Reader Q | This Poochy Mama Needs To Party! (but what to wear???)

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Reader Question:

Hello ANMJ,
Six months ago, I googled "postpartum swimsuits" and spent a depressing half hour looking at one-pieces and tankinis that would have made my 20-year-old self run away screaming. Then I landed on your blog, and your article on tips for pooch-hiding swimwear…and your insistence that if you feel good in a bikini, you should wear a bikini, postpartum pooch be darned! Needless to say, I fell in love immediately.
 
I am closing in on 20 months postpartum, and I am ashamed to say that my ego has taken a huge hit. I was lucky enough to be relatively skinny prior to pregnancy, and I had smallish but wonderfully perky boobs, which I realize now I did not appreciate nearly enough. I always just thought that genetics were in my favor and I'd snap back to more or less myself within a few months' time–HA! I was vain, so vain. I'm currently 15-20 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, my waistline measures the same as my 6-month preggo size (thank you, diastasis recti), and my breasts are larger but quite sadly jiggly. *shudder* I know that I'm supposed to be proud of myself for carrying a child and yadda yadda, but really, I just don't want to look pregnant anymore. Is that so much to ask?
 
Apparently, yes. Sigh. But enough of my complaining, right? I'm here because I need help dressing myself and I know you will point me in the right direction. Your attention to the actual needs of real moms (i.e. nursing, toddler-chasing, pooch-owning) have been eye-opening. (Empire waisted shirts aren't my friend, you say?)
 
So, here's my situation. I've surrendered to the fact that I will never be my "old self" again. But I still want to dress like my old self, if that makes sense. My five-year college reunion is coming up soon, and I can't wait to reconnect with my friends that have spread out across the country. Most of them have only seen me in carefully selected facebook photos, though, so I need to have a plan for pooch-patrol while we spend the weekend together. None of my pals have had children yet, so I can't rely on any "hey sister, I'm right there with ya" camaraderie.
 
HELP! Do I disguise the pooch with flowy tops that show off the jiggly boobs, do I Spanx myself into submission a la Gone With The Wind and shimmy into something form-fitting, do I distract everyone by wearing a brightly patterned dress that is slit up to there? Can I get away with a sequined dress? Are "body-con" dresses my friends or foes? Is leopard print still appropriate for a mama? There will be a lot of partying and dancing, and I don't want to look dowdy or matronly, but I just don't have the confidence to display my assets (such as they are) like I used to. I'd like to say that I want to be comfortable, too, but I'll happily sacrifice a bit of comfort for a waist that appears to be an inch or two smaller.
 
I feel like I'm twenty-something going on sixty-something, and it makes me sad. Usually I just ignore it and snuggle my toddler closer, but for this one weekend I'm going to be attempting to recapture my youth…and I just don't want to be the one who gets forgiven for her lack of fashion sense because "she had a baby".
 
Keep up the noble work!
XOX

K

Answer:

K, allow me some camaraderie for a moment:  I hear you.  I didn't appreciate my pre-baby boobs either.  Or how persistent diastasis truly is.  Sigh.  Screw pregnancy pictures.  Don't you wish you had posed for sexy photos in trashy lingerie at 6-8 weeks pregnant??  It's too early to see a belly, but man, the rack!  

Sadly, our tots will never be framed for posterity.

But let's get you out of the heart-breaking 'twenty-something going on sixty-something' vibe.  You are young and hot, and want to feel both young and hot at your 5 year collage reunion.  You want all of your friends to say, "OMG K looks so fabulous!  I never knew one could look so hot as a mom!"

Totally do-able. Here's the plan:

1.  No bodycon.

It sounds like a good idea in theory – diastasis bellies can sometimes just be wrapped up, right?  Yeah…no.  Not really.  Especially not at the end of the day, when eating and gravity have taken their toll and your poor stomach muscles are at their weakest.  You know how right before bed your pooch looks the worst?  Yeah – that's when you'll be going out. Bodycon is not a good plan.

2. Spanx it Baby…to within an inch of it's life

(Note:  Your pooch's life.  Not your life.)  

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Spanx In-Power Line Super-Power Panties, $32

Get some awesome Spanx.  I like the ones that are undies with belly control, and bike shorts.  Sucks it all in sooooo gooooood.

Wear these all weekend long, both day and night.  If this were everyday real life, we'd talk about how important it is to be comfortable, and bust these out only on certain occasions, blah blah.  Your reunion is not real life.  Wear 'em all weekend.

3.  Get an AWESOME Bra. Or two.

K, make sure you have a bra that lifts and separates.  In a cute color or pattern so it can show.  That way, you don't need to worry about strapless bras* and saggin' girls…if your bra strap peeks out, who cares?  It's fabulous.  

*Let's just skip strapless dresses, too.

You need to find a store that specializes in bra fittings.  Victoria's Secret, while they do measure you, is not my favorite.  Find a specialty boutique, or maybe even Nordstroms.  If you have nothing around you, I'm currently sampling bras from True & Co, an online store that specializes in virtual bra fittings.  While I'm not sure they can replace the, uh, hands of an in-person expert, I've been pretty impressed so far.  And their price point rocks.  (More on that later!!!)

4. K, Meet Your Day Uniform:

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 Free People Keep Me Tee, $58 | Maison Scotch for Free People Camo Feather Skinny, $125

This, my dear K, is so young and hot…and is also perfect for a post-partum Mama.  Really!!  Half-tuck a loose, drapy tee into a pair of comfortable printed skinnies and then try – just try – to write to me about sixty-something vibes.  Wearing (nude) Spanx will help hide the pooch even when the wind blows the shirt tight against the belly.

Cold?  Add a cardi, a denim jacket and a scarf.  Or throw a cool winter peacoat over the whole thing.

If you are feeling frisky, add fun big earrings (Hey, it's reunion time!) and a cool pendant necklace. Definetely try a bright lip.  

 

5. Your Night Uniform

I wear a version of the above outfit out at night All. The. Time.  I just swap low heels for big-girl shoes.  And maybe add an arm party of stacked bracelets. But since you were asking about party dresses….I'm thinking you might prefer something like this:


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ASOS Swing Dress with Lace Sleeves, $53 | ASOS Metal Bow Clutch, $15 | ASOS Swing Dress in Baroque, $50 | Guess Ureekal Pump, $115

These are trapeze dresses, so the flare starts at the top of your bust, leaving your pooch will be well-hidden.  Add sexy, well-chosen accessories, and voila!  Personally, I'm dying for these red glitter and leopard print pumps (words I never thought I'd use in the same sentence).  And seriously K – what's this nonsense about "no leopard once you become a mom"?  PISH. PISH.  Bring it, Baby.  Especially for a young, hot Mama like yourself! 

One final note about trapeze dresses:  The key is to keep the dresses fairly short, so be prepared to hem.  Otherwise, they do start to veer into dowdy territory.  The good news, however, is that trapeze dresses look just as cute with thick, opaque tights as they do with bare legs.  

Lastly…if you have time (and are up for a little splurge)…go get a blowout.  It's my new favorite thing for big-time party-parties like this.  Gorgeous hair is an instant confidence booster.  

K, I hope this helps!!!  Have a fabulous time, hot mama!  And I'd love to see pics of whatever you decide!

xoxo

S

ps.  If the above isn't quite your style, check out our Pinterest board, Post-Partum Friendly. I've been pinning a bunch of other top and dress options there for you.