Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Post Pregnancy Wardobe

In the last few weeks, a couple of message boards that I am on have been talking about post pregnancy wardrobes, and how to be chic despite a newborn. Like many new mummies, I didn't want to have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe when I was planning to lose a substantial amount of weight but I still wasn't able to fit into many of my pre-pregnancy clothes.

Many mummies continue to wear their maternity clothes for quite a while. Personally, I think if you can afford to buy a few "tide-over" pieces, and manage the clothes you already have well, then you will be much chicer, much quicker. The problem with continuing to wear maternity clothes when you are not in the maternal way is that they are designed for a big fat tummy, which you no longer have. However, because they are designed for a pregnant belly, they make you look like you ARE still carrying a five month old fetus!

Instead, I recommend shopping your existing pre-pregnancy wardrobe, and then purchasing a few items and a fair number of great accessories to fill in the gaps temporarily. I would not spend a lot of money on these temporary items, as they are bound to be too big for you in the near future, but do focus on fit and colour.

Shopping your existing wardrobe:

Look at your tops - many tops and sweaters with some stretch in them will probably fit you even if you have gained some pounds. Wrap tops in particular are very forgiving.

Can you wear your pre-maternity pants or skirts? If they are only a little bit too small, I highly recommend using the belly bands and extenders that many maternity shops sell.

See what accessories you have - accessories are crucial to extending and adding interest to a limited wardrobe. Keep a keen eye out for items that you may have that can be adapted to this seasons trends. An example is a handful of chunky wooden bangles - added to neutral pants (like white linen pants or some chinos) and a white tank, you will have achieved some measure of this season's safari theme and a great outfit for a daytime outing. Add it to dark rinse jeans, chunky heels and a slinky chocolate tank, and it's more of an urban global traveller look. Similarly, take white jeans and a slim white tee. Add in red and blue bangles, a jaunty neckscarf and skimmers and you have a great nautical outfit. The same jeans and tee, paired with coral jewellery, dark sunglasses and beaded metallic sandals, gives off an Isle of Capri luxe vacation kind of vibe.

Once you have shopped your wardrobe and determined what you already have, you can then make a list of the few pieces you need to purchase to really make your wardrobe work. My key essentials:

1-2 well fitting dark rinse jeans - get two pairs, if possible, that fit fantastically right now as it's not really possible to wear jeans that are too small and still look good. I wouldn't spend to much on these, and I would update them as I lose the weight, as jeans that are too large are a bad look as well.

Some great fitting tees in a range of colours - get a slim fit, with a neckline that suits your body shape - v-necks are universally flattering, crew necks suit only those who are slim with small busts. Buy a few in polished fabric - ie avoid cotton rib as this can only look casual. A smoother knit can be dressed up with a nice jacket and skirt, or dressed down with lounge pants.

Bras - get refitted for bras as you lose weight, and when you stop nursing. Most of us wear the wrong sized bra, and this will really affect your appearance. A well fitting bra can make you look up to a size slimmer.

Extra accessories that are current - bangles, bracelets, necklaces are great. If you only have a newborn, and no older babies or toddlers, earrings are great, too. Once your baby is older, you are risking your earlobes if you wear dangly earrings!!

A chic diaper bag - please, please, please avoid the cutesy baby bags. There are so many chic bags out there at a range of price points that there is really no excuse for a bag emblazoned with fuzzy ducks!


Theresa said...

I wish that I'd read this years ago. I have 5 children and have yet to get the post pregnancy wardrobe right. I usually end up putting on extra weight because I'm wearing such loose maternity clothes, and then have to loose that AND the pregnancy weight - ugh. You've made some really good points here, I'm planning on putting this into action this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Great points, Sarah! I'm due with #2 anytime now, and I've already bought some tops, shoes, and accessories to mix with my prepregnancy bottoms.
One thing that I haven't found yet is a great bag that can function as a diaper bag, but doesn't scream "baby." I would prefer a non-diaper bag that I can use later for myself as a chic tote. Any ideas??? What are you carrying for a diaper bag?

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