Anna Mewes 35, is passionate entrepreneur, having left the corporate world to be a business owner at 30 and now a mum to two under 5. In 2012, Anna set up her personal styling business near Leeds, West Yorkshire. Since the inception of her business Anna has seen over 1,000 women to advise them on colours, body shapes and how to dress to feel FABULOUS. She is passionate about helping women to boost their self confidence and body image through wearing clothes that make them LOOK and FEEL amazing.
It’s wonderful to share Anna’s wisdom.
Over to Anna….
Hey Mama, I see you, staring into your wardrobe feeling helpless and lost.
Wondering what you have that fits/isn’t covered in baby puke AND is appropriate for what you’re doing that day.
I see you battling with a thousand different emotions that looking at those pre-baby clothes evokes. They seem so alien now – did you actually wear that strapless top? Did you really fit into THOSE jeans (that now won’t go past your thighs)?
What happened? How come everyone else snaps back into shape, slips into their size 10 Levis a few weeks after giving birth and you haven’t? How come despite your best efforts you’re still a stone heavier than you were when you got pregnant?
I see you Mama, because I am you.
On the surface I might look like one of those stylish school-gate Mums who always has time to brush their hair and whack on some lippie, but underneath the lip gloss I have the same insecurities and doubts. At times I feel despair when I glance at clothes that I no longer fit into but can’t bear to part with. I look at pictures and wonder where that version of me has gone.
I also pile a bit of ‘I’m a fraud’ on top of those emotions because being a personal stylist people expect you to know how to navigate #mumstyle with ease. Well, for me it wasn’t easy.
After having two beautiful babies (who are now 5 and 2) I found that for the first time I lost confidence and struggled with my style.
Let me give you some background; I trained as a personal stylist whilst I was pregnant with my eldest child after a career in fashion marketing that ignited my passion for beautiful clothes and dressing with style. I worked on global campaigns for ghd using some of the most famous photographers in the world and I wanted to take this experience of celebrity style secrets and share this knowledge with all women. Because we all deserve to feel like rock stars.
None of this experience or training prepared me for how it would feel to have a completely different figure and lifestyle post-birth. My world was topsy-turvy and I loved it, but I didn’t know how to dress for this new role and amongst the late-night feeds and running around after a toddler I didn’t have time to give it much thought. Slowly I slipped into a style rut and for a while I didn’t know how to get out.
It took all of my skills and a lot of trial and error to find my way back to the new ‘me’ and learn how to dress for a different figure and lifestyle. It was completely different to how I had dressed before and is still ever-evolving.
I still have wobbles and I still question some of the choices I make style-wise and whether they’re appropriate for my figure/age/lifestyle but I’ve come to realise that as long as you LOVE what you’re wearing and enjoy your style, no-one else’s opinion matters.
If you too are feeling in style limbo after having children I want to share some tips and advice with you that I hope will help you navigate back to feeling like ‘you’ again…
I put myself on a spending ban ‘until I’d lost weight’ telling myself I’d get new clothes when I’d reached that magical number on the scales.
Guess what? Two years after the birth of my second child I still haven’t reached that magic number!
Buy clothes NOW that fit and flatter your figure rather than trying to squeeze into pre-baby clothes (or slopping around in old maternity wear). Your figure will look best in clothes that FIT properly, whatever your size. You don’t need to spend a lot if you’re on a weight loss journey but DO buy some new items that you feel FAB in.
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE FOUNDATIONS
A well-fitting bra can have a TRANSFORMATIONAL effect. Our breasts go through so many changes during pregnancy and after birth. Get measured and fitted for a new bra every six months and go for the prettiest designs you can find. Knowing you’re wearing something gorgeous underneath your outfit will lift your mood and a well-fitting bra gives you a sleeker silhouette (no lumps and bumps!)
COLOUR POPS ARE KEY
It’s no secret that colour has a direct impact on your mood so if you’re feeling a little drab reach for something bright. Yellows denote sunshine and happiness, reds are great to convey power and passion and if you’re feeling the need for calm and serenity reach for blues and greens. If bright colours aren’t your thing think about something as simple as a manicure (at home if necessary) or a bold lip colour (which will instantly brighten up your complexion as well as your mood).
For me, it’s all about the finishing touches when it comes to elevating a simple outfit from drab to fab. My favourite accessory when my children were babies was a colourful, oversized scarf as they’re so versatile. First and foremost they make a simple tee and jeans look more stylish, but in addition can be used as a cover when breastfeeding and to keep the sun off a sleeping baby – they’re also great to hide stains and spills on your top half, which are inevitable when little ones are around!
CHOOSE ONE THING
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with where to start with regaining your post-pregnancy style then simplify things right down. Choose ONE thing to do (maybe wearing a statement necklace or trying a new colour) and just focus on that. Just giving a little bit of thought to your style and adding one new touch will make you feel better and will inevitably lead to more steps back in the direction of your new stylish Mama image.
I’m a firm believer that taking time to dress in a way that makes us LOOK and FEEL good is a form of self-care. It is as important to our mental health and emotional wellbeing as going to the gym or eating healthily.
If our clothes don’t reflect us, if they’re drab, ill-fitting and old, we don’t feel good and for me that is the crucial point. Personal style is more than a great outfit, it’s an expression of YOU and is UNIQUE for each of us. It isn’t about following fashion, it’s about finding what works for you and ROCKING it!
When we FEEL good it has a ripple effect; we take better care of ourselves, our confidence is boosted and our self esteem rises.
So Mama, I see you and I just want to say, there’s a new version of you on the other side of those wardrobe doors. She’s still SASSY and STYLISH and FABULOUS you just need to find her again, and you will. I promise.
Buy my bestselling book in paperback or audio
My debut book is my guide to surviving and thriving at work and at home and offers insight into how to create a digital business or return to work with confidence.
Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home
(UK 2nd Edition)
Available on Amazon or Audible
The Working Mom: Your Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home
Available September 8th 2020. Order now on Amazon