Dressing the Postpartum Body

So you've just had a baby and it's wonderful and beautiful, but you're also sleep deprived and missing your old body. If you can't figure out what to wear to dress your new body, you're not alone. No one fits into their old clothes as soon as their pregnancy ends; the trick is to learn how to dress yourself so you'll feel good until you can get back to where you were before you had your baby.

One of the best ways to disguise those troubling areas is to create long, lean look. To do this, though, you will need to balance out your top and bottom halves. Though you might be tempted to wear baggy clothes to hide your figure flaws, DON'T! This can make you look bigger than you actually are. Believe it or not, it is possible to wear clothes that fit well, are comfortable and have enough structure to help you smooth out your postpartum figure flaws (including that tummy which isn't quite as flat as you'd like it to be). So, if you're sick of sweats, check out our fashion tips to make you a master of the art of camouflage.

Balancing a Bigger Torso and Chest
Chances are, your belly bump isn't going to magically disappear 10 days after you give birth, so you're probably going to have a bit of a tummy for a while. And if you're breastfeeding, you're probably dealing with a bigger chest than you're used to. Try wearing a longer jacket with some structure to support your chest and create the illusion of a smaller waist.

Shirts that sit at the top of the hip are good for balancing out the figure. Shirts with a seam or ribbon that sits higher than your natural waistline, just below the bust, i.e. an empire waist, are good for creating the illusion of a smaller waistline. V-necks draw the eye upward, creating a leaner look.

Also, try to emphasize the shoulders to create more balance between them and your tummy or hips - try flutter or cap sleeves. If you're breastfeeding, make your life easier by sticking to tops with button or zip closures and invest in one or two good nursing bras.

Minimizing the Butt
Even if your pregnancy packed a few more pounds onto your posterior than you would have liked, you can still wear pants and look fabulous doing it. Start with a great pant that fits the widest part of you well and has a leg that falls straight down from there. Avoid cargo pants or any pants with pockets that stick out from the body - chances are they're drawing attention to a spot you don't want attention drawn to. Consider investing in one pair of great fitting designer jeans. Also, try wearing fuller-cut skirts that flare away from the body to balance your top and bottom.

See a Tailor
A common complaint among women who are pregnant, or who have just given birth, is that if an item of clothing fits in one place, it's too big in others. If shirts that fit your chest are too long for your arms, or make you look like you're wearing a circus tent, or if pants that fit your new bottom are way too long, consider having them altered by a professional tailor or seamstress. It is an extra expense, but if you're working in a professional environment where your wardrobe is restricted, it's probably worth it. Most alterations can be done inexpensively and it's got to be easier than running all over town trying on a thousand outfits and still not being able to find anything to wear.

The Diaper Bag
Babies need stuff - lots of stuff - and you're going to have to carry it around in something. Unfortunately, most diaper bags on the market are way too cutesy. If you'd prefer to look like an adult consider purchasing designer handbags.  If you don't want to shell out the cash for expensive designer baby bags, get creative. Any bag with lots of pockets and sturdy shoulder straps can fit the bill. So try to find something that suits your personality, matches your wardrobe and makes you feel good (or at least not vaguely embarrassed) when you carry it.

Just in Case�
When you and baby are going out together, you might want to skip the silks and other delicate fabrics. Stick to natural fibers that you can wash and dry easily, and that you won't worry about ruining should spit-ups occur (and they will occur). Also, you might want to carry extra "just in case" garments in your diaper bag. Make sure they're neutral colors so that they will match with any outfit that you happen to get thrown up on in.  Comfortable fitting street clothing or urban clothing can be a great option for when you are on the go.

If you don't want to spent a lot of money building an interim wardrobe, consider buying only a few new, high quality items that you know you look great in, and then checking out a few thrift and second hand stores for more pieces that will fit you without costing an arm and a leg. If you don't have time to shop and you know your sizes, the internet can also be a great place to get bargains without having to carry a screaming infant through the mall.



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