4 Steps to a Better Mummy Uniform

I’m happy to have Alison to the blog today. She’s sharing her expertise tips about how to feel better about the ‘Mummy Uniform’ or the ‘Tracksuit Rut’ as I affectionately call it.

Guest Post by Alison Campbell Rasheed

I always say my husband subscribes to the ‘Aeroplane Crisis Theory’ of getting ready to leave the house – always make sure you’re OK before helping others. I, on the other hand, tend to leave myself until last and end up dangerously applying eyeliner in the rear-view mirror! I know for a fact that many Mums are the same, always rushing to make sure that food is packed, kids are watered and the house is reasonably tidy before leaving for the day, just in case there’s a surprise mother-in-law visit on the horizon. 

The vast majority of my online personal styling clients are busy Mums who don’t get a lot of time to for themselves, but still love to look stylish. I love to put together looks for them which are easy to co-ordinate in the mornings with colours and styles which all work together.

This ‘rush factor’ is exactly the reason that most of us have a ‘go-to’ style, which, whilst on the whole isn’t exactly high-fashion, is generally passable for the playground and supermarket. Jeans? T-shirt? Trainers? Ponytail? Sounding familiar? Yes – I am talking about the Mummy Uniform. Let’s look at how to improve it.

Step 1: Know your colours

Generally speaking, everyone fits into a ‘season’ colour-wise

summer colouring: gwenyth paltrowSummer

Summer people have light hair and eyes and olive or light skin – your best colours are cool, soft pastels and neutral.

Summer Colouring — Gwyneth Paltrow

autumn colouring: Jennifer LopezAutumn

Autumn people are the most easily recognised, with auburn or neutral beige hair, warm skin tone and brown or green eyes – your best colours are rich, earthy and warm.

Autum Colouring – Jennifer Lopez

winter colouring: Anne Hathaway


Winter people have either very dark or very light skin with darker eyes – your best colours are cool, deep intense shades that are sharp, stark and clear.  

Winter Colouring – Anne Hathaway


spring colouring: Nicole KidmanSpring

Spring people have a warm skin tone, blonde or auburn hair and light eyes – your best colours are bright and clear.

Spring Colouring – Nicole Kidman


Once you know the colours to look for, shopping becomes much easier and less overwhelming, and you’ll be secure in the knowledge that what you’re wearing suits your skin tone, hair and eye colour.

Step 2: Know your shape

It is incredibly important to have a realistic picture of your body shapee; many women I have styled actually think they are bigger than they are, or dress to cover up the bits of their body they don’t like. In doing so you actually draw attention to that part (jumper tied around the waist, anyone?) and can look bigger than you really are. There are five main body shapes: the bottom heavy pear, the top heavy apple, the curvy hourglass,  the smaller petite and the slim, athletic column. Once you know your shape, you can dress to highlight the parts you like and conceal the parts you don’t.

body shape picture know your body shape

Step 3 Invest in good quality basics

  • Great fitting jeans which suit your shape – bootleg for curvy girls, straight or skinny leg for the apples and columns. A darker wash is always classy, too
  • Trench coat – always worn open and tied at the back, or buttoned and tied (not buckled) or tailored jacket
  • Neutral ballet flats, converse trainers in a cute colour, long boots to wear over jeans
  • A few coloured T-shirts to suit your shape – wide, lower round or V neck for those bigger in the bust, higher round neck for those who are smaller up top

Step 4 Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise

Here’s where you can really make a difference and amp up your look without breaking the bank.

Accessorise with a:

  • patterned long scarf which picks up many of the colours in your ‘season’ palette
  • beads in a few key colours, again from your season palette
  • stand out bag – preferably in a shade other than black –  by choosing a brighter colour or an alternative neutral such as grey or light tan you can lighten your look and make more of a style statement
  • on-trend vest  (think fake shearling) to add warmth AND style
  • multi-coloured woven belt, again always in your own colours

fashion for mums: assessories

By creating a wardrobe of good basics in colours and shapes which suit you and by co-ordinating this with on-trend accessories which ‘pop’ – you’re guaranteed to move beyond the Mummy Uniform.

Other Relevant Links

5 Assessories for Mums

Tracksuit Ruts and Wearing Your Zing Colour

Organising Your Jewellery So You Wear Them

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  • Reply
    Kelly Be A Fun Mum
    June 22, 2011 at 7:56 am

    Alison, thanks so much for sharing your expertise with us. You had me laughing at the first paragraph. Oh yes, that sounds (VERY) familiar. I love your tips. It really helps to know these things about yourself so you CAN pull things together quickly when you’re in a hurry (which is a lot).

    • Reply
      Alison - Be Stylish
      June 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

      Thanks for featuring me, Kelly! I enjoyed writing this for you and glad my tips are helpful.

      • Reply
        Kelly Be A Fun Mum
        June 23, 2011 at 8:05 am

        Thanks Alison for the great tips. There has been some wonderful feedback also from Twitter and on my facebook page. Thanks for helping Mums feel proud about themselves xx

  • Reply
    Bride primrose
    June 22, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Hi Alison
    Being a stay home single mom with 4 kids I could sure do with some advice and reading this blog from be a fun mom was great but I get lost with colors etc so just wear whatever!! And am a professional in the tracksuit rut!! What you do is great.

    • Reply
      Alison - Be Stylish
      June 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

      Hello Bride Primrose – I think it is easy for us Mums to put ourselves last – time to re-think that, girls! Thanks for the feedback. Let me know if you’d like some guidance.

  • Reply
    June 22, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Hi Alison & Kelly

    Thanks for the advice. I find myself in a Black Rut. People must think I am constantly in mourning !! I look forward to reading more.
    Cheers and have an awesome day !!

    • Reply
      Alison - Be Stylish
      June 22, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      Hi Melinda. You’re just trying to make life easy for yourself, which is very practical – black does go with black, after all! Time to inject some colour into your life, I think – you’ll feel better for it, guaranteed! Thanks for your comment.

  • Reply
    Andrea @ FoxInFlats
    June 23, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Hi Kelly and Alison,
    Ah, the Mummy Uniform! We researched it at Fox in Flats and found that 78% of women have one – all the facts here: http://www.foxinflats.com.au/2011/05/uniform/

    x Andrea

  • Reply
    shonali rajpal
    March 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    how to reduce a pear shape…like from hip..theis..n the waist..
    can you please tell me some tips and advice..?

  • Reply
    March 25, 2013 at 8:44 pm

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    a 2nd part to this post? What you covered was good, do not misunderstand
    me, I simply think there were some crucial concerns
    you left unanswered. I believe all of us would love to read
    through the 2nd part; if you would write it of course.

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