The blogger and co-founder of shopping platform Wardrobe ICONS on how motherhood has changed her and the pieces every pregnant woman needs
Motherhood inevitably changes you, yet sometimes this shift occurs so imperceptibly that you don’t realise your perspective has shifted until you look back. For Laura Fantacci, stylist and co-founder of online shopping platform Wardrobe ICONS, it was embracing change itself. “I used to be, or still am, a very controlling and organised person. Having a plan and sticking to it, having a to do list. Becoming a mother has taught me to let go and understand that its ok not to finish the to-do list” Mother to a three-year-old daughter Greta Zita, Laura is currently pregnant with her second child. “This time hopefully it’ll be easier as I’ve already loosened up,” she says with a laugh. “I remember saying to my friends [about having Greta] ‘Oh it’ll be fine, I’ve got a file on how I’m going to do this.’ No, it really doesn’t work that way. It has taught me to embrace changes and things you haven’t planned. It’s something so new and inexperienced, the whole job comes with lots of changes within yourself, which can be difficult. But I’ve learnt just to go with it.”
One thing becoming a parent hasn’t altered is her enviable sense of style. A former fashion editor, Laura’s ability to pull together a chic high-low look has seen her blog Wearing It Today, become a popular reference on the designer and high-street buys you need in your wardrobe. Originally founded as a daily documentation of her outfits for her friends, WIT (as it is fondly known) has since evolved into a polished site with even a WIT Mama section dedicated to mini fashion and mama life. “I really treasure the trust that [followers] put in me. Through the blog I’ve worked with a lot of brands to host events and it’s been lovely to be able to meet the readers and chat to them – some of them have gone through the motherhood process like I have. I really love the community it’s created and the two-way conversation,” she says.
It was readers’ comments, asking how to build the perfect wardrobe, that first formed the idea for Wardrobe ICONS. “I knew that there this was this theme that wasn’t being addressed by publications and women were tired of being bombarded by ‘buy this’, ‘buy that’, and they actually wanted to know what the essentials were that they needed.” It wasn’t until she told her friend Petro Stofberg about the concept, that it began to take shape. The pair had met while working in the fashion department of Happy magazine and had stayed friends after going on to work at different publications, before falling pregnant at the same time. “We were sitting by the pool over the summer with our little babies and we were chatting about life in general and life after maternity leave, and I told her about this idea I had and she said, ‘Well why don’t we start this together?’ She was the one who gave me the confidence to do it. I really craved a project with someone else, blogging can be a lonely world. And she seemed like the perfect partner and she’s proven to be.”
Built around the original notion of an expert edit of essentials, Wardrobe ICONS is the go-to place to find staples that will endure in your closet through the seasons. Think the perfect pair of trousers, a classic cashmere sweater or a sharply tailored blazer. “On top of that we’re very aware that you can’t just wear a white shirt for the rest of your life, so we have a section called transformers, with budget-friendly pieces to update your classics and make them relevant in the given season, so that you’re never wearing your white shirt in the same way, as that’s not what fashion is about; you’re constantly evolving,” Laura explains. This combined knowledge of timeless buys and how to update them has gained the site a steadily growing fan base.
When it comes to fashion must-haves for expecting, pretty, supportive lingerie (Heidi Klum Intimates is a particular favourite) and maternity jeans are top of her list. “Get a black pair, ripped pair, boyfriend pair – at the end of the day you’re going to wear them all the time. And if you have more children, they’re a season-less buy.” She also always buys one standout item that she can turn to throughout her pregnancy. “Have something pretty that’ll make you feel dressed up on those bad days where you feel fat or have nothing to wear. Something you can pair with flats, heels or boots and go out on a Friday night. Almost like a mood-booster item.”
Although she is well-versed in expectant dressing, like so many women, she has found the second time around quite different. “I feel like the first pregnancy is very romantic and there’s a lot of thought going into the bump and I remember putting on oils and creams every day. The second time you can’t remember how many weeks you are, when someone asks you, you have to look at the app on your phone. You don’t have as much time to indulge in the whole thing.” A new baby also means that Greta will become an older sister. “She really knows what is about to happen. I love it when she comes over and kisses my bump and asks me questions. The sibling thing is quite emotional for me – the gift that I’m giving her. Hopefully they’ll get on! At some point in her life, this little person is going to mean something to her. Whether they play when they’re little or friends when they grow up.”
However, before baby comes, Laura has another adjustment to come to terms with – moving across town from one end of London to the other. “When you marry an architect you sign up to moving all the time!” she says laughing. “It’s a huge change for me as I’ve always lived in this side of town. I’ve made my husband promise that at least we’ll see our kids through school in this place. But it’s very exciting and I love that about him, every house is a project and maybe I wouldn’t have done it myself but I quite like following him through these moves.” The timing means that they may be moving house just after their second child is born, but for someone who loves a to-do list as much as Laura, she seems surprisingly relaxed about the fact that she might be bringing a newborn home to the upheaval of a house she has just recently moved into. Put it down to motherhood. “I’m less worried about after [the baby is born] as I know there’s nothing I can do to prepare myself. The letting go is the most important thing for a mother to do, so you let go of the control you think you’ll have. This time I have nothing ready, I’m just going to go with the flow or at least try to!”
In Her Words
Nine long months or nine joyous months?
Nine long months.
Hyperactive or chilled out during pregnancy?
One thing you couldn’t live without?
Pregnancy pillows, in particular the Dreamgenii one.
One thing you miss when pregnant?
Normal clothes, another two months to go and then I can wear my high-waisted skirts and heels!
Surprise pregnancy fact?
I didn’t think I would necessarily enjoy being pregnant. And actually it’s quite a special little moment. It’s not forever and if you can only take it to yourself to enjoy it, instead of grump about it, it’s actually quite a special time.
Top tip for pregnancy?
Being kind to yourself and making sure that you’re pacing yourself. We come from a generation of women that still think we can do it all and from time to time you have to think ‘no’ and take a two-hour nap. Treat yourself, as your body is going through a hell of a lot of change. It’s amazing what a professional hairdresser can do or a nice pedicure. The other thing is, especially before the baby comes, take some time for you and your partner, whether it’s a dinner or a weekend or a holiday. I had an amazing babymoon which I didn’t have with my first pregnancy. I went to Mauritius, Greta was there as well and we made time for our family before the new arrival. I will always treasure those moments.
Your must-have beauty products for expecting?
My skin gets really dry and I feel like this pregnancy has particularly aged me, which is fine, I’m not precious about that. I discovered a few things which I really loved. The first is a super-moisturising body oil from Balance Me, you can use it as a tummy rub and it has the most delicious smell. I also like the Rose Maroc and Sandalwood oil by Votary, I alternate it with a pregnancy oil called Pregnancy Facial Oil by de Mamiel. You cleanse your face at night and you rub the oils in and it’s such a nice experience.
Favourite designers when expecting?
I still shop from the same places. I don’t have a favourite designer, but for everyday basics and cashmere, I like J. Crew. What I usually wear is quite basic, as I like to wear transformer accessories. I love Valentino, I really love Chloe and Gucci – accessories that have a little fun and girliness.
If your partner could carry the baby would you let them?
No, I think the whole thing is a privilege and not every woman chooses or can do it, so I feel really privileged to be able to have children. There’s a counterbalance to the pain, it’s still a very rewarding experience!