The Baby Bag Guide

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When it comes to the perfect bag to tote around the numerous items your little one needs there's no one size fits all, or more accurately, one style fits all occasions. As I’ve quickly learnt, this can be said for many things you’ll buy as a parent, but for the purpose of this post I’m focusing on baby bags, because let’s face it, a bag is part of your outfit and so for me these purchases took careful consideration.

We started by investing in two styles, a his and a hers, or a formal and casual option, to best fit our daily needs and work for both me and my husband. Seven months in and I’ve just purchased my third baby bag to accommodate the smaller storage tray of our travel stroller (another additional item), because why should you lose all sense of your personal style just because you’re traveling…I’m all for the functionality of a backpack but it’s just not my everyday style! Just like the two bags featured in this post it’s not specifically designed to be a baby bag and comes from one of my go to sustainable brands Baggu…I’ll keep you posted on how well it serves me.

Here are my thoughts on what to look for and consider in your search for the perfect baby bag for you and your family:

The Handbag

My priority with this option was to still feel like me, you don’t have to lose all sense of your previous style for functionality! The gorgeous Fashionable Alem Utility Bag has allowed me to retain my personal style while also providing all the function necessary of a baby bag. With enough internal pockets to keep everything organised and large enough to fit mine and baby's stuff this bag is my daily go to. The detachable long strap was a must for me so I’d have the option to wear it crossbody and go handsfree, and to easily hang over the handlebar of my stroller...both of which I have never actually done, I guess some features you can’t be sure you’ll need until you’re in it. The external pocket is great and allows easy access to my phone and keys plus the full zip closure ensures the contents in the main compartment remain secure...no matter how tightly they’re packed in! The classic design and better when worn in leather of this everyday tote means it will easily transform and adapt to accommodate whatever is needed of it in the future.

Fashionable creates jobs in communities both locally and globally. They employ women who have often overcome extraordinary circumstances and by providing these opportunities have a vision of ending generational poverty. The Alem Utility Bag is handcrafted by artisans in Ethiopia and Mexico with 100% distressed genuine leather.

The Backpack

A necessary functional piece, this second baby bag is technically the hubby's although we did want it to be unisex. The main purpose of the baby backpack is to make family outings to the park and travel easy, and the Lo & Sons Hanover Deluxe Backpack does it all with style and simplicity. Multiple internal pockets keep everything organised and easy to find and with an entirely removable insert any spills are easily cleaned. It also has an easy access front pocket and necessary side slip pockets for the reusable water bottle and quick access to items like wipes. This bag is our go to for family adventures, the memory foam padded shoulder straps make all day carrying a breeze and a sleeve that attaches the bag to luggage handles makes it perfect for longer trips too. 

Lo & Sons creates thoughtfully designed and highly functional bags that are built to last for years. The exterior of the Hanover Backpack is a 600D high density, water resistant, recycled polyester made from recycled plastic bottles.

The Portable Change Mat

There are so many options out there when it comes to portable change mats but I think I've found the most stylish and functional option of them all! The Storq Kit Bag is cute enough to carry on it's own for quick trips out of the house and covers all of the necessary functions required of a change mat. It's large enough to fit diapers, wipes and a change of clothes, while a smooth zip closure and carry handle make it easy to transport. Plus the most genius design element of all is the exterior magnetic pocket that holds the actual change mat, making one handed use a breeze, which when you're holding a baby in one arm is kind of essential! This bag is durable, machine washable and will last through many a new family member! 

Storq creates thoughtfully designed maternity wear to mix seamlessly with your existing wardrobe. Eco-friendly and natural fibres are used where possible and all products are ethically made locally in the USA and in China.


Good luck with your search and I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you’ve found essential features for your baby bag (or bags if you’re like me and have multiple!).

5 Ethical Maternity Lingerie Brands For New Mums

Whether you’re planning on breastfeeding or not there comes a time during your pregnancy when maternity lingerie will be a necessity. This can be yet another daunting task on your road to motherhood as it, once again, involves areas of your body that have changed and grown! To take the stress out of your lingerie shopping, whether you’re investing in nursing bras or simply need maternity pyjamas for your impending hospital stay, check out these awesome sustainable options that will have you covered no matter what your needs:

Belabumbum

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This brand, hailing from Brazil and pronounced bela-boom-boom which means ‘beautiful bum’ in Portuguese, focuses exclusively on maternity and nursing wear and believes mums and mums-to-be need to take a moment to care for themselves. I’m sure we can all agree that’s something we can get on board with! In addition to this mission Belabumbum was founded as a social enterprise, with care, ethics and dignity in all of their work interactions built into the brands approach from the very beginning. Working with 9 factories across South America they nurture entrepreneurs and boost job security through microlending, lower profit margins and smart supply chain management.   

This ethically sourced range includes nursing bras, maternity sleepwear and also a selection of activewear styles, plus you can even get coordinating sleepwear for Mum and baby, too cute!

www.belabumbum.com

Sorella Organics

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Independent Australian label, Sorella Organics, builds their range of sleepwear and loungewear for men, women and expecting mums exclusively using certified organic and fair trade cotton fabrications. But their commitment to ethics and sustainability doesn’t stop there; collections are made both locally and in Fiji, where founder Anna McGregor spent 3 years upskilling workers in cutting, sewing and finishing to help build capacity and create opportunities for workers to partner with other Australian brands, contributing to sustainable employment. Because of her efforts Anna has become an honorary member of Ethical Fashion Forums Fellowship 500, an industry body for sustainable fashion.

With beautifully soft, all organic sleep and lounge collections you’ll find everything you need for relaxing at home in those last months of pregnancy and first few months with baby when your comfort will be key!

www.sorellaorganics.com.au

Boob Design 

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Boob’s patented nursing collection began when founder, Mia Seipel, realised that mothers, just like super heroes, deserve the right gear. Almost 20 years later and the brand now makes clothes for all stages of motherhood with a focus on double function pieces suitable for pregnancy and nursing. All of this combined with their dedication to use 100% sustainable materials, responsible production through building long lasting relationships with factories that share their human rights and environmental values, and having all products certified according to Standard 100 by Oeko-Tex to ensure no harmful chemicals are present, makes Boob Design a leader in sustainable maternity wear. 

For all of your maternity and nursing wardrobe needs from bras to dresses, swimwear to leggings, look no further. These pieces will live in your wardrobe for a long time and Boob Design will even take back what you’re done with to ensure they keep their clothes in the loop.  

www.boobdesign.com

Top Secret

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With a range catering to all of your nursing needs, Top Secret Maternity was founded with a desire to help expecting mums nurse discreetly in public. Creating collections that are fashionable, functional and versatile enough to take you from pregnancy to nursing and beyond remains the brands main focus. Top Secret Maternity achieves all of this while also producing all of their garments locally in Australia from all Australian made fabrics; and with their fabric supplier, garment maker and warehouse all based in Melbourne they’re also reducing their carbon footprint. If all this wasn’t enough the brand is also accredited by Ethical Clothing Australia. 

This carefully curated collection of thoughtful designs, which includes a selection of plus size garments, will help simplify your nursing journey.

www.topsecretmaternity.com

Majamas

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Committed to making beautiful clothes that don’t destroy the planet, Majamas produces all of it’s garments locally in the USA with fabrics that are also locally made. The brands women’s, maternity, baby and soon to be mens ranges all focus on the use of organic cotton or other more environmentally conscious fabrics like Tencel, Modal or recycled polyester. Local production is what helps Majamas ensure no chemicals are present in their garments, waste water isn’t dumped into the oceans and their garment workers are fairly paid, meeting founder Germaine Capiro’s mission to build a brand centred around responsibility to the environment regardless of the cost.

Discover responsibly made maternity and nursing friendly bras, sleepwear and more plus check out their cute pieces for baby while you’re at it.  

www.majamas.com

This article was created for and originally published on The Green Hub

5 Perfect White Grammar Shirts And 5 Beautiful Body Shapes

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Dressing your best is simple when you know, understand and love your body shape; and with Grammar’s five perfect white shirts, made locally in New York’s garment district from 100% organic cotton, you can go from day to night, work to casual with ease all while fitting your body shape perfectly. Learn your perfect fit based on your body shape and get your white shirt working hard for you:

The Preposition

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Best for: Oval Body Shape

Goal: Add volume and width to your shoulders, draw attention above your bust line and accentuate your slender legs.

How the Preposition works for you: The collar extension and structured shoulders draw attention to and add width to your shoulder line. A loose silhouette skims over your bust and flares out to obscure your waist all while creating a flattering diagonal line at the front and back hem across your hips and booty.

Style your Preposition: Highlight those pins with slim pants or jeans and add a heel for extra impact; a low vamp will create the most flattering line. Use a statement earring and/or bold lip colour to further draw attention above your bust line.

Also good for: Rectangle and triangle body shapes, short/petite ladies and those wanting to camouflage a booty.

The Dangling Modifier

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Best for: Rectangle Body Shape

Goal: Create curves by enhancing your upper body, forming a waist and adding volume at your hips.

How the Dangling Modifier works for you: Waist darts at the front and back work in harmony with your body shape by following your natural body line. Structured shoulders enhance your upper body while the longer length creates interest and volume at your lower body.

Style your Dangling Modifier: Add extra focus and create curves by belting at your waist and for a more casual look roll the sleeves to sit at your waistline.

Also good for: Inverted triangle body shape and those blessed with height.

The Split Infinitive

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Best for: Inverted Triangle Body Shape

Goal: Balance out your top half by adding volume and drawing attention to your lower body.

How the Split Infinitive works for you: The slightly dropped shoulder seams help soften and minimise your broader shoulders while those stunning billowy sleeves help draw attention to your lower half.

Style your Split Infinitive: Add a long necklace over a buttoned up look or wear buttons undone as low as you dare to further balance out your top half by drawing the eye down. Tuck into a full skirt, think bright or printed, or wear with relaxed fit jeans to focus attention on your lower body.

Also good for: Oval body shape and those wanting to show off their booty.

The Conjunction

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Best for: Hourglass Body Shape

Goal: Frame your balanced body by highlighting your bust, waist and hips.

How the Conjunction works for you: Drawing attention exactly where you want it, at your defined waist, the knot design detail makes a statement while working in harmony with your body shape. Back darts make sure this silhouette fits close to the body and is flattering your natural curves from all angles.

Style your Conjunction: This style speaks for itself but for added drama tie hair back in a sleek pony or bun, add a bold lip and use your footwear and outerwear choice to set the tone...an oversized coat and kicks for daytime and a blazer and heels for later.

Also good for: Rectangle body shape and those wanting to accentuate a smaller bust or show off a fuller bust.

The Verb

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Best for: Triangle Body Shape

Goal: Balance out your bottom half by adding volume and drawing attention to your upper body.

How the Verb works for you: A structured collar and fitted shoulders help broaden and accentuate your shoulder line while bust darts and a centre back seam create a perfect fit through the body. All finished with a curved hemline that flatters your hips with a soft diagonal line.

Style your Verb: Pair with darker colored pieces and streamlined silhouettes on the bottom of your body to further balance out your bottom half and help draw more attention to your upper body with bold earrings, a statement necklace or bright lip.

Also good for: Hourglass body shape (especially when tucked in to accentuate that waist!) and anyone wanting a classic shirt with complete versatility to be styled to suit your body shape! 

This post was created for and originally published on Grammar NYC

Wardrobe Lessons I've Learnt During Pregnancy That Apply To Everyone

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During different stages of our lives we learn lots of new things, and while my wardrobe is a big part of my life I didn't expect that pregnancy would teach me valuable lessons about it! Navigating a changing body of course presents it's challenges when it comes to what to wear but it's also been about thinking to the future and what this new season of life will mean for my wardrobe and how it works for me and my lifestyle. So here are my top 3 lessons learnt, all of which can be easily applied to any wardrobe out there:

Wash, Wear, Repeat 

It really is ok to wear the same pieces over and over again! And if you love them you'll actually enjoy it. Having my go to outfits has been so much less time consuming and easier to manage, and knowing I'll look and feel good in whichever one I choose to put on is so helpful especially in this time of change. But I do also have to admit my realisation that I'm definitely not a complete minimalist, and probably never will be! I like choice, and that too is ok. Only fitting into one Winter coat has felt a little limiting, although it hasn't really affected my ability to change up my outfits. Layering is so key, wearing different jacket/top combinations under my coat and different scarves/beanies on top of my coat has helped so much. Jeans have been a little harder as they've always been my vice and favourite item of clothing, so getting by with only 4 pairs has been challenging. I definitely appreciate my denim collection more and can't wait to fit back into my beloved jeans again!

Letting Go

I love the idea of a good wardrobe clean out, staying on top of what you love most, what you might be neglecting, what needs mending and focussing on only filling the gaps you might have is so important. But in saying that I've realised the importance of holding on to things as well...because they could be exactly what you need in a new season of your life, you just don't know it yet! Holding on to those items you feel your love affair has ended with can be difficult if you have space constraints, and of course I'm not suggesting a hoarding situation here, but certain timeless, good quality, easy to wear pieces are worth the trouble of keeping as they could be easily reintroduced into your wardrobe down the track. I've had an almost exclusive relationship with clothing that covers my chest over the last few years, meaning crew necks make up most of my wardrobe, which is going to prove problematic should I be lucky enough to breastfeed! The struggle is also real with getting shoes on these days and I dream of a couple of pairs of boots I should've kept that would've been both comfortable and easy to get on right now. You never know when or how your style may change out of necessity!

Life and Style

Practicality, although a rather unsexy word to use when it comes to your wardrobe is actually the key to your clothes working for you and never having one of those I have nothing to wear moments again. The fusing of your personal style with your lifestyle is an art form that will ensure you have the perfect wardrobe...so as you can imagine it's not always that easy to perfect, especially when both are moving targets. Really thinking about exactly how an item will work for different scenarios that play out in your lifestyle will help you determine how much wear you can actually get out of a garment. Working with a slightly more limited wardrobe these last few months has meant everything that fits me has had to be practical and cover all of my lifestyle scenarios with ease. Always consider things like how easy a garment is to care for, how well it goes with other pieces in your wardrobe, can it cross over and work for multiple lifestyle needs, does the colour work with your palette and compliment you with and without make up on (yes I'm assuming the make up brushes won't be coming out as often in the coming months!). Don't sacrifice your style but always ensure your clothes suit your lifestyle.

The 3 Silhouettes You Need To Master Maternity Style

While the thought of dressing an entirely new body shape might seem daunting it really can be quite simple when you realise there are only three silhouettes you need to rely on to see you through your entire pregnancy. And the best part is, you'll likely find a number of pieces in these silhouettes already in your wardrobe. So when it comes to accommodating your pregnant belly, stick to these key shapes to master easy and flattering pregnancy and post pregnancy style:

 

Fitted

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Perfect to stretch with your growing belly, fitted styles will ensure it's obvious that you're pregnant in the early days and avoid making you look bigger than you actually are towards the end!  

Styles with ruched waists or side seam gathering fit nicely over a pregnant belly and will also be more flattering postpartum, so keep longevity in mind if you're investing in this style during your pregnancy.

Any fitted tops you currently have in your wardrobe will nicely stretch over your belly during pregnancy and if they become too short it's easy to layer a fitted tank underneath for extra length. And you can rely on fitted dresses which are perfect for showing off that growing bump and staying comfortable!

 

Empire Line

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Probably the most flattering shape to see you through your entire pregnancy, empire line styles show off your bump while also skimming over any areas that may have also grown but you'd prefer not to highlight.

Make the most of accentuating your bust and showing off your bump with empire line tops and dresses in soft and draping fabrications. This shape will also be complimentary postpartum to skim over your belly so keep in mind the wearability of pieces once baby arrives. 

You may not have an abundance of empire line styles already in your wardrobe and if you do they may not accommodate your mid section through your entire pregnancy! You can however use belts to create this silhouette with any loose fit and flowing pieces you already have or with a top worn over a dress and tied above your belly.  

 

Oversized

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Easy and comfortable, and the most likely to already exist in your wardrobe, oversized styles will last you through your entire pregnancy and beyond. 

Best in the early days when you might still be trying to hide that you're pregnant and then once again when you're struggling to find clothes that fit! You'll likely have a stage in the middle of your pregnancy when you avoid oversized pieces and instead enjoy showing your bump off!

Use necklaces, earrings and bold lip colours to draw attention up and away from your expanding belly which will create a more balanced look. And once again layering is key with oversized pieces, either to create interest or to help extend the wearability of a top with a long fitted singlet underneath. 

 

Dressing your bump should be an enjoyable experience and a fun reason to create new looks by styling your clothes differently. Remember to embrace your changing body, even though it may not always be easy, and use your clothes to help you feel like the strong, powerful Mama-to-be that you are!