This post is dedicated to several of my girlfriends who I’ve received an email, a text, a call from who needed post partum fashion tips. I am by no means a fashion expert…but I feel like I have an ‘eye’ for style. Really, fashion is art and it’s totally up to an individual how they want to represent themselves. So it’s not really fair to say that there are strict rules that you have to adhere to when it comes down to it but there are some definite do’s and dont’s that if followed will help you feel so much more put together, and allow you to feel more confident better after you pop out a baby or two.
Here are my top ten post partum fashion tips. I’m planning on posting more on fashion related topics, so watch out for those. Oh and if you’re pregnant right now and need a little fashion help, check out a Chai Mommas group post on our favorite pregnancy clothing lines.
PS + And mommas, keep in mind that it took awhile for your body to get to where it is now so it will most likely take awhile for it to transform to what is was. Not to be a downer, it may never get back to exactly the way you remembered…but any time you get down about that, remember that your body was home sweet home to what is now your most prized possession. Just go hug your prize and you’ll feel so much better. Promise. Pinky promise.
1. Patience, little one. Don’t try to fit into your pre-pregnancy clothes right away but don’t throw them away either! Most of us are not going to fit into our old favorites any time soon. Give yourself at least a full year – yes, that’s at least 365 days – to get back into those clothes. You may never fit into all of them or the way you used to, but I promise, you’re likely going to be able to wear mostly everything again. Be patient with the process though. And don’t discourage or frustrate yourself by trying to squeeze into that cute dress that you wore to your best friend’s wedding 5 weeks after you welcome your poopy head into this awesome world.
2. No hiding allowed. More than likely, you’ll drown in your pregnancy clothes. You might have some stretchy tees from the second trimester that may work or a few pairs of leggings…but most of it will need to be packed into a box and labeled for the future, a friend or for donation. Don’t try to mask your imperfections in daddy’s clothes either! Of course as new moms, we’re trying to hide every trace of what our bodies went through during the past nine or so months. But literally drowning in clothes that are too big for you will only make matters worse. A good fit is key.
3. Right undergarments totally have your back and your front and your middle. Awhile ago, I wrote a post on Spanx, check it out here where you can find lots of info on what I love about the line and where to buy. Ok – I admit – I was a Spanx addict even before I had my son. But afterwards, I splurged on a couple more pairs. Now I only wear spanx when I’m going out and in the beginning, that was never. But when I do go out and am wearing something a little more fitted…I put on a pair of their tights or boy shorts – see below.
You’ll feel more sucked in and pulled together no matter what you’re wearing. You also need the right, supportive bra so that whatever you wear, looks better on you. Check out our post on our favorite nursing bras for some ideas. If you’re not nursing, you still need to wear the right bra…and you may not be the same size so you should try to get fitted at your local lingerie boutique.
4. On top, go with the flow. There are so many fabulous airy, slouchy, free flowing tops in every store right now and every price point. They are stylish yet perfect for hiding that post partum belly and bulges in your mid section and are awesome for when you’re breastfeeding too. I stocked up on several U-shaped and V-shaped (great cuts to help elongate) slouchy tees and a couple of nicer blouses for going out from places like Nordstrom (blouse below is from there) to Target.
Make sure to get your size though – if it’s too big, you will look even bigger and it will defeat the purpose of what you’re trying to do.
5. On bottom, sleek is where it’s at. Ok, so the loose blouse/shirt on top means that you have to balance it out with something more fitted on the bottom. You cannot wear lose cropped or wide legged pants with a flowy top. Here’s where you’re in luck again because there are a ton of options out there right now. When leggings came back into style around 2007 or so, I really embraced them and just made them a wardrobe essential. But I totally thought they’d only last for a season or two. I was wrong…happily, thankfully wrong. I wore leggings, jeggings, tights all through my pregnancy. And afterwards too. Still do. With a flowy blouse on top, you need a fitted leg.
I love Hue brand tights, leggings and jeggings – the picture above is my fall/winter collection from the line. I love them for their fit (stretchy, high waisted and their leggings often come with a thicker band so it literally sucks any pudge in plus they come in a rainbow of colors. You can get them at Nordstroms. Colored bottoms are so fun right now…so you could totally wear a lose fitting black or darker colored top with a fun bright color on the bottom. I’ve also gotten leggings from American Apparel – they are awesome – even the basic black Mossimo ones from Target to lounge around in when I’m just home. For the price point and comfort, they are a steal.
6. Monochromatic from head to toe. Want to create a slim, taller look really easily? It’s simple. Just wear black from head to toe. I live in black, even in Southern California where you hardly see people in it. I swear people at work think I’m from New York City. But back to black…it’s not for everyone I guess. But let’s say you’re feeling particularly frumpy one day – just throw on a lose, longer black tee or a cute above the knee black wrap dress (wrap dresses are awesome because they cinch your waist and also provide super easy access if you’re breastfeeding) with some black leggings/jeggings/opaque tights and a pair of black boots, booties. Throw on a gold cuff or a pair of larger earrings or a statement necklace like shown below. You are good to go! Or you could always trade the boots/booties for a metallic gladiator sandal, a nude/leopard print flat or depending on how casual you want to be…a flat pair of canvas shoes like some Toms.
7. Layer it on (with a cardigan). Anyone who knows me well, knows that I have a collection of cardigans. I love layering in general and cardigans allow for that look. Cardigans serve a great purpose when you’re past being pregnant but still have trouble spots because they cover those areas up and create a smooth look. Now the key here is to have the right fit. Here’s a simple equation: Perfect post partum cardigan = lose + flowy + lightweight.
The cardigan should not be bulky or too heavy, this will defeat the purpose of the illusion you want to create. Thicker layers will only add bulk and make you look bigger than you are. So again, fit is key. You want to make sure that the cardigan falls right alongside your outer thigh area and covers most if not all of your bottom side – this is important because if the cardigan skims your hip area, you will look a lot wider than you are. (These cardigans are from left to right, Cotton on, Urban Outfitters and Madewell.)
8. Empire waists are your friend. The wonderful thing about an empire waist is that it cinchs in your frame at the slimmest area of your body.
And then rest just is a flowy, billowy, airy gathering of fabric.
Pair an empire waisted dress with a cute denim, cropped jacket or a empire waisted tunic with some jeggings and a pair of booties or wedges. (The top is from Urban Outfitters and the dress is from Anthropologie.)
9. Make a BOLD statement. So a lot of my tips here are related to wearing black and simple, clean lines, flowy fabrics…so it’s fun to amp up your outfit with a “wow” accessory. When I saw wow, I mean a bold, statement piece that takes the attention away from any problem areas…your thighs, midsection, whatever else you’re not too happy with right now…and instead shifts focus to that WOW necklace (below, is from Nordstrom BP), pair of earrings, cocktail ring or chunky watch you’re wearing.
Or even that bright colored crossbody bag you’re carrying or a long scarf is a good option too for elongating the body. Whatever the accessory, make it fabulous, fun and fierce. One word of caution here, moderation. Don’t wear all your bold accessories together. Pick one and stick to it. What’s that saying again, something about…everything in moderation. Yeh, follow that.
10. Momma, go ahead and give yourself a big fat hug. Well, you already know this but you just went through a crazy, life changing event. And you got that little tiny prize at the end of all that time, work, effort and love you’ve been putting in and will forever put in. Just don’t forget to love yourself because no matter what you wear, no matter if you follow these tips down to the tee…you’ll only truly feel good, confident, radiant if you love not only how you look and feel on the outside but on the INSIDE too. xoxo.