whatveewore

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Cargo Wrap Skirt

My first pair of cargo pants were the daggiest and baggiest pair of pants going round.  I saved my pocket money for over 2 months to buy the pants – $69.95 from Just Jeans if I recall correctly.

I was 15 and a little young and naive. But boy did I love those pants! I wore them constantly on weekends and to every non-uniform day at school that year. I was soooo cool that I took the opportunity to not use a bag and store all my belongings for the day in the pockets. My fat velcro Billabong wallet in one side pocket (filled with sticker photos, old train tickets and receipts), key chain in another, my Blistex Lip Tone Lip Balm and tissues in my back pockets and a small pocket umbrella shoved in the other. Pockets are meant to be used right?! Probably not my best idea.

Almost 20 years later, I’m glad to be able to right some fashion wrongs by wearing a more chic version of cargo. And all wrapped up with a bow!

As always, thanks again for stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Knit (sold out | similar here, here and here)

Skirt (sold out | similar here, here and here)

Mules (here and here)

Bag (here)

Thank you to theurge for supporting this post.  theurge.com is a fashion search engine consolidating luxury goods for sale from online retailers. It’s simple, fast and comprehensive making it easy to browse and compare items sold by various online retailers in the one search.  All the items linked in this post are from theurge‘s search engine.  

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Making a ‘Mum-back’ to the Office – Part 2

Recently, I shared some thoughts on making a “Mum-back” (here). Today, I’m sharing some more practical tips in coming back to work after an extended period of leave. While these are things I learned and am now applying after returning from my second stint of maternity leave, they could also be worthwhile considering if you’re coming back from a gap year, a study break, a bout of illness, or (more appealingly) extended travel.

First and foremost, just remember to go easy on yourself. You can’t control everything and things don’t always run perfectly to plan. But, with some thoughtful planning, things can run a lot more smoothly. While it can sometimes be hard to set time aside to plan, particularly if, like me, you’re still mired in nappies and feeding schedules, every additional moment of planning can provide you with the clarity and calmness to make your “Mum-back”.

In the weeks and months leading up…

Reconnect with your team

First time around, I felt literally plonked at my desk, totally out of context and like a fish out of water.  I was fortunate enough to have another mum in the office take me out for coffee and help me get my bearings back.

This time around, I’ve tried to take the sting out of that first day back by reconnecting with my team in the weeks and months before I was back on deck. I’ve been out to lunch with colleagues, spoken with my supervising partner a few times over the phone, and begun engaging in email threads. As a result, I’m part of the planning for future work opportunities, including an exciting secondment placing, and I’m much readier than I was for Day 1.

What’s more, this reconnecting with your team need not be all uncompensated time. Which leads me to ‘keeping in touch’ days.

Make “keeping in touch” days work for you

In you’re in Australia and the UK, there’s often a provision for you to work up to 10 days while on parental leave to enable you to ‘keep in touch’ and facilitate a return to work. I had no idea about these valuable “keeping in touch” days when I was on parental leave with my first, but I will be using some days later this month to attend some training sessions. There are rules as to the type of work that can be performed so it is best to read up on these.

In Australia, you should check with the Department of Human Services and you can read more about keeping in touch days on the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

Dip into industry/association news and updates

The first time around, I pretty much switched off my emails completely and stopped reading industry/association newsletters altogether.  In a profession where legislation and regulation is constantly changing, I was a bit lost on my return!

This time around, I’ve been browsing the circulars and updates once a week just to keep myself in the loop.  I start from the latest updates and work my way back.  It’s nice to be able to refer to a recent development or an important precedent at a ‘keeping in touch’ meeting that may have escaped the attention of your colleagues! I’ve found that there is nothing much better to let your team know that you’re champing at the bit to return.

Put in a call to HR

While your return is the most important thing to you, HR have a million other things to do every day and may not have your return front of mind. This can lead to annoying administrative delays in your first days, rather than letting you focus on getting back into the swing of work.

To grease the internal machinery of your firm, contact HR to let them know of your plans to return wiht specific dates and proposed working days. HR may need to draw up different employment contracts if you plan on returning on a part time basis.

This time around I’ve achieved greater certainty by keeping in touch with my HR department.  It has also given them a chance to utilise their full range of skills by introducing me to various return to work support services to assist in my transition back to the office.

One month before…

Lock in care arrangements

This is probably the most stressful part of the Mum-back equation. If you’re like me, a Sydney-sider trying to get your kid into day care, chances are you’ve played the Great Waiting Game! The day care wait lists in Sydney are ridiculously long. My husband and I put our names down on several wait lists of child care centres in our local area when I was pregnant with my first – even before Baby WhatVeeWore had a name!

Ideally, baby should start at childcare centre a few weeks before you return to work to give both you and baby the time to ease into the new care arrangements.

I found it was also reassuring to have a plan about how we would manage sick days when I was back at work.  All it takes is one sick kid to turn your world upside down! My husband and I are both lawyers but we have usually been able to manage emergency care arrangements between ourselves thanks to the increased flexibility that comes with some seniority. But, if we’re both stuck at work, we are lucky to be able to rely on extended family to lend a hand.

In the last week, we’ve started our youngest at day care. I won’t lie, it has been an unsettling and emotional time.  What I’ve learned though is that when transitioning from being at home full-time to going back to work is that you have to get ride the emotional change as smoothly as you can with an eye to the future. Drop-offs do get easier. Even though it seems at first as if they couldn’t.

Dust off your work wardrobe

One of the great constants about corporate life is the unofficial uniform of corporate clothing. As I explore in this blog, your work wardrobe can be highly individual, creative, and heavily context dependent. But it can also be paralysing. Sometimes the hardest part of the day can be getting out the front door wearing something that lifts your up, rather than dragging you down.

After having my first, my body completely changed. I gave myself a hard time for not fitting into my old clothes and I lost my style confidence. After taking some time, I built this up again (a journey I will share soon in a separate post).  This time around, I know I have some reliable pieces (acquired post babies) that I feel good in.

If your budget permits, new work clothes are a sure way to give yourself a boost of confidence as you make your mum-back.

The week before…

Get a final lay of the land

Things can move fast in corporate culture. If you can, catch up with a trusted colleague for a coffee to get a feel for how things are travelling in the office. See what work is currently going around so that you can be ready to pick up the baton when it’s passed to you in the first few days.

This time around, I’ll be popping into the city to catch up with a few colleagues before I start and I might take the opportunity to browse a few shops and check off a few things on my Spring Workwear Wishlist while I’m there!

The night before…

Get some shut eye

This should go without saying… but with all that has been said recently about the importance of sleep to everything we do, it doesn’t hurt to stress it again GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP (the caps are every bit for me!). To do this, know that you’re ready for the next day. Have your outfit laid out and your bag packed (with your lunch too if you’re super organised). While you can’t control if baby cries in the middle of the night, or the neighbours decide to have a Sunday night party, at least you’ve done everything within your power to get quality sleep. So if your best laid plans don’t work out, don’t beat yourself up too much about it if you’re a little tired on your first day back.

Your first day…

Start your first day back like you want to enjoy the ones after. Establish your routine, keep calm and carry on!  Even if you’re not looking forward to being squished on a peak hour public transport or sitting in interminable meetings, making a comeback to work is a chance to rediscover the side of you that has been laying dormant these last months and to look great. Good luck.  You got this!

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Shop my outfit

Knit jumper (similar here)

Skirt (here | similar here, here and here)

Coat (old season, similar here and here)

Belt (here)

Heels (similar here and here)

Bag (old season, similar here and here)

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A Non-Husband Approved Outfit

As the title suggests, my husband is not a fan of this particular outfit. The deal breaker for him is the silky camisole. He thinks I’m wearing sleepwear out and about. I usually take his opinions on board but I thought I would live on the edge and test our marriage a little in this number!

If I’m honest, this Cami NYC camisole was a classic “Instagram made me do it” purchase. I heard Chase Amie rave about them on her YouTube channel and when I saw her style them for work on her Instagram I was sold – thinking I would get more bang for buck wearing it to the office and on weekends.  I think she looks fantastic in them, but I have a much shorter frame and find they don’t sit on me as well as they do on her.  Just goes to show – just because it looks nice on someone else doesn’t mean it will as look good on you.

Have your partners ever expressed their disapproval of anything you’ve worn?! And do you take it on board? I’d love to hear!

We’re catching up with family this weekend at typically vetoed dining establishments.  We normally eat quite healthy at home so the kids are really looking forward to the junk food!

Shop my outfit

Cami (here, here and here – and in black here, here and here)

Blazer (Carla Zampatti – sold out | similar here, here and here)

Skirt (Scanlan Theodore – sold out | similar here)

Mules (from Tony Bianco, here | similar here, here and here)

Bag (here, here and here)

Hope you’ve had a wonderful week and thanks again for reading!

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Spring Workwear Wishlist

Spring has sprung in Sydney and while the weather is still experiencing a few teething problems by delivering some chilly days, the trees are green and the sun is mostly shining.

A few workwear bits and bobs on my wishlist for the upcoming season are:

  • a pair of black mules – I love the Coco mules from The Row but I cannot justify the price tag. How good is this dupe? And it’s a fraction of the price.
  • a pair of brown suede pumps – I’ve totally embraced the neutrals trend and think these pumps would be perfect with the existing pieces in my wardrobe
  • a trench coat – perfect for shoulder season dressing – personally, I’ve got my eye on this one
  • a pair of mid rise skinny jeans for Casual Friday – my weight continues to fluctuate post baby and even more so now that he is being weaned. When my weight stabilises, I’ll be treating myself to some new denim. I’m thinking these or these
  • a pair of straight cut tailored trousers – I’m loving this pair but being vertically challenged it’s crucial that I try trousers on in store! Let me know if you have any suggestions for petite friendly tailored trousers in the comments.

Hope you’re having a great week so far and thanks for stopping by!

Shop my outfit

Knit (H&M – similar here and here)

Skirt (from Karen Millen, here | similar here, here, here and here)

Mules (from Tony Bianco, here | similar here, here and here)

Bag (here, here and here)

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Making a ‘Mum-back’ to the Office

…because ‘comeback’ doesn’t sound epic enough all things considering

I’m preparing to return to the office shortly. While I’m looking forward to getting back into the swing of things, the idea of being back at work is a little daunting. Making a mum-back to work is never easy after an extended period of time on maternity leave.

In this two part ‘mum-back’ series, I reflect on the things I wish I knew the first time around.

You will feel guilty leaving your child

…and it will never completely go away, but it does become less intense after the first few weeks. Things can be especially hard if your child is clingy at day care drop offs and loses it when you leave leaving this gut-wrenching feeling with you until mid-morning.

I remember the guilt hitting me really hard a few days into my return to work after having my first. I called the day care centre between meetings and they reassured me that my son stopped crying after about 10 minutes and I was completely fine for the rest of the day. It’s the new norm and you have to learn to steel yourself in those initial days.

You’ll lose your style confidence

The realisation that I had “lost myself” in motherhood hit me the hardest when it came to my style. Gone was the woman who would browse through David Jones and spend her last penny on Russh magazine and full price Zimmermann. Somewhere between my second trimester and being eight months post-partum, I lost the joy that I got from fashion. My body had completely changed and my designer wardrobe no longer fit me.

This took some time to rebuild – and the process of finding my style confidence inspired the birth of this blog and my Instagram. I will dedicate a whole blog post to this soon but in short, I realised the importance of building a wardrobe of great quality classics.

You’ll start to really enjoy adult interaction again

Do you know what’s one of the best things about going back to work? A conversation where you’re not discussing feeding, sleep patterns and developmental milestones. Hallelujah! Don’t get me wrong, I talk with my fellow mum and dad friends about all these things all the time – and find it important to as well – but it does get tiring when it becomes the sole focus of conversations… which can be often.  It can make you a little stir crazy after a while and I personally craved conversations with people who didn’t just see me as a mum.

The juggle is real

Gone are those flexible working hours where you message your partner to say you’re stuck in a meeting and you’ll be an hour late home. Day care drop offs and picks ups are shared between my husband and I so there is little flexibility to stay back a bit later to finish something off or if a meeting goes over.

When I returned to work after having my first, I became very efficient during office hours. Having the ability to log on from home also made this easier for me as I could leave on time but would log on remotely after the kids were in bed to finish off a few things.

If anything, having kids makes you more efficient both in the home and in general.

You may feel the need to prove yourself all over again

Not the most encouraging of thoughts, but it can feel that you need to show your worth again and that you are pulling your weight. Workplaces have certainly improved in supporting women coming back to work and we have much to be thankful for to those women who have gone before us (I’m thinking in particular of a woman who was a senior partner at my firm with three young kids – M.L. – who was a leader in modernising the firm’s return to work, working from home and parental leave arrangements).

It can be a bit of a jolt to the system being back in the office but you need to give yourself a bit of credit for all the hard work that you have previously put in to get you where you are, and be confident that you’ll find your feet again quickly.

I really struggled in the first few days of my return to remain focused and concentrate on tasks. I essentially had to teach myself to concentrate again before I felt like my normal working self.

Having said that – don’t kill yourself trying. If you burn the candle at both ends, it’ll be that much harder to get back to your best.

It’s as much for you as it is for the family

Personally, I found being at home could feel relentless. Sometimes it seemed the results of my efforts each day weren’t as tangible as when I was sitting behind my desk.  In fact, if parenting and work were equated, sometimes having a shower and going to the bathroom undisturbed seems comparable to work worthy of promotion.

But as I type this, I know that being full time at home with my youngest is running out and I need to remind myself how beneficial it was for me to go back to work after my first. Work gives me an added sense of purpose. I personally find it very satisfying to use my law brain in the office – in turn making me a happier and better mum when I’m at home. If you’re anything like me, you busted your gut at university and put in those long hours at the office to progress in your career. So, it’s nice to feel like you’re pursuing that path again for yourself, as well as making a broader contribution for the family.

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Shop my outfit

Dress (here)

Coat (here and here | similar here, here and here)

Heels (sold out | similar here, here, here and here)

Bag (here, here and here)

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Navy & Grey

It’s been sad to hear the recent news of the closure of Karen Millen’s operations in Australia by the end of the month. I am a huge fan of Karen Millen’s tailored pieces that have become workwear favourites of mine and I bought those pieces at the Karen Millen boutique shopfronts. Even more surprising was the news that Karen Millen’s global business was unable to secure a buyer and that they’ve separately sold their online business arm to Boohoo. Whaaaaat? An odd pairing if you ask me. I’m not quite sure what a fast fashion brand will do with a label synonymous for tailoring on the high street and I will certainly be following that progress.  The state of retail is a bit dismal at the moment!

I’m wearing my trusty Carla Zampatti navy jacket here which I’ve had for almost 6 years now (totally justified the cost per wear), Cecilie Copenhagen top that I purchased from Incu, Karen Millen grey pencil skirt, Louboutin Degraspikes and Celine belt bag.

Thanks for stopping by.

Shop my outfit

Blazer (sold out | similar here, here and here)

Top (colour sold out, same style in black here)

Skirt (here)

Heels (sold out)

Bag (here, here and here)

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