After having my babies, my wardrobe consisted of two outfits. At home, it was a t-shirt and maternity yoga pants, because ouch—C-section scar. When I did venture out, I relied on my go-to faux wrap dress. It could be thrown on in seconds, hid the remnants of my baby belly, and gave the kiddos easy access to the concession stand.
But woman cannot live by yoga pants and wrap dresses alone. When you’re getting used to your postpartum body, you don’t always feel as beautiful as you are. Body parts shift, things grow, and a weird blob of fat deposits itself on your tailbone. Knowing how to dress for your changing bod, while staying comfortable, is tricky. Until now.
Chicago-area personal wardrobe stylist Kathrine Eldridge knows a thing or two about dressing for your body. A mom to two teen boys, she focuses on helping all women, including new moms, be their beautiful best. In addition to blogging at www.kathrineeldridge.com, she offers a variety of services, including closet audits, personal shopping, and virtual styling to help women create the ideal wardrobe for their body, personality, and stage of life. Basically, she’s a miracle worker.
Thanks to her experience as a stylist and mom, Kathrine shares some simple tips for pulling together a postpartum wardrobe that is chic, comfortable, and most importantly, easy.
DISCOVER YOUR DREAM JEANS
“Get a couple pairs of really good designer jeans—a maternity pair when you’re expecting and a regular pair after you deliver. The right jeans can be worn for casual and dressy occasions, depending on how you accessorize them. The trick is not to skimp. Pay the money for a really quality pair that fits well and doesn’t stretch out right away. 7 For All Mankind and Citizens of Humanity are more expensive, but they fit women so well during and after pregnancy.”
LAYER IT UP
“After you have a baby, you often stick with bigger, roomier tops. To give any shirt (including a nursing top) a more polished look, top it with a long, lean cardigan. It conforms any shirt to your body and shows off your curves, so you can eliminate that “tent look” you get with a lot of bigger shirts. The key is to find a cardigan that fits well in the shoulders for a clean look. If a long cardigan’s not your thing, you can get the same silhouette with a great leather jacket or fitted blazer. In seconds, you look completely pulled together!”
STRIKE A BALANCE
“Right now, it’s easier than ever for women to find a great postpartum top. Flowy silhouettes and longer tunics are two of the hottest trends right now, so new moms can feel comfortable and stylish. The trick is to find a balance. If you go with a flowy top, you need a slimmer leg, whether that’s a skinny jean or a slim pant. If you go for big and baggy to conceal the extra baby weight, it actually makes you look bigger. Fitted pieces and a balanced look slim you down immediately.
When you finally do get a night out, have a ‘no-brainer’ look that gets you out the door quickly, but still looks amazing. Mine is a pair of skinny jeans, a longer top with a leather jacket, booties, and a pendant necklace to polish it off. That’s it. It takes just minutes to pull together, but you feel and look incredible.”
ACCENT YOUR BEST FEATURES
“I tell all of my mom clients that you want the lines of your outfit to bring the eye down instead of across. Tops like crewnecks and boat necks add width to your upper body. So can certain large prints and large color blocks that go across the shoulders. Instead, go for more flattering necklines, like scoop necks and V-necks, and prints that bring attention to your silhouette. I’m a big believer in a great blazer paired with a pendant necklace. Also, stay away from tops that stop at the widest part of your hips. It either needs to stop at your waist or past your hips to elongate your body.”
GO FOR COLOR
“The right color combo can camouflage those areas you’re not comfortable with and can look really great at the same time. Don’t feel like you have to match everything. Go for a mix-and-match with your favorite neutrals—black, white, navy, and brown—and bring in a pop of color to add interest. You just have to make sure they’re in the same color palette. Some people think mixing navy and black is a no, but it’s my favorite color combination. When paired together in the right way, it’s incredibly chic.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE BRA
“Knowing how to dress a changing chest is a challenge for new moms. Most women think they need to cover up completely, but sometimes hiding your breasts can make them look more enhanced. Getting the right bra is more important than covering them up. Your breast size will change after giving birth—probably a few times—so it’s important you get a bra fitting from a professional to know your true size. Half of all women aren’t wearing the right bra, and I’ve found most of the women I work with are wearing bras that are much too small. When you get the right bra, it improves your entire silhouette.”
“It’s hard to feel beautiful when you’re up all night with a new baby and your body is changing. But you need to feel good about yourself and confident in what you’re wearing. When you’re confident and comfortable, it doesn’t matter if you don’t look like you used to—you immediately give off an impression that connects with other people. Having a baby is an amazing thing, and you don’t want to hide when you get out. You want to be proud of the body you have right now.”