My Summer Uniform

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

As I write this I am almost 12 weeks postpartum. I am also due to go on holiday in just over a week and I have NO idea (based on this years erratic weather) what Mother Nature has in store for us down in Cornwall.

There is no point in staring longingly at last year’s summer wardrobe, not much of it fits and if I have been able to get items on, they look alarmingly different to how they should. My body grew a human for the second time and it’s going to take more than a few months for it to return to “normal” (or whatever my new normal is of course).

As a result I’m looking for comfort, practicality and pieces that I feel confident and “myself” in. And I don’t want to spend a small fortune either, I have a house to extend and two daughters who seemingly grow so quickly I feel as though I’m purchasing an endless amount of shoes/sleepsuits/vests/socks every five ruddy minutes. Not that I’m complaining, I love buying clothes for Mabel and Iris – it just doesn’t leave a lot of spare spends for yours truly.

If you follow me on instagram then you may have seen some of my summer uniform already. Namely flared jeans, a cami and an espadrille wedge. Yes I am a fan of the flare, they come in and out of fashion on a regular basis but I ignore their flighty popularity and love them for all seasons regardless, they lengthen your legs like no other denim ever will. For fancy pants flares I rate FRAME, I wear their High Rise style with a side zip. And I buy them from The Outnet as they are often less than half price. For cheap (and super soft denim) I rate Zara’s skinny flares.

Let’s talk about camisoles. Let’s talk about uber flattering non-pinchy-around-your arms skim-your-mumtum camisoles in particular. The best ones are from Oasis, they are basically magical. I have navy, coral, black and pale blue. And I’ve just noticed they are now offering a pretty pale green. I promise the paltry £22 investment is worth it.

With my cami and flares I wear the “Holiday” espadrille wedges from Office. Yes they are high but my goodness they are so comfortable. I bought blush last year and have treated myself to grey this summer, I wear them loads.

When it is hot hot HOT I am a slave to the maxi dress. Clingy jersey is not my bag at all, difficult to wear generally, especially if you want to eat crisps or pasta or both, and ever so slightly sweaty. I opt for swingy chiffon or a thin cotton, gathered under the bust styles are a winner for me right now. I’ve bought the Amboseli maxi from Oasis for evenings (yes, I did a BIG online shop there – they have all my money) and you can’t beat bargainous Boohoo for the beach. I also keep putting this tile print number from ASOS in my virtual basket, only £30. I have some very old silver spangly sandals for fancier frocks but for every day maxi gowns I wear the flat versions of my espadrilles: the “Heidi” from Office.

Do you have a summer “uniform”? Or do you have a whole host of different options depending on the weather/how you feel on the day? My suitcase is going to be fairly capsule for my holiday and I’m feeling good about it, no stressing over what to wear and ALL the kettle chips.


P.P.S I included this image of Iris as never before have I received so many messages via insta stories about an item of clothing – and it wasn’t even mine! Yep, turns out my 3 month old daughter is more stylish than me. The babygro has now sold out but they do a summer version that is super cute.

  • FRAME flare jeans
  • Paisley Woven Maxi Dress
  • Heidi Espadrille Sandals
  • Only Tile Print Maxi Dress
  • Holiday Wedge Espadrilles
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
Follow Charlotte on instagram @charlotte.oshea
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30 thoughts on “My Summer Uniform

  1. Iris is tooooooo cute! My son Austin is 8 weeks old now and we’ve been in the throes of a heatwave on and off since he was born so I had to get bang on summer dressing post baby.

    Staples for me this summer are ankle skimming skinny jeans from Topshop (stretchy denim obvs) and either a loose tshirt or vest of some sort. I’ve bought some new tshirt including this orange number from Topshop and I made my first grown up Boden purchase and bought a grey tshirt with gold pattern that they don’t seem to have any more. If it’s too warm for jeans then I am a big fan of the summer dress and have just ordered this from Oasis – It’s super comfortable and flattering. I hear you on the Oasis front, I’ve been ordering heaps from there at the moment. I’ve also ordered a high neck black vest which is like a thicker strapped cami and it seems really versatile. And I’m eying up a few more of their dresses. Footwear wise I’m all about the Saltwater sandals!

    Enjoy your holiday. We’re going to Menorca in August and I can’t wait!

    1. Jennifer I love this cami dress – it looks very comfortable. I’m actually ordering more stuff from Oasis today, I’m obsessed (!)

      Have a lovely time in Menorca – I’ve not been since I was a kid but would love to hear about family friendly hotels there etc x

      1. We went last May and it was so family friendly yet also adult friendly. The beaches are amazing. This time we’re in a villa because my Mum and sister are also coming. More children means more helpful hands required!

  2. To help the budget, ASDA’s been winning the kids clothes prize in our house this season (and you can shop online. Gutted that Tesco Direct is closing – it’s been the source of all of our baby basics.)

    1. I didn’t realise Tesco Direct was closing?! we don’t have an ASDA anywhere near us but my Mum has bought Mabel a few lovely pieces from Morrisons over the years, really good quality.

  3. Great post Charlotte, love having a peek into people’s core style pieces. Well done you for finding a style post partum that makes you feel nice and confident. If you do then stick with it I say. Capsule wardrobe all the way, makes things simple and easy! X

    1. It does doesn’t it! I’m actually looking forward to packing as I’m only going to take exactly enough outfits (plus a few spare tops for baby vom incidents…) x

    1. Oooh that’s cute, I have real difficulty with the fit of Hush for some reason, it’s annoying as I like a lot of their pieces. I think you should definitely buy this though Lisa x

    1. Ah thanks Emma, the camis are mega, I’ve ordered another black one today as a back up – I wear it so often! x

  4. Question for boohoo shoppers! What is the quality like? I’m 4 months pregnant and have bought lots of maternity clothes from asos only to have to send nearly all back, the one jersey dress i kept cost £30 , i have washed it once, worn it around 5 times and already its so bobbly (noticed this with a non maternity maxi from asos too in jersey fabric) i know 30 quid isnt extortionate but i would hope to get a lot more than 5 wears for it! I’ve got to a point where i am going to make my own maternity clothes as i cant face buying more online and then having to get back into town to return it all! I see a lot of folk buying off boohoo and as its so cheap i worry it will fall apart after a few washes?-am i right? As i get older it all feels so wasteful to just chuck clothes after a few wears!

    1. Rachel I find it super hit and miss. Sorry that’s not very helpful but I have some things from there that are great quality and other things that are dubious. Their maternity maxis were far too thin for me and have gone back.

      1. Thanks Lauren that is helpful as it would have most likely been maternity dresses that i would buy (i have to wear jeans to work so i never wear them as casual wear too so everyone’s advice to me of buying mat jeans isnt helpful!) Off to john lewis today then for some maxi dress patterns!

        1. I love that you’re going to make some! I think I need this option!
          I found the quality of the Debenhams black maternity maxi to be good – really soft too but the size wasn’t right for me. Could be worth checking out. x

          1. I love patterns and colour and so much of the maternity wear just doesnt seem “me” i am only buying patterns that state ‘very easy’ as i am not at all a pro! I will check out debenhams though- thank you- havent taken a look in there for a while

            1. I find the H&M non-maternity jersey basics are stretchy/generous enough to get away with as maternity. I have been wearing a maxi and a jumpsuit this week at 37 weeks and both were really comfy (jumpsuit is basically PJs!). Might not last forever but they were under £15 each.
              I’m also wearing some primark elasticated waist jersey trousers in 2 sizes too big, good for a bit of pattern!

              1. Thanks Linsey 🙂 i had a day off today and ventured into my nearest big city (my hometown is lacking in shops!) and have stocked up on 4 h and m dresses..3 non maternity and they seem fab and bright colours /pattern too! Got myself a dress making pattern too so i can make a few dresses for later in the pregnancy/post baby as it will be autumn/winter by then so will be needing something warmer than jersey maxis!

    2. Rachel, I’m living this pregnancy in boohoo. I’ve ‘invested’ in a couple of £7.50 maxi dresses (the Sandy non maternity ones) some similar vest tops and a couple of oversized T shirts and figure that if I’ve stretched them out of shape by the time the baby is born, I’ve not spent much at all and can replace with a new one. The maxi dresses are my fave maternity outfits as they go in under the bump so not at all tent-like but super comfy and they do tend to wash well. I’m actually optimistic they may last after pregnancy too – they don’t look like they’ve stretched yet and I’m huge. I did size up and then swapped for my normal size as they’re just a lovely stretchy jersey so totally accommodate the bump while not being huge at the top and revealing the ugly pregnancy bra! (though I’m not as keen on their khaki material which seems slightly shiny) Every couple of days theres some sort of 20/25% offer too.

      1. Thank you Amanda 🙂 might have to order just a couple of things to trial out. Not ordered since i was at uni..about 12 years ago (!) ..back then it was pretty shoddy, buttons falling off etc so never went back but now i hear so many people shop there. That’s me given up on asos so maybe next stop boohoo!

  5. Great post, Charlotte! I love the Boho dress but worried it might swamp me, is it quite loose in real life? xx

    1. Hmmm, I would say it’s on the bigger side but not too much, I quite like loose/floaty for warm summer days and the waist detail means it doesn’t look sack like 🙂

  6. Ooh I love that Oasis dress and it’s viscose! I have a real issue – as I get older, my ability to wear polyester is disappearing. I dislike the feel of it next to my skin – v annoying as 90% of clothes seem to be polyester.

    Can I recommend Gap for some excellent summer dresses, especially shift dresses. I’m quite short and have never been able to get away with shift styles but these new ones from Gap are flattering, not too short and are viscose so perfect all round. I’ve bought three already (they have a sale on at the mo).

    1. Ooh I’ll have a look Kate, thanks for the tip – they aways have discounts on at GAP!

  7. Love these ideas Charlotte and so desperate to do a post baby shop! I’m totally in love with the boohoo paisley maxi but made the mistake of ordering it and trying it on hugely pregnant. Such a pretty print but, size wise, I felt like I was taking over the whole wide world. I need try harder to not shop right now for things that I can’t wear yet… must try to stick to looking for tiny basics for my poor child who will have actually nothing to wear when it arrives!

  8. Please tell me the dress you’re wearing in the photo is a recent purchase? It’s so pretty!

    My summer uniform is generally jeans and a tshirt, with some culottes or patterned trousers (I love the Zara gingham ones) for when it’s just that little bit too warm for jeans. Maybe shorts if I’m on holiday, have fake tan on and am feeling particularly brave, but I tend to avoid getting my body out. I don’t know if that makes me a massive prude or just really well protected against skin cancer… 😂

  9. Ah I forgot to read the blog on Friday! If you read this, please could I put in a special request for a what to wear to work in the heat type blog? I am really struggling, I am a size 14/16 at the mo and not feeling comfortable in myself which is not helping. I got a nice Boden navy and gold polka dot dress for holidays which fitted really well but it’s not formal enough for work. Recently I’ve been living in navy trousers and Jaegar breton tops but even they are too clingy and hot now!

    Also – I am so surprised so many people say skinny jeans are a summer staple, it’s boiling down here in Somerset and jeans are just not an option!

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