For some new mums, fashion is at the bottom of their demanding list of priorities. But not for Ellen Robbins. The Brisbane hairdresser launched her blog, The Stylist Mama in a bid to encourage fellow mothers to rediscover their style. Here, we chat to the mum-of-one about how style changes when you become a mum and how you can regain your style if you might be feeling a little off since welcoming a little one to your life.
Did you struggle with your style after having your daughter?
Absolutely! Even before I had Sophie, my body was changing so much that dressing the bump was a struggle at times! The early days at home with a brand-new baby are hard because you have to be dressed but also accessible for feeding, but even finding clothes that fitted all my new curves was tricky too. Being a first-time mum, I wasn’t sure how quickly I would bounce back, so I wore a lot of stretchy cotton skirts and T-shirts tucked in!
Has your style changed?
It has definitely evolved. I am a hairdresser and did lots of stage work and editorial photoshoots (and I’m a fashion addict) so I used to wear a tonne of designer pieces and clothing that just aren’t suitable for day-to-day parenting. I have a much more laid-back attitude now, and wear lots of high street brands and wear more colour than I used to, and save the good pieces for events or work.
Are you more limited in your wardrobe choices? E.g. do you avoid certain lengths or dresses when you know you’ll be running around after your daughter?
Yes, but it really depends on the day! In the mornings, I usually run around and do our mummy/daughter activities, so activewear is my go to. It’s just easy and affordable. The afternoon is usually for catch ups/ clients or meetings so I dress accordingly but defiantly avoid clothing that might be hazardous if there are children involved- lol.
How would you describe your style?
Super eclectic. In the summer, I live in gorgeous dresses with sandals and statement accessories, I am obsessed with brands like Zimmermann, Chloe, Innika Choo, Steele, Seed Heritage, Ulla Johnson and Cult Gaia, but then coming into winter my look is a little more structured and dark with a lot more neutral tones and shapes. I love Helmut Lang, Ganni, Viktoria & Woods, and Atoir.
What inspires you? Where do you look to for inspiration?
Online mostly, Instagram is great, and when you find a great account to follow it’s so inspiring, I have bought so many things just by seeing another influencer sharing it! I also have so many Pinterest boards filled with fashion inspo at the moment and it really helps me see what colours and textures work together for future looks and shopping trips, I love that platform. But in saying that, being out and about is a huge inspiration for me too. People love dressing up for events- and I love seeing how people style themselves, so that’s a major inspiration point too.
How does your style shape your identity, and did you struggle with this after having a child?
I think you can let it be a huge part of you or a very little part, and I know so many people who are on either end. For me, style is so empowering and fun. I love being able to dress up and share different parts of my identity with different looks whether it’s something super casual, or something high fashion. I did struggle a little bit post-baby, but once I decided to start fresh and just embrace whatever stage my body was at, it became so much more relaxed and easy to just get dressed knowing I still had time to shrink back… mind you I am still working on that.
Do you feel like you’re more stylish since having a child?
I feel more confident because I have a lot more passion now, and sometimes that defiantly shows in my style and outfits. I try to share my daily looks online, and it’s so interesting to see what other people love. I experiment a little more now because I do freelance work and I’m not dressing for a normal 9-5 job anymore, so I absolutely mix it up with wearing a maxi dress and sneakers or a block colour all over which is a little daring - haha!
What brands do you love/wear most?
Oh man, quite a few! I love Zimmermann and I wear so much of it, it’s just so 'me'. For more day-to-day wear, I always have a bit of a combo of Zara, Seed Heritage, Frankie + Dash, Shabby Sisters, or Country Road.
Has motherhood changed other aspects of your life?
Yes!! Almost every element! We are beyond lucky to have family who are willing to help us when we travel for work so that is probably the only thing we’ve been able to keep up, but other than that, parenting literally changes everything you ever knew. It becomes less about you, and all about them!!
What advice do offer to new mothers who are struggling with rediscovering their style?
Motherhood is very messy and extremely tiring, so don’t feel like you have to bounce back immediately! Fashion is always evolving and changing, so while you might feel like you need an entirely new wardrobe, just invest in a few new accessories or something special that will stand the test of time! New shoes are always an easy way to dress up a dress you might have in the wardrobe!
The three items every wardrobe needs…
A great pair of sunglasses, a patterned maxi dress for autumn/ winter this year (Ganni style), and an amazing pair of sneakers or boots to get you from morning to night!
Your most over-worn item of clothing?
My Zimmermann Lumino dress. I think I will hang it up now that it’s getting cooler, but it got a workout last summer!!
You’re inspiring other mothers through your blog, The Stylist Mama, was that your intention?
Oh, thank you!! I hope so. To be honest, I started the blog when Sophie was a few months old and it was a lot more “mummy based” but when I got back into work and routine I shared a lot more fashion and beauty advice posts and they just exploded, so I do a mix now- lots of fashion edits and beauty how to’s, and of course some parenting posts! The feedback has been bloody fab, so I hope to just keep going on!!!
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