fashion

"Everything must have pockets." 5 women on how their style changed after motherhood.

When you first become a mum, there is so much going on physically and emotionally that the last thing you should be worried about is what you are wearing. 

But for many women, a sense of style and comfort in their clothes is part of who they are. So when your body drastically changes at the same time as your day-to-day life, many mums find their style has to adapt. At least temporarily.

Mamamia spoke to six mums about how their style and relationship with clothes changed after motherhood. 

Watch: The things pregnant women never say. Post continues below. 


Video via Mamamia.

Plus, we got some style tips from mum-of-two and Carolina Lifestyle founder Carolina Giraldo, for anyone struggling to know what to wear in this new phase of life.

1. Karina

"I’m a first time mum to a seven-month-old and I’ve found style and clothes a bit of a challenge for a couple of reasons.

"Firstly, most of my clothes are impractical for breastfeeding. Secondly, my boob size has increased, meaning half the stuff I could wear doesn’t fit. Lastly, I want to feel put together but also comfortable and effortless and all of this unfortunately requires effort.

"I’m about to go back to work and even though I mostly work from home, I still felt like a lot of my existing work clothes just wouldn’t work for expressing. So despite hating waste, I’ve ended up feeling like I needed to shop for some new clothes. I think there’s a psychological part of shopping that makes you feel better, and when you’re sleep deprived, that dopamine hit is a bit addictive. The Iconic does not cry or scream at me!

"And then there are shoes. RIP to my heel collection. I have worn high heels once this year out of the house, which was to a wedding. They hurt so much I think I actually cried. If it’s not the pain, it’s the fear I will trip while holding my child. At least I’m comfortable, I suppose."

Image: Supplied. 

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2. Eliza

"I feel like I just don't have (or prioritise) a sense of style anymore after two kids. I just can’t summon the energy or time.

"COVID didn't help either, as activewear and comfy loungewear are my staple wardrobe now. The thought of wearing jeans whilst bending down to pick up kids makes me squirm. 

"Also, all jackets and pants must have pockets. I don't bother having a handbag anymore either - I opt for a trusty backpack all the way."

Eliza's 'day to day' mum outfit, including her trusty backpack. Image: Supplied. 

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3. Rachel

"I am a 31-year-old mother of a 16-month-old, and I’m still very much trying to find my style postpartum.

"One week postpartum, I had my first outing minus bub. I went for two hours to the local shops and got a few new button-up tops to feed in and some new bras for my engorged boobs.

"I later progressed into the typical new mum uniform - nursing bra, activewear and oversized tee. I also understood why mums often wear baseball caps. THE HAIR REGROWTH!

"I am now 16 months postpartum and I've been back at work for four months. I initially struggled with my body image as I wasn't able to fit into all of my pre-baby clothes. So I had a big 'f**k it' day - I hit the sales and bought some new pants, skirts and tops.

"This has given me such a much needed confidence boost, motivating me to lay my outfit out the night before work. It might be a small luxury to buy a few extra things but for me it’s made a world of a difference."

Rachel in her 'mumiform'. Image: Supplied.  

4. Elise

"I used to love clothes shopping; going into stores and trying on outfits, keeping up to date with trends, and buying a new outfit for every occasion. 

"Once I became a mum, that all stopped out of necessity. I can no longer spend hours in clothes stores. If I'm lucky, I can pop into one shop by bribing my four-year-old with a milkshake, while the baby is asleep. 

"I'm no longer interested in 'fast fashion', opting for lasting items because I know I don't have time or energy to try to stay 'current' in trends. I still want to look decent though, which can be difficult when you're breastfeeding."

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Elise's bump style. Image: Supplied. 

5. Amy

"I have found it hard going from wearing a set uniform for work to finding something to wear every day on maternity leave. I actually ended up buying a 'uniform' so I didn’t have to pick something every day.

"Also, I found it tricky finding clothes that worked for feeding, I found that range quite limited and I had to get inventive.

"I also found it hard to find comfortable pants. I found that high waisted items were often uncomfortable with my c-section scar and post-baby belly."

Listen to What Are You Wearing, Mamamia's podcast for your wardrobe. Post continues below.

Style tips from Carolina Giraldo.

Before Carolina gave birth to her two children, she felt like she could buy almost anything straight off the rack without a second thought. 

"I was aware of my body shape, what suited me, and I was confident in my personal style," the founder of fashion label Carolina told Mamamia.

"But when you become a mother, your priorities change. Suddenly style wasn’t the number one factor when choosing items for my post baby wardrobe. I started to appreciate garments that were comfortable and versatile.  

"I still wanted to look good, but if it wasn’t comfortable - forget it! I think the biggest lesson I learnt when rediscovering my style after motherhood is that just because you’re comfortable, doesn’t mean you can’t look fabulous!"

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Here are Carolina's top tips for dressing after motherhood:

1. Prioritise good quality and versatile staples that can create a long list of different outfits with just a few pieces. 

Creating a capsule wardrobe with pieces that can be worn at any time can simplify your decisions when you need to leave the house quickly. A few staples in my wardrobe are a linen blazer, black wide leg jeans, and a floral printed midi skirt.

Focus on building your capsule wardrobe over time. You want to be able to purchase something and know that you’ll keep it and wear it for years to come, getting you your money’s worth.

2. Use accessories to your advantage! 

If you have those great quality staples on rotation, adding pops of colour with bright coloured earrings, or a printed scarf can really change up any look in just a few minutes. It also makes you feel a little extra put together, with minimal effort.  

3. If you're breastfeeding, go for darker colours.

White or light colours can quickly show breastmilk and baby vomit, or if you’re a multitasker like me and try to eat on the run, it’s almost guaranteed you will drop food on your whites too. Sticking to a darker colour palette when you’re on the go will give you that extra confidence. Button down tops are also convenient when you’re breastfeeding because easy access is key!

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Carolina Giraldo and her two children. Image: Supplied. 

4. Spend a bit more but buy less.  

Looking for brands that consider the environment is definitely the way forward. Those brands may be more expensive, however, because they’re not churning out thousands and thousands of garments cheaply and often.

I try to think of the cost per wear. If I buy something that’s good quality in terms of fabric and construction, that produces a much lower cost per wear than something I’m going to have to replace after one season. 

5. Investing in yourself and the way you dress is not selfish.

It’s important to take your time and embrace those parts of you that have changed and remind yourself of what your journey looked like to get you to where you are today. 

Find clothes that make you feel good. This idea that looking after yourself or caring about clothes or makeup once you’ve had kids is 'shallow' is outdated. I really believe that fashion is a form of self care. 

We all dress to feel good about ourselves, and as mums we’re so used to putting everyone else first. Choosing clothes that make you feel confident and happy in yourself can totally change the way you carry yourself in your day.

Laura Jackel is Mamamia's Family Writer. For links to her articles and to see photos of her outfits and kids, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

Feature image: Supplied.

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