The ‘fourth trimester’ or the three months after you give birth are a rollercoaster of highs and lows with relentless sleep deprivation and a bundle of joy who turns into a mini demon at the strike of midnight. From breastfeeding trials to physical recovery, it’s a tricky time of adjustment which can make anyone feel vulnerable. Add in a whole new body shape and you’ve got a recipe for some serious self-doubt. Here are some of the ways I’ve tried to adapt my style to tide me through one of the most challenging transitions a woman can ever go through…
Fashion has always been in my blood. I come from a long line of women who have spent far too much money on shoes and handbags and how I dress has a huge bearing on my mood and confidence. Glamour, whether it’s wearing a slick of red lipstick or a dress which cinches you in just so, is part of how I was raised. So, whenever I go through less than chic periods of my life (for example, going freelance—read HERE), I feel bereft, like some fundamental part of character has been lost. While, like most women, I found dressing for pregnancy tough, the postpartum phase has proven just as, if not more testing. Sure, there were times during my morning sickness and towards the end of my 40 weeks that I rarely found myself out of maternity jeans and sweaters. But there were also moments of sartorial joy—there’s definitely something magical about properly showcasing a bump. But then after you give birth…it can be a different story.
I’ve written before about how dressing a big bust changed my look during pregnancy and since I’ve started breastfeeding I’ve gone up another two cup sizes to a G. Though I’ve shed some of my pregnancy weight, six weeks later my once toned tummy is still soft and my waist is non-existent. These are not laments—and certainly a small price to pay for the arrival of my son. But it is the reality that my body has changed and the vast majority of my clothes don’t fit me. Of course, a lot of the time I’m at home and wearing stretchy lounge wear or pyjamas, so it doesn’t matter as much. But as I start to venture more and more outside the bubble, what to wear has become more of an issue.
“While, like most women, I found dressing for pregnancy tough, it’s nothing on dressing in the postpartum phase.”
At this stage you definitely don’t feel like buying yet more clothes which may or may not fit you in three months time. Also, with the amount of money going through my Amazon Prime account on baby accoutrements , I certainly don’t want to be busting the budget on a whole new wardrobe. And yet, I’m starting to see friends, tentatively attending events and generally want to look vaguely presentable again.
The solution I’ve found is to buy a few modern classics which aren’t just jeans and T-shirts and combine them with the pieces in my wardrobe that still do up, then finish with more directional accessories to add just that little bit of extra personality. The outfits in this post were put together as part of a collaboration with London-based online brand Baukjen. Known for their timeless designs, the label was born out of a demand from post-maternity customers who had adored wearing designs from sister label, Isabella Oliver (I was a big fan during my pregnancy: see my post HERE) and wanted to channel the aesthetic in their regular closet. Both brands were founded by Dutch-born Baukjen de Swaan Arons and share an easy-to-wear identity, but the Baukjen aesthetic is all about taking basics and injecting a hit of fashion relevance. From polka dots to window-pane prints, timeless wrap dresses and the perfect grey crew neck knit, the line offers a step by step route back into style. Fit-wise I went up from my pre-pregnancy size by one or two sizes depending on the cut—the sweater below, for example, I landed on one size up because it wasn’t a tight cut.
While it’s tempting to think that there’s no point buying pieces in sizes in between your pregnancy and pregnancy range, without making a few useful investments, you put a huge amount of pressure on yourself. Far better to purchase a select few pieces to tide you through. It’s also worth remembering that you can always have them taken in inexpensively at a later date, especially when it comes to tailoring. What you want to strike is the balance between designs which are versatile enough to work with lots of other pieces in your wardrobe, but also not so basic that you feel like you’ve lost your style personality. Basically classic, but still cool, a formula that Baukjen has nailed effortlessly.
This post was created as part of a paid collaboration with Baukjen.