Dressing while you’re pregnant can be lots of fun – a bump is a great accessory! But what happens once the baby is born, and you’re left with both maternity and your pre-baby clothes that don’t fit properly? Reader Fiona contacted me with this question:
I’d love to know how to hide or best dress a post baby belly. I have about 5 kg left to lose but my belly is taking the longest so I would love some tips on how to hide it with summer dressing… Colours, styles etc.
Firstly, congratulations Fiona on your new arrival! Both of my children were born before I did my wardrobe re-design and I really had no idea what suited me. After the births I was in-between sizes, and couldn’t fit in to my pre-baby pants. While Hollywood stars may look like they have flat stomachs straight after leaving the hospital, we all know that in reality this doesn’t happen! This was me after the birth of my first child…
This was about three weeks postpartum, and I still had a sizeable stomach that was hard to hide. I no longer want to accentuate my ‘bump’, and many new mums feel the same way. I firmly prescribe to the camp of ‘it took nine months to go on, so it takes nine months to lose’ camp, so please don’t think I am advocating crazy diet and exercise routines for new mums. There are a few simple ways to disguise a post baby tummy that will help to keep you comfortable, and feel great, in those first few crazy months with a new baby.
1. Focus on the fit and the fabric
Clingy fabrics are the enemy of those who want to disguise a tummy. Look for cotton or linen fabrics that will fall nicely on your body and not cling to every lump and bump. They are also perfect for the warm Summer months, as they will allow your skin to breathe. Make sure that the clothes you are buying fit properly. Bodies change a lot during and after pregnancy, and making clothes fit properly can make a big difference to your outfit. It is hard, but try not to pay attention to the number written on the label, and just buy what fits. Having properly fitting clothes will make you feel better about yourself, no matter the size. Some clothes will feature folds, pleats or peplums intended to hide a tummy. Try them on first to make sure they are doing their intended job – they may make you look larger than you are.
2. Avoid empire lines and baby doll shapes
These styles are perfect during pregnancy, and help you show off your bump. After baby? Not so much. Try tunic or shift style dresses, and roomy tops that are not gathered under the bust. Tunic tops also look great tucked into pencil skirts, so they can still be worn later when you are ready to try a different style.
3. Embrace prints and block colours
Try pieces with all over prints, or in block colours (especially dark ones) to disguise areas that you aren’t fond of. Black and navy have slimming qualities, and dark colours in the above styles would be perfect. If you choose to wear light colours, try wearing a singlet top underneath so you can’t see through it. Prints will add interest to your outfit, and you can really brighten up a plain pair of jeans or skirt.
4. Accessorise, accessorise, accessorise
A statement necklace, dangly earrings (before a baby can grab at them, of course!), or a soft scarf will draw the eye to the top of your body, taking the focus off your stomach. I always feel much more ‘put together’ when I have an accessory or two on. Check out The Adorn Collective (disclaimer – this is my friend’s business, and they have beautiful things!), Dainty and Bold, Lovisa and Etsy for fantastic accessories.
5. Embrace the maxi
Being Summer time, it’s the perfect excuse to wear a maxi dress. There are so many gorgeous, free flowing dresses this season. I wrote about patterned maxi’s here and I am featuring a few more below. They will help to hide your tummy, and can be belted to cinch in the waist down the track if and when you feel like it.
6. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone
After pregnancy, you will more than likely have a bit of a different body shape. I found that my hips were wider, and they have never gone back to what was previously normal! Try on a wide variety of clothes, even in styles that previously may not have suited you. You never know what you might find! You could also have a session with a stylist – many shopping centres offer them free of charge throughout the year. There are also many talented stylists you can hire to do wardrobe culls and shopping lists.
7. Play up your favourite features
Do you love your arms? Have you got killer legs? Show them off! Find pieces that play up your favourite features in addition to hiding those you don’t like. Looking great will improve your confidence and make you feel great – all the more important with lack of sleep and middle of the night feeds!
Tops to Disguise a Post Baby Tummy
I tried to find natural fabrics where I could. Some, such as number three in the collection below are man-made fabrics, but would sit stiffly rather than clinging to your body. All of these tops could be worn with pants, shorts or a skirt and can be dressed up or down. As always, versatile pieces that can be worn in a variety of ways.
1. Country Road Textured Floral Print Tank – $129 | 2. Mix Apparel Eyelet Tie Top – $29 | 3. Target Geo Print Tunic Top – $30 | 4. Sussan Halter Cami – $99.95 | 5. Tree of Life Hermione Blouse – $69.95 | 6. Katies Mosaic Blurred Top – $29.95 (on sale)
Dresses to Disguise a Post Baby Tummy
Dresses are perfect to wear post baby as you don’t need to worry about something tight being around your stomach. I have found some shifts, tunics and maxi dresses that would be a great asset to any wardrobe, baby or not.
1. Country Road Sleeveless Print Dress – $179 | 2. Katies Zig Zag Maxi Dress – $59.95 | 3. Sportscraft Signature Silk Placket Dress – $269.95 | 4. MahaShe Tia Tunic – $89 | 5. Tree of Life Spiral Slip – $55 | 6. MahaShe Sara Tunic – $89
What was in your post baby wardrobe? Do you ever find your body hard to dress? What features do you play up, and which ones do you hide?