Thursday, February 22, 2018

dressing the bump: postpartum

dressing the bump postpartum
original posts: one  |  two  |  three  |  four
five  |  six  |  seven  |  eight

Originally I intended to finish the "Dressing the Bump" series with the third trimester, but realized I've been remiss in not addressing how to dress postpartum.

I'll be the first to admit that I've been having a bit of struggle figuring out what to wear post-baby. While on maternity leave I wore leggings and big tees every day, so it didn't really matter, but that doesn't fly now that I'm back at work. My baby weight has been clinging like a bad ex-boyfriend, my stomach is still soft and poochy and my boobs are freaking ginormous. I'm not saying this to complain - I just know there are other women like me, trying to figure out how to dress their new body type and I thought I'd share what I've learned over the past few months:
DO: Buy a few staples that fit now, not what you think *might* fit in a few weeks or months, because uncomfortable, digging waistbands are.the.worst. Trust me, I've done this. And I don't recommend it. I'm not saying to go nuts buying stuff, just get a few staples to help make you feel more comfortable.

SKIP: Try to squeeze yourself into clothes that don't fit. Just because you can make it button, doesn't mean it's flattering. Been there, done that, and was uncomfortable all day. Plus too tight clothes have the tendency to make you look larger.
DO: Embrace a flowy top. A loose-fit top can help camouflage lingering tummy bulge. My trick to make a looser shirt look more streamlined and polished is to add a longer cardigan or jacket.

SKIP: Wearing clingy tops. There's nothing flattering about skin-tight clothes that show off all your lumps and bumps.
DO: Wear longer layers. Similar to dressing while pregnant, a long cardigan or knit blazer goes a long way toward pulling an outfit together and helping slim curves. 

SKIP: Wear layers that hit above the hip. At least on me, they made everything look more squatty and round.
DO: Wear dresses with an empire waist or swing fit. The goal is to skim over the belly. Empire waists are great because they hit at the smallest part of the waist and swing dresses are like flowy tops - they skim over problem areas.

SKIP: Bodycon dresses. Unless you have shapewear of steel. But who wants to be that uncomfortable all day?
DO: Invest in shapewear. If you haven't already, I highly recommend investing in some mild shapewear. It makes everything a little smoother under dresses and skirts and helps with fit. I know a lot of women love, and have had a lot of success with Spanx, but I find them to be a bit too much for everyday wear. My favorite is Maidenform's body con boyshorts. They're seamless - hooray for no panty lines!

SKIP: An ill-fitting bra. Especially if you're breastfeeding, chances are you've gone up a cup or band size. Having a bra that fits goes a long way toward feeling comfortable.
DO: Invest in shoes that fit. During my first pregnancy, as well as this one, my feet grew a half a size! I went back to my original size 9 after loosing the baby weight the first time around, but since that hasn't happened yet, comfortable shoes are a must. If, like me, you're not much of a heel wearer, I recommend shoes with a pointed-toe to help elongate the leg. 

Most importantly, pick pieces that make you feel happy and confident. Take a deep breath and realize that this isn't forever. While your body will probably never be quite the same as it was pre-baby, it will go back to a more normal state. My plan is to embrace the shape I am and keeping finding new, fun ways to dress it!

For more maternity outfit inspiration, check out my dressing the bump: third trimester, second trimester and third trimester posts.  

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