New moms face a very particular fashion crisis. Giving birth changes your body, and becoming a mom changes your life, so your old clothes may no longer fit either one. If you go back to work full time, you might have an advantage: at least you know what kind of clothes you need to buy for that. But what if, like more than half of all moms, you change your career path so you're home more often, or you take up a new, less demanding line of work? Or what if, like many, you now stay home full time? What do you wear to be a mom who still resembles her former self? We helped these three women find out.
Her Life: Dana Harrison, of Hoboken, New Jersey, gave birth to daughter Zoe four and a half years ago, and her son, James, just turned 1. She quit a managerial job after Zoe was born, then started working as a fitness trainer. Now she also teaches parent/child music classes.
Fashion Crisis: "My lifestyle has changed," Dana says. "I used to work in an office, but now I'm often on the floor with kids." She's got exercise clothes. What she's missing are dressier pieces for any nice social occasion. Ideally she could use her old office wardrobe, but giving birth has changed her body; those pieces don't fit the way they used to.
Solution: Stylist Sally Cannon took Dana shopping for an entire day. The hardest part? Determining size. "Like many new moms, she's small on top but larger on the bottom," Cannon says. "We bought everything from a size 4 to a 10. She has to try everything on."
Worked: Drawstring pants "allow you to get a custom fit," Cannon says, which is key if your weight is still fluctuating. Stretchy cotton dresses also work well. They found her the greatest variety of clothes at big discount stores like TJ Maxx and Marshalls.
Didn't Work: Pleated skirts and pants don't do you any favors if you want to slim your lower half. Like your top half? Then also avoid the trendy but unflattering pleated shirts that fly away from your waist. Emphasize good arms with tight sleeves or a sleeveless top, and create a silhouette with a belt at your waist.
Must-Have: A blazer dresses up a skirt, pants, or jeans and is perfect for looking nice without trying too hard.