Mom Uniform Update: The Henley, With a Romantic Vibe


1.14.08 I do love this picture, now.  At the time, I remember thinking WHAT THE H$LL?  The jelly belly is completely out of control.  Yes, I am only 9 days postpartum, so a more experienced mom might excuse the enormity of the jelly belly, but as a first time mom, it was quite a shock.  There was just so much…skin?  Fat?  Fluid?  Uterus?  All of the above?  Just so much JELLY BELLY.  It was from that point on that I eliminated the lift-the-shirt nursing technique from my repertoire. Call me crazy, but the site of a naked jelly-belly is enough to bring on some postpartum blues.

So instead, I invested in tops that would accommodate nursing, namely, the henley.  I am now a total henley convert.  Not only are they perfect for nursing, but they are a cool update to the t-shirt & jeans mom uniform. 

The best henleys are a bit fitted, a bit slouchy, and show some skin (I like them unbuttoned to show a touch of lace bra).  I like to half-tuck them into jeans, and finish off with a cool skinny belt.   The half-tuck is key to showing off the belt.  You basically tuck just the very front of the henley into the 4-6 inches of jean surrounding the button.  You let the rest of the henley fall over your jeans, all slouchy, causal-cool. 

Henleys come in so many iterations, you can find one to please no matter what your style bent.  I've been rather inspired by ruffles and all things girly lately, so let's focus on a romantic look.

Pick a Feminine Henley in a Soft Fabric

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Think ruffles, a bit of ribbon detailing, a pointelle knit or a girly color.  My current fav is J. Crew's Slub Cotton Silk Streamers Henley, $39.50 in Blush Pink.  I'm a sucker for anything in blush pink, actually.  And Ralph Lauren's Nadia Pointelle Ribbed Henley, $98, pretty much has it all: a perfect fit, pointelle knit and ruffles.  Soft, romantic, and comes in either cream to hide the spit-up or black to hide everything else.  Lastly, Gap's understated Pintucked Henley T, $24.50, is a great choice for moms who want a slightly crisper version of romance, more Katherine, less Audrey.  

Choose a Classic Belt, Add a Cozy Cardi

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I love J. Crew's Skinny Tortise Patent Leather belt, $39.50 with any of the henleys above.  It provides the right amount of lux and interest without competing with all of the fou-fou girliness of the henleys.

Lastly, it's getting cold outside, so cozy up your henley with Forever 21's Open Front Sweater Cardigan, $27.80.  Waist tie is optional. 

ps. Don't be afraid of showing a little lace bra.  Yes, nursing moms, they do make beautiful nursing bras.  I raved about my very favorite in the post Best Nursing Bras For Summer.



  1. I am loving everything about your blog. Thank you so much! I’ve always thought of henleys as “boyish” but apparently that’s just because I don’t know how to accessorize… so now I feel like I can try it. 🙂

  2. Amen to wanting to hide to nursing jelly belly! I have some “boyish” henleys that I love to pair with a super girly necklace, fancy flats or sandals and a headband. It’s the perfect fem-tomboy look.
    Also, thanks for your site. you’ve successfully pulled me out of my postpartum sweats stage.

  3. Elisabeth — thanks for the henley idea! I always love the juxtaposition of boyish with girly. It makes for a fantastic overall look (Tegan and Tage — give this a try!!)
    Tracy – certainly use caution here. The idea is that the henley and jean waist band meet on the lower part of the jelly belly, and that the skinny belt pulls the eyes a bit lower. BUT, if your jeans, henley and belt aren’t coming together in a flattering way, then skip the belt. Add a huge statement necklace instead.

  4. So, I’ve never been much of a henley girl. But this was such practical advice I kept it in my mind as I was shopping this week.
    And–lo and behold!–a sale on slouchy, super-soft, deep-buttoned henleys at Old Navy this week! I’m not usually much of an Old Navy fan, but these are adorable. And very soft. And did I mention…$7! Lots of colors, and a very cute rolled up sleeve. These things are going to cover the pregnancy belly for quite some time, then transition easily to nursing afterwards. Thanks S!

  5. Oooooo….Amy, not sure how I missed this comment, but thank you for the tip!! I’m not usually an Old Navy fan either, but I find that every once in a while they have something, under $10, that I end up wearing for years. Love that.

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