How to dare more, care less this Summer

Having self-love is so on trend right now and thank f*#k… it’s about time. 

However, rather than a passing trend like neon or flatforms, why not make self-love a classic – an heirloom that’s passed down to the next generation like Nonna’s silk Gucci scarf.

But it’s hard to keep that self-love habit when life throws colostrum, mastitis and post-partum baby bodies your way.

It’s tough to “love yourself sick” when you’re covered in it. It’s not easy to “feel yourself” when the last time you did was to check your lady-bits were still intact.

Motherhood is beautiful but messy, so if like me you’re more likely to be standing in Ikea self-checkout with overtired kids cracking the shits, than on an Italian rooftop sipping Rosé, believe me when I say you don’t need to, to live a bold, joyful stylish life this summer.

Embrace and enjoy your current self. Unconditionally celebrate who you are now and express yourself. Not if you drop that last 10 kilos. Not if you got this injectable. Not if this bit or that bit was smaller, flatter or firmer. Now. 

Style is not formulaic. It’s as individual as one’s fingerprint. And it’s an inside job. 

No matter how gloriously joyful motherhood is, it’s normal to feel the relentless baby-centric schedule erasing your identity.

An easy fix is to create those moments of “you” in your clothes. You can still have functionality and express your individuality. They are not mutually exclusive. 

But for the environment and the global sisterhood’s sake, don’t fall into the mum trap of buying cheap clothes with no connection. 

Curate, don’t consume 

Accept your body and lifestyle is evolving. Keep your style formula simple and make a conscious decision on every single piece you buy – even if it is just a T-Shirt. Make sure you love it and want to wear it a lot as opposed to “I just need something to fit me”.

Look to other budget happy options and ways to connect with other mothers. Over consumption often comes from a lack of connection, feelings of loneliness, insecurity and low self-esteem. Organise a fun clothes swap playdate.

Know your neutrals

For me, metallics are a neutral so I’ve curated a plethora of metallic clothing, accessories and a small enough heel in which I can still wrangle kids and a runaway dog .  

So if you love leopard print, polka dots, bold colour or sparkle, don’t just buy pieces that only get out on rare special occasions, buy items that add flashes of “You” to make that long line in the bank less of a drag… for everyone. 

Style is about being yourself on purpose, whether you are pregnant, new mum or mama on the run with kids, but summer can be a challenge as the usual mum uniform of jeans becomes unbearable. 

3 pieces for my high impact, low maintenance summer style 

1. A lightweight statement layer 

This can be your style savior – easily chuck over a basic feeding vest and denim cut offs, add a cool Panama and statement sunnies and no one will notice you’ve been up all night with a colicky baby. Look for reversible options, breathable fabrics in colour, sequins or print in a silky bomber, kimono or blazer. 

2. A throw on dress that can go from day to night

Find at least one summer dress that does not need ironing, or shapewear to look good. Opt for a maxi or a jumpsuit if you can’t face shaving your legs. Never buy a piece unless it can work at least threeways – eg: looks good with sandals for a daytime BBQ, can be styled up for evening event, or you can add millinery for the polo or a wedding. 

3. A sunsafe swimsuit that makes you feel like a Bond Girl. 

Australia is number one for skin cancer and melanoma globally. We are all super careful about looking after our kids, but how many of us are walking our talk? 

It’s possible to have maximum sun protection and statement style. There are a lot of brands out there but my #ultimateonepiece is SunSoaked Swim & Resort, – designed by an Aussie mum in her 40s and fitted on real bodies, changing the way women feel in swimwear.

So, don’t sit on the sidelines this summer. Make fun memories with the people you love. Remember it’s not the clothes, but the stories you create in them that matters.

By Sally Steele. Sally is a 48 yr old mum of two, a stylist, mentor, speaker and author of new style/self- help book Dare More, Care Less® – featuring 36 real women of all ages from around the world for #realstreetstyle inspiration.