What to Wear after Having Kids
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As for “what to wear” after having kids specifically… wear whatever your heart desires! This post isn’t telling you what you’re allowed to wear, rather what worked for me. The problem? I want to be cute, I really do. However, my waist is bigger, by hips have enlarged, and my ribs are flared. I’m almost 20 lbs over my pre-baby weight and my clothes just don’t fit like they used to.
I was glancing at the Element of Fashion home page the other day and noticed all of my recent posts were about babies or food. While this is an accurate depiction of my life right now and I enjoy it, mama needs some fashion posts! That was the original basis of my blog and is still a big part of my life. I have a lot of other content I’d like to write for you such as product reviews, trip itineraries, and DIYs; however, I’m taking it back to my roots today (or should I say the new roots I’ve created?) and talking clothes.
Keep reading for my struggles and joys in dressing and finding clothes I like postpartum after having my full-term twins. Relevant for moms of multiples, but very helpful for those with singletons / one baby too!
Before we talk about the now, let’s take it back a bit to “pregnant Lauren.” I didn’t really buy maternity clothes. I didn’t want to spend the money on them. A lot of my current items already worked because they were roomy enough and/or I had help with belly bands or pant extenders. When I did buy maternity clothes I went to Hatch because the items were so chic and I knew I’d wear them postpartum (PP)… and I still do!! Their items are a little pricey, but the quality is definitely there. If you want a similar feel in a more budget friendly option, they actually have a Hatch x Target line.
After the twins came, not many of my clothes fit. Or if they did, they didn’t fit in a way that felt good or looked very good on. Mentally I thought “Wow. I didn’t need maternity clothes while pregnant, but I do postpartum. How messed up is that?!” I stood there alone with my raging hormones, staring at my closet, drenched in sweat, boobs dripping with milk, and I did not feel pretty or that I had anything to wear. It was such a 180 from being pregnant for me. Though I was sick the whole pregnancy, I felt glowing and pretty. People told me so too! Nick says otherwise, but Postpartum felt like crickets to me. I had a belly for quite some time after I gave birth. I mean my uterus grew to house two babies (one almost 7 lbs and the other over 7 lbs!!), so it makes sense that my body had to adjust; however, I guess I didn’t realize it would take that long to even mildly flatten out. I looked 6 months pregnant for about two months, then I started using this Belly Bandit wrap. Not only did it make me feel good and help me fit into my clothes, but it also aided my body in shrinking my uterus down to a more pre-pregnancy size. Besides experiencing my body slowly shrink back, I was also diagnosed with diastasis recti (DR), a common condition where your abs separate, creating a hole / bulge on your tummy. I know that women like to tout working out as helping them to feel better in their bodies, but I wasn’t cleared to actually do anything except physical therapy (PT) exercises until I was 6 months PP. Not that I had the mental clarity or physical bandwidth to even think about working out… I could barely find time or energy to do the PT moves.
During this time and even now (my twins are almost a year and a half / 16 months), I find myself reaching for my older clothing items that I have had for years. I’m sure part of it is nostalgia, but also maybe that I kind of lost my sense of style over the years. I birthed humans and also created a new version of myself alongside that delivery. Living in Dallas in the height of “blogger culture,” really affected my style too. I used to enjoy finding one off, unique pieces; however, that era really changed me. Not only did I have a desire to look like everyone else, but I was in the mindset that I couldn’t make a buck off of it if I couldn’t link it. Instead of finding cool things that were perhaps more me, I wanted what everyone else had, including that * MuSt HaVe * leopard cardigan from Nordstrom. You know the one I’m talking about! I kept telling Nick that I wanted to throw away my whole closet and start fresh, but that’s not really feasible. I don’t have the budget to do so, plus I still like a lot of my pieces.
Looking at myself now, I still have some DR symptoms and a c-section pouch, but I do feel better. Until the last several months, I 100% wanted to get a tummy tuck; but, I think I am finally at a place where that isn’t appealing to me anymore. My OB did tell me that she could suture my abs back together if I had another baby / c-section; however, I don’t know that that is going to happen / I’m not banking on it. I’m also at the mental space where I have the mindset to be able to workout and as of 2023 I’m aiming to attend 2 classes per week. I am trying to do 1 pilates class and 1 CorePower yoga class and then the DR guide I reference at the bottom the other 3 week days. I also try to be the one who walks my dog on the days I don’t take a class. At almost 1.5 years PP, this “dressing postpartum” post has been on my radar for a long time, and while I wish I was able to write it sooner, it is probably better for me to discuss now. It’s honestly the perfect time! I have the knowledge of what worked for me immediately PP; but, also a little bit down the road, because let’s face it… your body will always be a little bit different. All that to say, let’s talk about clothes and feeling good in them!
I’ve typically been a person who dressed for herself, not for others. So while clothing can seem materialistic, I do think that when you feel good in your clothes, it transcends to your mental headspace. Looking cute and feeling good are so closely related! This also isn’t about looking good / how society tells you to look. There are a small population who is able to “bounce back” completely and then there’s photoshop. Don’t get lost in the real and completely fake and unattainable story lines. And if you need to mute or unfollow some accounts for a while, do it. I did and was better for it!
TIPS FOR DRESSING POSTPARTUM
Are you in your 4th trimester? (the 6 or so weeks after birth) These tips will benefit you even if you’re not, but they are most relatable for those who just gave birth.
Think LOOSE. I put on leggings too early and it was gnarly. Probably because I had a c section, but still! I’d opt for loose, breathable clothing. I lived in my pajama shirts, nursing dress, and other flowey items, both maternity wear and boho styles. If you need to dress up, try a nap dress.
Invest in a couple items for postpartum wear that you know you’ll look good and feel good in. Mine was a black, fuzzy sweater by Show me Your Mumu. It was loose for breastfeeding, hid my still protruding belly, and had a v neck, so I wasn’t just a blob. I paired it with faux leather leggings and boots, but also jeans when I was up for pants. I said look good and feel good, because this is not a time for sweatpants. You’ll need a go-to outfit that isn’t athleisure.
Buy a belly band. This is the band I have. You can often have this covered by insurance if your doctor writes you a scrip for needing it! Sometimes I wish I would have purchased it sooner, but there are two reasons why I’m glad I didn’t. 1) You may not need one. If you buy it, you could be waisting your money. 2) If you wait a little bit, you may need a different size. If I would have gotten one right off the bat, I would have needed a larger size and it may not have helped me as much as I shrank down. I preferred the tightness when Nick would secure the velcro, so I would probably recommend you have help putting it on. I also liked it better if I wore it backwards. Sometimes the straps would indent my clothing and if you flip it around to where the straps are on your back, it leaves your front smooth.
Buy new shapewear. I had huge events right after the twins came. My sister got married 6 months later and Nick’s middle sister got married 2 months later. I didn’t feel 100%, so I purchased new shapewear with boning! I tried several, but my favorite for formfitting dresses was HoneyLove Super Power Thong. They also make a full coverage bottom if you prefer that.
Consider Physical Therapy. Whether you think you need it or not, I would recommend seeking an opinion from a Physical Therapist (PT). I would not go to just any PT… I would go to a pregnancy and postpartum professional that specializes in pelvic floor PT. I went to Origin Way, which has several locations in California. They also offer their services in several cities in Texas, New York, Kentucky, and Ohio. Have your OBGYN write you a prescription and get it covered by your insurance! I went while pregnant and postpartum. They helped with my DR, told me to seek help for prolapse (they can’t diagnose it), and helped with knots in my belly from my c-section, as well as scar maintenance. While I was pregnant they helped me with hip pain, as well as with my core strength. I joke that their exercises were the only workouts I did while pregnant.
DR guide. If you have diastasis recti or maybe just want to strengthen your core PP, I would highly recommend Deliciously Fit and Healthy’s course. It is manageable and easy to follow. Even though I had an in-person PT, I found a lot of the exercises I was assigned, really overwhelming. I think part of the issue is that I had an intern for some of my time and she assigned me too many; however, Andrea was able to explain things to me in a new way and help me feel better by simply committing 15 minutes of my day, at least 3 days a week. I wish I would have started this sooner!
Check yourself out. If you’re going to an event and/or you know you’ll be taking photos, stand in front of a mirror and figure out what pose you’ll feel best doing in what you’re wearing. When I do this, I hate myself less in pictures and feel more confident taking them.
MY FAVORITE CLOTHING TO WEAR AFTER HAVING KIDS
These items are what made me feel the best / most confident.
Bodysuits. They help smooth me out! Whether they are slimming or have some detail that distracts from my stomach, I always feel good in them. I had my sister’s bachelorette party shortly after giving birth and I splurged on this one to wear on her weekend because it was the first thing I put on that I actually felt pretty in. I own it in 2 colors and want it in a third! Note that it is a little low - I pin it a closed.
Low Rise or High Rise. Let’s be honest, I prefer high rise everything because it keeps everything in; however, low rise is actually nice if you can stand it, because it doesn’t cut you at a weird place. Basically what I’m saying is wear anything but mid-rise, because it will cut you right where you don’t want to be cut. I have an awkward spillage over the top of my pants when I wear mid-rise and it is very uncomfortable.
Matching Sets. I’ve found that I really like to wear matching sets these days. They make me feel pulled together and cute, even if I’m just running around the house. And what did I say earlier? Feeling good about what you’re wearing won’t guarantee a great day, but it sure does help your mindset!
Neck Baring. I’ve found that dressing loose on my frame makes me feel like a blob. If I can show a little bit of décolletage, I don’t feel so blobbish. I know this isn’t always in your control of the item; however, shopping with this in mind is helpful.
Accentuating. I have never been able to look good and feel good wearing things that cute, petite girls can, especially not after having the twins. No hate, just something I’ve come to realize and have stopped trying to fit into. I find that wearing items that accentuate me in some form or another are best. Whether it’s my neck or hips, it needs to give me some shape / form. The “v” neck in the outfit I’m wearing on this post works, as do the cut of the pants. One long line / oversized item makes me feel frumpy. If you want to wear an oversized shirt, try pairing it with a more form fitting tank, so you can see the outline of your waist.
My Favorite Brands to wear after having Kids:
I don’t only wear these brands; however, these specific ones have made me feel good in my skin!
Amanda Uprichard. They make the best bodysuits! I also have a couple dresses. They are a little pricey, but I’ve had a hard time finding things I felt so good in.
Belly Bandit. It helped my uterus shrink, allowed me to fit in clothes closer to birth since it held me in, and gave me needed support. This is the band I have. I haven’t tried their Mother Tucker leggings, but they are supposed to be good.
Buru. Their tagline is literally Mom. Life. Styled. They make beautiful pieces that are as chic as they are functional. Think elastic waistbands, pockets, and nursing friendly items, but gorgeous fabrics and trims. Everything is very practical, but also sometimes not practical in the best of ways. Meaning fun colors, patterns, and more. These are my current favorite buy! They do produce some items overseas, but a lot of items are constructed here in LA.
HoneyLove. This is the shapewear that “sucked me in” best the most for the tight fitting dresses I wore shortly after birth. I usually wear a M in Spanx or other shapewear, but size down to a S in these. This one is my favorite. I haven’t tried their legging 2.0, but it is supposed to be good.
Lululemon. Love the Align Pants or hate them, but they are so soft and comfortable, yet high enough to support my tummy at the same time. These are still my favorite leggings to wear. I wore them pregnant, as well as the align shorts. I also love the align bra.
Mate the Label. I had these pre-pregnancy as well. I didn’t really wear them late in my pregnancy; however, I did don them a lot PP. I have the shorts, but the pants are amazing!! Don’t sleep on the pants. This is the top I have. I shared a review here.
Quince. I found this brand last summer, so it was after the twins arrived; however, they do have a maternity line. The linen set pulled me in, but I have since tried their slippers and their cashmere. Basically they offer stylish product lines at a fraction of the price.
Spanx. Old faithful! I LIVED in their faux leather leggings. They are good enough to wear out and feel put together, perfect for a travel day, and obviously wonderful around the house. I think I have just about worn them out, so I will be replacing them soon. I’ve had them for about 5 years and have gotten great wear out of them. I also have a pair of these that I wear when my waist doesn’t need to be as snatched.
I wasn’t sure what to call this post. I originally titled it dressing postpartum. Did you know that postpartum is really only considered the first 6 weeks after birth? We kind of throw the words around though, as we all know that “postpartum depression” can and does happen well after the first 6 weeks. I didn’t want this post to be exclusionary, so I changed the title. Dressing after kids? Dressing with kids? How to dress after having kids? The point is that I aim to help you dress postnatal and beyond… whether you’re in your 4th trimester or you 44th! These tips should help guide you soon after birth, but also when you’re running around chasing toddlers. Mom style, but make it cute and comfortable! Remember how we were talking about how you dress can affect your mood?!
Happy dressing! I’m off to clean out my closet and get rid of those items that just aren’t me anymore. Good luck! Oh, and incase no one has told you lately… you’re doing great!