We could, at times, rename My Uniform, ‘Stylish Mamas We Want to Hang Out With’. Claire is a fashion writer and mother to the super-cute Cecilia (fabulous name). Claire has a brilliant eye for a designer bargain (read on for her genius tips), a penchant for a flash of neon and a touch of sparkle, and is all about investing keep-forever classics. We’re totally inspired already.
For more from Claire, follow her on Twitter @cococan and instagram @clarebrayford.
I’m always interested in women who say they don’t like to over-think their wardrobe. I put a lot of thought into what I wear and I love it.
I have been known to get my husband to take pictures on my phone so I can properly visualise my outfit (even if he invariably he chops off my head in the picture). I enjoy trying something new, but on a good day I like to look feminine and polished. I’d choose Anna Wintour over Carine Roitfeld, or Gwyneth Paltrow over Rihanna. I like the classics with something unexpected. A trench, a simple cut dress, cropped trousers or jeans and knitwear but then I also love costume jewellery, animal print, ridiculous heels and, of course, a statement bag.
I thought practical was a dirty word before I became a mother
Now I positively embrace the pragmatic. I went to the Roger Vivier sale recently and found myself picking out all the flats – admittedly in neon colours. My J Brand Houlihan cargo pants, Sophie Hulme cross-body bag and L’Agence t-shirts are my new best friends, as well as sunglasses to cover my sleep-deprived eyes.
This is my everyday uniform: my favourite Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti trench, L’Agence T-shirt, MiH Paris jeans, Roger Vivier pink flats and, of course, with Cecilia!
The best jeans I have ever found are the Made in Heaven Paris style.
They are the perfect vintage blue, they graze the ankle at just the right point and they are about the only thing I wear that friends ask me where they can get the same. I have a navy Prada blazer that looks polished when I am feeling uninspired and I bought a Calvin Klein sheer tuxedo shirt in TK Maxx recently which I wear all the time. In the summer, New Look’s Oxford Street shoe floor invariably brightens my day.
“I love bargain hunting, but I mostly plump for designer so I rarely save any money.”
I never regretted buying a Celine bag from Bicester Village, a quilted Chanel purse from Vestiaire Collective and a classic Pucci-print dress from Gilt. I also enjoy scouring the charity shops in Wimbledon where I live – I found an amazing YSL skirt in Oxfam there but the prices are more akin to Harrods than your usual thrift store. And since becoming a mummy I have discovered Zulily which is great for discounted designer childrenswear.
I love a multi-buy as I hate it when something great is discontinued or if I shrink it in the wash.
I recently bought three collars from Cos – they look like a full white shirt under your knit, but in fact are just a bib so they are perfect for breastfeeding. If I am at an amazing sample sale I will always stock up – particularly at Christian Louboutin. And I love stacking rings, so Monica Vinader tends to be where I make repeat purchases – much to my husband’s dismay.
I have built up my bag collection over time
I have some classics like my Mulberry Bayswater that I still love – but there is always room for more. I know that the Charlotte Olympia Perspex Pandora clutch would feel very at home in my wardrobe. One thing I didn’t buy was a nappy bag, I didn’t see the point, but if I had, it would have been the Anya Hindmarch one. Instead, I used a classic leather shopper by LK Bennett and an Orla Kiely wash bag for nappies, wipes etc. It was a lot more compact that way.
Accessories are definitely where I am most adventurous.
I love Tom Binns’ statement jewels and Freedom at Topshop for inexpensive frosting, especially big earrings.
Sequins make me feel instantly dressed up
But on very simple, modern shapes with more of a glisten than a full on shine. I bought a white, limited-edition sequin T-shirt from Whistles recently that has proved a great investment. I’ve worn it with jeans for a low-key dinner or with a full Topshop skirt at my daughter’s christening and I felt glossy despite running around like a headless chicken. My other instant glamouriser is diamonds – a little harder to come by than sequins but equally as effective. I bought some diamond studs while on holiday in the Caribbean that I rarely take out and a stunning 100-diamond flower ring from Ernest Jones at Christmas that was really reasonable.
I’m currently on maternity leave, but I’ve been thinking about my ‘back to work’ uniform
Yes, there is so much I am excited by. I love all the pink around for autumn. I will definitely be investing in a pink coat – more delicate shade than Barbara Cartland – there is a brilliant one by Betty Jackson at Debenhams that I was really surprised by. I would like to invest in some tartan too; if the high street takes inspiration from Emilia Wickstead’s collection I will be very happy. And I’ll also be buying Kurt Geiger’s gold-heeled Chelsea boots, so I have a touch of shine even when I’m running around.
Thank you so much, Claire. We love your look (and your little girl!)
Images: via Pinterest, Glamour UK, Elle UK