8 Tips To Create A Wardrobe For New Moms

Thursday 7 February 2013

I've been asked by friends on several occasions to write about rebuilding one's wardrobe after having had a baby. To be perfectly honest, I have been somewhat reluctant to delve into this subject. It has taken me a long time to come to this point where I'm happy with the state of my closet without feeling like I have nothing to wear or spending a fortune replacing my clothes.

I'm resigned to the fact that my body has metamorphosed from a butterfly moth to a cocoon. My lifestyle is no longer conducive to making fashion statements. I call it a triumphant moment if the day ends without having paw prints or drool on my clothes. The hormonal changes caused havoc to my moods, hair and skin in the first year or so. I thought I understood the term exhaustion B.C (Before Child) but your newborn will subject you to the kind of sleep deprivation aka torture used in the toughest prisons. I had trouble finding my hips because they seemed to have inched upwards towards my boobs.

Oh, and I'd brought home this red and wrinkled being from the hospital that looked more like E.T than my offspring who would change my life forever in more ways than one. Wouldn't it be great if we could subject men to all this AND contractions? Stick electrodes onto their body and crank up the pain? ((evil laugh)) I bet there would be a giant leap in technology in terms of childbirth and pain relief.

Until I'm obsessed about sculpting my body like Tracy Anderson's, my belly will continue to runneth over the waistband of my denim.  The thing is, unlike these picture perfect celebrities whose very job is dependent on their looks, I don't have an army of nutritionist, dietician, personal trainer and stylist. Yikes, I'm not exactly painting a rose tinted picture for those of you who aren't moms yet. As the QVC commercials would say.....but wait...there's more.... (just kidding).

Anyway, let's concentrate on the topic at hand and put my masochistic compulsion aside. I don't profess to be an expert and my suggestions may not be relevant to everyone. But here goes......

1) Clean out your closet

Chuck out clothes that 1) are unflattering to your new figure  2) you haven't worn in months or a year. Trust me, you'll feel tons better when you've removed the clutter out of your life.

2) What's your lifestyle?

Are you a stay-at-home mom? Work from home mom? Working full time/part time? Your lifestyle determines the mainstays of your wardrobe.

3) Determining your style

Let's say we break down the different styles into these categories - classic, boho, preppy, trendy, contemporary etc. Which ones appeal to you the most? People rarely stick to one look so you'll find yourself falling into at least 2 categories but leaning towards one more than the other.

4) What do you wear the most?

I think the most common mistake is rushing out and trying to fill up your half empty closet. It can be an expensive mistake even if you're not buying designer clothes. I've learned to take a step back and go through my clothes to figure out what I wear a lot of. Personally, I gravitate towards structured jackets, plain and striped tees and denim which happen to be my daily uniform so that's where I'd spend more money on.

5) Plan your wardrobe

It becomes a costly exercise if you're constantly having to go out and buy an outfit just for an occasion. I like to work with a list to plan a wardrobe that consists of separates that complement each other to create multiple looks. Furthermore, it makes it easier to locate the gaps as well as see what you've got plenty of.


6) Understand your body

Are you a pear shape? Or hourglass or apple? Are you lanky or curvaceous? What are your problem areas? Skinny jeans aren't for everyone. Neither are boyfriend jeans. Hide your flaws and accentuate your strengths. I haven an apple figure and high waisted pants look ghastly on me. My petite frame, narrow shoulders and rather boyish figure meant that I need jackets with a bit of shoulder padding, nipped in the waist to create an hourglass illusion and slightly cropped to keep the proportion right.

7. Accessories

Accessories and shoes can elevate and create a whole new look without changing your outfit. You'll be surprised how scarves, shoes and jewelry can make a difference to the clothes you're wearing. However, decide what you feel most comfortable in. I don't wear earrings nor fussy necklaces but I adore hats and shawls.

8. The Fit

I'm done with ill-fitting clothes. I normally buy t-shirts, sweaters or silk shirts a size or two bigger because I prefer a slouchy fit. However,  jackets, pants or coats have to fit just right or else they just look sloppy and unflattering. I've spent a fortune on alterations. These days, I stick to French brands only because they seem to be designed with a more petite frame in mind.

For those of you who have a similar experience, please share your thoughts and tips. What was it like for you? What works for you?


  1. Perfect tips even for old mom like me LOL! I like the figure out your shape.. I think I am a pear but if I am not careful, I could end up a computer ;D
    Have a great weekend!

    Greetings from Dubai!

  2. You are a darling for sharing all this. What makes it so valuable is how much of your advice translates well for women who haven't had children. Knowing—or facing up—to one's body shape is critical, no matter the situation. Also, the importance of a well-fitted jacket; one of the most painful things I've had to do in wardrobe editing is remove jackets I loved that were simply too big in the shoulders . . . sloppy often equals "fat."

    Here's my guiding philosophy: Avoid going after dressier options at first (whatever that might mean for the specific person's lifestyle), instead turning to the basic pieces that would be worn every week or a few times a week. These might seem boring or less inspiring, but it leaves the person with more day-to-day options for feeling and looking great.

  3. Great post! My youngest is now 8 years old but I struggled just like you to find myself again after giving birth! Besides taking a year to get the weight off, I had to rethink my personal style and buy things that were beautiful as well as practical. I did, however, indulge in a few statement pieces and luxury goodies that added some pizazz. I totally agree with you about the French brands!!

  4. Part of it is accepting that you do not have the same body as before. You might be the same size but you will not be the same shape nor the same "firmness" in all areas. Like Aesthetic Alterations above, the rules apply to all women, it's recognising and accepting your body and shortcomings and just dressing to hide the imperfections. Dressing to suit your lifestyle is very important. I stay at home most of the time - there's no one looking at me except for on the school run so I don't get much opportunity to "dress smarter" these days. My wardrobe has changed so much since having children but I have to say - I love it. I love the relaxed styles and now that I am a SAHM, I've been given licence to dress as I like and comfortably.I used to wake up each morning wishing I could wear jeans instead of a suit. Well now I can. The only thing I miss is being able to justify wearing some awesome heels during the daytime - okay for the office but just a bit much for a regular school run. But to be honest, there's nothing stopping me apart from myself and my ability to walk in them.

  5. Lol, im more the dunkin donut body type. It has been a couple of years since i was pregnant, but my body was never the same. I lost the weight, but the shape was not what it used to be. I finally cleaned out my closet and accepted the fact that i will never fit into my old clothes. That was refreshing. I have been experimenting w different clothes and different brands. I am a work in progress, lol. Although, i have come to rely on Alexander wang's simple tees as part of my every day uniform. I thought they were too pricey at first, but now i can see why. The cut and fit were quite flattering for my body type.

  6. Great post Marlene. I completely reinvented my closet after having my 2 - and then again when I quit the corporate world. I lost a lot of weight after having them so ended up lighter than before I got pregnant and that is when my real interest in clothes started - I it was far more fun shopping for them! I am constantly trying to find 'my style' I wish I had a uniform - I know where my comfort zone is but I have an eclectic closet for different moods and occasions - so I have too much choice! Talking of blazers you just made me reassess a couple I was going to eBay as I love a simple blazer and t-shirt too. I still need to work on paring down my closet to make it easier to remember what I have. I hope you don't mind but I am going to share this post on our Pregnancy & Newborn FB page - I'm sure it will help lots of new moms out there!

    1. Thanks so much, Joanna! So sweet of you to share the post on FB.

  7. haha! love the body types!
    great post!

  8. I'll definitely be referring back to this post when we decide to have children - I am selfishly worried about what will happen to my wardrobe afterwards. I heard even your shoe size can change permanently, is that true? That especially concerns me, lol!

    1. Katherine, I have a few friends whose feet grew anything from 1/2 a size to a full size up. I didn't. Unfortunately. The rule of thumb is your pregnancy will generally mirror your mom's.

  9. Love the visuals - especially that first cartoon! These days, I'm all about leggings and a tunic :)

  10. Agree - great tips for all women regardless of children :-) I'm still working on it several years on and if I don't hurry up and finish soon, my eldest will be a teen and help herself to everything!
    The hardest for me was 1. I'd become so attached to my clothes and I had a hard time with 6. and accepting my new shape. I'd always wished for curves when I was banana then when I became a big bramley apple I had no idea what to do with the extra curves so be careful what you wish for!
    In my own experience 8. Fit was and is the most important.

  11. Haha, the pictures cracked me up! This is such a fun post which I will consult whenever I get pregnant..

  12. Hahaha those pictures are priceless! Love this topic and you did such a great job at covering all the areas. I'm going to share this on my personal facebook page. There's a few friends out there that could benefit from reading this. You always amaze me with the breadth of subjects you cover and the amazing job you do at doing so.

    xx Jenee C.
    {camo meets couture}

  13. I believe my body shape to be a ticking fruit, i.e., Pear + Hourglass sans the ample bosom. Before I had my own bring-ET-home-from-the-hospital experience, I was a tiny Size 0 (I think I'm about 2" taller than you, Marlene, if that?) with narrow everything. Post ET, I was the same Size 0 with DD cups. Ouch. I hated it. Then I lost all the weight and then some, and shrunk to 70lbs which was utterly unflattering. Then the pendulum swung in the opposite direction and I, shall we say, blossomed into a Size 8, and that was in 2010. I'm sharing all the "growth" so you can imagine my closet chagrins and frustration. Today, I'm a Size 2 with exceedingly broad shoulders (European brands are often the bane of my existence because of their narrow cut) and a decent bottom half. I've had to focus on separates because of my altered silhouette and find myself reaching for capris in jersey or knit, soft fabrics which skim the body without enhancing the Asian Dumpling syndrome. I veer away from anything with padded shoulders. I like jackets/shrugs/shirts which hit just above the hip, with 3/4 sleeves and a tapered waistline. Most shirts don't hit the spot because to accommodate my shoulders, I'm often compelled to upsize and, of course, end up looking like my arms shrunk in the wash. Cropped cuts typically don't work either but I adore asymmetrical hemlines to create the illusion of height (you need to balance the proportions right though). As for skirts, I_Simply_Cannot_Do_Them. I look awful. The cut/fit/whatever is never right. I have short legs, that's the reality of the matter. I prefer dresses. Simple shifts, the most flattering being those which hit no more than 4" past the knee. Many of us end up with poofy knees after a day of running about, and the slightly extended hemline covers those up niftily. As for accessories, I'm just a pile-it-on-sort-of-woman. And my heels, they appear to increase with age, just saying, but I haven't seen much of a change in foot size though. I went from a 6 to 7 and now 6.5 so, I'm thankful for that. At the end of the day, for me, the occasion is the determining factor in terms of the garment I wear/purchase. Comfort typically comes first, followed by Fit. I know they're interrelated but I "will" purchase something which could be oversized or not as flattering a shape if it makes me feel supremely comfy. I just edit when/where/how I show up in it :)

    xo Sheela xo

  14. Good lord, sorry, Marlene, I didn't mean to write such a long comment and hog the post :(



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