My last three clients are all mothers with kids under 3. In fact, I've spent a great deal of time with new moms discussing the transition from yoga pants and t-shirts to work appropriate clothes that function on less than 5 hours of sleep. After spending the afternoon helping a new mom edit her closet, it seems clear that other women in the same position can benefit from some tricks to get you through this unusual time. Dads- I'm all about equal opportunity. But, I think you are good on this one.
Here are a few tips that helped me after the birth of my son along with others I've learned through my work as a personal stylist.
What to Wear When You Return to Work After Having a Baby
If there's any chance that you'll be pumping at work, you want to plan ahead for the task. It's important that you can remove your top easily. Dresses can work, for sure. But you'll want them to easily go over your head or pull down to your waist. Keep in mind, if you take off your entire dress while pumping at the office, you'll need a blanket to stay warm.
2. Loose fitting tops that are attractive.
If you are still breast feeding, it's likely you'll need to feed your new baby in clothes that you may have worn to work that day. Plan for tops that are longer and billowy so that you can push them up easily and still feel like you are being discreet. Or, go for jersey fabric that can be pushed up and out of the way. This is when I challenge you to make sure they aren't sloppy t-shirts that "work." After all, if you look good you feel even better.
3. Wrap dresses or wrap shirts.
If you are going to rock a dress during this time, the wrap dress is the way to go. It's easy to open if you need to feed your little one or pump. Even better, it transitions with your body and your weight. You may be loosing weight as you breast feed and then gain weight shortly after you stop. You have plenty to worry about without needing to buy more clothes. Go for something that can work with changes in your weight and shape.
4. Leggings or Jeggings.
I can imagine you've become very fond of leggings by now. They can work during pregnancy and while you are at home with your little one(s). You'll want to invest in a new pair that works for your current body shape and isn't stretched out from your pregnancy belly. I prefer treggings (trouser leggings) or jeggings (jeans leggings). Really, you are looking for something that has pockets to differentiate them from tights and allow you to wear shorter shirts that are more current.
5. Something you love.
There are so many things changing in your life right now, it's important that you take a few moments to indulge in something for yourself. It's likely that you'll start to avoid dangly earrings as your baby grows or may not have the same amount of time in the morning to straighten your hair, for instance. Compensate by investing in one piece of jewelry that you truly love. Regardless of any weight fluctuation, jewelry always fits. If you buy something that makes you feel beautiful whenever you wear it, it will also serve as a reminder of this special time in your life. It doesn't have to be expensive, just exciting to you. Necklaces, bracelets or watches work well. Belts and earrings can be challenging over the long haul.
6. A handbag that serves as a diaper bag.
As you transition into your professional self, make sure to let your new family in, too. Ensure you have a handbag that can accommodate the items you need when running an errand with the baby. You should be able to rock a stylish look without a diaper bag as your major accessory.
7. A small wallet or clutch.
On the other hand, you likely purchased a diaper bag for a reason. Make sure that you can easily place all your life essentials in a small pocketbook or clutch that fits into the diaper bag or at the bottom of the stroller. Simplify.
8. A Maxi or a Midi skirt.
As far as I'm concerned, a maxi skirt (or a midi skirt) with pockets is a mother's best friend. Wear it to work with a tailored jacket and wedge heels or take it to the park with simply your phone and keys in the pocket.
9. A Circle Scarf.
I can't emphasize enough how useful a circle scarf can be for a new parent. Dress up your most casual outfit with it. Then, quickly discover the joys of using it as a blanket in the car or at a restaurant. It also doubles as a cover for the stroller to help baby sleep or block the sun or a pillow for your child as he/she grows.
10. A great jacket or coat.
Your top half may change dramatically over the course of this year. Make sure that no matter what is happening with your bra size, you have something that makes you feel put together and keeps you warm. Nothing ruins a great outfit like a terrible coat.
And you are off! This is a challenging time to invest in new pieces, so be strategic when you do. But, please do. At a time when things are getting more stressful as you learn to navigate parenthood and work (which you will), and you are likely getting less sleep, take care of yourself. Invest in pieces that make you look good and feel great. If you make sure you nurture yourself now, you'll set this example for your child as he/she ages. Need a little help? That's what I'm here for.
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