December 18, 2009

Can You Recommend More Tops and Belly Hiding Tips For Postpartum Moms?

Reader Question:

Hello Shana,
 
Since I found your blog through Baby Bunching last week, I've been obsessed and some of the highlights of my past week have been finding new posts each morning. I've devoured every bit of your blog, love your fashion sense and advice, and desperately need your help!
 
You posted a great article, "Dressing Your Postpartum Pouch on The Cheap" and I was wondering if you'd consider creating an updated version of that. Because I never got around to losing all the baby weight after my first child was born Sept '07, it's been harder for me to lose the weight from my second child's birth this past April. I'm feeling pretty portly and because I'm still nursing (partially in hopes of burning more calories to skinny down!!) my "ladies" are ENORMOUS and make me look even heavier than I should. I've always been a size 6 and am now more of a 10/12 (sigh) so I've held off buying new clothes until I can get into my old things. However, I'm beginning to think my friends and neighbors think I'm becoming a bag lady as I bum around in my maternity jeans. (I know that's a HUGE no-no so I'm taking your advice about the premium Gap jeans and I'm on the way to the mall tonight to purchase a pair in whatever size I can fit on my body.)
 
All that said, my request of you,my dear, is to provide whatever guidance and suggestions you can to help me glam up a bit and look as fabulous as my wonderful husband and beautiful daughters believe I am. I truly appreciate your consideration.
 
Many thanks,
Heather

Answer:

Heather, thank you so much for your lovely note!  Am so glad to hear that you have been enjoying reading our posts as much as we enjoy writing them.

We, of course, would love to help!  First off – a quick note on maternity jeans, post partum: if they still look fantastic, the keep wearing 'em.  The problem is…most maternity jeans are made with much more stretch than normal jeans (to accommodate our changing bodies) and once our pregnancy is over, things start to shift.  Most maternity jeans simply don't fit quite right once the babe is out.  If yours do (and if they do, let me know – I'm hoping that a holy grail of maternity jean exists somewhere) then keep wearing them. But, I suspect, like most maternity jeans, they probably give you a saggy, saggy bum.  Not your best look.  :)

On to the tops! 

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Heather, you mentioned that you were still nursing.  Tops designed for nursing certainly make my day easier, but I've had a fairly hard time finding nursing tops that are cute.  Most are ugly or unflattering.  The Isabella Oliver Olivia Nursing Top is the one exception.  I love, love, LOVE this top.  Nursing or not, it's perfectly glamourous.  The wide neckline flatters a huge nursing bust, and the flowy detail covers all stomach poochiness.  Notice that it's also a bit fitted right at the bust and shoulders – the fitted part will help show off the shape you do have, and keeps the whole thing from being tent-like.  At $115, it's hardly a steal, but I can personally attest to the quality of Isabella Oliver clothes (they withstand tons of washing/drying), and the cut of this top will continue to look amazing long after you stop nursing.  Also, this top can easily be dressed up for date nights or holiday parties.  If you only buy one top, this would be my top pick. 

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Busty gals look best in low necklines.  It sounds counter-intuitive, but a lower neckline will actually make your bust look smaller, not bigger.  Avoid, at all costs, a high-neck t-shirt.  And, for post-partum moms, look for low necklines coupled with either a flowy shape, like the Banana Republic Flutter Sleeve top, $49.50, or a banded bottom, like Forever 21's Fab Empire Waist Tunic, $10.50.  Both shapes will flatter the bust while hiding a poochy stomach.  Pink Lotus' Dipped Kimono Tunic, $79 at Athleta.com is another great choice.   Any of these tops can be layered over a nursing cami.

NOTE – There's another empire waist top at Forever 21 that I really like, but am not sure if its cowl-neck will show enough skin to be flattering.  At only $12, it might be worth a try.

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Yes, these are maternity tops.  (I know, I know – I can just hear the groans of disgust).  But seriously — hear me out:  Maternity tops are designed to make women with a huge bust and a larger stomach region look good.  AAANNNDDD…if I'm completely honest, I still wear a shameful amount of maternity tops.  I actually like the way they drape.  And the way I don't have to worry about my stomach pooching out after a sandwhich.   I personally have had more success with banded maternity tops postpartum – the band reigns in all of that fabric, disguising the fact that it's a maternity top.  And when we produced the Hopscotch Hustle last spring (a mom and baby fashion show), we had a few models (not pregnant) strutting down the runway in honest-to-goodness maternity clothes from Becoming Mothers. They looked fabulous. 

So try on some of your old maternity tops with some well-fitting jeans and a cute cardigan.  You might be surprised.

The banded maternity tops that I found were Olian Maternity's Tie Shoulder Blouson Top, on sale at Nordstrom's for $52, and Old Navy's Twisted Neck Drop Waist Top, on sale for $15.

Heather, I hope this helps you look every bit as fabulous as you sound. Thank you so much for writing in!

xo,

S

3 Comments
  • Heather
    December 19, 2009

    THANK YOU!! You’ve made my day, yet again! I really appreciate your advice and can’t wait to try these all out. And by the way, there is no holy grail of maternity jeans. I slump around with a dumpy bum, akin to rappers…but in a much less cool way. Thanks again and happy holidays!

  • Amy
    December 20, 2009

    Again, you are a lifesaver. ‘Cause all of these will work for pregnancy too (well, at least my backwards, shrinking pregnancy, in which I hate to buy maternity clothes because I know I’m going to wear them for about 6 weeks at this point). Yay pretty shirts!
    My other favorite–and yes, this goes along with the “maternity clothes you can wear afterwards”–are most of the sweaters by Olian. I have an adorable tunic that has a cowlneck/hoodie combo with pretty sleeves that I wear aaaaaaaaaall the time, and it would definitely work for pooch-covering, especially with a big belt.
    Definitely asking husband for the Olivia Nursing Top–thank, S! :)

  • Elisabeth
    January 10, 2010

    I have several tops like these that I wore after giving birth in May, and I was so disappointed and embarassed when people asked me if I was pregnant. I wanted to scream…hey, not everyone looks like Heidi Klum six weeks post partum. But then I thought maybe it also had to do with the loose floaty tops I was wearing. Any suggestions for this problem? I’m pregnant again and want to AVOID this situation in the future!

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