Having a baby is such a big life changing event – not only are you getting used to a brand new person, you also have to get used to a brand new body. You might still look pregnant or you might bounce back quickly. You might have had a caesarean, or be too uncomfortable to wear jeans. The thing is, unless you’re Gisele Bundchen, many of your clothes won’t fit for sometime after you give birth. How can you make your existing wardrobe work for you, or give it a bit of a boost with an outfit that you will be able to wear even when you return to your pre-baby shape? Reader Lisa wrote to me asking for help with a post-baby dressing issue:
I have a surprise 30th to go to in 3 weeks time and I desperately need wardrobe help! Thanks to a post-birth abdominal separation of over 5 cm I’ve been on an exercise embargo of nothing more than walking for 20mins until at least 6 weeks. No pushing the pram, lifting the car capsule, nothing.
So I’ve still got a pretty noticeable baby belly and don’t fit into any of my clothes except my trackies.
I really want to wear a dress to the party, something that I can wear again as I need to start rehashing my wardrobe now I can try things on again! I have a couple of empire waisted things I’ll try on tonight but they’re both pretty old and I really think I want something new to boost my confidence a bit too.
So…, something ‘smart casual’, a dress, with sleeves preferably and just above knee length I’m thinking. Open to colour and prints, hopefully nothing that will date too much though. I had a look at Portmans the other day (which is usually my go to for a quick fashion fix) but I don’t think their cuts/sizing are fitting my body very well atm…
There are quite a few options when dressing for an event post baby. There are quite a few dress options around at the moment, in an empire line or wrap style. These should fall gently over your stomach in a flattering way. I would try dresses that fall from the bust, rather than being belted around the waist. Some stretchy wrap styles may still suit, but a fixed belt is likely to be uncomfortable. Don’t discount the shift dress – although it may be a little big all over, it can still be flattering. You can make it work further down the track by belting it into a shape to work for you. Try not to wear something with too many ruffles or layers, as they may draw more attention to your stomach and make you appear larger than you are.
Some of the best options I found were all from Leona Edminston – she is the master (mistress?) of frocks in Australia. The majority of the styles have sleeves, and she has a very good sale at the moment.
All of these dresses could be accessorised with opaque tights and ankle boots, so they can be worn in Winter. I love the colour of the Marilyn dress, and the cross over detail draws attention to the chest rather than the stomach. The Pia dress would also be a very good option – a kimono look dress or top is a life saver post-pregnancy. A pattern or darker colour will also help to disguise your stomach a little.
These dresses vary between the wrap, shift and kimono styles. I love the red shift – a pop of colour would be fantastic in the sea of black that usually appears in Winter. Stretchy skirts, either in midi or maxi lengths with a kimono style top are also a great option. If you’re breast feeding, adding a singlet under your top can be a modesty saver. While lots of these dresses are better suited to warmer weather, you could always pop a blazer or wrap over the top for warmth. The most important thing to remember is to find something that you feel comfortable and great in. Try adding some accessories to jazz up clothes in your existing wardrobe if your budget doesn’t stretch to a new outfit.
Lisa, I hope these dresses have given you a little more inspiration and that you enjoy the party!
How did you dress your post-baby shape? Did you have any special events to attend? Have you had any other circumstance where your shape has changed dramatically?
If you have a style question, please email email@example.com and I will try to help the best I can!