Postpartum Wardrobe Dilemmas {ie Flattering Wobbly Bits}

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

Those who read RMF will know that family content will now have a new home over on RMS on a Monday and Wednesday afternoon. Frivolity and prettiness will resume as normal on weekday mornings with your daily dose of the usual RMS content with bonus posts twice a week focussing on all things family.

I found dressing after my first pregnancy slightly easier than I did dressing for pregnancy itself. My expectations of what was going to fit/flatter were significantly low so anything that looked half decent was obviously a massive plus.

Facing the same post pregnancy wardrobe dilemmas again in a few weeks I feel more equipped to make less mistakes, what with the knowledge that comes with experience and the fact that there is more inspiration available online than there was even four years ago.

Of course my choices and indeed my body – and the way it changed/progressed after nine months of growing a human will be different to your body type and your progression as things start to move back to how they were before. For the record, I don’t think anyone can necessarily say they ever do return to their pre-pregnancy self, at least not 100% – and that’s not always a negative either. I know a lot of women that have discovered new exercise regimes and have developed an improved attitude towards their diet and general well being which has meant that they feel the healthiest and strongest they ever have since becoming a Mum. It really doesn’t have to be all doom, gloom and accepting the fact that you might never feel sexy again, never mind how many supposedly well-meaning folks tell you this is the case.

Ignore them.

How you feel about your body is mostly mindset, and making the effort to look after such a powerful and frankly amazing piece of equipment – you made an entire new PERSON, give yourself some time to heal and then treat it with the respect it deserves.

High Waisted Forever

I had an elective c-section with my first daughter, and I am having the same again with my second (as requested yes I will absolutely share my experience soon). Due to the surgery and associated scar I was aware that I wouldn’t be able to wear anything that could potentially irritate the incision area for quite some time. And that I was more prone to water retention and swelling than those that would experience a vaginal birth.

I practically lived in high-waisted leggings for the first few weeks after Mabel was born, they were comfortable, practical and gave me a sense of abdominal and back support. I had several pairs from both Zara and Topshop – they were so great I kept them should I fall pregnant again however, these Topshop pointe design are very similar, a thicker material is definitely more flattering and supportive.

I’ve also just invested in this pair with stripes and I’m hoping I can pull off the whole athlesuire vibe.

Some months after pregnancy I discovered high waisted pleather skirts, again they “pull you in” and if you choose an A-line style, they skim your bum and hips rather than emphasising any lumps and bumps. I have bought some lovely ones from New Look – a bargain at £19.99 and as they were so cheap, I have bought a size bigger than my normal size and my normal size. I’m not pressuring myself to lose the extra pounds I’ve gained in any kind of short time period, and for twenty quid I figured I could still attempt to wear something very “me” in the interim period before my body is well on the way to recovery. I have both the Mink and the Coral.

Loose (but not baggy) Knitwear

With regards the leggings mentioned above, and with the high-waisted leather look skirts, I will obviously not be pairing these with a tight vest top or anything remotely clingy. Instead I favour soft/fine knit jumpers that don’t emphasise your middle yet paired with something more form fitting on the lower half of your body, don’t look frumpy or shapeless.

I think Boohoo is excellent for this type of thing and such a bloody bargain. I have the Sasha oversized jumper in nude and also in black and the Samantha wide sleeved jumper in grey.

I’m also loving the long colour block knit from Oasis, the colours are beaut and I figure it will be perfect for covering the wide back and flesh-over-your-bra situation that can still be evident many months after you give birth (or at least they were in my case).

The Swing And/Or Drop Waist Dress

I think swing style dresses work with tights or without, ankle boots or flats – they are universally flattering and especially so when your tummy is wobbly/bloated and you don’t want to draw attention to it. I think ASOS has a really excellent selection of lengths, colours and prints right now, I have the trumpet sleeve design which is only £15. It comes in both black and red and for those who are blessed in the height department, it is also available in their TALL range.

The Vera Moda Navy Floral print drop waist dress is very pretty indeed and would work with a knee/over the knee boot for these colder months.

The Postpartum Corset/Girdle

Three weeks after my c-section I wore a medical grade Bellefit postpartum girdle – this is an FDA registered medical device. I was approved to wear it by my consultant, and so amazing was the back and abdominal support (particularly because my diastasis recti was so evident) that this time around I will ask my consultant if I am able to wear it sooner. There is no denying that the corset has a positive aesthetic effect on your stomach by helping to flatten loose skin however, this is an added bonus to the fact that it made me “feel” really good. At the time I had to order the girdle from America but now they are available on Amazon UK. I wore mine for at least 16 hours a day, I didn’t find it in the least bit uncomfortable but it is very important you get the right size, I started with a Small and purchased an Extra Small once I felt the Small was no longer offering enough compression.

To reiterate, this is a medical grade compression garment to aid with the recovery of your body after birth – applicable to both a cesarian or vaginal delivery. Please do not purchase one just because I think they are amazing, you must discuss using a garment such as this with your doctor/consultant/midwife to see if this is a viable option for you.

Shape Wear

I wonder whether personally I just tried the wrong things by the wrong brands, I found shape wear in general to be uncomfortable and even though it would help to disguise one area, another area would then be emphasised. The high waisted knickers in particular – I just found they pushed the loose skin up underneath your boobs so you would have this weird roll of skin underneath your bra (!)

The all-in-one bodies with built in bras that I thought would prevent this didn’t really work for me either as they just didn’t fit very well in general. I would be really interested in some shape wear recommended in the comments box below if you found pieces that worked for you.

After I finished wearing my compression garment I wore a tight fitting vest under most things, these were also useful for breast feeding as you can roll them down and pull your other top up – the dress I mentioned above by ASOS, I wouldn’t necessarily wear it with a strapless bra, I would flash the straps of a colourful vest (with regular /nursing bra underneath) because….why not?

I rate the multi pack vests by ASOS – decent quality, cheap as chips, and also the strappy jersey vests by H&M – £3.99 each.

I think it’s really important to be realistic about the fact your body will feel quite alien for some time after birth, this is perfectly normal. As I said, you created a whole person and it took nine months to do so, it is perfectly reasonable to expect your body to take that amount of time (and then some) to recover.

That newborn bubble is such a precious and wonderful time that this is what you will focus on – promise.

I personally found dressing to emphasise the areas you do like is the key to not taking time (that you probably can’t afford) in the morning to figure out what to wear. For me I’ve always liked my shoulders, they were not effected by my first pregnancy and don’t appear to be this time either. With leggings/a pleather skirt on the bottom, opaque tights and a slouchy off-the-shoulder jumper or T-shirt I was generally good to go.

Do let me know your recommendations and please do include any recent postpartum purchase links in the comments section below!

  • Boohoo Samantha Wide Sleeved Jumper
    Boohoo Samantha Wide Sleeved Jumper
  • Zara side stripe legging
    Zara Side Stripe Legging
  • Oasis Colour Block JUmper
    Oasis Long Colourblock Knit
  • ASOS Superdry Slouch Jumper
    ASOS Superdry Slouch Jumper
  • Boohoo Sasha V-Neck jumper
    Boohoo Sasha V-Neck jumper
  • Nike Internationalist Dusky Rose
    Nike Internationalist Dusky Rose
  • New Look Leather Look Skirt
    New Look Leather Look Skirt
  • ASOS Dress With Trumpet Sleeve
    ASOS Trumpet sleeve Swing dress
  • Vera Moda Drop Waist Dress
    Vera Moda Drop Waist Dress
  • Topshop High Waisted Pointe Leggings
Purveyor of short shorts. Make-up junkie. Hopes to grow old disgracefully.
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33 thoughts on “Postpartum Wardrobe Dilemmas {ie Flattering Wobbly Bits}

  1. A timely article! Having recently found out baby 2 is due in the autumn I’ve started thinking more about post baby than maternity wear (the majority of my previous maternity wear is still okay I think and about 3years old so the basics should still look vaguely in style-as much as Possible with maternity fashion!).

    Essentially I found dressing a solid bump a lot easier than a soft ‘pudgy’ tummy and so post baby I struggled with what to wear and stressed about spending money unnecessarily! With that in mind I’m planning some oversized knits and soft leggings into my wardrobe now. I did but some jeans in the next size up too so that once the maternity ones don’t fit I have an option before I’m back in my old ones!

    1. Hi Vicky! I actually didn’t find jeans that comfortable for ages, I think it was to do with my scar and bending over they would rub/irritate. Maybe I should try some of the softer high waisted styles – more of a jegging I guess. Lots of love and luck for your Autumn arrival!

      1. Thank you x

        Ive found Topshop Jamie jeans really comfy. They’re high waisted (over your tummy button) and really stretchy but still quite jeans like! A bugger to put if you’ve just moisturised! Or if your husband tumblr drys them and they shrink….

  2. I got my shape wear from Next. It’s a full body one, it has straps but then goes under your bra all the way down to past top of thighs. It’s a bugger to get on but it means you can wear your normal bra and there are no unsightly bulges! Xx

    1. Lucy this sounds great – I will have a butchers! I think the problem I had was a lot of them gave me VPL/squished your bum cheeks out in an unflattering way (!) so perhaps an option with shorts/to the tops of thighs is the way to go x

  3. My little one is 5.5 months now and I am still in a bit of a post baby wardrobe slump! Because of needing to access my boobs regularly I find that my old wardrobe doesn’t work, my maternity stuff also doesn’t work, and I have lost most of the baby weight now thankfully, but don’t really dare by ‘nice’ stuff for fear of my shape not having settled down yet. This is a fab post though Charlotte and gives me some good ideas! I haven’t ventured into skirt wearing post baby but definitely should! Xx

    1. India I’m sure you’re doing just fine – it’s not even been 6 months yet, I found it was a year before I thought “Yep, I think this is “me” now” – it can be less/longer for some I know but everyone is different.

      Definitely try out some skirts – lots of lovely high waisted ones around (Oasis have some nice corduroy styles in at the moment) xx

  4. Loving the pleather skirts Charlotte! I think I need one. My second girl is now 4.5 months and whilst I am close enough to my usual weight, I am most definitely not the same shape! Like you, with my first it was close to a year before I felt back to ‘myself’.

    I’ve been wearing high waisted jeans a lot, so I think I might treat myself to a pair of those topshop leggings. For anyone who is breastfeeding, Molke bras are amazing. They’re soft cup but super supportive and come in band/cup sizes so you can get the right fit. Wish I’d known about them first time around! x

    1. Oooh thanks for the bra recommendation Tracy, what jeans are you wearing? the leggings are great, as is the pleather skirt – so flattering.

      I think there is a lot of focus on losing the “baby” weight where as for me it was definitely about shape and tone – I didn’t take that long to lose the extra pounds but my inner thighs and back definitely had other ideas and took a long time to return to “normal”! x

      1. That is my exact issue Charlotte, though for me it’s having one boob significantly bigger than the other and like flabby side hip if you know what I mean?!

        I’m wearing the Lily jeans from Oasis at the minute, really like the fit and the knees don’t go saggy. x

        1. I have never tried Oasis jeans, I have saggy bum issues (Zara are the only ones for me that seem to hold their shape all day) so I’ll take a look at the Lily ones x

  5. I’d recommend Lyla jeans from Dorothy Perkins they are high waisted and really comfortable. Currently 7 weeks postpartum and I’m wearing these at lot! X

    1. Tracy I always forget about DP – yet I bought a super cardigan from there last year. Great to hear they are so comfortable just 7 weeks PP x

  6. I bought a few things from boohoo after my second to get me through the short period where I was 2 sizes bigger than normal. It was late spring so I needed clothes that worked with variable weather. I went with a pair of jeans (thin, stretchy fabric, not stiff denim) a pair of black harem pants in a thick fabric, and Grey joggers. Then I bought a selection of oversized v neck t shirts which I could easily nurse in. I also bought a thin khaki ‘shacket’ which covered my bum which I was feeling self conscious about and a short sleeved kimono top which I felt helped me dress up a bit. It got me through that very wobbly period and it was nice to see the b clothes getting looser instead of trying to squeeze into stuff that didn’t fit and getting miserable about it.

    1. Kathryn you had it sorted! An excellent capsule wardrobe – Boohoo do some fab pieces for the price. I will definitely invest in some of their oversized T-shirts and I think I need to investigate this shacket you speak of x

  7. Great article Charlotte and fab inspiration!
    I ended up with an emergency section during labour three years ago and have pretty much lived in DP treggings since. They are very comfortable.
    I just can’t bear a zip against my scar – by the end of the day it gets really uncomfortable. I’d be really interested if anyone has found any high waisted trousers with side zips in size 6/8.
    I’d love to find some smarter trousers now but it seems that they are like gold dust.

    1. Heather I don’t want to enable major spending BUT…as an investment piece the Frame Le flare Francoise jean are the best, they are high waisted but the zip is on the side. They come in and out of stock depending on the season – I managed to get my black pair at The Outnet but it’s worth checking ebay. I am the same size as you (I take a 25 waist jean) and they fit like a dream x

      1. Awesome. Thanks so much for the recommendation. I’ll have a good look for those. I don’t mind spending a bit more these days if I know they’ll fit, feel good and last. Thank you x

        1. Charlotte, I’ve just been following up on your recommendation… those frame jeans look gorgeous! I’m definitely on the lookout now xxx

  8. My wee one is 9 weeks now and it’s jumpers and jeggings all the way here, with an H&M nursing vest underneath! I’ve got some high waisted jeggings from Tesco for the bargain price of £12.50 each so don’t mind when they inevitably get covered in baby sick! My pre-pregnancy wardrobe and maternity clothes are mainly dresses and leggings but that’s really not practical for breastfeeding so I’m treating myself to some nice jumpers and on the look out for smart but comfy tops – any tips?

    1. Hi Kate, I think H&M have some really lovely pieces in at the moment – tops and dresses that could easily be adapted for breast feeding, plus they are a bargain to boot x

  9. I’m 9 months post second c section and frustratingly some of the items that fitted me the first time don’t fit this time. Just a different shape now plus still got a wobbly mummy tummy despite exercising twice a week!

    I’ve just booked a John Lewis personal styling session to try and get work wardrobe sorted.

    Have you tried uniqlo for good value, slightly over sized tops. They do these elasticated waist smart trousers.

    I am however still on the look out for a proper pair of high waist jeans not jeggings…… the search goes on.

    1. Hi Claire! The styling session sounds really interesting – I didn’t realise John Lewis offered that service. I actually haven’t tried Uniqlo in years so thanks for the reminder – I’ll take a look. Tracy above mentioned the Lily jean by Oasis – high waisted and currently in the sale, I’ve just bought myself a pair xx

  10. What a great article thank you! Heather, Wallis do some amazing trousers/jeans with a side zip that I’ve lived in since my lo came along. They’re on sale at the moment too.x

    1. Wallis, another store I completely forget about, I used to have a really comfortable trouser suit from there when I was in the corporate world! x

  11. Thanks for this post Charlotte! Some great recommendations which I’ve already bought online and looking forward to getting them through the post! Xx

  12. I got the bohoo jumpers in a range of colours! They look lovely and at such a good price. I also bought the Lyla jeans from Dorothy Perkins – thanks Tracy for the recommendation!
    I will definitely be returning to this post in the future as I’m 37wks preg at the moment so will wait to see what my body is like afterwards and will be easier to work out what size I will need. I have my eye on those lovely skirts! Thanks again xx

  13. Totally with you on the high waisted jeans but I generally found I felt ok in my pre-pregnancy loose fitting tops. I had a few pairs of sports leggings after by second baby’s birth which all had a high waist too. I would throw these on in the morning for the school run with my 5 year old and even if I just quick walk to school then over to the shops it really made me feel like I had been moving and breathing rather than sitting on the couch with PJs like I had done with my first. The difficulty came when we had a wedding to attend when the baby was 8 month old and still breastfeeding. I ended up with seperate pieces so that I could de-layer discreetly. I recently came across a brand called Ricia which do some lovely luxurious breastfeeding clothes perfect for occasion ware – just wish they were around when I was a new Mum!

  14. Just ordered the burgundy New Look skirt…..I am not pregnant nor have I just had a baby!! However, my favourite burgundy leather skirt is showing signs of wear so this wee bargain could work as an interim replacement – thank you 🙂

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