I found your blog via Shana's sister, Scotti, and I must say I love it! We recently just had a baby boy and are having a baptism in May. I would like to wear something classic, understated and still look amazing after getting my body back. Could you possibly do a piece on what to wear for your baby's baptism?
I'm considering all options but am steering more towards a sheath dress, pencil skirt, or the like. My one requirement is that it must be below the knee, even just slightly.
Thanks for writing, Nell! So glad Scotti recommended us!
Your question is a good one – baptisms are tricky things. Not only are you are in a church (which would imply the need for a fairly conservative look), but baptisms are typically considered serious events. Joyful, but serious. So your instincts are right on: something below the knee, something without too much arm/shoulder exposure, something classic and understated (but still feminine), and something that is flattering to new moms — these are all requirements of a good baptism look.
I've found that the easiest way to come up with an appropriate but cute baptism look is to simply start with a work outfit, and soften it up with a bit of color and/or accessories. Here are a few ideas:
Pencil Skirt + Pretty Sleeved Top
I love pencil skirts. They are both classic and sexy, but still baptism-appropriate. They can also be flattering for new moms. If a post-baby belly is a concern, try a higher-waisted style. Most poochy stomachs can be zipped right up into them. (Spanx help too, if you can stand them).
With higher-waisted styles, I prefer to pair them with a silky top that tucks in (see picture above left). Most silky tops work – you can find one to cover thicker arms, one with buttons for nursing, one with a slightly lower v-neck to flatter a larger chest, etc. NOTE: The higher-waist style is tougher to pull off if you are very short-waisted.
For a trendier look, try pairing your pencil skirt with a boxy, cropped silk shirt. Layer this over a simple cami (or nursing tank) and pair with funky wedges.
Wool crepe pencil skirt – J.Crew (Charcoal), $98
Nine West Ponti, $89
Diane von Furstenberg 'Cipolla' Top – Short-Sleeve – Nordstrom, $210
MICHAEL Michael Kors Asymmetrical Blouse – Short-Sleeve – Nordstrom, $70
Nine West Women's "Jai" – Geo Tobacco Fabric – Younkers, $33
In the grouping above, I'd tuck the purple silk shirt into the skirt and pair with fun, girly pumps. The printed top, however, I'd layer over a black cami and pair with some serious wedges. If your church is very conservative, swap the wedges out for black pumps.
Tip: The key to a pencil skirt is to keep your top either fitted or short. Fitted tops and pencils skirts can be hard for new moms to pull off, so my recommendation is to go with a shorter top. And by short, I mean that the hemline of your top should be no longer than then right above the hipbone. A long, flowy top is great with shorter hemlines, but the proportions are off when paired with a long, slim pencil skirt.
Shift Dress + Belted Cardigan
Women's suiting – super 120s – Super120s Emmaleigh dress – J.Crew, $190
J.Crew – Cotton-gauze ruffle cardigan, $110
Watercolor Garden Cardigan – J. Crew, $88
Nine West Rocha Pumps, $79
Women's accessories – belts – Patent oval-buckle belt – J.Crew, $30
(psst – J.Crew uses hugely tall models. Most of their skirts hit much lower than pictured.)
It's easy to pretty-up a work-friendly shift dress. For a baptism, I'd pair a standard shift dress with an interesting cardigan and add a belt around the waist. Find a cardigan in a gorgeous print or with a bit of texture: something ruffled, something ruched. Welcome your waist's return (or the beginning of its return) with a skinny belt. You could actually use a ribbon tied in a bow, or even one of your husband's ties.
NOTE: If you will need to nurse during the service, you can swap out the shift dress for a more nursing-friendly shirt dress. Just remove the tie around the waist, add the cardigan and pretty belt. Push up the sleeves. Voila!
Modern Spring Suit
For a fun, stylish take on the suit, pair cool khaki separates with a silky little top and heels. I'm loving the 4-Pocket Sailcloth Jacket, $69.50, with boyfriend khakis, $59.50, and the nursing-friendly Smocked Button-down with Ties, $39.50, all from LOFT.
If this look is too casual, you can tighten it up by swapping the boyfriend khakis for a pair of tailored capris and a crisp jacket.
I love the crisp, swingy shape of the Linen Herringbone Blazer, $27.80 at Forever 21, paired with Banana Republic's Summer Crop pants, $69.50. You can pair this outfit with any gorgeous, silky top, but I'm showing J.Crew's Coralie Cami, $88, for its belly-hiding properties and its general fabulous rufflyness.
Nell – I hope that helps! You can always just go with a fabulous dress, but I wanted to highlight a few different options that perhaps you hadn't considered. I'm a big fan of using clothes for multiple purposes (in this case, work AND baptisms), so this post was a fun challenge.
ps. Did you notice the Younker's shout-out? Sigh. Makes me nostalgic for Prange's