Postpartum Style: Amelia

I'm excited to have Amelia of the Homebook here with our next postpartum style post.

I’m a stay-at-home momma to my sweet baby Ralph, wife to my funny husband Ryan, and the three of us live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In our two and a half years of marriage we’ve been through two pregnancies, the stillbirth of our sweet daughter, and the joyful birth of our little Ralphie. There have been a lot of ups and downs for us, but we consider it all to be a blessing.

I’m about to get real honest with you all right now: the first few months after my son was born were the hardest of my life. It was hard in all the ways to be expected—little sleep, lots of worries and “is that normal?” But it was also hard in a way that I didn’t expect. A good word to describe the way I felt postpartum is lost. My world was turned upside down, and for the first time in my life, I wasn’t totally sure who I was. It was scary! As vain and superficial as it may sound, one of the things that always made me feel better was feeling pretty. Out of all the long days I spent taking care of a newborn, the best ones were usually when I had taken a little time for myself, to shower, to get dressed in something nice, to put on some makeup. After a while, I figured out little ways to make postpartum life easier on a new mom. Here are some of the best things I’ve learned:

1. My first tip? Forever 21 jeans. I know. I know. But hear me out. The first few months after baby, your body is changing constantly. I was desperate to pack up my maternity clothes and go out and buy new things, but spending a chunk of money on a nice pair of jeans just didn’t make sense. I’m seven months post-partum, and thanks to breastfeeding, I’m still losing weight. It’s great! But it’s also frustrating when the clothes I bought just a few months ago don’t fit anymore. That’s where Forever 21 jeans come in. They’re comfy and stretchy and always on-trend. They’re also cheap (as cheap as $10.80! I mean, come on!) and not the greatest quality, so you won’t feel badly tossing them aside when they no longer fit. Honestly, some of my favorite jeans are from Forever 21. I love them so much I don’t even mind the weird gasoline smell they have. ;) (Seriously, what is that gasoline smell about?)

2. Tip number two: Organize your beauty routine, and stick to it. After I had Ralph, I realized that getting myself ready for the day no longer had any leisure to it. If I didn’t take advantage of a few quick minutes in the morning, or during naptime, I’d likely be stuck in pajamas and bed head all day long, and feeling really bad about myself to boot. Eventually, I narrowed down my beauty routine to just the essentials and figured out exactly what I needed to do to feel put together in the morning. Now I can usually get ready for the day in less than twenty minutes, including a shower! I try and do it first thing in the morning, because if I don’t make it a priority, it’ll never get done. Related: dry shampoo is your friend.

3. My third and favorite tip is this: get yourself a mom uniform. Put together an ensemble that makes you feel your prettiest, your most comfortable, your most you, and wear it to death. Don’t wear a maxi dress if it makes you feel icky. Don’t wear jeans if you can’t stand the thought of playing on the floor in tight denim that will probably give you plumber’s crack. It sounds so simple, but once you’re a mom, it’s tough to find an outfit that works in every area of your new mom life. Here’s what works for me: a top that can either be pulled up or down for easy nursing, jeans or a skirt that will (hopefully) camouflage my generous bottom half, shoes that are comfortable enough for me to walk in at a normal clip, a cute (but practical) bag, simple hair, simple makeup, and a pop of color, either on my lips or on my nails.

Below is an example of an outfit I wear regularly. It works for home, the grocery store, out to lunch, or at church, and is something that makes me feel good about myself. And let’s be honest, this outfit is so comfortable it’s basically pajamas with shoes.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 

1. One of my favorite ways to freshen up and feel put together is to use perfume. Just a spritz on my wrists and the nape of my neck, and bam! My day is already a little bit better. And when my husband comes home from work and goes in for a hug, I don’t feel quite as bad about the giant spit up on my shoulder. This scent is clean and soapy, and isn’t too strong for baby nuzzles.

2. I know what you’re thinking—a white shirt? With a baby? But, I promise you, it works for me. A nice white tee brightens my skin, looks fresh, and matches everything in my closet. I have about a dozen of them that I wear in rotation. And when my baby lovingly splats a handful of sweet potato towards me, I just toss it in the wash with a splash of bleach, and it’s as good as new. Forever 21 and Old Navy make great white tees for less than $10, but this Madewell one has a pretty perfect fit.

3. While I love a good pair of flats, heels never fail to make me feel fancy. These sandals are definitely the most expensive pair of shoes I own, but they’re worth every penny. So cute, so comfy, and, thanks to the straps, you won’t slip out of them when you’re hustling through the grocery store. Also, they make a pretty fun toy in a pinch. Babies love buckles.

4. I wore my striped jersey maxi skirt at least twice a week when I was pregnant, and I haven’t stopped wearing it since. My current skirt is starting to appear a little threadbare, and this one looks like a good replacement.

5. Having a nice glossy set of nails always makes diaper changes a little bit more fun. It’s true. Essie’s Clambake is a cute orangey-red that’s fun for warm weather months.

6. I never found the perfect diaper bag. Everything I liked was too expensive, and everything I could afford was too…diaper bag-y. Then I finally realized a cute, roomy tote was basically the same thing. Lately I’ve been using a big canvas bag, but I have my eye on this straw one for summer.

7. (Not pictured) Nursing mama’s—looking for the perfect breast pad? Well, you can stop, because I found it for you. After lots of research, I’ve decided that these nursing pads these are the best. They’re super absorbent, super soft, and just the right size—big enough to do the job, but not so big that they peek out from under your bra. My favorite thing about them is that they’re not individually wrapped. Breast pad wrappers are annoying, unnecessary, and take up too much waste basket space. Believe me, after you have a baby, things like waste basket space become very important. You need to save that stuff for dirty dipes and chocolate bar wrappers.

Postpartum Style: Anna

Our next postpartum style post is from Anna, of In Honor of Design.

She is the mother of two sweet little ones and is expecting her third this summer. She writes about fashion, design, lifestyle, and the adventures of motherhood.

After we have a baby, there are many emotional highs and lows. Often times our body image contributes to this as well! Its important to be forgiving of your post baby shape and also wear forgiving clothes! This doesn't mean you have to compromise style along the way though. Here's a few tips that have helped me with my post partum time!

1) Avoid pieces that are too snug, and go for the feminine and flowy. This is almost a fool proof method for every shape. For instance, you can wear a form fitting top that starts to flow below the bust for a piece that is much more flattering to your figure and forgiving around the waistline. Depending on your shape you can also try an item that is shaping around the waist and flows around the hips.

2) Pay attention to where you wear your prints. Fun colors and patterns don't need to be avoided altogether, just make sure they aren't happening around the wrong places. For instance, you can find a bold dress where the print runs across the bottom trim, and the solid colors run across your waist and hips. This draws attention away from areas that are still recovering from baby!

3) Choose the right fabrics! I went though a cotton jersey skirt phase until I realized it really hugs all the wrong places, and is severely unflattering. Oops. Its amazing what a good sheer based material can do on the other hand. Work that with the flow of tip #1 and you have got yourself a stunning look:)

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Sale: 30% Off J.Crew Swim

J.Crew is offering 30% off all of their sale section. When I went to see what was available, the one piece swim suits really caught my eye! Here are my favorites:

1 - Stripe bandeau tank - $41.99 (Orig. $98.00)
2 - Pintuck bandeau tank - $38.49 (Orig. $84.00)
3 - Pop Art dot tank - $41.99 (Orig. $98.00) 
4 - Underwire tank - $34.99 (Orig. $82.00)
5 - Jersey Lomellina® halter tank - $41.99 (Orig. $115.00)
6 - Block-print ring bandeau tank - $45.49 (Orig. $98.00)
7 - Banded halter tank - $41.99 (Orig. $84.00) 
8 - Rope stripe bandeau tank - $41.99 (Orig. $98.00) 
9 - Long torso ruched bandeau tank - $41.99 (Orig. $92.00) 

And if you aren't in the market for a swim suit, I saw a few other goodies you might be interested in:

Make sure to enter HELLOSTYLE to get the 30% off discount.

This Week

We have had a busy week. We got an offer on the house! We have agreed on terms and are now waiting for the buyer's amendments based on the home inspection. I am just really really hoping it all goes smoothly. If it does, we will be out of here before July 1. It's crazy!

Here are a few links to take you into the weekend:

I think this discounted dress is adorable.
I want to try out this high-low circle hem tutorial.
Did you hear Target is doing wedding dresses? I am partial to this one.
I'm loving this contrast trim maternity top.
I want to try this hair tutorial.
These stormy sea necklace knockoffs never get old.
Tate and I have been listening to this album on repeat.

Today is Tate's birthday. We are going to have a pretty mellow day with pizza and cake, so I am sure Tate will appreciate it. What are you up to this weekend?

Postpartum Style: Elaine

I'm really excited that our next guest post is from Elaine of Clothed Much - a modest style and fashion blog she started in 2009 when she was a poor, married college student with a closet full of clothes but nothing to wear. 

I'm Korean and married to a tall, skinny white guy. We live in Sacramento. I'm a new mom and don't know what I'm doing. Eating is my favorite besides chasing our shy, chubby cat. I think I'm funny but no one else seems to think so. 

I recently had my first baby earlier this year (a 9-pounder!) and with that, my first experience with a whole new body. I mean, why did I still look pregnant? Were the docs sure there wasn't a lost twin in there?? Those first few months are tough and rough and basically suck. You want to show off this cute new babe of yours but you don't want to show the aftermath... (Us.) I'm still learning what looks good on this new body of mine and what I should store for that one day I'll fit into my old skinny jeans. Here are some of my go-to items that helped me dress my postpartum body:

1. Control that tummy!

As a C-section recoverer, the belly binder was my life!!!! I had to wear it or I couldn't stand or walk. Even after I was able to do those activities comfortably, I still wore it at home. I bound it as tight as I could to squish all that flesh in. And you know what? I saw my waist whittling down a little each day. Plus, if it worked for Jessica Alba, it should work for all of us, right?

Under all my clothes for the first few months, I wore shapewear, including at home so I was wearing shapewear AND the belly binder. Shapewear helped to smooth those inevitable lumps and bumps under my clothes fooling the mirror and my eyes that I looked good. And it worked. I was less self-conscious when I knew my body was a little more streamlined.

2. You're still pregnant.

Okay, you're really not, but the way I thought of dressing my new body those first few months, I thought "How would I dress if I were X months pregnant?" Because when you're pregnant, you usually want to dress up and dress that bump. I went through my closet to find the clothes I kept going back to while I was pregnant and got inspiration from them. Instead this time I wanted to hide the bump..

Some of my favorite pregnancy clothes were black leggings, full/A-line skirts (the skirts that fall away from your body), baggy t-shirts, and loose stretchy pants.

1, 23, 4

3. Accessories are everything.

Say you were wearing black leggings and a white t-shirt. Nice and simple, right? Now add chunky boots, a sweater, and a scarf. It's completely different!

When choosing accessories, imagine you were someone on the street who saw your outfit - what would catch your eye first?

4. Outfit combinations to remember:

Here's a cheat sheet for you when getting dressed!

Fitted shirt + full/A-line skirt (that hits right at the smallest part of your torso)

Leggings + loose t-shirt + catchy accessory/ies

Loose pants (think boyfriend fit) + loose t-shirt + cropped jacket/blazer

Spied: River Island Tattoo Print Midi Dress

After I moved to a warmer and more humid climate, I started really seeing the appeal of dresses and skirts as part of my every day rotation. Nothing is easier than throwing on a simple jersey dress and shoes.

I am head over heels for this simple sheath. The proportions are perfect.

River Island Tattoo Print Midi Dress - ASOS - $29.70 (Orig. $42.42)

ASOS has quite a few modest dresses under $50 right now.
Here are a few good ones:

Shift Dress In Blue Floral Print (more than half off!)

As always, I am super impressed with ASOS's selection.
Don't forget they offer free shipping on everything. 

This Week

We spent the weekend updating our kitchen and getting the house ready to sell. Steve's brother flew in to help us and I love how it turned out. (But not enough to stay!)

Here are a few links to take you into the weekend:
I went shopping & snagged this pretty top (I sized up to fit the bump)
I also got this, this, and these (I haven't shopped in months & went a little crazy).
I would love to try this skirt tutorial.
I love the look of these simple sandals.
I am on the hunt for new ways to wear my hair up & want to try this one next.
I think this dress is perfect for summer.
I am seriously eying this serger.

Postpartum Style: Mary

I am so happy to tell you that our first post on postpartum style comes from my dear friend, Mary.

In March 2011 we welcomed the two of the best babies in the world into our family, and named them Captain Maxwell and Maggie Elaine. Those babies kept us very busy for exactly 14 months, until the birth of our (surprise) third, Lucy Eleanore. We are awesomely happy. It's just the five of us for now, but we'd like to add on to our family again someday.

My first postpartum experience was incredibly hard for me. It was nothing like I expected. Not only were my newborn twins in the NICU instead of at home with me, but my body wasn't going back to its normal size and shape quite as quickly I expected it to. My cup size, which usually hovers somewhere between an A and a B, had swelled to a DD, and unlike every previous thought I had harbored about how fun it would be to have bigger breasts, I found that I really just wanted my old body back. My mother kept saying things to me like, "Oh, you only look five months pregnant today!" or "You're still wearing maternity clothes?" Needless to say, she wasn't helping my self-image at all.

While I spent the first couple of months of my twins' lives wearing yoga pants and my husband's t-shirts, I eventually kind of figured out what I was doing... just in time to get pregnant again. If you're looking for some advice on postpartum fashion, here's what I've got for you:

1. First, have an easy go-to outfit that looks like it required more thought from you than it actually did. Here's my favorite postpartum ensemble:

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5

- I love dark wash denim leggings because they go with everything, are forgiving around the waistband, and show off a part of your body that probably didn't drastically change with the birth of your newborn.
- A button-up is the ultimate in nursing accessible tops, and this one is cut a little larger and boxier, which means that it will hang away from your body instead of clinging to it.
- I've always found that chunky plastic frames did wonders to hide the I've-been-up-all-night-trying-to-nurse-a-baby bags under my eyes.
- These nursing necklaces are the best. Seriously, my Lucy loves to wrap her fingers in my hair {or lately, dig her fingernails into my collarbone} unless I'm wearing this, and then she's all about clenching it in her tiny chubby fist and leaving the rest of me unscathed.
- I've never been one to mother in heels; cute flats are my go-to shoes now. I feel like it makes a big difference, the twentieth time your baby spits his pacifier onto the floor, to at least have your balance under control as you stoop to pick it up.

2. Second, go shopping for a few items of postpartum clothing after your baby is born. Your body will change so unexpectedly and so drastically that it's hard to predict before it actually happens. Go alone if you have the opportunity to get away, or bring a friend {or grandma} to hold the baby while you try on clothes. Try on items a few sizes larger than you usually wear, and stick to woven fabrics instead of knits, which cling to your body.

3. Finally, get a nursing bra that works for you and has a shape that you like under clothes. After my first pregnancy, my mother bought me some nursing bras from Target and I hated them. The shape was so weird, and made me feel even uglier than I already did. The second time around, a friend suggested that I just buy a bra that I liked that had a front closure. I followed her advice and found this one at Victoria's Secret. It's still incredibly convenient for nursing, I got to try it on before purchasing {and got a free fitting to boot}, and I felt good wearing it.

Did you find a good postpartum uniform? What worked best for you?

Mary blogs here, pins here, & tweets here.

Sale: 30% off at J.Crew Factory

J.Crew Factory is offering 30% off everything right now. I love this promotion because the options for a discount are endless. Here are a few of my favorite things:

1 - Printed washed silk tee - $31.15 (Orig. $69.50)
2 - Skimmer pant in seersucker - $31.15 (Orig. $69.50)
3 - Draped shirtdress - $27.99 (Orig. $89.50)
4 - Printed skimmer pant - $31.15 (Orig. $69.50)
5 - Printed Cora dress - $82.60 (Orig. $118)
6 - Summerweight cotton cardigan - $24.15 (Orig. $59.50)
7 - Classic button-down shirt in end-on-end - $31.15 (Orig. $49.50)
8 - Skinny fishtail braid belt - $8.75 (Orig. $24.50)
9 - Skinny jean in midnight wash - $34.65 (Orig. $79.50) **

** I have these and I love them with every fiber of my being. I bought my first pair of Factory skinnies before Tate was born, and I'm pretty confident my childbearing hips will never fit back into them. I am so tempted to buy another pair for after this baby comes.

Don't forget to enter SALE30 at check out to get the discount.

Has anything caught your eye?

Postpartum Style

There is a funny thing that happens when we talk about maternity fashion. We all get really excited to dress a cute little bump for a few months and then we get excited about dressing a cute little baby once it's born. Not very often do we get excited, or even talk about, dressing ourselves after the baby is born.

Before I had Tate, I sorted my clothing, setting things aside I thought might flatter my post baby body or that I thought would be conducive to nursing. But after I had the baby, I had the soul crushing realization that I wasn't dressing my body, I was dressing the body of a stranger. I can't tell you how many times I cried in front of my closet or in front of my mirror because I hated what I looked like and I hated what my clothes looked like on me. I finally got that baby out of me and I was ready to bounce back. Unfortunately, it just took time.

After receiving an email from a reader who is pregnant with her first baby, I have decided to start talking about postpartum fashion. I want to share with you the things I did right and wrong, what I would do differently next time, and some of my favorite tips, products, and styles for postpartum. For the next few weeks look for posts from me and some fellow bloggers to help you through it.

What advice would you give on getting dressed after having a baby?

Spied: Stripe Cut Out Back Suit

Swim suits are my kryptonite. Even before I moved to a sub tropical climate with nearby beaches, I owned no less than 8 swim suits. It was one of my greatest pleasures to stop feeling guilty about my swim suit hoarding when I moved here.

If I weren't pregnant, I would snatch this suit up in a heart beat.

Stripe Cut Out Back Suit - ASOS - $36.58 (Orig. $53.20)

Here are a few other pretty one piece suits (all under $35)

Halter Swimsuit  (best deal)

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations Abbie Stratton! 
You are the winner of The Northern Sea gift card giveaway.

Don't forget The Northern Sea offers free shipping on all purchases over $20.

This Week

Here are a few pictures from this last week:

{Steve's birthday cake | view from the aquarium | slumped over, sleeping Tate}

Here are a few links to take you into the weekend:

 Don't forget to enter The Northern Sea giveaway!
I'm loving this pretty maternity blouse (and the sale price).
I would love to try this sequin shoulder DIY.
How pretty is this floral pencil skirt?
I'm planning to try this pretty braided updo this week.
I love this outfit.
I am head over heels for this sweet playlist.

Looks like we'll be spending the weekend getting the house ready to sell this weekend.
What are your weekend plans?

Giveaway: The Northern Sea

I am so excited to introduce you all to my newest sponsor. The Northern Sea is a new online shop featuring hand-selected jewelry and accessories. They add new items every day and plan expand into clothing this summer.

{mint collar necklace c/o of The Northern Sea | find it in purple here}

mint collar necklace c/o the northern sea
old navy tee - $6 | similar here | and here
forever 21 skirt - $7 | similar here | and here
thrifted gold peeptoes - $6 | similar here | here | and here

Today I get to do one of my favorite things - offer all of you a giveaway! The Northern Sea is offering $25 gift card to one lucky winner (open to US residents only).

How to win:

Visit The Northern Sea and leave a comment here telling me what you would buy if you won. 
(Include your first name and a valid email address so I can contact you if you win.)

For additional entries, follow The Northern Sea's Blog and like their Facebook Page.
(Each entry must be submitted in a separate comment in order to increase your chances of winning!)

The Giveaway ends on Sunday, May 5, at 10 PM (Central Time).

Good luck.
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