The day has come at long last: You can finally ditch those maternity jeans and get back into your pre-pregnancy clothes…if only it were that easy. If you find that since you became a mom, your daily attire has given way to overgrown tees and stretched-out sweatpants, it may be time for a wardrobe makeover.
But before you decide to completely closet purge, consider these expert tips from fashion industry insiders. You’ll feel much better about what you look like and how you feel.
When it comes to their existing wardrobes, one of new moms’ biggest complaints is that their clothes don’t fit the way they used to. “Even after the baby weight is lost, some of the proportions have changed (bust line, hips, even body shape), so there is a need for an adjusted fit,” says Dina Scherer, a New York City image and wardrobe stylist and owner of Modnitsa Styling (www.modnitsastyling.com). “Practicality becomes more important than having a certain look, so sometimes that leads to outfits on repeat…which can lead to a wardrobe rut.”
Doubting your fashion choices can also prompt the need to rethink a post-natal wardrobe. “Everything in their closets that once right now seems wrong,” says Melissa de Leon, a personal and fashion stylist who runs her Raleigh, N.C.-based company (www.melissadeleonstyling.com). Some of her clientele’s more frequently shared concerns include the need for pieces that can be easily laundered and inexpensive pieces that can withstand a baby and not pill or tear.
When updating your wardrobe with a few key pieces, Scherer suggests focusing on versatility, comfort and shape definition. Basics like nursing dresses in neutral colors, as well as leggings that can pair with over-sized sweaters, under a dress or with a longer silky tee, are among her favorites.
Pieces that “forgive without adding bulk” are de Leon’s recommendation. “Midi-length dresses (that hit mid-calf) are perfect for moms who want something comfortable and cute to wear when they go out in public with baby,” she offers. “They allow you to bend over and tend to baby without feeling overexposed.” For those women that prefer pants and a top, she suggested an elevated drawstring pant (a loose culotte or polished cargo) with a T-shirt and structured jacket.
Don’t underestimate the value of a good nursing bra, which both experts agree is an essential foundational piece that can be layered. And small accent pieces can go a long way to transform your appearance and self-confidence. “Spicing up your accessory wardrobe can also help distract from wearing the same outfits over and over, as it will make them appear unique every time,” adds Scherer.
Speaking of nursing, breastfeeding moms need clothing that is designed not only for convenience, but comfort. Experts recommend wrap tops, dresses and shirts that can easily be unbuttoned. “Anything that you can lift up over your head or open up in the front is fair game,” says Scherer. And for moms recovering from a C-section, loose pants that don’t irritate incisions are recommended. “I would suggest stocking up on any pants that are high-rise, so that the waistband isn’t hitting you directly across the area that needs some TLC,” says de Leon.
As the holiday season approaches, choosing an outfit that is fashionable as well as forgiving is a must for new moms. All it takes is some creative ensembles that can be easily be put together, like a pleated midi skirt with a tucked-in silky top. “The top can be nursing-friendly if it opens in the front, and the skirt pleats will draw the eye down, elongating and taking attention away from any trouble areas that might still be getting into shape,” says Scherer.
If dresses are more your style, de Leon says to find a simple style in a neutral tone that flatters your skin tone. Adding some fun accessories and jewelry creates a more polished ensemble and completes the look. “Earrings will bring attention to your face, and make your solid, neutral look more special by embellishing it with sparkly and eye-catching accessories,” offers de Leon. “You will feel chic, put together and look like a million bucks.”