I've been following Dress Like a Mum on Instagram for a while now. Attracted to her honest and funny snippets of a mums life and of course her amazing fashion style. Her blog is equally as engaging with interesting reads and fab fashion finds. So, I was very eager to meet her in person and find out a bit more about her and how Dress like a Mum started.
The day started like any other, frantic! Trying to get the kids off to school, walk the dog, look half decent and put a bit of make-up on (that bit didn't go so well!). I was on time - or so I thought. WRONG! I suddenly realised that I had exactly 6 minutes to get to the train station to catch the train to enable me to meet the connecting train that would get me to our arranged rendezvous on time.
So I ran, I ran like the wind, with a Chanel bag thrown over my shoulder, a big camera bag over the other one and another tote bag jiggling about somewhere in the middle! Why so many bags, I thought to myself! As I flew into the station, I started to overheat, the huge scarf wrapped round my neck became like a constrictor snake, I couldn't get out of it quick enough! My carefully straightened hair started to frizz and my clammy sweaty forehead made my fringe kink. And... I missed the train. Grrrr!
I realised I wasn't going to make it on time, so in a panic I emailed dear Zoe and she replied with a swift "Don't worry, that time suits me better anyway" - and I knew I was gonna like this girl very much!
So, a little bit later than planned, I eventually made it to the cafe where Zoe was sitting looking stunning in a silver sparkly tube dress, cool trainers and gorgeous jewellery. She looked fab! And over a coffee, we chatted and we laughed and I realised this lady was just as I wanted her to be, totally real, fun and completely lovely. Here's what she had to say about Dress like a Mum...
LF: You have a way of identifying and communicating with your followers that make you really likeable and approachable. What's your secret?
DLAM: I'm totally myself and I don't attempt to be anyone else! When DLAM started my main followers were my friends and they all said that it was totally me! I don't take myself seriously at all and I always look on the brightside, whatever day i'm having!
LF: So how did DLAM start? Was it just about finding stylish breastfeeding outfits?
DLAM: It was partly that, but also when I had Art, my first baby, I became lazy with my outfits. I just wore skinny jeans and a tee - that was my default outfit and it was easy to breastfeed in. I then went back to work and realised that I love clothes, so when I fell pregnant again I told myself that I wasn't going to compromise on clothes again. I thought if I take pictures of myself and post them on Instagram, it'll make me do it, it'll make me think about my outfit choices. I also want to help people who are losing their identity, like I did first time round. DLAM also came about through wanting to quash the stereotype of what 'Dressing like a mum' is. I remember being in a lift with my baby and a woman saying to me "Is that your baby?" aghast that I could possibly have a child! "You don't look like a mum" she said! I just stared at her and thought 'so what is a mum supposed to look like?' I want to know why there is such negativity around 'mum dressing'? Do we have to lose our identity and style when babies come along? There is such a difference between maternity and 'regular' collections, but why? Just because we breastfeed or have a few extra tummy rolls, doesn't mean we don't want to retain our fashion style. So DLAM was born. Originally I wanted it to be more of a street style thing, where I take pictures of other mums looking super cool, however this evolved into my Instagram page focusing on me and I encourage others to use the hashtag "dresslikeamum to get involved too.
LF: So you obviously have a lot of knowledge about brands and fashion. What is your background?
DLAM: I have years of experience working in digital and creative agencies and brand marketing working with brands all over the world.
LF: How did your Instagram feed evolve into a website and blog?
DLAM: I purposefully didn't want to start a blog as there are so many fashion blogs and mummy bloggers out there, But I want to work with brands and it became a natural progression from Instagram to showcase brands I love and work with.
LF: So what is your 'go to' fashion brand for functionality and style?
DLAM: I love TopShop and the M&S Limited Edition range. I'm also a massive fan of Clarks and I've always wanted to work with them as they have such a bad rep - but if you look at their collections, they have some really lovely footwear. I also love sales shopping and The Outnet. When i'm choosing what to wear, I tend to start with one product - whether it be a pair of shoes, a top etc, whatever I fancy wearing that day - and then build the outfit around that one piece.
LF: Who are your fashion icons?
DLAM: I quite like Sienna Miller, but I don't really have any fashion icons as such. I love reading Vogue and Grazia and I look at street style a lot. I get inspiration from all over, especially Instagram. Ooh and I love Alexa Chung! She always looks great.
LF: What about your kids? Who are your favourite kids brands?
DLAM: I'm a fan of the high street. I love Gap Kids and H&M. Not a lot of people know that H&M are very big on ethics, organic fabrics and recycling and i'm attracted to that side of it. I also love Bang Bang Copenhagen, their clothes are fantastic. My kids have a lot of second hand and hand-me-downs and a few vintage pieces too.
LF: Any tips for post baby body?
DLAM: My hunger time is about 4pm, so I make sure I have a big breakfast as I find this stops me snacking in the afternoon. I also walked everywhere after I had my babies. My tip is to eat healthily and keep moving!
LF: Can you tell us about your family?
DLAM: Well, I have 2 kiddies. Art who is 3 and Elfie who is 1, My husband Ben works for an organic food company Riverford, he's a great cook! We have been married 4 years. I remember the exact day we met as it was the day the smoking ban came into force!
LF: What's on your Christmas wish list this year?
DLAM: Homeware! I want a big mirror for the sitting room and a toaster! My dream present though, would be a snowboarding holiday.
LF: Wow, are you a snowboarder then?
DLAM: Yes, I love it. I spent 3 years working in Chamonix and it's a real passion of mine. I'd love to go again.
LF: Who inspires you on Instagram?
DLAM: There's so many people but I particularly love MotherPukka, Hip Little People, Mothers Meetings, Midwife Clemmie (she delivered both my children!) and an American stylist called Zanna Roberts Rassi.
LF: And the future? What's next for Dress Like a Mum?
DLAM: I'd like to work with more brands to help them understand what real mums want and who they are. To get them thinking about the customer. I'm also looking into the possibility of presenting...
Well I for one would love to see Zoe on our screens. What a gorgeous lady inside and out. Her passion for fashion is so inspiring and as a mum and a self proclaimed fashionista myself, I am completely behind her crusade to stop the negativity of 'dressing like a mum' and turn it into a positive.
We mums totally rock!
By Anna Cascarina