1 outfit, 7 looks, leather and leopardWhen I got a full time job 13 years ago, I spent nearly my whole first week’s pay on new clothes. It was DIVINE. I worked hard to earn that paycheck and couldn’t wait to spend it on some new outfits to wear to work. Those early years as a full-time worker were a lot of fun. I thought nothing of spending a Saturday at a shopping centre, trawling shops to see what new clothes I could add to my already bursting wardrobe. #takemeback #nonotreally

Fast forward ten years later and I’m now a part-time working mum to three little girls. There is little money left in the budget for new clothes, although I do manage to squeeze in a few purchases. I’ve learned to be thrifty and fill my wardrobe with quality, basic pieces that can be dressed for any occasion. Jeans and a white shirt is a classic look and a must-have in everyone’s wardrobe. It never dates.

I know white may not be a colour women naturally gravitate towards wearing when they have babies, but I’ve always found white to be a great colour to wear because it camouflages those little milky upchucks. I keep a tub of Napisan ready to go on any stains my toddlers leave all over my white shirt too (I’m looking at you Vegemite fingers and green boogers!) 

The Basic Outfit

1 outfit 7 different looks

The white shirt in my outfit is from Empress Eleven. I love the style because the hem drapes longer at the back than the front. The arms can be worn full length or buttoned up casually for a ¾ look. It’s always good to consider these style features when you purchase a white shirt because it offers more possibilities for mixing up your look.

If you’re looking for a white shirt to add to your wardrobe, try Witchery, Country RoadOllie&Max and Target. Don’t hesitate to check out local boutiques as they can also deliver the goods, often in styles that can’t be found in high street shops.

Related: 13 Places You Haven’t Thought of Shopping

Don’t think you have to pay over $100 to get a good pair of jeans. My jeans are from Rockmans. They were a bargain for $60, and their colour and fit are fabulous. I wish I’d bought two pairs because I have worn these a lot this winter, but of course, because they’re great, Rockmans have sold out. 

Once you have your basic shirt and jeans outfit sorted, it’s a matter of looking in your wardrobe (or you may need to fill it) with pieces that can add interest to your outfit. These pieces can be layered and contrasted with different accessories and shoes to create new looks. Here is what I had in my wardrobe to change this 1 outfit into 7 looks.

After-Five Evening Out1 outfit, 7 looks after 5

Heading out for dinner or a very rare date night with your husband? This is how I wear my white shirt and jeans out after five. A heavily embellished necklace, some heels and a black clutch will help you feel like the woman you were before you had your children.(I know it does for me!) An extra styling note: if your white shirt is quite translucent, wear a white singlet underneath. I’m wearing a maternity singlet in the shot above.

Boho Chic

boho chic 1 look, 7 outfitsI love layering with faux fur vests and a neutral shade works well against a white shirt. Add a long necklace and some ankle boots or fun leopard print flats like I have, and you’re good to start your day.

Rock Chick

1 outfit, 7 looks, leather and leopardA white shirt needs to be layered in winter if you want to keep warm. A leather jacket, teamed with a scarf are just the layers you need to create a winning winter look. For extra warmth, add a long sleeved white tee under your white shirt. Pull on a pair of ankle or long boots and you’re suddenly rocking.

Office Look

1 outfit, 7 looks, office lookIf I was still working in an office, I’d definitely be wearing this outfit. Adding a long-line vest elevates this outfit from casual to smart business. This brooch is from Mimco and it adds the perfect bling to a simple outfit. Brooches are definitely an accessory that needs to make a comeback. I wore this outfit for a day at home running errands, I just changed the heels to flats.

Casual Safari

1 outfit, 7 looks safari outfitA fun look that incorporates African and military accessories. This is a fun,everyday outfit that I wear on days out with my kids to playgroup or a park visit. Having few different vests can make outfits trans-seasonal which means you get more cost per wear from your basics.

Layered Knit

1 outfit, 7 looks, layered knitGrab a thin knit and layer it over your white shirt. Allow the hem of the shirt to peep underneath the hem of the knit. I love this look and often get many compliments when I wear it. For me, this is an everyday look. I would also wear this out for a casual dinner or barbecue.

Colour Accents

1 outfit, 7 looks, colour accentsEven though I do tend to gravitate towards darker, moodier colours, I love to wear colour during winter. A simple necklace and clutch is all I needed to add the perfect amount of colour to this outfit. I finished the look with navy velvet heels that tied in with my dark jeans and we’re ready to party.

After putting these outfits together, I realised I could potentially make more outfits by swapping some of the pieces around. It’s good to invest in ankle boots, flats and heels so that each look can be translated to a day or night time look.

Don’t be afraid to take the essentials out of your nappy bag and downsize to a clutch (think one spare nappy and a small plastic bag with some wipes). The moment you do it, you feel amazingly light and free to have fun.

Which look is your favourite from these? Do you have a classic outfit you like to change up for different occasions?

More style tips to rock your everyday:

Images: Rebecca Seynard