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
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.
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?