Zoe de Pass launched DressLikeAMum.com in 2015 while on maternity leave with her second child. She now inspires over 5000 followers on instagram as @dresslikeamum, which aims to change attitudes about what ‘mums’ wear and offers alternative fashion choices for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Tell us about #dresslikeamum
I really want to change the misconception that mums can’t dress. Society has such a dated attitude to mums and what we are supposed to look/dress like – and it’s an assumption that is totally wrong.
DRESS LIKE A MUM is a place for outfit inspiration, its a place that busy mums can go and get shopping tips and style advice. Most of my outfits are breastfeed friendly and are a mixture of high street pieces, things from charity shops and designer pieces (that usually come from sample sales).
I want people to use the site as a short-cut to finding an outfit: mums are so short of time and can use the site as a quick and easy way to explore fashion ideas and get inspiration. It’s not about pressurising mums to dress up if they don’t want to – #dresslikeamum is something fashion-conscious mums can use when they don’t have the time to read magazines or shop online for inspiration.
What tips would you give to women who want to the most of maternity leave?
If you want to change your career or lifestyle, have faith in yourself and your idea. Make the most of the flexibility you have when you’re not working – it’s the perfect time to try something new. If you can do something you love, that fits around family life, that's the best.
It’s also a great time to evaluate your skills and knowledge. Once you’re out of your work environment, you can take stock of just how much you know and how valuable your experience is.
When, how and why did you decide to change your career?
The moment I decided to officially launch my DRESS LIKE A MUM campaign was when a stranger approached me and said: ‘You don’t look like a mum, nor dress like a mum’. What does that even mean? Once you’re pregnant, or have children, it seems acceptable for people to talk to you and pass judgement or give you their opinion about the way you look. I felt like saying: ‘Don’t judge me on what I should wear just because I’m a mum!’ and it all started from there.
It started as a bit of fun, but I’m so lucky that it’s turned into a career. I knew I wanted to work for myself, I just didn’t know how to start. Before I had children, I worked in digital strategy and brand planning for fashion companies and now I continue to work with retailers to educate them about the lifestyle of my audience and the needs of mums, especially those breastfeeding.
What are your tips for maternity wear and breastfeeding outfits?
Do not sacrifice or compromise your style just because you are pregnant or breastfeeding - if you are shopping ask yourself: ‘would I wear this if I wasn’t pregnant or breastfeeding?' If not, then don’t wear it now. You won’t feel yourself, and you won’t feel comfortable. It’s actually easier than you think to find outfits that will work. I wear a vest with everything so I can breastfeed in it. You can make a feature of what’s underneath, with prints and coloured layers.
Which shops are doing it best for mums?
Some retailers are starting to understand how important it is, but I don’t think anyone’s making it easy. It’s sad to think that these brands assume mums don’t care about what they wear once they've had children. Until very recently, maternity wear was so different to other collections but brands are now starting to wise up.
As a Peckham local, where do you like to hang out?
Parks and picnics are great for the kids, because you don’t need to worry about the inevitable mess and noise. We love Brockwell Park and Telegraph Hill, and there’s always something going on at the South Bank.
What’s next for #dresslikeamum?
I’m working with the Mini Edit for a pop-up space in Knightsbridge this summer, and organising a Swap Shop with @Notsosmugnow. I’m also speaking at a @MothersMeeting fashion special event at Shoreditch House later in August. And will continue to build the brand and change the bad rep of mum dressing.
So get going mums! Browse Zoe’s website for inspirational outfits you’d look great in and post your pictures on instagram using #dresslikeamum. Let’s show the world how us real mums dress!