Styled for success: Charlotte Lamb
She’s a fashion graduate with over 16 years experience in the industry, having been a creative and visual director for some of the country’s top fashion retailers, but nowadays Charlotte is best known for her inspiring fashion blog, Styling Out The School Run. Here, we chat to her about her blogging journey, style must-haves and how ‘kitchen disco’ keeps her fit…
You started your blog in 2016, so what’s been the highlight of your blogging career so far?
I’ve been lucky to experience many great moments since starting Styling out the School Run, from being featured in a national newspapers style section as ‘one of Britain’s most stylish mums’ to attending the most stunning events and collaborating with independent and high street brands. I have to say, though, that the highlight for me has been meeting amazing, like-minded women who support each other and genuinely care for one another and have awesome style!
Why did you start writing a blog?
I created Styling out the School Run during a career break. For the first time in over 15 years I suddenly had nowhere to focus my creativity and passion for styling. I was on my own each day with nobody to talk trends with and only the ‘mum army’ at the school gates to socialise with, who all clearly disliked my eclectic school run outfits. I knew I couldn’t be the only woman out there who felt this way, so I wanted to create a place where we could come together and inspire each other, never judge each other and celebrate our love of fashion. I also wanted to use my experience to give style advice, talk about gorgeous items and fabulous trends and how to incorporate those into your everyday look, and that’s where the blog name came from. I wanted to make light of the somewhat judgemental looks some of us may get from colleagues, family members (or in my case fellow mums) and know that it’s fine, and actually amazing, to wear what you want, when you want, how you want!
What was your career path before blogging?
At the age of 16, whilst studying toward my A-Levels, I got a part time job in a small boutique and after my first day I knew that I wanted my career to be within the fashion industry. I studied International Fashion Marketing at Manchester University with the intention of becoming a fashion buyer. However, whilst studying I worked at Ted Baker and fell in love with the visual side of the industry. After graduation I was determined to break my way into the field and was very lucky to work as a creative manager with companies such as Ted Baker, Oasis, Selfridges and Debenhams.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve had to face as a blogger?
I think the hardest part is putting yourself out there and being open to scrutiny. I am used to working with models or mannequins and being judged solely on the final looks I created, but as a blogger I am now the one wearing the clothes so the focus shifts slightly onto my physique, hair and overall appearance which can feel daunting. I have been very lucky to not have received any negative comments but I am sure it will happen eventually. It seems that’s the price we pay for putting ourselves out there in a public forum. For me the pros far outweigh any possible negative aspects and I think you have to remain true to why you began and continue to have fun with it.
How do you style out the school run?
I have always enjoyed putting an outfit together whether it’s for a night out, a trip to the shops or simply to do the school run in. I don’t have a style that I always opt for – my outfit choice is based upon whatever I feel like wearing that day. Some days that means I can be seen dashing to the school gates rocking some dungarees with New Balance trainers and a T-Shirt and other days I might feel a little more Debbie Harry and wear kitten heel ankle boots with leather trousers and a fur coat. My mood definitely dictates my look.
Do other school-run mums comment or make reference to your style?
They do and sometimes I get ‘looks’ due to my outfit choices even though they really aren’t that dramatic. For instance, I recently wore a beret on the school run and I honestly thought that there might have to be an emergency P.T.A meeting about it! I really don’t worry about what anyone thinks of how I dress because if I like it, I’m wearing it. Most of the school run mums are super cool though and come to me with fashion dilemmas or for advice and I really enjoy guiding them in a direction that is right for them.
What are your top style tips for school run mums?
If your house is anything like mine then your mornings will be utter chaos, so it’s crucial to plan ahead. Create a capsule wardrobe for the school run consisting of basic tops and trousers that all work together to make two or three outfits that you feel great in (physically and mentally). Have them ready for you to grab and throw on whilst making breakfast, brushing teeth, finding missing shoes and all of the other crazy jobs that happen before 9am!
What does the future hold for you?
I have a few thoughts and plans about how I would like to grow and expand Styling Out the School Run but I’m taking it slowly as it means a lot to me and I want to make the right choices. I hope to keep meeting women who inspire me and that I can hopefully inspire too. Mainly I want to do a great job in every aspect of my life and make those around me happy.
What do you do when you’re not blogging?
I am a super proud Mummy to Daisy (7) and Charlie (4) and married to a wonderful guy called Peter who is an Officer in the Royal Air Force. My favourite pastime (aside from shopping) is having impromptu ‘kitchen parties’ with my kids and friends where we blast music through our house and have dance offs…my children always win!