Going back to work after having a baby is emotional, with even those American women who receive maternity leave rarely able to stay home for more than a few weeks – but separation anxiety is hardly the only issue. It also comes with stylistic challenges. Dressing your post-baby body means making some changes, and you’ll be adapting over the next several months as your body continues to shift. These six creative clothing hacks can help you go from the nursery to networking in just a few minutes each morning, and they won’t break the bank, either.
Skip The Structure
Typical office wear tends to be structured, whether you prefer pencil skirts or pleated slacks, but after having a baby, you’ll want to skip the structured pieces. They won’t flatter your shape, and they won’t feel comfortable. Instead, opt for shirt dresses and empire waist tops. Empire waists are ideal, with their draped, loose lines, while shirt dresses reference more traditional office wear, but are more comfortable than a normal blouse.
Mix In Maternity Clothes
You might think you’ll be done wearing maternity clothes after the baby arrives, but don’t ditch those stretchy shirts and slacks just yet. No, you’ll be much more comfortable if you mix the maternity clothes you loved during pregnancy into your post-baby wardrobe. The elastic top on your maternity pants can be hidden under longer shirts or sweaters and maternity dresses will do double duty after baby. Even if you get back to your pre-baby weight, you can cinch in those dresses with a belt and keep wearing them.
Add Shape And Support
When you are ready to start wearing slightly more structured items, don’t try to squeeze into them right away. Give your body some support and ease any self-consciousness by adding some shapewear to your wardrobe. Whether you opt for a bodysuit style or a high-waisted brief, these garments will smooth out any remaining bumps under your dresses and slacks and can help support loose abdominal muscles, which are common after pregnancy.
Prepare To Pump
If you’re going to be pumping at the office, your wardrobe will need to be even more adaptable, but you don’t want every outfit to scream, ‘I’m nursing!’ Manage your pumping schedule by pairing convenient nursing bras and tanks – a must have – with items like wrap shirts and dresses, those shirt dresses you dug out of your closet and draped tops that can easily be pulled out of the way. A few big scarves are also must-haves, making it easy to cover up and hide any leaks.
Be Ready With Rentals
Your post-baby body may feel like a series of in-between sizes, and in many ways it is; in the months and years to come, your body will continue changing, and your wardrobe will need to change with it. That’s why a growing number of women are renting postpartum clothing through subscription services. This approach allows you to adjust the sizes in your closet as your body changes and can save you money compared to buying new clothing at every size.
Finally, for those days when the baby hasn’t slept and you need to get to a meeting, invest in a stylish, monochrome outfit for a no thought required look, because somedays separates are just too challenging. Even if pre-baby you would never wear something so dull, mommy brain is real, and your wardrobe needs options for when clothing is a low priority.
You don’t have to rebuild your entire wardrobe after having a baby, but you will need to be flexible about what you wear for a few months; expect some items to see a lot of play and old favorites to sit on the sidelines. As time goes on, you’ll develop new styling strategies that let you look your best without too much effort, and that will hide stains, snot, and whatever else the kids throw your way.