I remember seeing a photo of Posh Spice in one of the terrible Sunday papers some twenty years ago and being completely in awe. I think she'd just been gifted a new convertible from the Spice Girls' management company and had been subsequently snapped stepping out of it. Slim figure, sleek bob, questionable singing skills, and absolutely no inclination to smile on demand. I thought she was amazing. I still do, to be fair. She was wearing a pair of mules and a dress/top straight out the lingerie section of M&S. Well, maybe not M&S but the band was still relatively new then so it could have been.
Anyway, underwear as outerwear was a big thing back in the mid 90s. Bars and nightclubs were teaming with girls wearing camisoles and nightdresses - they attempted to name them babydoll dresses, maybe to lend them an air of decency, but we all knew that they were basically nighties. I so wanted in. And one purchase of a fuchsia with black lace number later, I was Posh's blond clone.
Thankfully, it was in the heady days of no camera phones so no evidence exists. However, that very same camisole still hangs in my wardrobe today. With no chance of it ever being worn again. Not even for fancy dress. Probably because I haven't got a hope in hell of fitting in it. Damn you, post-pregnancy hips and boobs!
I was reminded of said camisole (and its best friends, a Karen Millen bum-skimming pleather skirt and a shapeless, lurid green Naf Naf top) while chatting with celebrity fashion stylist, Alex Longmore, at a recent event hosted by Ecover, experts in caring for clothes. Moaning about sleepless nights due to two little boys not really loving going to or staying in bed and being too tired to select anything semi stylish to wear of a morning, Alex hinted that maybe my wardrobe could do with a bit of a refresh and a touch more organisation.
And she wasn't wrong. I'm pretty ruthless and lack sentimentality with most possessions, but not with mid 90s fashion, it would seem. Alas, it's time for those clothes to go. Bye bye once-worn lacy camisole circa 1997, you promised so much and I remain only slightly bitter that you didn't deliver David Beckham as a husband.
Alex believes that a wardrobe detox is essential for busy mums. We spend most of our days and nights in an exhausted state so having a streamlined, capsule wardrobe makes so much sense. We need versatile items that we can mix and match and grab on the go. A kind of uniform but way more fun. And I guess that's why most mums can be spotted in jeans and casual tops. They look smart, are easy to pull on but with a fitted jacket and carefully selected accessories can make you look uber polished in seconds (steer clear of necklaces and large earrings until your children are past the pulling stage, though).
I also asked Alex possibly THE most important question for every soon-to-be-mum, new mum, old mum, completely haggard and exhausted mum .... where's the best place to buy pyjamas from? I knew you'd all want to know the answer to this. They might be outlawed from supermarkets and frowned upon at the school gate, but pyjamas, and super soft cotton ones at that, are probably the most important item in every mum's wardrobe. And gorgeous Alex had the answer ... ASOS. Yes, there was frantic browsing on the train home and two days later I was the proud owner of a soft-touch jersey pair with a super cute moon and stars print. A second pair will be at the very top of my Christmas list. Trust me, you need these in your life. But size up, they're snug!
At the event, we were also introduced to Ecover's gorgeous new fragrance pairings. If you're not familiar with Ecover, they're an amazing company who understand that us parents are so incredibly conscious about what we put next to our babies' skin (and our own) and they're leading the way when it comes to greener cleaning. Their new concentrated laundry detergent range contains dermatologically tested, plant-based formulas that promise to be gentle on sensitive skin, whilst still delivering spotlessly clean results, even on a cold wash.
I remember scouring the supermarket shelves for an appropriate detergent to wash the boys' tiny clothes in before they were born. You want their clothes to be cleaner than clean but not risk any nasties getting close to their soft skin. Ecover is the perfect choice ... and the non-bio formula is Mumsnet Rated with 85 percent of users saying that they would buy it again and 89 percent happy to recommend it to a friend. And they're a tough crowd to please!
The new fragrances are so nice. They're inspired by nature and consist of expertly blended pairings. We did a blind test with Ecover's fragrance expert, Cassie Browning, to see if we could recognise them. Lavender and Sandalwood, I knew straight away as they're two of my favourite scents but the Honeysuckle and Jasmine had me stumped. They smell delicious together, though. I've since washed all of our clothes and bedding in the Lavender and Sandalwood Non-Bio Laundry Concentrated Detergent and everything smells sublime. Lavender supposedly induces sleep so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the detergent can also help on that front, too!
Have you ever tried Ecover? Do you have a favourite fragrance? Or if you're in the market for a vintage camisole, do let me know in the comments.