You have exactly five minutes to get ready in the morning and nothing seems to fit right. You don’t know how much your body will change after this (so how do you shop?). How the heck do you manage to look (and feel) hot? The answer is the right clothes! Here’s your wardrobe strategy.
While you can make do with a lot of what you have, clothing rental services are a great way to supplement your wardrobe without paying for a totally new one in this in-between phase. Rent the Runway recently introduced maternity and postpartum-friendly clothing into its subscription services. Both the standard subscription and the unlimited subscription give you four new pieces a month, but with unlimited, you can swap them out as you like and keep them for as long as you want. You might just actually find a pair of work pants you like in the process.
A brand-new-mom’s body is in a state of transition that can be tough to dress. Instead, Koch recommends wearing tops and dresses that drape over and away from your tummy, rather than fitting tightly. Stay away from big clothes all over, though — instead of a wide-leg pant, pair a billowy top with leggings or tailored pants, which will keep you looking longer and leaner.
The key to looking put-together is the right accessories. She recommends longer necklaces — either beaded or chains with pendants — which end at your cleavage or lower, which can create an elongating illusion, making you look slimmer. Wear dangly earrings, instead of studs, since they brighten and bring attention to your face (instead of any body parts you may not want in the spotlight right now).
Gauze, silk or cotton scarves are also stylish accessories that can add a pop of color to a plain black (slimming!) top. Choose longer styles that end at the top of your thigh; this will hide your stomach.
Also, note that you don’t have to go dowdy when it comes to your underthings. There are a lot of really stylish (even sexy!) nursing bras on the market, and nursing tanks can make you feel less weird about breastfeeding in public, since they keep your tummy covered. It’s important to get good undergarments that flatter you and don’t restrict your clothing choices.
Don’t Shy Away From Shapewear
Shapewear such as Spanx is great to wear for special occasions while you’re still losing the baby weight, since it can hold in your stomach and hips and make you look smoother. Some shapewear companies now even make pieces of clothing such as leggings, pencil skirts and tank tops so you don’t even need special underthings.
Know Which Maternity Pieces to Ditch
There may be a few things you bought while you were pregnant that you’ll want to continue to wear. A flowy, black jersey dress could be cinched at the waist with a belt and look stylish after pregnancy. Empire-waist tops and some wrap dresses may still look good on you, too. But certain things, like maternity jeans and pencil skirts with adjustable waistbands should get donated to charity or passed to a pregnant pal. They’ll just make you look and feel pregnant and frumpy.
Once you’ve passed the in-between stage, bring some of your favorite pieces to a tailor to make sure they fit your properly. “When you get pregnant, your rib cage expands and your boobs get bigger,” says Koch. “A tailor can take in clothing under the armpit on both sides, as long as there are seams there.” Anything will look better on you if it fits you well.
New Clothes Should Flatter
Investing in some new clothing? Pay special attention to how well it flatters you. She also recommends avoiding a calf- or mid-calf-length skirt (unless you’re very tall), since it can make you look shorter. Instead, look for hemlines that hit at or above the knee, or maxi skirts. Mid-rise pants and jeans tend to be more flattering than low-rise — and can keep you from exposing your tummy if you’re self-conscious.
Also, go for heels — we know you’re carrying baby around and you don’t want to be teetering and tumbling, but ankle booties with a low-stacked heel, kitten heels or wedges that are about two and a half inches, will really make you look taller and make you feel more glamorous.