The postpartum period can be a fashion nightmare. Maternity clothes are too big (and you're probably sick of them anyway), but you're not quite fitting in your pre-baby pencil skirts. Some women get back in shape in a month, others take a year, but no matter which end of the spectrum you're on, it's nice to have some clothing ideas beyond leggings and your husband's shirt. These chic solutions will get you through the transitional phase in style.
1. "For now" jeans: Your old jeans will be one of the toughest items to get back into, so be kind to yourself and buy a slightly larger pair. Since your body will change dramatically over the next few months, try stretch denim. It's available in all price ranges. Check out Babystyle's In-Transit Soho Jean (babystyle.com), or look for stretchy jeans at stores such as Banana Republic and Gap.
2. Tunic sweaters: Styles with wide necklines or off-the-shoulder cuts are an easy way to show a little skin while hiding trouble spots like your belly, hips, and behind. Most new moms can't go braless, so wear a camisole underneath with built-in support, and let the straps show. Accessorize by adding some chic beads in trendy jet or tiger's eye.
3. Wrap shirts: Wear crisscross tops to conceal belly bulge and highlight the decolletage (which all new moms have). Bonus: They can make nursing a breeze. Try Babystyle's Chic Wrap Shirt (babystyle.com).
4. Your fallback? Basic black! It's always slimming! Pair black pants with a lightweight black sweater, then accessorize like crazy. Tie on a scarf, invest in new shoes or boots, carry an eye-catching bag, or layer on big, chunky jewelry like a charm bracelet or an armful of gold bangles.
5. Big, wide belts: They're hot right now, which is good news for new moms looking to cover their midsection. Wear one with your tunic sweater or with a crisp, white button-down shirt over jeans or trousers. Choose a style in neutral brown with trendy studs or grommets like Fossil's Multi Grommets Belt in tan (fossil.com).
6. Long cardigans: Sweaters that are nearly coats are back this winter, and they're chic figure-hiders. Opt for a versatile, neutral shade and use it as outerwear if you live in a warmer climate. Ann Taylor Loft's version (anntaylorloft.com) has a faux-fur collar. For indoors, we like cardigans in pretty pink, this season's shade, such as Babystyle's Ruffle Sweater (babystyle.com).
Originally published American Baby magazine, January 2006.