Baby’s first few months bring such joy. Cuddles. Kisses. Co-sleeping. If only getting dressed were as pleasant. While you probably dream of fitting into your pre-pregnancy jeans the minute you get home from the hospital, you might need to adjust your reality. Leaky boobs, swollen ankles and a little jiggle around the middle are just some of the culprits that make finding the right fit, post pregnancy, so challenging. Here are ten style solutions that will help you look and feel your best in the fourth trimester after baby arrives.
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1. Splurge on something fun. Chances are you’ll want to burn your maternity clothes after you give birth. Unfortunately, it might be a while before you can finally pack away those oversized tees and stretch pants. Shopping for just a few new stylish pieces can help you get through that wardrobe limbo. Look for special outfits that you can wear on your first night out or on your next family outing. Au Lait makes nursing dresses that are forgiving and functional. Their Going Home Dress ($138) and The Tee Dress ($168) are especially chic and versatile.
2. Show some skin. Shapely shoulders. Sleek arms. Muscular legs. Showing off your favorite body parts can be a great way to draw attention to your best assets. The trick? Don’t overdo it. Wearing off-the-shoulder cuts and wide necklines is a great way to reveal just a little skin and take attention away from the belly.
3. Comfy shoes are a mommy must. Walks with the pipsqueak are a special part of those first few months. Make sure that you have supportive sneakers or sandals so that you don’t develop any additional swelling or back pain. Just because a shoe feels comfortable doesn’t mean it’s giving you the support you need. Toms makes cute, affordable sandals that offer arch support and a cushioned footbed.
4. Wear the right shapewear. Bodysuits are downright awful. We wouldn’t advise any new mama to squeeze into one. That being said, if you’re planning a night out and you feel the need to hide that postpartum pooch without cutting off all circulation, Spanx makes a great pair of shaping briefs. Their Slim Congnito’ Mid-Thigh Bodysuit Shaper ($78) is much more wearable and comfortable than a full on bodysuit. It provides control for your tummy and hips, and even gives a slight lift to the rear.
5. Flowy tops are your friend. Long flowy tops are flirty, feminine and a wardrobe staple in the fourth trimester. Pairing a loose blouse with fitted, straight line jeans will compliment your figure and hide any extra weight in your midsection. They can also double as a makeshift nursing cover, which comes in handy when you’re out and about with your little one. Zara sells several cute loose-cut blouses. Their Crochet Front Top ($59.90) and cape-sleeve Printed Top ($69.90) are great options for summer.
6. Don’t skimp on maternity lingerie. If you’re planning on nursing, it’s crucial that you find a few well-made bras that provide lots of support and easy one-hand access. There are some good rules of thumb when shopping for the right fit. For starters, make sure the bra doesn’t pinch you under the arm or ride up in the back. Your breast size will change fairly regularly so invest in a bra with stretchy cups. It’s also a good idea to try an underwire for more support, especially if you’re on the bustier side.
7. Black is a good fallback. It’s slimming and goes with everything. Even a baggy black sweatshirt can flatter the waistline. Pair a casual black top with interesting patterns or pops of color to create a sleek, stylish look. One slimming option – Loyal Hana’s nursing sweatshirt, which has a fabric back panel and front detail.
8. Don’t waste money on designer jeans. It’s tempting to splurge a new pair of jeans once the pregnancy weight starts to peel off. Before you do, keep in mind that your shape will probably continue to fluctuate for a while, which makes it hard to find the right fit. Denims that looks great on you today may be loose and unflattering in a few weeks. If you must buy a new pair, look for ones that won’t break the bank. H&M’s Skinny Low Jeans are a great choice: They’re flattering and under $10.
9. Leopard print yoga pants, anyone? Okay, maybe animal print isn’t your thing. But if you’re planning on living in yoga pants, they might as well have a little pizzaz. Some small detail or trimming can change your average yoga pant into something fun and different. Athleta has some great options, such as their Woodlands Chaturanga Capri and Gel Chaturanga Capri ($64).
10. Enjoy your new body. There’s no question that finding clothes to wear in the fourth trimester is frustrating. But it can also be an opportune time to reinvent your look. Follow a celebrity mom style icon on Instagram for inspiration. Create looks with your own personal stamp. And most importantly, have fun with it.
What’s your go-to fashion piece for the fourth trimester?
–Michelle McIvor Cohen