Mom and BabyFirst of all, congratulations on being a new Mom. It takes a lot to get where you are, so credit where it’s due. You just made it through ten months of day-long “morning” sickness, rampant heart burn, grueling constipation, peeing your pants in public, and, well, let’s not even mention the birth.

Being a new Mom is no walk in the park. Not only has your body been stretched to its limits in every way possible, but raging hormones combined with sleep deprivation will have you bursting with joy one moment and bawling with misery the next. During those first few fast and furious weeks with your new-born, let’s be honest, you’ll be lucky if you can manage to get a shower in; let alone think about dolling yourself up.

Your body will be bruised and battered, swollen and sore. Your hair may be falling out and your doctor will probably advise that you stay inside for four-to six weeks anyway, especially if your baby was born on the small side or prematurely. Throughout this paradoxically hideous-yet-joyous time, filled with sleepless nights and bodily fluids, you’ll have enough on your plate without picking out suitable clothing combinations.

During the immediate postpartum period, it’s every Mom’s God-given right to live in sweat pants, baggy T-shirts, and pajamas. Taking a minimum of six weeks to ten weeks for your uterus to get back to its pre-pregnancy size, it’s a foolish Momma who tries to squeeze back into her pre-pregnancy jeans, kitten heels, or sexy underwear. I bet even Angelina Jolie let that perfect hair of hers go just a little greasy.

So let’s define what the term “postpartum” means when it comes to buying new clothes. Once those first few weeks, or even months, have calmed down and your baby has (at last) begun to sleep for four or five hours consecutively, the chances are you’ll finally start to see some semblance of your old self shining through. You’ve stopped leaving your car keys in the fridge and pouring orange juice into your coffee and – most importantly – you’ve reached the point where you can’t stand living in sweatpants anymore! Good for you!

But… what are you going to wear? Extra weight, expanded hips, sagging buttocks… oh my!

You’re too small for your maternity clothes and too big for your pre-baby clothes (trust me, trying them on will only cause frustration, heartache, and pain). The moment has arrived to go out and get yourself a real postpartum wardrobe.

A word of warning – this is not the time to get enthusiastic about the season’s latest styles, patterns, strapless tops and sandals. Not only will you probably not like what you see, but if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need loose-fitting clothes that allow room for access. You probably won’t stay at this size for long either, so investing large sums of money that could be better spent on diapers and onesies doesn’t make sense right now.

The main thing to remember about your postpartum wardrobe is that these are not meant to be clothes that you fall in love with, or even clothes that will fit you in a few weeks or months. This is merely the wardrobe that will ease you out of your jammies and help begin the transition to becoming a regular person again. Here goes:

  1. Leggings and a large top. While it’s true this may be just one step removed from sweatpants and baggy T-s, this look has been made chic by many a celebrity when teamed up with an over-sized bag and dark glasses (to hide those dark circles). There are many choices available in this area, from elasticated skinny jeans (for the braver among you) to colorful, stripy, and patterned; always with a long top to cover up your waist area. While you won’t want to spend a fortune on these clothes, it’s worth paying the extra dollar to ensure decent quality. There’s nothing worse that cheap, transparent leggings that show off your panty line or camel toe. No one wants to see that. It’s always best to opt for dark colors and thicker material.
  2. Loose fitting skirts. A loose fitting skirt is a great relief when you don’t want to force your bulging belly into a tight zipper. Worn with a comfortable shirt, you can even choose to keep the top part one color and go wild with your skirt pattern. But make sure it’s at least knee-length for now. It’s likely that you’ll have some cellulite, spider veins, or untoned skin that you don’t want on display, and you don’t want your Granny pants to make an appearance when you bend down.
  3. Flowing dresses. Comfortable and practical, yet a hard choice for breastfeeding Moms, as you’ll have to find one loose enough to allow access without having to lift your dress over your head in public.
  4. Comfortable shoes. Swollen ankles, unkempt toenails and rough skin; it’s not the time for strappy shoes or high heels; while juggling a baby on one arm and your cell phone in the other, a pair of ballerinas or flats that cover your feet and let you walk unhindered are the best bet for now.
  5. Don’t try the clothes on in-store. Store mirrors are the worst for highlighting stretchmarks and imperfections. Wait until you get home with friendlier lighting. You can always take anything back that doesn’t fit, and it gives you an excuse to get out of the house again.
  6. One size larger than usual. Remember, you aren’t aiming to stay this size forever, but buying smaller clothes to motivate your weight loss right now will only make you feel worse and leave you with nothing to wear.

Be kind to yourself, go one size bigger and be comfortable – but don’t go overboard – the tent look has never and will never be in fashion.