Style Button - stylish clothing for everyday women
- Credit: John Cocks
After she struggled to find chic clothes that fitted well, a mum from Ormskirk has launched a clothing business aimed at real women.
The story will be familiar to mums everywhere; the post-baby body leads to a loss of confidence, low self-esteem and a struggle to find stylish clothes that fit properly. But after her third child was born, Clare Bates decided to tackle the problem head-on and launch her own clothing company using real mums as models.
‘My youngest was 10 months old and my confidence was at zero,’ she said. ‘I ordered clothes to cheer myself up, but was disappointed as nothing suited me, despite them looking great on the models.
‘Women in my age bracket, 28 to 40 are usually in a transition stage, growing in their careers, motherhood or experiencing new life priorities. Few brands cater for them – it is either really young fashion or older.
‘Personally, I have found it a bit daunting shopping online. The clothes look amazing on a size eight, 5ft 10 model and I wondered if they would look good on me.’
The 36-year-old launched Style Button in June and she models the clothes on her website, alongside friends and family members.
‘We have all had children and we have all experienced some of the changes that women go through after becoming a mother,’ she added. ‘I am a size 14, and the other models are a size 10 and a size eight, so we demonstrate what the clothing looks like on different body types and women can actually see what the clothes will look like on a real person, just like them.’
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Clare – who is mum to one-year-old Max and his sisters Lucy, three, and Rosa, who turned six in September – lives in Ormskirk and regularly works at the kitchen table late into the night after her children have gone to bed.
‘I have always been interested in clothes and love getting new clothes but with three young children, going shopping is a logistical nightmare. Ordering online should be easy but clothes that looked really nice on a model on the website didn’t fit me properly.
‘I’m not old but I’m not a young girl either and I couldn’t find anywhere for me in that in-between stage. I am hoping to help to take away that worry for other women, as they can see what a playsuit or dress looks like on a size eight or a size 14.’
And she added: ‘I understand that we need to do more to represent more body types, we have only been trading for a few months and have a small range of clothing, as we set up with a shoestring budget from my kitchen table. I plan on stocking smaller and larger sizes and have real women modelling those too.
‘I will always represent real women today, untouched and honest. It is so important for me, as the mum of two little girls that we are comfortable in our own skin. It is one of my main focus points as I grow the business.’
Clare used to work in PR in Liverpool and launched her new business with help from Lancashire Community Finance, supported by the government’s Start Up programme which allowed her to buy stock, all of which she hand-picks from a wholesaler in Manchester.
‘Having chosen the clothes, I was going to use images of models from the suppliers but that goes against the idea so I roped family members in to model with me,’ she said.
‘Women, especially new mums, are under massive pressure when seeing celeb mums promoting post-natal body expectations of perfection on social media, but I think things are changing. Social media is massive now and people are used to seeing pictures of people like them and they take inspiration from what their friends are wearing and I think the fashion industry will have to move that way more in the future.
‘H&M got some great press recently when they used unedited images of models on their website with stretchmarks and there have been celebs like Chrissy Teigan defending post-birth bodies.
‘It’s very early days, but the feedback so far has been good. I think a lot of women have found it refreshing to see a clothing site using women that are just like them.’