberjack references) and for layering I have bought a white fine knit turtleneck ( you look like you are going on TV’s The Cube ) I usually wear dark skinny jeans too. I bought looser boyfriend jeans – they fell about – ‘Mum you are Way Too Old for them’
None of this makes me feel confident that I have got what I need for the trip and that maybe they are right and I don’t dress appropriately or classy enough for my age ‘
I’m 510 size 14 and feel I don’t look 100 years old …. can u help me I also wonder about what to wear for a celebratory meal out- is NY less formal on these occasions?
Oh Lucy, I have no idea about NY fashion but couldn’t not reply to this. Teenagers are so bloody mean and, lets face it, have no idea what they’re talking about. If what you’re wearing feels good when you look in the mirror then it’s great. No way are you too old for anything and none of this sounds outrageous! I’d be tempted to sell the teenagers’ plane tickets and spend the money on fabulous cocktails. Hope you have a lovely birthday and a wonderful holiday xx
Jennifer Wu says
New Yorker here. The style is to wear whatever makes you happy, as long as you take off your backpack on the subway, stay to the right of escalators when you don’t want to walk up them, and wait til you’ve found a safe place to stand before getting out your phone to pull up Google maps. I second the suggestion of selling the teenagers’ plane tickets for cocktail money.
oh my god teenagers are so horrible. without seeing you it’s very hard to know what to recommend. personally I would treat yourself to a personal shopping session at a john lewis if you can get yourself to one. And a pair of Allbirds trainers for all the walking about because they are so comfortable. In terms of dinner out, long floral dresses seem to be some sort of epidemic xx
What about this one??
This is incredibly useful. Will have a look at the cosy coat and the raincoat, if possible TODAY. For jewelry, may I point you to the Dutch brand https://www.instagram.com/oakandelkjewelry/
I have been wearing their earrings for months and get a compliment on them every day. Every day! Plus, it’s quite a tiny brand so no one else has them.
that’s great – very original and cute x
Love this thanks Esther. Off topic but shopping related…keen to be thinking of some ‘useful’ Xmas (gasp) bits for the kids. I was v impressed with your lightweight packing for your summer hols – any reccs for bags???? Thank you.
Bags for kids? School bags? Holiday bags?
Holidays bags for kids pls- to take on plane as carry on
Perfect thank you Esther
I am very fond of M+S jeggings, as a GALUMPHINGLY TALL woman (in long). They don’t split down the crotch seams in five minutes like every other high street brand, and they’re high waisted.
Ok nice m & s coat bought thanks for that suggestion – got money off with sparks points- personal shopping session booked at JL – and I’ve decided to stop running my fashion choices past the damn teenagers – I mean really they are toxic negative – they can’t help it they will grow up & become nicer …. I know I did … but obv some adult folk don’t know how to be kind or even civilised (you know who)
Anyway thanks Spikers and of course Esther -love your stuff – snide the haters- as the kids say x
Ive just bought this coat in black from Marks and I am thrilled with it. I tried very hard to buy a spendy one from Montcler or wherever but just couldn’t justify it. This fits well, is flattering, has nice quality zips etc and is v v warm.