October 11, 2009

Dressing Your Post-Partum Pooch on The Cheap

10 Muffin-Top-Hiding Looks Under $50.00 (half are under $30!)

Unless you’re Heidi Klum, in most cases, a postpartum body is a colossal disappointment.  After nine long months of carrying the apple of your eye, you’re left with hips that have spread, back fat, muffin top, and usually a saggy pooch where your once-taut belly used to be.  It’s sooo unfair.  After all that hard work, what you really deserve is to grow two inches and drop two sizes, but I’ve never heard of that actually happening.  With this kind of blow to your self image, the last thing you need is to be walking around in ill-fitting, unflattering garments to boot.  But, given that this is a finite, while depressing, state of being (truly, first-timers, you will bounce back), you don’t want to drop a lot of coin on clothes that may not even fit you in a few months as you lose your baby weight.

I come to these conclusions after scrutinizing my reflection several times this week and I describe the postpartum form so accurately because (ack!) I myself have a four-week postpartum body.  For my part, considering it’s a stellar day when I can get my newborn, my 20-month-old and myself out of the house in under two hours (minimum requirements: my hair has to be brushed, and no one can be sitting in a poopy diaper or smelling of sour milk and/or baby pee–easier said than done), I need to admit to myself that my plans to pull off a Klumian post-pregnancy recovery are probably not going to come to fruition.  I dunno, maybe I'm just making excuses, or maybe it’s my lack of a staff, like a chef, personal trainer and multiple live-in childcare providers (sigh). . .  It’s so hard to find good help these days. 

At any rate, whatever has thrown a wrench into my delusional postpartum-recovery plans (like, um, reality), I’ve been on the hunt for some things to wear that camouflage my muffin-top and flabby belly. Here are 10 budget-friendly options that can be dressed up for the office or down for play dates and will be kind to the après baby bod. 

I’ve included only tops because I’m of the mind that it doesn’t make sense to spend money on the more costly wardrobe items (pants and skirts involve more sewing and finishing, driving up their cost) when they definitely won’t hang right in a few months. These tops may or may not, but you won’t be kicking yourself for spending a ton of money on them (seriously, you could buy every item on this page for about $300.00 total).  So bite the bullet and keep using those belly bands and wearing your maternity denim for now.  You’ll be back into your skinny jeans (or into new ones when you’re satisfied with your progress) soon enough.

Jersey Cowl Neck Top Jersey Cowl-Neck Tops – $19.50 at www.oldnavy.com
This top has a lot of benefits for the recently delivered lady.  The cowl neck slips down easily for nursing without tummy exposure, the banded waist disguises muffin top, and the cascading fabric pools and moves around the midsection, blending any potential skin rolls caused by baby back fat and the like.  It's $19.50 online, but I found a great mocha-colored version in a store for only $3.99. 

Mandarin Collar Tops

Mandarin Collar Tops – $15.00 at www.oldnavy.com
Again, the banded waist on this top is very friendly to postpartum muffin top.  The low neckline can be pulled down to nurse, or pair it with a bright tank for a pop of color at the neckline.  Again, the online price is $15.00, but I purchased this top in “black jack” for $3.99 in-store.

Animal Print Knit Top

Animal Print Knit Top – $40.00 at www.bananarepublic.com
Because it gathers at the bust, this top floats away from the mid section and draws attention to the narrow portion of the ribcage.  The v-neckline slims by elongating the neck and the print will camouflage spit up.  It’s 70% rayon, so it will slip easily over a nursing tank to avoid tummy exposure or under a cardigan for cooler days and won’t stretch out if you choose to pull down the neckline to nurse instead.

Embroidered Split Neck Top

Design History Embroidered Split Neck Top – $45.99 at www.bluefly.com
The split neck on this top achieves the same elongating effect of a deep-v, only with less skin exposure.  The gathered empire waist floats away from the belly without being too blousy or billowing.

Jersey V-Neck Empire Top

Revolver V-Neck Empire Top – $45.99 at www.bluefly.com
The high empire waist on this top accentuates the narrowest portion of the torso, breastfeeding boobs will fill out the v-neckline, which again, elongates and flatters the torso and the gathered waist floats away from the belly. 

Basketweave Trim Tunic

Basketweave Trim Tunic – $11.50 at www.forever21.com
The wide rounded v-neckline of this top will emphasize the girls while the empire waist disguises loose post-pregnancy tummy flab.  The tunic length will ensure that the band of maternity jeans or a rubber-banded button closer will remain hidden.

Long Sleeve Wrap Cardigan

Long Sleeve Wrap Cardigan – $19.80 at www.forever21.com
This long wrap cardigan is on-trend and its folds and asymmetrical cut will slim and easily disguise virtually any postpartum torso issues.  Pair it with a nursing tank, leggings or skinny jeans and boots.


Shawl Collared Cardigan – $34.80 at www.forever21.comShawl Collared Cardigan
Thank god for the current cardi trend.  It’s truly one of the best transitional items out there for postpartum and nursing moms.  The slimming, asymmetrical cut and high-hitting single button closure of this cardigan accentuate the slimmest part of the torso whilst the folds camouflage postpartum rolls.  

Textured Bib-Front Sweater

Textured Bib –Front Sweater – $44.50 at www.gap.com
A super soft, mid-section camouflaging sweater in spit-up-hiding off white is just what a new mom needs for those chilly fall days.  To dress it up, pair it with a camel colored skirt and high boots.

Smocked Waist Sweater

Smocked Waist Scoop Neck Sweater – $24.99 at www.anntaylorloft .com
I could see this top becoming a replacement staple for simpler long sleeved tees. It has a higher scoop neckline, which will accommodate many of the higher-cut nursing bras and has a smocked waist to camouflage muffin top.   

A happy recovery to you, beautiful mamas!

M.

3 Comments
  • cindy
    October 12, 2009

    also if you search for ‘tunic’ on QVC.com…you’ll see lots of tops like you mentioned. i know, who knew QVC was cute??? thanks. i’m 4 months out and have lost 55 of the 70 lbs i gained, but the muffin top is not moving :-(.

  • Susana
    October 13, 2009

    THANK YOU FOR THIS (and all your other fashion tips)!!!!!!!!! I am 10 weeks post-partum and have been trawling the internet for ideas on new mom style. My husband says to just buy something so I stop whining that I have nothing to wear, but I a) don’t know what to buy (not anymore!) and b) don’t want to spend a fortune on something that’s not going to fit me. So thank you!

  • Longtime Postpartum
    September 10, 2010

    Its important to get something nice to wear in the early days when you your tummy is at its worst. It takes time to shape up again but it does happen so long as you eat properly and get some exercise. But at first it is a bit grim so just cover it up and try not to think about it!

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