Postpartum Fashion, Bigger = Better!

Someone mentioned back in my Mother’s Day post that they wanted to see more fashion tips. I was both flattered and flabbergasted because I am hardly a fashionista – far from it – most weekend days I’m lounging around in my sweats!

My new postpartum body poses some fashion challenges too.. For example my best feature used to be my stomach. Yeah, not so much anymore. And it’s not that I haven’t lost most if not all of the baby “weight” because I have (for the most part), it’s just that my stomach poofs out now. I think it’s mostly actually ab muscles that were stretched beyond their breaking point and I haven’t had the time or energy to try to tighten back up now, but I’m sure there’s some extra skin and maybe fat there too.  The point is, it takes a little – ok a lot – more creative camouflaging these days.

80’s fashion to the rescue!!

Postpartum people rejoice, for we have been blessed by the gods of fashion: What can be better for poochy stomachs than the currently in style 80’s big shirt and tight pants look?

Pre-pregnancy I was NEVER a big shirt kind of girl, in fact, Hanes boys large white undershirts were a staple of my wardrobe. Yes boys size, not men! I was rarely without my midriff peaking through somewhere.  But now, how times have changed.. the 80’s big shirts are just what the doctor ordered to hide that problem area and – dare I say it – even feel a little fashionable in the process.

**This post will partly be an homage to H&M because that is where I buy 90% of my clothes.. if you don’t have an H&M in your neck of the woods I apologize!**

Here are a few examples of pieces that have worked for me. H&M doesn’t have an online store with product images so I had to take pictures of my wrinkled clothes (remember, I am living out of a suitcase!) draped over my bed.  You’ll have to use your imagination and just trust me when I say they look better on!


This is a long dress/shirt.  It is loose & tight at all the right places, i.e tighter around the leg/hip area and loose in the stomach area. looks great with black leggings!

I sort of lied about the big shirt/tight pants thing.. big shirts also look good with wide legged light fabric breezy pants like these:

Closeup to show you the super comfy drawstring top that feels like sweats when you have them on.. perfect for the first “real” pants after maternity pants transition:


This is an organic cotton “T-shirt” that I got for $5 at the summer sale they have going on right now! It’s soft, big and has a cute print:


Cute horse print shirt on sale for $10:


I have a picture of me wearing the horse shirt that I took this morning before I left for work.. clearly I have not mastered the art of self portraits!


And here’s one where you can see the pants better:


I’m going to let you in on  a little secret… those are h&m maternity pants! I am still wearing them because they are so comfortable and they are the only skinny leg jeans that look good on me.  I also have been wearing and loving their wide leg jeans.. the only non maternity jeans I have worn since giving birth.

So, weather you are a new mom or even pregnant now, H&M has something for you. And don’t forget about the babes either – just like his mama,  a good portion of Jasper’s wardrobe is from H&M baby!

For example this cute little organic cotton surfer t-shirt that was under $5:


Where else can you get organic cotton anything for under $5?  Plus, they don’t skimp on the details. for example, you’ll notice they have the snaps on the side of the neck.  Most of their pants have that expandable button/elastic so that you get a ton of use out of them.. Jasper wore his H&M corduroy pants for almost 6 months!!

Now I want to hear from you. How has your postpartum body changed your style? Do you find yourself buying the same clothes just in bigger sizes or are have you been forced to change your style altogether? Where are you shopping these days?

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Tiffany says:

My style has totally changed! I would have never worn a shirt-dress with leggens before I had Elizabeth “Bit.” I had big boobs but a flat stomach and tiny waste, so big tops made me look preggers when I wasn’t. Now I LIVE in shirt-dresses and leggens! Oh, and I’m a big fan of the big jewelry now, too (thank you 1980’s comeback).

erin says:

Oh, to have thighs like yours. Mine are genetically large and expanded with pregnancy. And my belly… oy. It’s only been 6 weeks, but still. We’re working on it.

Lately I’m into everything SOFT and natural. Soft soft soft. Super-soft knits and washed, soft denim and linens. Soft old cotton. Anything polyester has bee banished from my wardrobe. I guess I just feel like my skin in extra-sensitive now, but everything needs to be gentle. :)

vtjill says:

I know I’m late to the game but you look amazing. I understand it probably doesn’t feel that way to you but damn, girl, you look great! I tend to go back and forth between telling myself ‘it’s okay, you had a baby’ and ‘get your ass in gear, woman’. Trying to find a balance between those two voices!

Eva says:

You look amazing!! Those are some cute turquoise shoes you’ve got on, too!

My biggest gripe about my new body is the stretch marks!!! I got bad ones all across my tummy below the navel, and I just know they’ll never go away. I was already carrying some chub before I got pregnant so it’s not like I was showing my tummy all the time anyway. But it’s still kinda yucky to look at.

Small price to pay for my little girl though!

Stephanie says:

Oooooh – would you really? That would be sooooo great! They won’t need any over the summer and they are growing so quickly I’m afraid anything I got them now wouldn’t fit in the fall, but I may just have to shoot you an email in September reminding you of your offer. Their tights are THE CUTEST! :-)

Catherine says:

You look great! I totally didn’t expect this kind of pooch. Every one else I know keeps telling me how they got their old body back after like six weeks. I’ve still got 15 lbs and this tummy (I don’t even want to talk about the condition of my poor belly button). I had to go shopping for looser, flowy shirts… no more tight stuff from before. I really thought I would do a lot of exercising during my maternity leave, but I always chose hanging out with my daughter instead.

After reading your post, I think I need to go find an H&M around here…

Samm Ivri says:

Same as you. My belly is my only problem now. This doesnt sound bad, considering i lost all the weight. But believe me, its bad. I’ve been quite depressed over it, actually. I too had a very flat tummy and always wore tight shirts. Now, sometimes my belly looks so bloated (from a side view) that I just want to cry. ALl my jeans/pants fit fine. But I owuldnt dare wear most of my old shirts. Now i have to buy styles that are looser. Styles I dont even like. gah, i miss my old tummy. i know, so superficial. But I cant help it.

jbhat says:

I am here again to say that we got H&Ms in Seattle last year, but I was so bummed to learn that they don’t have sections for baby or children’s clothes! My CA friend dresses her boys in H&M everything all the time, and sends us cute H&M stuff at gifty time, so I know it’s out there. How could they do this to me??

FYI, for toddler boys, the Target Genuine Kids stuff is SUPER cute.

ariana says:

Steph, what sizes are your girls wearing? I’d be happy to pick you up some tights next time I’m there (which is really too often :)

Stephanie says:

Sigh – I miss H&M. We don’t have any in these parts, and as you mentioned, they don’t have an online store either.

Their baby clothes are fabulous – so soft and cute. Oh – and their baby/toddler/kid tights? AMAZING! They last and last. My one year old is wearing cotton tights that used to belong to her big sister and they still look like new. We have polka dot tights, striped tights, Piglet and Pooh tights, unicorn tights – you name it. All H&M, ridiculously cute, and really affordable too. Yay H&M!

chantal says:

I’m still about 10 pounds over my prepregnancy weight, and I think breastfeeding is preventing me from losing the last of the weight. Since none of my clothes fit, I’ve had to buy a few items. Since I had PUPPS when I was pregnant and it stayed for about three months after pregnancy (not as itchy, but still there) I now have lovely scars all over my arms and legs that I attempt to cover. I’m extremely jealous of your svelte figure and the fact that your arms are PUPPS-free.

Kristen says:

Pish, you’re stomach doesn’t pooch at all! No, I do know what you mean though, I look the same but know the difference of how it used to be. So sad. I’ve been forced to change my style altogether. I used to just wear kint Ts, not I have to wear more cotton shirts with a different fit. They’re more of a-line shirts that show off your arms but don’t cling on your stomach.

Alicia says:

Ariana – you look totally tiny and super-thin, and IF the camera adds weight, then I’m even more stinkin jealous! Well, its no wonder I suppose – all that chasing around after Jasper, photogging and blogging must burn an excessive amount of calories! But boy, you are a fashionista!!!

Allyson says:

Super cute stuff! You look really good for having a baby :)

PS: I still have a maternity skirt that I still wear cuz it’s sooo comfy. Very summery. Very cool.

Diana says:

you are so funny… you look great no belly at all….
I lost all baby pounds but my body is so different than before, even though i wieght the same as i did before i got pregnant but body for SURE is not the same… so hard to understand becuase i used to have a flat stomach and i no longer do.. i think it probably wont ever be the same… i had a c-secion and my belly is so soft :O( dont think it will ever be firm again… ahhhhhhhh i want to cry right nowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

You look so good! If what you’re saying is actually true about your stomach, you are hiding it REALLY WELL!
I wore maternity clothes one time after I came home from the hospital, then it was ugly elastic-waists to motivate to to get back into shape post-baby (and heal the c-section). I don’t think my mom and sister would have let me wear maternity clothes! I found that clothes from New York & Company were an afforable option for the time when I needed bigger sizes but still basic and fairly stylish pieces. The fit was perfect for my new “mom” body, too.

ariana says:

Sarah, at least you’re wearing one! I’m in complete denial that I’ll ever have to wear one again. Summer be dammned! (This plan may be complicated by the fact that my parents have a pool)

Sarah says:

Oh, the tummy, I know! Yours looks great, but despite the fact that I weigh LESS now than I did before I got pregnant (breastfeeding and loss of muscle due to the fact that I never have time for yoga anymore), I can’t get that stomach as flat as it used to be! I don’t know if it’s the c-section or the stretching of those muscles, but all it takes is a meal and it poofs right out! I’m wearing a one-piece bathing suit these days…

ariana says:

Kate, yes, me too!! They aren’t even real leather, but I love them :)

kate says:

Hey, I’ve got those shoes! Target right? I get compliments every time I wear them!

ariana says:

jb you have just confirmed my biggest fear: Gaining weight once I stop BF! Good point about the healthy example..

jbhat says:

OMG, you are so slim and svelte. You really do look amazing.

I became so skinny after our first kiddo, from all the walking and breastfeeding, that I worried something was wrong with me! Of course, since I hate to exercise, once I stopped b-feeding, I gained all sorts of weight. But I have sworn to myself that I will adopt a new attitude about exercise once this new baby is born. In addition to wanting to be healthy and not have to feel awful in clothes (even though there may be helpful cuts out there), I want to know that I am setting a positive example for her. It’s going to be hard, but I have promised.

ariana says:

Thanks guys, really though, most days I still look like I’m at least 5 months pregnant!

Lou, it will come off.. it may not seem like it now, but it will I promise. The pooch is another story though!

You look freaking amazing!

I had to break down and buy some new shorts the other day, seeing as how I’m still 20 lbs. heavier than I was before Wes. I wanted to cry! Otherwise, I’m still wearing maternity jeans, too.

Everyday I keep saying I’m going to start exercising, but I’m so just darn tired.

But you look amazing, really!

Kimberly says:

Hey, nice Speedlite! :)
I’d say you’re looking like a hot mama!
As they say, having a baby does indeed chang everything. I’ve lost all of my baby weight and then some just from breastfeeding and eating mostly well. But the abs are soft and a little poochy and I feel almost naked if I don’t layer a long cami or tank under most shirts. I wore a couple pairs of my favorite maternity jeans and khakis until pretty recently… Gap and old navy. I’m also loving the blousier styles that are so in right now. Fashion is really favoring us, isn’t it? Empire waists when we were pg and now this! A lot of my newer, postpRtum tops are from Express. I’d post links if I weren’t posting on my iPhone from the LA airport! ;)

ariana says:

Thanks heather. I wasn’t going to even go near bathing suits with a 10 foot pole.. and that includes even TALKING about them! ;)

Heather says:

Ohhh…that post baby stomach pooch. I look like a wilted pear! I’m not sure if it was because i had a c-secion, or a 10lb. baby, but after 15 months (and I do excercise…sort of), I just don’t think it’s going to go away. I actually went BATHING SUIT shopping last weekend. Lord & Taylor had a sale, 25% off (not sure if it’s still going on). I have (almost) give up the thought that I’ll ever wear a bikini again, and have now settled on tankinis.

I think lo rise pants work well, and loose t-shirts like you’ve shown. Regardless, you look adorable, and so does Jasper, so no worries!