Rule: It really can be this easy

In Celebrities, Famous people, Mothers, Supermodels on June 28, 2011 at 9:15 pm

How hard does life need to be? Not that hard at all, as shown here by Claudia Schiffer on the school run on a wet day in London.

Very scarily for the other mothers, Claudia’s kids go to the same Notting Hill school as Elle McPherson’s, Trinny Woodall’s, and Stella McCartney’s. Just a bit of school gate fashion pressure, then.

The best accessory I can think of for that ordeal would be Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility, but those girls have to do it under full fire of eyes from all the other celebri-mums – and the paparazzi. And then people like us ha ha ha.

Elle gave in to the fish tank pressure a few weeks ago, when we featured those pics of her school running in sprayed-on jeans and skyscraper Louboutin heels so torturous she was papped shortly after taking them off and rubbing her sore tootsies. She doesn’t normally go that far, but boy, does she look amazing. Imagine this sight greeting you in the morning. I’d never leave the house again.


Top marks to Claudia, though, for this object lesson in how to look mama chic in a completely relaxed way. She looks great, but she doesn’t look like she’s trying. Double win and all the more impressive as she doesn’t have a track record as one of the more instinctively stylish celebs.

She’s not a Kate, or a Sienna, with a natural born instinct how to throw together an outfit that’s original and inspirational. In all truth, Claudia generally tends to get by on the strength of having one of the world’s more perfect bodies – even after three children.

But that’s not the deal with this look. Of course, it’s always a sartorial advantage to have the physique of a semi-retired supermodel (rice sacks would look good, food wrap a daywear option…), but any of us could wear this with pride. Really.

The foundation of the outfit is that most classic item of outerwear, the trench coat, currently riding high as both timeless and totally on trend, something that really doesn’t happen very often.

And while we’re talking about the trench, please note how Claudia’s belt is tied, not buckled. I know I keep going on about it, but that detail is crucial to the throwaway chic of this ensemble.

But the real secret of this look is the overall simplicity of it. With all those flaps and buttons, the trench coat is a busy garment in itself and needs little more than a nice bag and a decent pair of jeans to look fabulous. The shades in the rain add a nice shot of glamour too.

It was clearly one of those warmish wet days, so familiar to the Aussie reader, where an open shoe is the best recourse and Claudia scores for choosing a pair in the same neutral palette as the coat and bag, but this outfit would look just as good for a cooler day with boots. It would even work with full-on wellies, on a seriously wet day.

(Pause for another gratuitous pic of Elle McPherson…)

Of course, as well as the supermodel genetic advantage Claudia has going on here (and also, obviously Elle, but this is about Claudia…), there is the noble ancestry of the individual items. The trench coat looks very much like an actual Burberry and the gorgeous suede bag is definitely Ferragamo, but the added glory of this outfit is that one just like it could be put together so easily anywhere down the fashion price scale.

So we can all afford a version of it – and it would look good on everybody. It’s a veritable fashion miracle. Could it be improved? A bright vintage silk scarf, Hermès or other, knotted at the neck and well tucked in would be a nice touch, and a bit of a comfort if it’s windy. And personally, I always wear the collar of a trench coat flipped up, more keenly to seek that elusive Parisienne insouciance.

But really, I think Ms Schiffer has nailed this look with her rational German practical chic. See you at the school gate.

And just for the record, here’s how Elle deals with extreme weather, in this case, snow. All together now: sigh…


  1. Sigh indeed. We don’t have very many yummy mommies and super models in this part of New England. Sigh two.
    As for inclement weather, mostly the norm, far too many women wear what is called “barn coats” here and it looks it. I even have one that I wear when I do not want to be seen. It is not a pretty look. It is not even a form and function look.
    To let you know how often this place is quite backwater, I have a flared mid-season coat from BODEN (not haute couture) yet everyone here loves it.
    Go figure, Maggie. Go figure.

  2. Speaking of which, I saw this article as I went through my morning ritual of reading the news online.
    Tired?… maybe, but still looks pretty hot in her trench 🙂

  3. Elle maintains that she drops the kids off on the way to work and that the outfits she wears are work outfits, not just school drop off outfits.

    IMO it’s too much – for work or school.

    • As I said above – her image is her profession, both as a model and for her own business. Her name’s on the label, so we all need to aspire to own a chunk of her. I’m a fan – and I’m glad she makes the effort so I don;t have to!. xxx

  4. I’m not liking Elle’s Yeti coat look. Especially with leather trousers and sky high heels it’s an interesting look for the school run. I know I’d be doing a double take.
    Teetering on heels while trotting along behind a pram, or at the park is beyond me. My school run look are variations on a trench, or a drapey long cardigan with jeans or cords and ballet flats. Trying to get three children out the door on time means less time for creativity.

    • I love the yeti coat. Because she can… Who can be bothered with heels, totally agree, but I guess image is all for her – it’s her profession. Looking at those pics has inspired a mini girl crush in me x

  5. Ladies, try this:

    7 style tips for the school run if you are not a supermodel

  6. I love this post Maggie …. I actually love Trinny’s little girls outfit in the background !!!
    Thought of you last night … I watched an interview with Jerry Hall on the ABC, and all I could think of was that dated hair !!!

    • I feel bad about that post about Jerry now – I’ve actually taken if off here! The uniform for that school is totally gorgeous. The little red shoes and hats are simply adorable. I’ve been looking at those kids for years wishing I could have a child in that uniform, but the social pressures would be unbearable…x

  7. I struggle with this daily! I either end up scruffy or over dressed and looking like I’m trying too hard. More help with this please Maggie.

  8. Claudia looks great!

    Good basics and hardworking neutrals are essential but I reckon one of the real traps for mums is that they end up looking like they are wearing a uniform. Maggie, I really like your suggestion of adding a bright scarf.

  9. Can’t help wondering at what age are these fashionistas kids able to walk themselves into school just putting it out there seems like they have all been in kindy forever !

  10. Ay caramba, am I glad my kids don’t go to that school. Forget the school run, what to wear to the end of year cocktail party????? I’d need a wheelbarrow for my husband’s lower jaw.

  11. This has been such an interesting post Maggie – as well as lots of interesting comments! There was an (editorial, ‘social commentary type’) story in our local paper here recently written by a local young mother (and journalist) about this very topic. What offended me about her story was that is was how she had observed how many mothers “dress up” just for the “School Run” every day at her child’s School and her comments were quite scathing about them. Who is not to say that these said “dressed up for School drop-off” mothers wouldn’t be (and wouldn’t have previously been) “dressed up” before having to take children to School? And wouldn’t be dressed up, hadn’t they had children? I, for one, have always taken a certain amount of pride in my appearance – and having children certainly hasn’t changed that. And why should it? I would feel totally weird arriving at School in sneakers and….whatever you wear with them to not look “dressed up”!
    I try and wear just what I like and feel comfortable in for what I am doing (or have been doing) that day – but the fear is my “look” becoming a bit of uniform, as Dieneke said. I also totally relate to Shelley’s comment about ending up looking scruffy or over-dressed like I have tried too hard!!! So, I am obviously thinking about it too much and being one of those mothers that the writer in the column was talking about! Aaarrghh!
    PS – I think Elle amazing. Cool, stylish and incredibly HOT without looking tacky. As ‘Anne at Home’ said – I would need a wheelbarrow for my husband’s jaw – and mine (think I have a bit of a crush, too!)

    • That sounds very chippy… there is a point where you have to look at yourself. Do I think they are overdressing, because I know in my heart I’m underdressing – and they bruise my self esteem. It’s something I fear I’m guilty of sometimes… x

  12. Maggie and other bloggers in the UK! Help me. We now have al place in the states that will deliver British magazines for a nice price.
    Tell me which mags are the best to get? II subscribe to Bazaar and used to get Tatler, but what else is there? Is RED good? Please tell me!

    • I love Red – it’s a lot more ‘real’ than a purely fashion magazine, but if you want high octane glamour it’s not the one. It’s about real glamour, if that makes sense!

  13. I knew I needed a new coat, but I didn’t know what. I haven’t had a trench coat since the 70’s and 80’s and then it was a mid-thigh length – must have been the fashion – and it just didn’t work for me. Yesterdays column put the thought in my head and, lo and behold, the perfect trench literally jumped out at me in The Mountain Shop window as I pulled up at the traffic lights. Knee length, black, slightly cinched-in waist, hidden zipper, buttons, belt to tie up, stripey lining (would have liked Burberry!), big pockets and a hood. I don’t know that it ticks all the boxes for the perfect trench, but it feels pretty perfect to me. Thanks Maggie!!!

  14. I love the latest pictures of Claudia Schiffer on the school run. She always looks ready for FROW. Somehow I don’t think she rushes home to put the washing on and clean the house though.

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