Mom Wardrobe Reboot: Dressing a Post-Baby Body
Let's face it, finding clothes to wear post baby can be hard work. You've changed—with a new baby comes a new life, new identity, new priorities…and a new body. All this newness probably means a new wardrobe, too—but where do you start? We asked our Savvy style guru Wendy Woods for her expert opinion on dressing post-baby bodies and creating a back-to-work wardrobe that works for you. Wendy simplified our closet down to the essentials as a starting point, and filled us in on the must-have basics to make sure we can start every day feeling pulled-together and confident.
Start with the Basics
2 layer pieces
1 dress (or additional bottom)
1 pair shoes
1 über-comfortable bottom
2 casual shirts
1 cozy sweater or sweatshirt
1 comfy dress (or additional bottom)
2 casual accessories
1 pair walking shoes
1 carry-all bag (a duffle or backpack or tote work well)
Start in Your Own Closet
Go through everything, keeping only what actually fits and what you actually like. Donate the rest. Plug what you have left into the lists so you can see where you need to focus your shopping attention first. These are the 'basic basics' so focus on covering them off for this season. You can worry about next season's wardrobe next season. You'll be surprised how well the pieces you choose will translate effortlessly. You can start adding more to your collection as time and money permit. Wendy recommends adding one more bottom first. Then a pair of shoes. Then another layer piece. Then a blouse or two.
In a corporate job, you likely need to wear a suit—or at least consistently wear a blazer. Depending on how formal your office, your two bottoms and two layering pieces will be one of these three combos:
One three-piece suit (pant, skirt, blazer) plus a co-ordinating blazer
One two-piece suit plus a co-ordinating blazer and co-ordinating bottom (pictured here). Make sure all these staple pieces are made in a solid neutral-coloured fabric (navy and gray are ideal). A cream blouse is nice to have for mix-and-match ability, but feel free to add personality with pattern and colour in your blouses if you wish.
If you work in a business casual environment, you can really mix it up with pattern and colour. Your layering pieces should go with everything and it's a smart choice to have one blazer and one cardigan. Your bottoms can be pants or skirts or one of each, whichever feels most comfortable for you, and make sure all your shirts match the layers and the bottoms so you can pull any of them and easily mix and match. If everything you buy goes together, you'll have over twenty outfit combinations (that's enough to wear a different outfit every day of the month without repeating!).
Whether you work in a casual office, work from home or stay at home with your kids, this is your category. It's a ‘pulled together casual' that will help you feel great about yourself even if you're at home by yourself all day. The choices may seem broad here (because they are), so you can really focus on choosing pieces that feel good on you.
Eliminate activewear from your weekday routine (unless you're a yoga instructor of course!) and see what that does for your sense of self.
You can add this group of clothing to any of the previous weekday wardrobe modules to round out your wardrobe and ensure you're all set for the weekend, too. First, choose whatever kind of bottom is most comfortable for you. Perhaps that's a relaxed pair of jeans, leggings, or stylish joggers. Then find a couple of cozy shirts and a sweater or sweatshirt that goes with them. (This is the time to slot in your active wear if that's what feels best on you!) If you're living weekday life in smart casual you may find these pieces slide seamlessly into your everyday wardrobe and you can wear all your pieces any day of the week. If you're in a more formal dress code during the week, this may be where you put your favourite pair of dark jeans. As long as your weekend wardrobe suits your activities and feels comfortable on you, you're all set!
Wendy Woods is a Personal Style Coach at THE REFINERY. She is fiercely committed to time-starved women who want an effortless sense of style. Her down-to-earth method allows women to feel accepted and understood while creating a personal style that makes them look and feel beautiful. Read her Savvy Expert posts here.