And I immediately thought of Emily's recent post on the challenges of being a stay-at-home mom, where she lamented the fact that there's no reason to wear heels, and wearing "good" clothes is just asking for disaster to strike!
And that, of course, reminded me of an old post of Jennifer Fulwiler's: The Apron: The Ultimate Symbol of a Culture of Life
I thought about how I've come to embrace dressing in skirts and dresses daily, and making an effort to put on makeup, and just how long it took me to realize that just because it's comfortable to wear yoga pants or leggings all day long doesn't mean that we're doing anyone a service by wearing that as a "mom uniform" (beyond those stages when anything goes - certain stages of pregnancy, post-partum, etc.).
So can we discuss some practical ways to make the switch from loungewear to real clothing? After 3 pregnancies, I think that I've got this figured out to a certain extent - if I can get dressed and put on makeup every morning even with four young children underfoot, you can too!
1. Clean out your closet!
Let's say you're making the switch from working mom to stay-at-home mom, and you just no longer have the need for all those skirts in suiting fabrics, or maybe those tailored button-down shirts have no hope of ever fastening over your new, more womanly figure.
It's so hard to get rid of them. After all, maybe you'll go back to work? Or maybe they'll fit again once your baby is done nursing? But I'll give you this advice: Take stock of how your bones have moved - if it's just fat stores that are preventing certain clothing items from fitting and you can't bear to part from them, stick them in the back of the closet and try them on again in a few months. But if your ribcage has expanded as much as mine has, you're going to have to face it:
There are some dresses you have that will never zip again. And you don't need to keep them.
Donate them to the local thrift store, take them to a consignment shop, or try selling the nicer items to an online consignment store like Twice or ThredUp ($10 off if you sign up through my link!). Just because it's in perfectly good condition doesn't mean that it has to stay in your closet - it's just taking up space and serving as a depressing reminder of how you used to look!
2. Build a transitional wardrobe!
Let's just assume you're like me - you're pretty much constantly either pregnant or nursing. It's almost impossible to keep up with the 12 different wardrobes you have - "normal" clothes that you're saving for when you're not pregnant or nursing (ha!), early pregnancy clothes, mid-late pregnancy clothes, larger post-partum clothes, post-partum clothes closer to your regular size, and all these things to fit different seasons!
What you need is to start shopping with this in mind:
- Is it nursing-friendly?
For me, it's just not worth buying if it's not nursing-friendly, because I'll never wear it.
- Can I wear it for multiple stages?
Does it work for early pregnancy AND the post-partum stage? Can you wear it all the way through a pregnancy? Or will it only fit for those 6 weeks when I've lost all the pregnancy weight but haven't gotten pregnant again?
A slouchy sweater can easily disguise a pregnancy in the first trimester, disguise a post-partum pooch for any length of time, and is still big enough to fit a large pregnant belly - get one!
Other excellent transitional pieces: Maxi dresses and skirts, high-waisted skirts, empire-waisted dresses that don't make you look pregnant just because you have a tiny pooch, cardigans of all shapes and sizes...
3. Know your measurements!
Okay, your measurements might be changing constantly. Mine sure are! But I find that my natural waist returns to normal fairly quickly, so focusing on clothes that fit around the ribs and natural waist means I can get back in my "normal" clothes and stretch them into maternity more easily.
AND knowing your measurements means that the inevitable online shopping will go a lot better - not every brand runs true-to-size, but you need to stop guessing, and measurements are the surest way!
Get yourself a tape measure - my favorite is this MyoTape:
One reason I love Twice so much is that they take measurements of all their clothing so that you have a much better chance a good fit.
4. Build up your staples!
A denim skirt. A shirt dress. A wrap dress. A maxi dress. You know what you need to build a wardrobe that fits your personal style - find something that's good quality, not too fussy to wash, and can be used in multiple seasons.
My favorite maxi dress in the fall
And in the spring
Let's take this eShakti dress that could easy work in early pregnancy (that's me relaxing my stomach muscles. I'm not pregnant. Yikes.)
See, it hides the bump as long as you're not trying to accentuate it!
But the belt really helps the look.
Belt it, knot the shirt, add a scarf... A few scarves are a fabulous addition to a mom wardrobe, since you can cover that newfound cleavage, have a makeshift nursing cover, a drool/burp rag, etc.
Go from this:
6. Shoes matter, too!
I was scared of heels for quite some time after I had John Paul - my feet had grown and none of my old shoes fit, and those heels just weren't very comfortable anymore...
But there's so much more to shoes than my old staple pointed-toe pumps! Wedges can be VERY comfortable, and add a bit more of a "grown-up" feel than sandals. And if you're going to wear sandals, find something a little nicer than my old staple Old Navy flip flops, because I guarantee you that's what all the local middle school girls will be wearing!
See if you can find a good boot that you can dress up and down, a comfy flat that you can walk in, and whatever else you might think is worth buying.
7. Whatever happens, don't be afraid to return it!
If it doesn't fit, find time to go to the post office (or schedule a pickup, they DO that now and you can just leave it on your porch!) or the store and return it. Do not leave that ill-fitting sweater in your closet just because you're too lazy to send it back (am I the only one who has done that?).
Rosie is a wife, music teacher, and Catholic mom of four (soon to be five) kids under the age of 5. She started blogging so her mom would stop emailing her so much, and eventually decided that other people might also be interested in the funny things her kids say and outfits that maybe don't look awful. You can read more about her family at a blog for my mom.