Monday, 24 July 2017

Winter Outfits for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave - Fit and Flare Dresses

After an extended maternity leave, I'm back in the office and sharing my business casual office style again. It's been a while! Thanks for all your sweet comments when I hinted at my return earlier, and for the encouragement on Instagram as I've been sharing my office wear and return to work struggles.

Just like last time I returned to work, I'll clear up a few things first.

  • In Australia you are legally allowed a minimum of a year's maternity leave. You have the option to extend it to 2 years if it suits the company you work for, or go back sooner if you wish. My team, boss and workplace is flexible, understanding and supportive.
  • Yes I took a longer maternity leave this time around than last time. (If you followed me in December you'll know why).
  • I am back in the office part time again, so I'll continue to have SAHM outfits and corporate style outfits on the blog.

And although it's completely repetitive as I said it last time: "Everyone does the right thing for them and their child (or children) at that point in time. Mums always know best. And that means for me, that I've returned to work. "

Now that's out the way, the simple fuss-free outfits I wore for my first days back:

What I wore:

Scarf: navy bird print scarf
Necklace: Eye Candy LA 'Sasha' statement necklace
DressJeanswest 'Rita' stripe jersey dress
ShoesRMK Chester black ankle boots
BagRebecca Minkoff medium MAB tote in moon navy (on sale in pinkor in white)

Why I wore it:

No surprise, I went with my comfort colour and wore blue for my first day back. I also took advantage of being child free and wore the biggest most non-baby friendly statement necklace I have. I missed wearing it, last time I wore it I was very, very pregnant! The scarf kept me cosy for my early morning commute and I ended up keeping it on in the office too. A big blanket scarf is the closest you'll get to cosying up to a blanket at your desk!

My first day back was much like my return to work two and a half years ago - lots of emails to sort through and trying not to cry when I thought about being away from my boys. It took me a lot longer to go through my emails - I could delete all the meeting requests and event related emails, but there were a lot of changes while I was away so it was helpful to read the emails covering the changes, and there are so many colleagues that moved around the organisation or even left so it was good to try wrap my head around what it all looks like now.

As much as I missed the office and enjoyed being able to do things in peace and quiet for a change, I was so pleased to come back to my boys and my mum in the evening.

Last worn: navy mac, bird print scarf, striped fit and flare dress, black ankle boots, Rebecca Minkoff MAB tote.

Other ways to wearnavy mac and chambray dress, bird print scarf with jeans and blazer, striped fit and flare dress for a baby shower, black ankle boots and monochrome jeans outfit, Rebecca Minkoff MAB tote with the same dress 2 years ago!

Perfect for pregnancy: stripe fit and flare dress hiding a second trimester bump, ankle boots in second trimester, Rebecca Minkoff MAB tote in third trimester.

Fit and Flare Dresses For The Office Under $50:

What I wore:

camel trench black dress burgundy scarf navy tote bag, winter office wear | Away From Blue

camel trench, Rebecca Minkoff medium MAB tote in moon navy | Away From The Blue
Jacket: Barkins beige trench coat 
ScarfForever New Skye Foil Feather scarf in berry / gold (on sale!)
DressJeanswest tucked ponte black dress
Belt: Kmart thin gold glitter belt
ShoesAsos leather Chelsea boots in tan
BagRebecca Minkoff medium MAB tote in moon navy (on sale in pinkor in white)

Why I wore it:

Another day in the office, another fit and flare dress. I have this dress in the stripes above and in black here and I have no plans to get rid of either of them - they are perfect for work. Easy to wear in summer with less layers too.

The only thing these dresses aren't suitable for is expressing breastmilk at work. I don't have to do that as Baby Boy's older, but would that be something you'd want to see me call out with my office outfits, which ones would work for expressing/pumping? While I've not had to do it at work I have had to do it at home and occasionally on the go for both my boys so I have a little experience there. Shea has a wonderful guide on how she makes exclusive expressing work for her that could be helpful too.

Last worn: burgundy feather foil scarf, camel trench, black fit and flare dress, gold glitter belt, Chelsea ankle boots, Rebecca Minkoff MAB tote (above).

Other ways to wearburgundy feather foil scarf and flared jeans, camel trench and print mixing, black fit and flare dress in spring, gold glitter belt and maxi dress, Chelsea ankle boots and skinny jeanspencil skirts and Rebecca Minkoff MAB tote.

Perfect for pregnancy: trench coat in first trimester, fit and flare dress hiding an early baby bumpgold belt over a baby bump, Chelsea boots and belted dress in second trimesterMAB tote and plaid shirts in first trimester.

More Fit and Flare Dresses Under $50:

How You Can Wear It:

Returning to work after maternity leave is an emotional time - no matter what length of maternity leave you had! Pick easy, fuss-free outfits for your first few days back. Plan them out beforehand and have them hanging in your wardrobe ready for you to grab and go.

I like fit and flare dresses as they nip in at the waist without being too tight and flow flatteringly over the stomach if you have a leftover mum tum like I do. Plus a dress is an instant outfit, you didn't need to think about how pieces will look together.

If something makes you feel happy, comfortable and confident, it's the perfect outfit for your return to work.

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Friday, 21 July 2017

Wrap Tops In Winter With Skinny Jeans, Converse and Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere

Although you don't seem to see wrap tops around on blogs as often now, I still love the style and I especially love how breastfeeding friendly they are! If you're on a budget it's better to buy a regular wrap top instead of paying the high price for a special 'breastfeeding brand' wrap top. They are the same product.

While wrap tops are nice to wear, they are a little plain so I added a print to my outfit for a little something extra.

What I wore:

stripe duster, nobody denim siren skinny jeans, converse, wrap top, LV speedy daycare orientation outfit | AwayFromBlue

crook of arm Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene 30 speedy bandouliere | AwayFromTheBlue
Jacket: Kmart striped maxi cardigan
Necklace: Nibbly Bits Abacus teething necklace in pop
TopDorothy Perkins 3/4 sleeve wrap top
JeansNobody Denim Siren skinny super high-rise jeans in power black denim (C/O, on sale!)
ShoesConverse Chuck Taylor All Star low in black
BagLouis Vuitton Damier Ebene 30 speedy bandouliere

Why I wore it:

Wore this as I wanted something nice and comfortable and practical for Baby Boy's orientation day at day care. It basically means I get to spend the day there with him getting him used to the room and the routine so it's not a big shock for him when I go back to work. It was fun, although I did end up covered in pasta sauce. Better than toddler T's orientation day where my shirt got ruined!

As I was going to be inside all day, I just needed a light layer so this striped duster cardigan was perfect.

I did regret adding the silicone teething necklace to this outfit though. I thought it would comfort Baby Boy to have it to play with if he got upset and needed cuddles, but I underestimated exactly how attractive the bright beads are to babies! Lots of the other kids at daycare tried to grab it a few times, oops.

Was nice wearing this wrap top again as it had been packed away with my winter things. While it's sold out in blue as this is from last year, it's still available in red.

Last worn: striped duster, blue wrap top, Nobody Denim skinny jeans, Converse, Louis Vuitton speedy bandouliere.

Other ways to wearstriped duster and chambray dress, blue wrap top and maxi skirt, Nobody Denim skinny jeans in spring, Converse and printed dress, Louis Vuitton speedy bandouliere and maxi dress.

Perfect for pregnancy: striped duster and maternity shorts, Converse for a weekend trip in second trimester, speedy bandouliere and maternity pencil skirt.

More Wrap Tops Under $50:

The Nordstrom Sale has some wrap tops too!

What I wore:

sass & bide printed jeans, converse, grey wrap tee blue mac and scarf | AwayFromBlue

Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene 30 speedy bandouliere | AwayFromTheBlue
ScarfMarc by Marc Jacobs bright blue stole
TeeAtmos&Here Nile wrap front jersey tee
JeansSass & Bide Playman skinny jeans
ShoesConverse Chuck Taylor All Star low in black
BagLouis Vuitton Damier Ebene 30 speedy bandouliere

Why I wore it:

Unfortunately, the meeting we had planned for this morning was cancelled after the other person had been up all night with an unwell teething baby and slept through their alarm. I've done that a few times myself! Decided to spend the time grocery shopping instead since we were all up and ready. Not as exciting, but a good way to use the free time we suddenly had.

A few more layers with this wrap top as I was going outside and winter weather is definitely here in Queensland. Added the cobalt scarf for a bit of colour and to cover up the v shaped neckline and keep my chest cosy. Because I added the blue scarf, I wore my blue mac as well. I really liked this combination and it was a good way to add some colour to an otherwise monochromatic outfit with the grey wrap top and printed jeans.

Last worn: navy mac, cobalt scarf, grey wrap tee, Sass & Bide printed jeansConverse (above), Louis Vuitton speedy bandouliere (above).

Other ways to wearnavy mac and burgundy, cobalt scarf and maxi skirt, grey wrap tee with leopard print, Sass & Bide printed jeans and teal henleyConverse and purple jeans, Louis Vuitton speedy bandouliere and printed dresses.

Perfect for pregnancy: Converse and maxi skirt in first trimester, speedy bandouliere and maternity wrap dress.

How You Can Wear It:

The usual fashion advice is to not buy into trendy pieces. However, like these wrap tops, if the trend is something that works for you and your lifestyle, go for it! Trends are a fun way to try something different, and you could find yourself with a new favourite style. Most trends (like off the shoulder) I let pass me by but wrap tops are so perfect for breastfeeding I just had to buy 3 of them!

I'm going to continue to wear these tops in the years to come, even if they aren't the trendy thing any more, as they work for me. As a very wise and stylish lady once said: wear it because you love it, not just because it's what's 'in' at the moment.

In case you have missed every other blogger posting about it, the Nordstrom sale has now opened to the public so anyone can shop it! That includes those of us in Australia.

Linking up with Friday Faves, Fri Favourites, Shoe & Tell, Mummy Monday, Mix It Monday, Modest MondayHello Monday, On Monday We Link Up.

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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Easy Winter Outfits: Printed Shirts, Jeans and Cardigans With A Touch Of Red

While not shopping for 6 months, I'd try to focus on a little worn area of my wardrobe when I was stumped for something to wear. I was trying to think of something to wear when I realised it had been a while since I'd worn these printed shirts. It was a good excuse to get them out of the wardrobe and give them a wear.

What I wore:

red cardi, strawberry print blush shirt, skinny jeans, converse LV bandouliere speedy | Away From Blue

Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene 30 speedy bandouliere | Away From The Blue
Necklace: Ruby Olive Softies Charlotte teething necklace
DressChoies pink chiffon shirt with strawberry print (C/O Choies)
JeansJeanswest prima denim super skinny jeans in absolute black
ShoesConverse Chuck Taylor All Star low in black
Bracelets: the usual
BagLouis Vuitton Damier Ebene 30 speedy bandouliere

Why I wore it:

Like I mentioned on Instagram, this shirt has not been worn for such a long time. Almost 2 years since I last wore it! I wanted to wear it postpartum, button up shirts being ideal for those early breastfeeding days. However things were very different from my previous pregnancy and postpartum time and I struggled to find things that would fit over my chest. Now things have settled down with breastfeeding, it's good to be able to wear this shirt again. It was a relief to try it on and find it actually buttoned up for once!

This was a nice comfortable outfit for a pram walk with the boys and some of my friends at the ABA along the waterfront at Wynnum. It was such a beautiful winter's day I quickly took the cardigan off and even began to wish I'd worn shorts. Aside from getting pretty warm on the walk back to the car, I did like this outfit. I liked the red cardigan matching the red strawberries on the blush shirt.

Last worn: red cardigan, strawberry print shirt, Jeanswest Prima jeans, Converse, Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere.

Other ways to wearred cardigan and polka dot cami, blush shirt and burgundy pants, Jeanswest Prima jeans and printed kimono, Converse and printed dress, Louis Vuitton Speedy Bandouliere and shorts in summer.

Perfect for pregnancyred cardigan and first trimester bump, printed shirt in first trimester, skinny jeans and a belly band, Converse and jeans in the first trimester, Louis Vuitton Speedy and wrap dress in third trimester.

More Printed Shirts Under $50:

What I wore:

star print shirt, red skinny jeans, wool cardigan: adding colour to winter outfit | AwayFromBlue

Rebecca Minkoff metallic silver mini MAC | AwayFromTheBlue
Necklace: Ruby Olive Softies Charlotte teething necklace
Top: Zara star print shirt
Jeans: Emerson red skinny jeans
ShoesConverse Chuck Taylor All Star low in black
BagRebecca Minkoff metallic silver mini MAC (on sale, 20% off!)
Nail PolishOPI Russian Navy

Why I wore it:

It's been over a year since I last wore this shirt! I knew it had been a while but didn't realise it had been that long! It's a pretty warm shirt so it only really gets worn in the cooler weather. I did try wear it in summer once and regretted my decision, ha! I really love this shirt so need to make an effort to wear it more often.

To stop my outfit looking too dull and monochromatic, I added these fun statement red jeans. I've been wearing my colourful denim a lot lately! In otherwise monochromatic outfits like this, the colour really pops against the black and greys. It's a nice and easy way to add a little more colour to your outfit. Incredibly practical for a playdate at the park too, especially when trying to juggle two energetic toddlers and an excitable Shih Tzu!

The cosy wool cardi was perfect for keeping me warm when the sun ducked behind the colours, and it was fun to photograph for instagram too!

A post shared by Mica (@awayfromblue) on

Last worn: wool cardiganstar print shirt, red skinny jeans, Converse (above), Rebecca Minkoff metallic mini MAC.

Other ways to wear: wool cardigan and flaresstar print shirt and denim shortsred skinny jeans and graphic tee, Converse and flares, Rebecca Minkoff metallic mini MAC and maxi skirt.

Perfect for pregnancy: skinny jeans and peplum tank in first trimesterConverse for second trimester travel, mini MAC and maternity denim shorts.

More Red Skinny Jeans Under $50:

How You Can Wear It:

Button up shirts are breastfeeding friendly so a good option for breastfeeding mums, but they feel a little more pulled together than a casual tee. A printed shirt is a good way to add some more interest to an outfit, but you don't have to stop there, you can add some extra colour too.

I've been trying to be more adventurous with colour lately and find sometimes it's easy to add a colourful piece to your outfit. In the first outfit I took the idea from the print in the shirt - the red strawberries made me think of my red cardigan. For the second outfit, I picked a bold red that really pops against the black and grey. Easy, quick to put together and simple.

Linking up with Fabulous Friday, Passion for Fashion.

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