My sister-in-law signed up for one of Alison's In-Person Style Sessions, and kindly introduced us soon after. During the session, Alison was intrigued by the amount of Ivy t-shirts
my SIL had, as at the time Alison was unfamiliar with my brand.
We met soon after and realised we had a shared love of a great Breton t-shirt
. We were planning various projects together including a photo shoot until Covid stopped it from being possible.
Most recently though, I asked Alison to spare a very precious half an hour to chat to me about all things motherhood. Alison is a new mum to 5 month old Maggie (we both have Maggie's!), which is the stage I was at when the idea to launch Ivy
came to me.
Although we are not a "maternity" brand as such, I hear from a lot of customers, either during their pregnancy or in the postpartum stages and/or nursing asking if our t-shirts will work for them and if I can offer advice with sizing.
My answer to them is always YES our t's will work at any stage, for 3 main reasons...
1) Our fits will accommodate growing and shrinking bumps in a flattering, comfortable and confidence building way.
2) Our fabrics are ridiculously soft and comfortable to wear at a time when your body needs as much TLC as it can get.
3) Our t's hold their shape at a time when you will be washing more than ever, making these items wearable way beyond the early stages of motherhood.
Given the queries I receive, I thought a brief chat with Alison to find out more about her experience as a new mum as well as her style tips for the stage she is at right now, would help and resonate with other women on this same journey.
Here a few of the key questions I asked during our conversation...
What is your experience working with new mums? Alison shares, "Pre-pregnancy, I worked with a lot of clients who were either pregnant or had postpartum bodies. When trying to source products for those clients I really struggled, and then I struggled with it myself a little. If you don't want to sacrifice your style in pregnancy, or when you're breastfeeding, it's tricky. You still want nice quality because you want it to feel nice on you and also on your baby's skin. And also you want it to last because you're going to be washing it loads, and also hopefully it will be worn again further down the line. So rather than getting fast fashion, which I think people's brains can automatically go to, just to get something to fill the gap. It makes so much more sense to get something quality that you feel confident in as well."
As a personal stylist, what's your advice for those women who are in the early stages of motherhood? "Definitely the feeling comfortable thing is key. And also not putting any pressure on yourself to get back into anything, I think is so, so important. But as opposed to losing your identity, which I know is such a big part of it, is trying to incorporate stuff into your outfits that feels very you. So whether that's your accessories, or your shoes, or it's kind of getting a bit of colour in somewhere. And I find that has been such a big part of feeling more put together, when even if I'm just going to a baby class, is to put something on I feel comfortable in but still feels quite like me."
How about the change to your body shape? "I'm still breastfeeding, and my boobs are so much bigger and just totally changed my silhouette. And I think that's been the biggest change because I put outfits on, and I'm obviously comparing to my pre baby self, which again, is an unfair thing to do. But we all do it.
I'm trying really hard to be more accepting of what I look like at the moment. I don't want to just cover myself up in baggy stuff until I'm back to how I was before, because I might never be the same shape as I was before.... I think it is so easy to focus more on what you look like as opposed to what's going on inside, which I think is so much more important for myself and for Maggie."
What are your key postpartum items? "I would say personally, I found having some really simple items that you can accessorise or add a cool jacket or shoes to, or the things that fit you throughout the pregnancy and afterwards that you can add your personality to. Having a really good pair of jeans, my striped tops, I did have a good shirt, I had a bold coloured jumper. And I found that between those items and a kind of bonkers dress, that I did just wear them on repeat. And you could kind of mix and match between them. I was pregnant through summer, so I could wear a lot of my shirts as jackets over of a dress that had a bit of stretch to it. And so I was quite lucky - I know in winter it's harder. I mean, you can obviously wear a big jumper. But then you end up stretching out the clothes as you get bigger. And I managed to avoid buying any maternity wear, which was my aim. Actually, that's not entirely true. I bought one pair of maternity jeans. And they're incredible. And I'm so sad that they're going to be packed away. I found that people said you don't need to buy maternity but I found with jeans, it was almost impossible"
We talk about so much more during our conversation, so you can watch the whole thing HERE.