When I gave birth to my first daughter in 2008, I’m sure I was the joke of the day for the nursing staff. I literally gave birth and then pulled out my carefully packed hospital bag and asked the nurse how I was supposed to wear my (pre-preggo) jeans and thong underwear with all of the other stuff that you have to wear after birth. I seriously had no clue. And it didn’t end there…. I returned home to some maternity leave and then returned to work a few months later with no clue what to wear for months on end. I find that post partum wardrobes are discussed but only in regards to the immediate post partum time frame. What about women like me, who happen to not return to their pre-pregnancy weight / size for quite a while, if not ever?
I came to the realization that I quickly became too small for my maternity clothing and too big for my pre-mommy clothes but that really left me with nothing to wear other than pajamas and spandex (not the hottest thing to wear when you aren’t feeling superhot to begin with). Pajamas, sweats and the like were all fine and good until I wanted to go out somewhere in the real world. Returning to work also proved difficult. Not only did I have to tear myself away from my little one but I felt like I either looked like I was swimming in my clothes or I had squeezed myself into a skirt suit that was way too small. Not to mention, any nursing mothers will know that as the hours pass, anything that seemed to fit well before you left the house, now is obscenely small in the chest area… the epitome of “Not Safe for Work”!
The tough thing here is that, not only do we not have time to shop as new moms but we also don’t necessarily want to spend a lot of money on clothes that we will possibly not be wearing for that long. By the way, why hasn’t someone started a post partum clothing line??? Perhaps there is one and I just haven’t found it but, BRILLIANT!
Here are a few tips that will help you feel great and still allow you enough money to buy toys, food and all that other expensive baby stuff:
Wear a tank top under your shirt. This will allow you to nurse easily if nursing and will help you feel a bit more secure about your tummy area. I was a nursing mommy for all three of my littles so I wore tanks that I could easily pull down from the top to nurse – this allowed me to pull up my top shirt without exposing my midsection to everyone and freezing to death in the winter months. I also am a fan of the slimming (tight fitting) tanks / camisoles to wear under things because it feels like everything is being held in.
Awesome accessories: I totally believe in accessorizing paired with solid basics. You can wear slimming, sophisticated colors like black but it will look so much cooler paired with a gorgeous long necklace. You may have to forego huge statement pieces but a long, eye catching necklace will help direct someone’s eye and just make you feel good. Bracelets are great but sometimes bulky and can just plain get in the way when dealing with a baby so feel free to ditch or if you are going out for the night, sport a gorgeous bangle. No need for too much but it will make you feel like you put some effort in.
I love this necklace from Coco Hill:
When in doubt and you don’t want to use a necklace, I would add some small gold or silver earrings that baby can’t tug on but will gain you points on the sophistication scale and make you feel more polished.
Jeggings and leggings – The obvious way to look pretty chic but also feel comfortable. The great thing about leggings is that they go perfectly with something loose on top. I like to pair them with something a little longer that covers my rear such as tunics, long shirts, or cardigans. I love Zella leggings because they are thick, not see through and they hold their color. Ingrid and Isabel make some great black maternity leggings and you can fold down the top after baby for continued use!
Tunics, blouses, and cardigans / Shawls. I’m just going to come out and say it: tunics are awesome. They are long enough to cover the booty but short enough to still be categorized as a shirt so you can wear leggings underneath and not worry about shaving your legs. Tunics + leggings are an easy and fantastic combo for weekends or work at home mommas. For a casual look, a bright colored shirt may work well for you and make you feel like you are sporting something other than black. If you have to go into an office, I would opt for a blazer or a cute longer cardigan to feel comfortable but still look stylish. Long cardigans are a must actually if you want to hide any lumps or bumps. Anthropologie has a great assortment of cardigans and shawls.
If you google this topic, you will see a lot of people mention wearing comfortable flats. I would disagree unless the outfit calls for flats. I love me some heels and, let’s face it, you have probably been in flats for months while you were pregnant so I say glam it up with some gorgeous heels. Wedges or shoes with a thicker heel can help the transition be a little easier. It will make you feel sexy, fun and will even make your work outfit feel more polished and professional.
Dresses: If you have a baby near the summer months, consider yourself lucky. You can throw on some maxi dresses and slip out the door looking cute as can be! Flowy skirts and dresses are every woman’s best friend when it is warm and sunny outside. I personally prefer solid or block colors as opposed to prints when I feel like I need something flattering. Something along these lines would be beautiful:
I also love blouses but I personally always need a camisole of some sort underneath or my belly feels a little too “out there”… if you know what I mean.
Office Look: For the office, invest in some nice black pants that fit well and make you feel good. These are a good investment… even if you end up losing baby weight, you can have them tailored and still wear them. If you are going to spend some money, spend it on nice black pants. Black for work is very slimming, makes you feel great and works well. You can pair this look with a few accessories and look and feel fantastic!
Now, let’s be honest… your outfit can be amazing but if your hair and makeup are a mess, it’s all for not. The problem here is time… moms just don’t have it! So let’s go over some great hair and makeup hacks, tricks and ideas to help you look and feel your best:
If you can, splurge on a trip to the salon within the first three months of having your baby! It will make you feel great. If you don’t want a cut or color, you can always make your way to a blowdry bar and pamper yourself a bit. Dry shampoo will seriously be your BFF… don’t leave home without it. A favorite is Kevin Murphy Doo Over – it smells great and it’s a combination dry shampoo and setting spray. If you don’t have a great dry shampoo on hand, you can also use translucent face powder on your roots!
Now on to make-up! I was never great at makeup and to be honest, my “day” and “night” makeup looked exactly the same. That, added to having three kids and no time, makeup took a backseat. I treated myself to a skype one on one makeup course with Behrens Artistry which has helped me in so many ways. Let’s make this simple and quick because most women just don’t have time in the morning… kids or not. Start with some concealer like a BB or CC cream (there are so many great brands but I love SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 50 or BeautyCounter’s Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer). Throw on some blush or you can even use lipstick as blush if you don’t have any with you, some mascara and lipgloss and you are out the door! I also have been known to use a little oil (like BeautyCounter’s Lustro Oil) as a hightlighter (dab some down the bridge of your nose and under your eyes / on your cheekbones).
Let us know your post-partum fashion thoughts!! This is a beautiful time in life and you should feel beautiful too!