As the kids return to school for a new term, mums are feeling under pressure to look their best at the school gates. In fact, the average mum spends at least three hours preparing her look for the first school run of the year.

Do you feel pressure to look good at the school gates?

Do you feel pressure to look good at the school gates?

Research from delivery service CollectPlus has found that that almost half (46%) of UK mums think that the outfit they wear for the school run is important. In preparation for the school run, almost a fifth (16%) say that they wash and style their hair, 14% make sure that they have an early night and 6% get up at least 30 minutes earlier so they can spend longer getting ready.

A small percentage of super organised mums even admit to preparing for a new term by painting their nails, shaving their legs, going to the hairdressers for a new style or colour and applying fake tan. The celebrity inspiration for this effort is clear, as Holly Willoughby was voted as the most fashionable celebrity mum, closely followed by Kate Middleton and Victoria Beckham.

But how do mums fit in shopping for the latest outfits in the rush to buy the new uniforms, pencil cases and lunchboxes their kids will need for the new school year? It turns out that almost two thirds (63%) who are buying something new for the first day back will purchase their goods online. The most popular time for mums to browse online stores is between 7pm and midnight, when the kids are finally asleep! A further third said they shop online because they find it easier to have things delivered or use a Click and Collect service. With a whopping 70% of fashion-forward mums admitting to returning items they've purchased online, which weren't quite right, online shopping is clearly a convenient way for busy mums to try a number of looks before deciding on the ideal one.

Jacqui Patterson is a mum of two, and a blogger at Mummy's Little Monkey:

"'How you look on the school run shouldn't matter - and people might tell you it doesn't - but it really does. As a mum of two, I've felt the subtle pressure of the school ground catwalk since my eldest started school three years ago. When I lived in London the Mum uniform was city chic; now I live in the Home Counties it's more of a relaxed look, but still just as important.

The trick is to make it appear as if you've barely put in any effort, when in fact you've spent an hour blow drying your 'just-got-out-of-bed' hair, layering on a natural face of makeup, and carefully coordinating your Havaiana flip flops with your skinny jeans. And why not? Modern mums are rushed off their feet - a little bit of online shopping to find that perfect first day ensemble gives us some precious me-time, and a little confidence boost too. Where's the harm in that?"

Only 13% of mums surveyed said that what they wear on the school run isn't important to them, while one in five (20%) said it makes them feel good, 19% said they want to look good in front of other mums and teachers, and 17% said they make an effort to not embarrass their kids.

Cat Woolfe, Marketing Director at CollectPlus, said:

"It's interesting to see the mind-set of mothers and how much time and effort they are prepared to spend on their look, particularly as in some cases it means getting up earlier in the morning on the first day of term and juggling yet another dimension of the challenge of being a modern mother.

Leading such busy lives they need a quick and easy way to help them plan their look for the first day of term well in advance. Online shopping allows them to spend time browsing whenever they get a chance, usually once the kids are in bed, and with the CollectPlus service it couldn't be easier.

CollectPlus allows online shoppers to Click and Collect their purchases at a time and place that suits them as well as offering an easy way to return items that don't quite fit the bill. Hopefully, we are helping mothers to manage time more effectively and achieve the look they are seeking."

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