Today we tackle the 7th of my 10 casual outfit formulas for moms and gals on the go (refresh your memories with formulas #1, #2, #3, #4, #5 and #6). This one is all about micro check pants and shirts, so I turned to British forum member Julie (“Rose and Joan” on the forum), whose eclectic style was perfect for showcasing this formula. Julie lives in picturesque Edinburgh, Scotland, where she is a part-time financial administrator, wife, and Mum to two gorgeous little daughters. Julie’s edge, verve, sass and love for all things vintage comes through in how she rocks this formula.

Of all of the looks of the season Angie highlighted at the start of Autumn/Winter, it was the denim shirt that instantly grabbed my attention. I envisioned wearing one belted over a cream lace dress with lashings of lustrous pearls. However, my life as a Mum on the go to two very fabulous but demanding cherubs left that particular outfit firmly in the realms of fantasy. Fast forward to October 7th when the denim shirt made a sudden reappearance as part of Angie’s flop proof MOTG Formula #7:

Micro check pants + denim shirt / knit top + pleather / leather jacket + loafers

I was intrigued. I already owned a pair of cream and black houndstooth micro check trousers (they had fast become my skinny jeans alternative), and this particular combo eliminated the dreaded denim on denim faux pas.

RoseAndJoan 2bRoseAndJoan 4RoseAndJoan 3RoseAndJoan 1

Finding my denim shirt proved to be more difficult than expected. I tried vintage shirts from the nineties (too boxy), tailored city shirts (too masculine for my feminine, romantic style persona). It was the most unlikely of shops where I stumbled upon my tunic length shirt, a shop which specifically catered for the teen and pre teen market. The material is a little thin but that is to be expected for the price point. Surprisingly the lack of fabric substance helped the shirt to drape and aided belting.

My perpetual Mum on the go dilemma remains, how to balance the clothes I love to wear against the clothes that are practical for my lifestyle? I’m a vintage girl at heart. I love red lips. Love the wiggle heels create. Love the impact of a flirty floral frock. I’m just not comfortable in a full on casual ensemble. I have to add a touch of glamour. I now wear a shorter version of my treasured heels and find the occasional red lip the ultimate pick me up after a sleepless night. I also expect my Mum on the go essentials to work as part of my smart casual capsule with a simple switch of accessories.

I wear my denim shirt belted to add the requisite glamour, interest and curves to my racy rectangle body type. With this particular shirt I prefer a slim belt to cinch my waist and position the belt slightly lower than my natural waist to elongate my extremely short-waisted torso. I also like to add a touch of embellishment with my belt, as the majority of my jewelry wardrobe has been consigned to the bedside drawer until my youngest daughter passes her grabbing stage. To this point, scarves work better than necklaces, worn either muffler style or tied in the Angie knot, my outfit becomes instantly pulled together and child friendly.

I favour a shopper style of bag over the Mum on the go cross body bag. The hands-free option wriggles over my shoulders, slides down my body and eventually lands in a loop around my feet. Not Fab. I look for a shoulder bag which sits comfortably under the arm and yet is roomy enough for the girls’ essentials.

My choice of coat or jacket depends on both the weather and the day’s ensemble. I love to wear my leather jacket on milder days; it adds instant edge to my style. As the temperature drops I opt for my false plain wool coat. To avoid a strobing effect I tweak the formula by substituting my micro check trousers for a casual alternative such as leggings or Ponte knit trousers.

The success of the Mum on the go formulas lies in their versatility: they can be tailored to suit all aesthetics, budgets and lifestyles. I can replicate the silhouette of formula #7 by wearing my dark wash skinny jeans with an alternative shirt, or replace the denim shirt with a tunic or shorter dress. The possibilities are endless and all of the clothes in my limited wardrobe are now in full rotation.

With Angie’s guidance I’m able to spend less time on planning my outfits and devote more time to the family. If only all decisions were as simple as getting dressed in the mornings…