Amanda Woodward-Brown is one of my Insta crushes. Her feed is a dream puzzle of style, kids, family, interiors and beautiful things. And shoes. Lots of lovely shoes, unsurprisingly as her day job is Head of Content at Rupert Sanderson. Which I also happen to be a fan owning several pairs myself! Besides the above she is also, most importantly, a mother to two adorable little ladies – Violet, 4 & Isla, 2. And a Contributer to The Grace Tales…
Amanda, as you know I’m a fan of your style – I’m quite envious of your own wardrobe – but can I ask more about your daughters’ style? How do you choose their clothes?
I like simple, traditional silhouettes but in pretty prints and understated hues. I have two very active girls so the most important thing when buying children’s clothing is that it feels effortless. I love beautiful fabrics and detailing, but I’ve always been careful to buy pieces that still allow the girls to run, jump and climb. I also love dressing the girls in vintage-inspired styles. The sort of pieces I am sure they will refuse to wear when they are older – like knitted rompers and bonnets!
Where do you get inspiration for their wardrobes?
I mainly shop from small, independent labels or boutiques and almost all of these I have discovered through Instagram – so I suppose Instagram is a source of Inspiration. I particularly love the online children’s boutique Little Circle, they have the most beautiful selection of clothing and accessories – I could buy every piece from co-founders Anna and Lisa’s edit. Whenever I am need of a wardrobe update for the girls, whether it is a new coat or a pair of boots I always visit Little Spree, a site founded by stylist Sarah Clark. Sarah has the loveliest eye and she is responsible for many of the purchases in both the girls’ and my own wardrobe.
Where are your favourite places to shop for kidswear?
I have so many I love this list will be too long if I mention them all. But some particular favourites are… Printe Bebe, an Australian brand I always stock up on when I am back home – effortless, gorgeous and high-quality. It is probably my ultimate childrenswear label. For Liberty print pieces I love Olivier Baby and Kids. I buy ruffle-collar blouses and shoes from La Coqueta. Caramel is another of my go-to brands for everything from dresses to bonnets. Outside the Lines always have cool coats and knitwear for Violet (they start from age three) Faune make beautiful children’s sleepwear – the nightdresses are so pretty they can be worn as dresses in the day. For basics I have just discovered G’day Baby which is an Australian organic cotton brand that does super-soft singlets (or vests as they are called here) and underwear. I always buy the girls shoes from a small online shop called ‘I Adore Little Feet’ which my sister-in-law introduced me to. For special occasion pieces I love Little Circle, Wild and Gorgeous and Marie Chantal. I always buy the girls hair accessories from Matilda and Grace, Elizabeth has the sweetest hand-made bows in linen and Liberty print.
What are your kids’ wardrobe must-haves?
In London: a pretty floral-print dress, a knitted cardigan, ribbed cotton tights, Mary Jane shoes in silver or rose gold, a classic wool coat and a hair bow – the girls are rarely without a hair accessory. In Australia: a cute swimsuit and a pretty cotton sundress – the girls spend most of their time barefoot when we are home.
Are there any particularly special pieces in the girls’ wardrobes?
Violet received the most beautiful dress from Hucklebones for her first birthday from my best friend who is also her Godmother (and who utterly spoils her!). It is blush pink with gold polka-dots and a cream Peter Pan collar. My best friend and I live on opposite sides of the world and I miss her dearly, she is the most generous person I know, and the dress is particularly special as it is always reminds me of her. I also buy the girls a special dress for their birthday each year. When they outgrow them I add them to a box, which I will give to them when they are older as a keepsake.
What a beautiful idea. One that I may have to steal!
Now, tell us, do the girls’ have huge wardrobes full of amazing clothes?
No! Definitely not! The girls’ wardrobes are actually very edited. Growing up, my mother always dressed me in beautifully made clothes, and very often they were pieces passed down from my elder cousin. It’s a principle I apply to the girl’s wardrobes: if you spend well, you will buy less. Isla wears all of Violet’s old clothes. I also have to point out that I don’t have an endless budget, so I tend to invest in childrenswear when it is on sale. I buy the size up, then store it away until the girls grow into it. It means I can afford beautiful pieces that I might not otherwise be able to.
Are there baby or children’s style rules you adhere to?
I don’t love fashion rules, everybody is so different and what looks amazing on one person, might not suit another. I am not overly fond of slogan t-shirts or clashing brights, but I think that is because my style is quite pared-back and what the girls wear is a reflection of what I like, as I decide what they wear (well for the moment anyway!) However I have friends who dress their children in neon hues and modern prints and I think they look gorgeous, so really it is just a matter of personal preference.
Is there anything you buy for the girls’ every season? Or have bought in more than one size?
Shoes and coats. Violet ruins every pair of shoes she owns and she seems to do the same to coats too. I also buy a new swimsuit for the girls each summer. Oh and hair accessories –the girls have a big box I can’t stop myself adding to.
Your girls always look so charming! Are they ever in Disney outfits/emoji t-shirts/minion pyjamas or the like? How do you deal with any demands for similar? Myself, I allow the Disney princess dresses for dressing up and fancy-dress parties and my daughter does usually wear princess/unicorn underwear!
I very rarely take the girls shopping as I only shop online these days, so to be honest I don’t really give them a choice about what is in their wardrobes! Although yes, Violet does have Disney princess underwear! Isla will happily wear whatever I put her in (mainly because she is two!), Violet however has recently started making a fuss as she has developed an obsession with leggings. I don’t know where it came from but practically every day this year she has asked to wear leggings. Even at the hottest point of the heatwave this summer she would go to her wardrobe and change into them. I find it as frustrating as much as my husband finds it highly amusing! I can still occasionally get her into a dress (she still loves to get dressed up for a party) but I have mostly given up now and have just started buying her pretty blouses instead.
What do your girls think of your style? Hopefully they approve but I know my own almost-4-year-old isn’t always in agreement. Just last week I wore a new slightly oversized, belted wool coat and she asked why I was going out in a dressing gown!
Despite aforementioned leggings-gate (as it is known in our household), Violet loves clothes and accessories. When I am going out she likes to help pick an outfit – I don’t always go with her choice (I am not sure a beaded hot-pink kaftan is quite the right outfit for a dinner party!) but I actually do value her opinion. One time I bought a dress I wasn’t sure about and asked her whether she thought I should keep it and she said ‘No Mummy,’ and I ended up returning it. She also has a very sweet habit of proclaiming ‘Oh Mummy, you look beautiful!’ whenever I get dressed up. I am not sure if Isla will be as interested in clothes. She does love jewellery and makeup though – no lipstick is safe in her hands – she will literally paint herself head to toe with it.
Oh how lovely, compliments from children are always so sincere, lovely. Finally, I’m not sure anyone holds the secret but how do you juggle work and motherhood? Any tips?
One thing I have learnt is that organisation is key to making things run more smoothly, and a sense of humour is even more important! Some days will go perfectly and others, well…! Juggling work and motherhood is, without a doubt, incredibly difficult at times, but children bring a wonderful sense of perspective. There is nothing like coming home after a challenging day in the office to hugs and kisses from the girls.
On Amanda’s shopping list…