with Susan Wagner
The Working Closet is your source for the best of what's hip and fresh in fashion and beauty. Susan Wagner keeps you up-to-date on trends and offers tips and tricks for making everything in your closet truly work for you.
You can also catch Susan over at Working Closet.
I struggled a great deal when I was pregnant to find clothes that fit. However, I spent the majority of my pregnancy on bedrest so it didn’t matter much. My problem now is what to wear post-partum? My daughter is now a month old, and while I know it’s roughly 9 months on, 9 months off, I’m struggling just to find basics to get me through until my body gets back to normal. I had a c-sections and I’ve found that my shape has completely morphed; especially in the hip area. My pregnancy pants don’t fit right, and I can’t seem to find regular pants in bigger sizes that fit. Any suggestions?
Stephanie is currently in what is easily the hardest window of postpartum wardrobing, that month or three after the baby when you sort of have your body back but not really, and when you’re so tired that all you want to do is stay in your pajamas all day but you feel, at least occasionally, like you should get dressed and start acting like a person again.
Before we talk about what to wear, let’s face some facts about the post baby body.
1. You will not get right back into your pre-pregnancy clothes. The rule of thumb is nine months up, nine months down, but I never found this to be entirely true; for me, it was more like nine months up two years down. It will take as long as it takes for you to lose the weight, and even then your body may not be shaped the same way it was before your bundle of joy arrived. Do NOT beat yourself up about this, particularly for the ten or twelve weeks right after giving birth. Cut your body some slack–you just grew an entire person inside you, and if the consequence is a little extra around the middle (or, in my case, across the backside) then so be it.
2. You may NEVER get back into some of your pre-pregnancy clothes. Pregnancy changes your body, but not always in the ways you might expect. Don’t mourn your old body or insistently stuff it into pants and tops that don’t fit properly; be honest about where you have grown and how you can work what you’ve got now. Having pieces that fit comfortably and correctly is never more important than in the year or so after a new baby, when you will already be feeling like you are stretched to the limit. Don’t let your wardrobe be one more stressful thing in your life. Wear clothes that look great.
3. You will be overwhelmed by the urge to start getting rid of clothes because they don’t fit. Instead, take the things that do not fit right now out of the closet, so that you don’t spend every morning staring sadly at a whole wardrobe of things you can’t wear right now. In the first year after the baby is born, there will be a lot of pieces that just don’t fit right. Some things, of course, will never fit again, but some will, and you should resist the urge to start donating everything that doesn’t zip RIGHT NOW. Instead, put things that aren’t fitting in storage and revisit them later. Give yourself time to get used to your new body and your new life before you start donating your pre-baby wardrobe to Goodwill.
So what SHOULD you wear after the baby is born? For the six or eight weeks after the baby is born, cut yourself some slack and stick with pieces that are comfortable, like drawstring yoga pants and soft nursing tees. That first two months is a huge adjustment period for a new mother, and you should give yourself time to get used to the changes in your body and your life. When you start to shop for postpartum clothes, keep the following in mind:
1. Stick with fabrics that are machine washable. Leaking breast milk, baby spit up, diaper leakage, coffee that misses your mouth and winds up on your shirt–all are par for the course in the first few weeks. It’s easier to pretreat and wash than it is to constantly be shuffling things to the dry cleaners.
2. Choose pieces that are comfy enough to sleep in. Yoga pants, tees (nursing or regular, depending on your situation), and lightweight cotton or jersey dresses all fit the bill. DO NOT go around all day in your actual pajamas (you will feel better if you get dressed, I promise) but don’t get so buttoned up that you can’t seize every opportunity to take a nap, or just to snuggle up with your baby.
3. Wear light colors, like pink or white. Even if you’re not a pastel girl in your normal life, in the weeks after giving birth, when you are tired, pastels and lighter shades will give you a little extra pep, or at least the appearance of a little extra pep. Stick with colors you love and feel pretty in, even if it means that you’re wearing green or blue or whatever nearly all the time. When you feel good in your clothes, you will look better.
4.Change your clothes every day. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. Trust me–it’s remarkable the difference a clean pair of yoga pants and a clean tee shirt can make. And while you may not believe it now, the urge to just keep wearing what you’re in will be overwhelming in that first few weeks. But really, take two minutes and get some new clothes on. It’s worth the effort.
5. Don’t spend a fortune on your postpartum casual wear. Look for yoga pants and tees at Old Navy or Target; look for nursing tops at
6. Finally, DO NOT keep wearing your maternity clothes. It may SEEM like those maternity pants will still fit after you have the baby, but they really require the actual BABY to fit properly. Once you’ve given birth, your stomach will change shape and will not hold the pants (or skirt or dress) in place. Maternity tops will hang unevenly as well. The first step toward getting your pre-baby body and closet back again is to stop dressing like you’re pregnant. Launder and dry clean all the maternity wear (or better yet, enlist someone else to do it for you) and pack it all away for the next pregnancy (yours or someone else’s).
Coming Friday: The post-baby shopping guide.
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