Chapter one: Yay You have the perfect wardrobe. Everything fits. It’s all very flattering, carefully thought out, and it makes total sense against your personal aesthetic and lifestyle. You have time to shop, a shopping budget, and things are calm and cool. Yay!
Chapter Two: Baybay Insert hormones, gain 30 to what feels like 800 pounds, stretch marks, oh yea, a baby growing inside of you. What’s happening.
Chapter Three: Oh Hey (new body) You no longer have the perfect wardrobe; nothing seems to fit the same. Nothing is very flattering. Your body is no longer what it used to be. In fact, it has decided to make things that used to be narrow wider! Insert yoga pants, sweatshirts, t-shirts, a new budget, and a flood of emotions! Plus, there’s a small baby spilling things and spitting up on your clothes, tugging on your body parts and things are just…different!
My Experience How do you and your wardrobe acclimate to the first year of postpartum? I thought it would be beneficial to share the changes I faced and how I dealt with them. I will also be providing you with my curated list of the top ten things (one bonus item) every mom needs to get through that first year! A postpartum capsule, if you will. Let’s first address the fact that some of these changes are brief and others are permanent. Here I will be sharing my personal experience, but I am very much aware that every woman’s experience Is different!
A Brief Change: Chest First up, the chest region. It grows. Big time. Whether or not you decide to breastfeed determines the longevity of this change, but I found this to be the most difficult change to face especially since I have never had much to brag about in that region to begin with (this is awkward).
• Avoid bulky, blousy, ruffles, gathering, or seams across the chest.
• A little stretch goes a long way. Fitted tops flatter and hug curvier parts of the body
• Solid colors up top. You know me, lots of black, gray, and white!
• Neckline. V-necklines had a major slimming effect as they elongated my already short waist which was amplified by my new upper region.
A Permanent Change: Stomach
Aside from the obligatory bloat and stomach changes that ensue after nine months of pregnancy, I had a c-section. Having a scar creates scar tissue, sensitivity and some cosmetic changes (it’s different for everyone). This was definitely something I had to get used to because the overall shape and appearance of my stomach has permanently changed.
• High waisted jeans and pants add an extra layer of support. I feel snug and secure when my stomach is completely covered.
• One-piece bathing suits. Bikinis cover my scar, but since I prefer a lower cut on my body type, I’m left feeling a little exposed. Luckily, I find that one-piece bathing suits are impeccably elegant (when done right), so I tend to stick to them. Every once in a while, I will rock a high waisted bikini bottom just because they are super fun.
• Shapewear smoothens the foundation, so this is something I’ve clung to especially in the high waisted tights department.
• Tuck it! The French tuck has been rip roaring through Instagram, but I love it because it shows off the waist.
• Belts. I’ve become a huge fan. They elevate so many outfits and show off my waist.
A Brief Change: Rear
All those years of field hockey have been washed down the drain. My butt has seemingly disappeared. This seems to be a common trend amongst the ranks of moms that I’ve encountered, but I know there is hope for us. Squats, weight training, and all of those crazy moves that Megan Brown makes me do at Mind the Mat will serve me well, but in the meantime I’ve made some changes.
• Back pockets can trick the eye to make it look like you have more of a tush. I prefer big, flat pockets on my jeans!
• Patterns, colors, and prints on the bottom to trick the eye!
• French tuck. The bunching and excess material of my tops added some bulk to my behind.
• Boyfriend blazers and dusters created a nice long line and cover your rear.
Top 10 Postpartum Capsule
1. Cotton Button Down Shirt (machine washable, good for layering, dress up or down, looks intentional)
Classic blue and white, black and white are good staples. Get stains? Wash and iron. Make the time!
Here’s a cool option by Frank & Eileen from The Hive.
2. High Waisted Quality Denim (comfortable, secure, stand the test of multiple washes)
Turn jeans inside out when you wash to sustain the color. Especially for true black jeans.
Some of my new favorite denim is by SLVRLAKE available at TSALT.
3. Fun Flats (comfortable, chic, dress up or down)
Pointed toe, almond toe, or ballet flats are all chic.
Love this springy pair by Rodo available at The Shoe Hive.
4. Chic White Leather Sneakers (comfortable, easy to clean, elevated and fun)
Keep it simple on the color spectrum to get more wear.
Sleek and chic Golden Goose available at The Shoe Hive.
5. Quality Cotton V-Neck T-Shirt (white, black, and a few colors of choice that are comfortable and chic)
Remove from the dryer and immediately press. Makes a big difference in looking more polished!
Here’s a cute black v-neck t-shirt by L’Agence available at The Hive.
6. Belts (elevate your outfits and highlight your waist)
A brown and a black with a beautifully sleek buckle!
Obsessed with this belt by W. Kleinberg available at The Hive.
7. Studs (easy, classic, and chic)
Dangly earrings can be tuff with a baby tugging.
A simple pair of diamond studs from Mystique are perfect.
8. Chic blazer (adds versatility and polishes up an outfit)
You don’t need a corporate meeting schedule to own a blazer. If you want to feel more put-together and polished it’s an instant remedy. Even when paired with sneakers, jeans, and a shirt.
Smythe blazers are a no brainer and they are available at TSALT.
9. Everyday tote (easy and large enough to put a diaper bag insert in)
Not a huge fan of my diaper bag or diaper bags in general. Why not invest in a fun tote and use a diaper bag insert that you can remove later on?
This neoprene tote by Annabel Ingall is so cute and easy!
10. Hat (sporty, chic, effortless, and easy)
Let’s be honest, we don’t have time to do our hair every day. Toss a chic baseball cap/beanie/felt hat on and you’ll look awesome while covering the grease and or grown out roots).
Rag & Bone hats are amazing, and they are available at The Shoe Hive.
Ali’s greatest passion is empowering women to look and feel their best. With this mission in mind she launched her personal styling business, ALH Style. On a daily basis you’ll find Ali cleaning out closets, shopping for clients, or creating lookbooks for the busy professional women of D.C. and Alexandria. Starting a fashion-based business from scratch has given Ali an eye for marketing. She’s now also managing TSALT’s social media, styling their new product shoots, and promoting their fun and fabulous brands to women in the DMV. Ali has lived in Alexandria, Virginia for eight years. She met her husband Cameron here, and they have a precious daughter, Cavin, and two little yorkies, Ollie and Lou.
ALH Style is a local personal styling business offering closet clean outs, look books, style consults, shopping appointments and consignment drop offs to women of all shapes and sizes in the DMV! Work one-on-one with owner and lead stylist, Ali Hellmuth, to find your most confident self!