How to Make Your Wardrobe Bubble and Squeak

The autumn term is here and as of today, the weather has obligingly fallen in line with the education system’s belief that the time for shorts, t-shirts and ice-cream vans parked outside the school gates is over. We had a fortnight’s grace to show off tans and squeeze a little more use out of sundresses and now layering season is beckoning. It’s a whole lot more complicated now and as in January when we reconvene after Christmas with a new set of ideals, September and the start of a new school year feels like time for a fresh approach along with bigger pencil cases and replacement PE kits.

Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Zoe Kravitz and Shailene Woodleigh in Big Little Lies

Having been a regular in the school playground for five years now, I have friends and allies and so the fear I once felt is but a distant memory and I’m happy to report I get invited for coffee these days ( but the fashion fascination remains. Just me? Perhaps. There’s now the Insta Influencers, those perky tanned blonde ladies who show up at 8.50am in the fabulously expensive floaty number you’ve been drooling over in the window of your local boutique because where better to exert your influence than the small area with the highest concentration of middle class middle aged women in South West London – the playground of the most coveted junior school? It’s a bind when you’ve mentally spent the whole of the day ahead’s earnings before you’ve even started your commute – who knew a school drop-off could be so expensive?

So it was with relish that I settled down to season 2 of Big Little Lies. The first season of this sumptuous story of a group of west coast friends tied together at first by their offspring and then by a terrible secret, ended with a death witnessed by all five women dressed as Audrey Hepburn characters – no biggie, happens all the time in Battersea.

Laura Dern (Renata) ‘The Scary One’

Jacket by Julien Macdonald at Debenhams £69

Bowling bag by £180










Celeste (Nicole Kidman) ‘The One on the Edge’

Coat by Hobbs £349

Boots by Karen Millen £265

These ‘moms’ show up at their school gates polished to within an inch of their lives. Even Zoe Kravtiz’s hippyish yoga mom and Shailene Woodley’s beanied single mom, while missing the manicures and botox, manage effortlessly boho/rock chick style with aplomb. I found myself thinking – for the first time since Sex and the City – which one am I? I know, how shallow; but what with Nicole Kidman’s va va voom skirt suits and Reese Witherspoon’s selection of coats, it was more a question of whose wardrobe I would raid first. Rarely are these characters going to work (although Laura Dern provides a master class in how to give high flying female lawyers a bad name) but they exude the kind of pristine pulled togetherness that exists largely on the telly – American telly at that – because really, who has the time and energy to perfect a red lip line or tong a curl into place while repeatedly yelling “Have you done your teeth?”

Madeleine (Reese Witherspoon) ‘The Bossy One’

Blouse by Boden £70

Nubuck heels by Aldo £75

A girl can dream though, and a girl should because it’s not just designer clothes and tweaked bodies that achieve that expensive California glow. The best clothes for your shape, the most flattering colours for your skin tone and a good dose of sleep will add confidence that money can’t buy. Note to self: stop mucking about with sister on Snapchat when supposed to be going to bed.

Zoe Kravitz (Bonnie) ‘The Earthy One’

Cord blazer by Boden £98

Midi dress £49.99 at Zara

This autumn season is so varied in its trends that there is a little bit of all the characters’ style out there; corduroy, flowery shapeless dresses, wraparound coats, long boots and fabrics you want to roll yourself up in are all easy to come by on the high street and are fairly versatile for everyday wear. I know I take a little bit of each of these looks and mix it all in together most days. A kind of wardrobe bubble and squeak.

Shailene Woodley (Jane) ‘The Young One’

Suedette biker jacket by Warehouse £65

Beanie £20 at Oliver Bonas









So from this week I’ll be the one talking secondary schools and hangovers with my friends at the school gates in a long dress (possibly a nightdress but how will you ever know?) lip gloss and a beanie to cover my rubbish hair. I may even be wearing sunglasses in the gloom because, well, that’s what happens when you find yourself butt clenching your way towards fifty with your children still in primary school. The one thing I do have in common with the Big Little Lies five is a that I am a small part of a loyal and very fabulous band of like minded women who have my back and this is merely due to the good fortune of my boy arriving three weeks before the school year cut off point. We haven’t (SPOILER ALERT!) offed any of their husbands yet but there’s still plenty of time. I wish you a happy and healthy autumn but perhaps just wake me up when it’s summer again please. ♥




About aftercarrie

I help people refine their wardrobe to suit their shape, colouring and lifestyle. I am a style consultant, personal shopper and colour analyst working in London. Be the loveliest possible you. My first book SHOPPED was released on 5th July 2016 (September Publishing).
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