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AT-HOME STYLE WITH CHARLOTTE KEWLEY
Iso-style means something different to everyone - whether that's sweatpants all day, socks and sandals, dressing half-up for video calls, or business as usual. We checked in with fashion stylist, consultant and editor Charlotte Kewley of The Little Stylist to hear about her at-home style, trends for spring and summer, and what her kids had to say on the matter.
Charlotte Kewley is a fashion stylist, consultant and editor in everything baby and kids fashion related, and the creator of The Little Stylist. She is 37 years old and lives with her husband and two children (Isabella, 5 and Jesse, 3) in East London.
How are you finding being at home with your family right now?
Overall, okay! I’m coping better than I thought I would. I’m one of those mums that likes to get out with the kids. I can count on one hand the number of days we’ve all spent at home ALL day before now. I find that if I sort of plan the days out with activities to do (baking hour, craft hour, daily walk etc) it’s not so bad and we get into some semblance of a routine. But sometimes the smallest of things can tip me over the edge. Ups and downs like everybody else I guess… The kids however are having a great time. They think they’re on holiday. The sun’s out, the paddling pool’s out. They’re getting treats (bribes). We’re with them all the time. They’re living their best lives!
Talk us through the least glamourous part of your lockdown?
Hmm there are a lot of non-glamorous things going on right now. I’ve been doing a workout every day (it keeps me sane) and often remain in workout clothes (or my pyjamas) for way to long… we also have a giant Cockapoo puppy who isn’t getting as many walks as usual so clearing up poo from the garden is probably a highlight!
Are you involved in many video meetings? Are you finding you’re dressing for these or anything goes?
No! Luckily. But I have been doing lots of Zoom’s with friends and family. Anything goes! But I’m trying to at least put a bit of make-up on in the mornings as it puts me in a better mood.
As a kids’ fashion stylist, during a time when we’re perhaps not thinking as much about our spring/summer wardrobe, are you finding you’re having to adapt to a new way of working?
Yes. All of my upcoming photoshoots have of course been cancelled with some of my clients facing the possibility of going into administration. And it doesn’t feel quite right to continue with spring/summer fashion edits and features for The Little Stylist at the moment. So, I’ve been thinking of some new, more relevant ideas I can introduce. Watch this space! That and working on ways I can improve The Little Stylist long-term. So, design, new features etc… I’m doing a lot behind the scenes of the site. But also, there’s not much time to actually get any work done. It’s kind of like being on maternity leave again. There’s so much time but also so little as my kids are still young so want me with them ALL THE TIME. My husband is still working full-time (but from home) so I’m doing all of the parenting, home schooling, cleaning, cooking… I try to do a little in the evenings but seem to have just enough energy to pour a glass of wine and collapse on the sofa! Or do a Zoom quiz…
So, are you personally embracing the ‘stay at home style’ or do you feel standards need to be maintained?
A bit of both. I often work from home anyway and my go-to always has and continues to be dungarees. I also invested in some new loungewear which is getting a lot of use. But then I’m making sure my nails are done and I have a bit of make-up on. More for my own mental health than outward appearance. It makes me feel more ‘me’. Though I have ditched my usual winged eyeliner for now and gone a little (lot) more natural.
How much negotiation goes into choosing your kids outfits or do you let your kids choose and has that changed since the lockdown?
So usually quite a lot. My son in particular can be quite fussy. He gets obsessed with one item and wants to wear it every single day. But he has so many cool pieces that I’d just like him to change it up a little… but yeah, during lockdown pretty much anything goes. Though my daughter did pull out a beautiful party dress we were kindly gifted for the paddling pool yesterday which I drew the line at. Saving that for when we’re out! They have quite good wardrobes so I usually approve anyway but they can be quite, err, creative!
What have your kids been wearing these last few weeks?
A lot of summer gear as the weather has been so beautiful! Shorts + tee’s. My son has some cool silver shorts I got in the Smallable sale and a few Mini Rodini sets. Then I got him a bargain multi-pack of dusty pastel t-shirts from Next just before lockdown. My daughter usually changes summer dresses at least 2 or 3 times a day. Favourites being the Nights by Wilder Patti nightdress, a pretty Liberty print number from Olivier London and a new Apolina style.
They both have cool clay pink tracksuits from a new brand called Oii at Alexandalexa which I told them was their new uniform for home schooling. They quite like them as they match so pretend to be twins. My son also has some lovely new pieces from KIDLY Label. Perfect worn-look jersey sweatshirts and rib knit leggings. They’re usually in swimwear at least once a day too. Whether it’s hot or not. They do a lot of pretend play and ‘going on holiday’ is a current favourite scenario.
For anyone that is perhaps looking to make some online purchases to brighten up their kids wardrobe what colours or trends would you say are hot for SS20?
I’m always a fan of natural, muted and earthy colours and that doesn’t really change with seasons… Trend wise I think pieces with a bit of a ‘fun’ element are popular. We all need a little more fun right now! Cute prints that are playful yet stylish. Brands like Mini Rodini, Jelly Mallow, Bobo Choses, The Animals Observatory and One Day Parade are leading the way. Their collections are full of fun prints and details but the colours and styles are effortlessly stylish.
Rainbows are another big trend. And with them being the symbol of hope at the moment I think they’re going to get more and more popular. Stella McCartney Kids has some amazing rainbow pieces but there are plenty on the high street too.
And tie dye. Bought or we’re seeing more people doing it at home, with kids, as a craft idea. I’m planning on doing some myself this week…
Are your kids’ wardrobes full of prominent colours and the latest trends or is it mostly classic timeless looks?
A bit of both. There are a lot of timeless pieces – grey marl and muted washed out tee’s and jersey, great knitwear. Stripes. Liberty prints… Isabella has some lovely timeless nostalgic pieces from places like La Coqueta, Olivier Baby & Little Cotton Clothes. But then there some more ‘trend’ pieces. Leopard prints, a bit of shiny metallic (shorts for him, a great Cos party dress for her – both sale buys) and I love Mini Rodini for fun bold pieces that still fit in with my The Little Stylist aesthetic which is more muted tones with a premium, yet playful feel. I’m so tempted to get both kids some bright striped shorts from Jelly Mallow at the moment too. One good thing for customers at the moment is there are SO many good sales on. It’s a good time to buy ahead for next summer in bigger sizes!
Who are your style icons and inspirations (whether adult or kid designers / celebrities / influencers)?
Oh, I think there are so many people and places to gather inspiration now. It’s all over Instagram and Pinterest. I think (along with most mothers in the world!) that Courtney Adamo always looks amazing. As do her children/house! I interviewed her a little while ago for The Little Stylist and she was just the loveliest. I also get so much inspiration from different kids brands and retailers – Apolina, Cissy Wears (I love everything at Cissy Wears). I think every new collection and brand that launches brings fresh inspiration. As for other personal style icons of mine – I love Caroline Maigret. That effortless Parisian girl look is so covetable. Oh, and Villanelle from Killing Eve! Obsessed with the new series.
What are some must-have kids' accessories for Spring/Summer20?
Sunhats. Either cute bucket hats (Next have a leopard print one and Little Hotdog Watson have some cool new metallics) or timeless pretty Liberty print one’s from Olivier Baby. I love their summer bonnets for babies too. Cool sunglasses. And statement socks for with sandals on cooler days. I’m a big fan of socks & sandals. Shoe wise a good pair of sandals have to be the main investment. My favourites from Bobux are the heritage style Driftwoods – in black, navy or caramel. They work with everything.
What clothing advice would you recommend to fellow parents with young children?
I think there are some amazing sales on at the moment and (if we can) it’s great to support retailers so I’m investing in some pieces in bigger sizes for next season and beyond. But for now, I guess to just buy what you need. Comfortable pieces for playing in. Viv & Joe have some super cute rib co-ord short + tee sets I just posted about on Instagram and I think they’re pretty much perfect for spring/summer stay at home style.
How well do you feel Bobux shoes match your kids' style?
Pretty perfectly. My daughter lived in the brown Chelsea/Jodhpur boots all winter any my son wore the navy leather hi-tops. They have the timeless, premium feel I love but are actually the kids favourites to wear too due to the comfort factor.
For summer they (or I!) have opted for the navy Grass Court trainers for Jesse and the Rose Gold for Isabella (which she’s thrilled with) and the heritage sandals for both which I love the simplicity but chunkiness of. They add a cool, modern factor to Isabella’s prettier pieces. And the hook and loop means they can take them on and off themselves giving them a bit of independence.
Bobux believes in a balance between form and function (so it needs to look cool but must be practical too). What is your philosophy on form vs function? I.e. the fit and comfort of the shoes you buy versus the design and look?
I have similar values. Especially when it comes to footwear. Little feet are constantly growing so it’s important that we look after them. And I think most kids will flat out refuse to wear uncomfortable shoes so they’re the one item in your child’s wardrobe worth investing in. I can also vouch for the fact that Bobux shoes last the entire season, the quality is fantastic.
We also had a few questions for Charlotte's two kids, Isabella & Jesse, to hear their take on their at-home get ups.
What is the best thing about being home all day?
Isabella: I don’t have to have lasagne for school dinner.
What is your favourite thing to wear at home?
Jesse: Leggings + T-shirt.
Isabella: My new dress (from Apolina).
What is your favourite item in your wardrobe and why?
Isabella: My new dress (the Apolina one).
Jesse: Parrot shorts (last season from Mini Rodini).
If you had the choice to wear PJ’s all day or clothes what would you choose?
Jesse: Christmas pyjamas.