Beyond Maternity Wear
As your middle continues to shrink, you lose more baby weight, and you start leaving the house, you'll probably want to get out of your PJs and maternity clothes and start wearing clothes that help you feel like you're getting back to normal.
Dressing for Your New Shape
Choosing a flattering wardrobe for the weeks and months after giving birth can be tricky. First of all, your body will probably not only be heavier, but also shaped differently than it was before you were pregnant. You may find extra fat clinging to your body in places you wouldn't have even considered before, like your inner thighs and upper back. If you had a boyish figure, your hips probably widened — perhaps permanently — during pregnancy. You probably have some loose skin on your belly, and your abdomen might pooch out a little or a lot. Your breasts are probably significantly larger than they were before you were pregnant, especially if you're nursing.
With all those changes — and the knowledge that your body will continue to change over the months to come — try to choose clothing that will be well-fitting and flattering today, tomorrow, and next week.
When you're trying to create a wardrobe that's both figure flattering and easy to care for, you want to look for a few specific traits:
Wash-and-wear: Who wants to worry about ironing, starching, hand washing, or dry cleaning? You've got better things to do, like kissing your baby's little fingers and toes. Pick clothes that can be thrown in the washing machine with the rest of your stuff. It's better yet if the fabric will resist wrinkles, especially if you occasionally leave clothes in the dryer overnight.
Nonclingy and matte: Choose sturdy fabrics that skim over your curves without clinging. If you choose a jersey or other knit, look for a matte finish — shinier fabrics can highlight lumps and bumps.
Draw eyes Away from Your Tummy
If you're trying to downplay a larger middle, try wearing tops that draw the eye away from your center and bring them up toward your chest or neck. A detailed or interesting neckline, or chunky, eye-catching jewelry can do the trick.
Also remember to play up your assets. If you aren't crazy about your softer waistline but are in love with your more voluptuous breasts, try something that shows them off. A plunging neckline or scoop-neck top will show off your cleavage, while a high neck or halter top will accentuate the size of your new bust.
Use Color Wisely
Wear a dark color over the area you want to conceal and a brighter color on an area you'd like to accentuate. Tops that have a darker color over your belly and a brighter color near your face, or brightly colored or patterned sleeves can be very flattering and draw attention up and out, away from your middle.
For slimming and de-emphasizing bulges and bumps, black is a postpartum woman's friend. But remember that dark colors will show spit-up, so you may want to go with slimming colors with white patches or less-flattering light patterns that hide the spit-up.
Find a Forgiving Cut
If your belly still has some extra padding, stay away from snug, short tops. Loose peasant tops, dropped-waist styles that skim over your belly and end around your hips, flowing and asymmetrical hemlines, empire-waist styles, and shirts that camouflage your belly with strategically placed wraps, gathers, or tucks are all fashionable ways to conceal your still-shrinking tummy.
But What about Pants?
What's the skinny on low riders? It depends. Some moms like the way hip-hugging jeans don't press the flesh around the belly, which can cause unsightly squishing. Others find that low-waisted pants give them an unappealing “muffin top,” where the excess stomach hangs over the waistband for all the world to see. On the other hand, high-waisted pants can feel like they're squashing your extra flesh and are often unflattering, drawing attention to the area of your body you'd most like to hide at this point. The trick seems to be in finding middle-of-the-road jeans that fit loosely enough to avoid tummy squashing, but are snug enough to pull in the looser skin on your lower abdomen and avoid that poochy, still-pregnant look. A lot will also depend on how the pants fit the rest of your shape, so you'll want to try on a few styles until you find one you like. Choose pants with a forgiving fit — you don't want to be bending over to pick up your baby and bust a seam — and if possible, a little stretch.