Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Tips for Dressing Postpartum

I've received a few requests to write a post on dressing after the birth of a baby. And I wanted to oblige, I really did. But sometimes when you're in the trenches of this or that phase it can be hard to catch your breath, calm your emotions and see the forest for the trees. And if there is any stage of motherhood that can throw one for a loop, its the postpartum one. Milk comes in, the nether regions are, um, sore, emotions are running high, and then... the tummy. The tummy that looks like a partially deflated basketball. It's enough to make the strongest among us weep. 

And then I remembered that almost a year ago, my friend Sarah over at Mommy Notes asked me to write a guest post on the topic of dressing postpartum. I'm reprinting a portion of it here for you and me both!

PostPartum Style
Scarf // Sweater // Wayfarers // Aviators // Drawstring Pants // Jeans // Tote // Wrap Top

Start with a good foundation. A correctly fitting bra is key. It keeps the girls up high and gives you a smooth base to build on. Another key foundational element is either a belly binder, or some type of shape wear. Whichever you choose, the key is compression. By binding the tummy area, you are giving your core muscles support, while "reminding" them of their correct position and aiding in good posture. And, bonus, it conveniently tucks things in for a slimmer silhouette. There are many, many options out there. I found several promising products at the lower end of the belly band price range;  check here and here.  As far as regular shape wear, Assets (by Spanx) and Suddenly Skinny (both available at Target) have offerings in the $15.99 - $36.00 range, and have good customer reviews.

Now that we have covered the intimates, a few general word on styles. For tops, try on styles that have a looser fit (not to be confused with styles meant to be fitted but worn too big) such as slouchy sweaters, or the breezy pin tuck. Wrap tops and dresses can be very flattering, as can tops with ruching, or an interesting pattern that confuses the eye (such as the chevron). Maxi dresses with an empire waist can be very flattering and comfortable; halter styles make nursing a cinch, as do some with spaghetti straps or v-necks (look for a fabric that has the ability to stretch). While I recommend dresses with an empire waist, be careful about shirts of this cut. They can look very dated and frumpy (not what we're going for here). Such tops are also often too long; you don't want the hem to fall on the widest point of your thighs. This screams, "Look here, everybody!" Again, not what we're after.

As for bottoms, you are probably ready to get back into your pre-pregnancy jeans. Don't rush this! Even if you lose the weight quickly, it can take your hips longer to come back to their original position (hey, they did just make room to let Jr. out!). My suggestion is to get a pair of drawstring shorts or comfy linen pants. Also, do buy a pair of jeans that fit you! It's easy to convince ourselves that we should just wait it out rather than "waste" the money, but jeans that fit are cheaper than a nervous breakdown ("I feel ugly!" "I have nothing to wear!" You catch my drift.). Old Navy has inexpensive jeans in a variety of cuts. I have found that a straight or boot cut in a dark wash is the most flattering option if you have any substance to your butt / hips / thighs.  Avoid anything too low rise; do you know the muffin man?

And finally, if your budget allows, I recommend a few "feel good no matter what size I am" items. A great pair of sunglasses is an easy way to feel chic and pulled together. Use the principle of balance by opposite. If you have an angular face, choose rounded rims. A rounded face? Go with a more angular frame. Still not sure? Try the aviator; it looks good on most. A beautiful bag will class up the simplest of outfits. Don't feel like you have to go with a traditional diaper bag. There are many totes out there that have plenty of pockets and space to meet your diapering needs! And finally, a statement necklace or scarf in a bright color draws the eye up to your lovely face, right where it should be! Scientifically, yellow and red catch the eye more than other colors, but any bold color will suffice. 


  1. Great post, Mary! Very helpful. I will definitely be referring back to this the next time around. :)


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