Home > Postpartum > Style > What To Buy > I Just Don’t Know What to Wear Anymore

After you emerge from your newborn milky state, and weeks spent in sweats, pregnancy jeans and pyjamas. There comes a time when you’re ready to wear real clothes again. 

But often, the wardrobe you once wore and loved, either no longer fits or can feel alien. 

And the idea of buying a shed load of clothes that suit the ‘new you’ can feel pretty daunting. And quite honestly, a bit shit. 

But what if the ‘new you’ isn’t ‘new you’? Or ‘old you’? 

It was just you! 

And maybe buying yourself a few new items that flatter your figure right now, and make you feel great, is precisely what you need to do. 

But starting can often feel like the most challenging part, especially when you have zero time for yourself.

So to help, we spoke to five new mums, of all different shapes and sizes, and brought in leading stylist Sarah Barlow to offer them some advice.

You might not feel exactly as they do but hopefully if you’re in a similar place, some of the advice below might help you feel like you again.

“I’ve lost my sense of style and feel frumpy.”

CHARLIE – Baby’s age: 11 months

“After years of fertility drugs, then two babies back-to-back, my body is completely unrecognisable to me. I’m happy and proud of what it’s done, but I also don’t identify with what I see in photos, and I feel the extra dress sizes have made me lose confidence.”

“I used to be able to spot something that would suit me immediately. Now those styles cling in the wrong places and don’t work for my new shape. The worse thing is that I also feel this ages me, and I feel frumpy. I just can’t dress myself anymore.”

“I am about to return to work and feel like I need a whole new capsule wardrobe, but I just don’t know where to start. I almost feel my fashion sense has been removed from my brain!”

“I tend to live in tiered dresses or leggings with an oversized shirt (leather look for the office and activewear for the mum run). Both styles help to camouflage my stomach, which is still very “pregnant” looking. However, they make me feel very mumsy and can accentuate my problem areas. I wish I could wear trousers (especially wide-leg) and tuck tops in, but due to my stomach, I just can’t as the side profile is too body shape revealing for me.”

Sarah Barlow’s Style Advice

You’re not mumsy because you’re a mum

“You’ve been on such a journey, so I’m not surprised you feel this way. What you’re already wearing sounds cool. And because you’ve become a mum, you now think that what you’re wearing looks mumsy. But it’s not. It’s normal to lose confidence, but I reckon other people look at you and think you’ve got your shit together.”

This is a cool outfit

“I love that you’re wearing leather trousers or black leggings with an oversized shirt. It’s such a cool outfit. As things get colder, I’d keep wearing that look and team it with a sneaker and a longline coat.”

Build a capsule wardrobe

“Yes! A capsule wardrobe is exactly what you should try and start building. Opt for neutral colours, like navy, white, tan, ochre and grey. They are timeless and classic, and you’ll always be able to pick those out.”

How to wear wide-legged trousers

“You absolutely could wear wide-leg trousers. I’d go for a classic navy with a front-line pleat, as the volume starts at the top rather than halfway, which means it’s not tight fitting at the top. It also gives you the ability to tuck things in. Look for fine knit jumpers or tops, nothing bulky, so you can loosely place them in.”

“I feel completely overwhelmed.”

LYDIA – Baby’s age: 10 months

“I have a wardrobe full of beautiful clothes that I’ve collected throughout the years. Some designer, but most high-street items, I feel I’ll never find again. And while I hope to get back into some of them, maybe it’s time to let go of a lot of it and start again.”

“Even if I did have space in my diary for a solo shopping trip (which I don’t!), I can’t think of anything worse. Spending a whole day trying on clothes that no longer suit me or make me look frumpy fills me with dread.”

“I’ve never liked my bottom half, so I always wore dresses and jeans that showed off my upper body. However, now I have a bit of a tummy the tightly fitting tops in my wardrobe make me feel self-conscious. Plus, all the items that showed off my skinny chest and toned shoulders were worn without a bra, which is now necessary. And don’t even get me started on bras. I feel like my whole underwear draw has got to go!”

Sarah Barlow’s Style Advice

Go underwear shopping

“80% of British women are wearing the wrong-sized bra, so you’re not alone. Start with the foundations and get your underwear draw in order. I know it seems like a big ask but take a day out and go. I rate Bravissimo. The women that do the fittings are so expert. They’ll help you get to grips with your boobs as they are, and I bet that when you do this and re-try on your wardrobe, some of the items that don’t fit you right now suddenly will.”

Buy new key pieces

“Get a great fitting pair of jeans, whether that’s a flare, straight or skinny and try on a few new styles so you find the right one for you. Once you have, get a dark wash and a paler shade and it will make getting dressed seem like a doddle.”

Pick one item at a time

“Don’t overwhelm yourself. Choose one item (say jeans) and get each one right before you move on to the next. If you don’t have time for the shops, then online shopping is great, just whack it on the credit card and have a try on when the kids have gone to bed.”

Try rental items

“If you feel like you’re in an interim period with your wardrobe, you can always try renting a few items instead of committing to a new style. It’s a great way to experiment with fashion without wasting a lot of money and especially good if you have special events to go to.”

“I need trousers that flatter my tummy.”

Lauren – Baby’s age: 8 months

“Being a first-time mum, I had no idea it would take this long for my tummy to go down. Everywhere else has taken 6 months to look like it is back to normal, but I feel like my stomach will never be the same.”

“I had a c-section and struggled with recovery and exercise. Going to the gym and spa has helped. But my stomach, 8 months on, is still sensitive and returning to work hasn’t helped as I have even less time for myself.”

“I pulled all my jeans down a few weeks ago, and none would do up. I have slim legs, so a bigger size just looks wrong. I feel that wearing slim or skinny jeans might not be an option anymore. I would love not to have to cover my stomach with shirts or baggy tops, and I have no idea how to style myself as that usually would never have been a problem.”

Sarah Barlow’s Style Advice

“Your baby is so little. Please be kind to yourself. Your stomach might never be the same, and that’s ok, but it also might change without you doing anything at all. Give it time.”

Jean styles that suit you

“A straighter cut might be better for you, and they’re also more on trend than a skinny right now. But the perfect pair of jeans is one item that takes a while to find. However, once you’ve got your favourite, you can just rebuy in a different shade or colour. So book a day out for yourself and go and try a load on.”

The best trousers for you

“Right now, drawstring waists are your friend. We often think of them as casual items, but the fashion industry has embraced them (probably due to COVID), and they’ve become extremely stylish. Leather drawstring trousers are especially cool, and you could wear these with a knitted vest, a blazer, and heeled ankle boots. Or they also look great with a classic white shirt and trainers.”

Try out a jumpsuit

“Jumpsuits with a tie waist work in the same way as a drawstring trouser and will pull you in and flatter your figure.”

“I want to feel confident again”

TEL – Baby’s age: 7 months

“I look at my body in the mirror and wonder who that person is. I’m grateful for what my body has given me, but also, it’s taken a lot from me. I’ve never been tiny, but I hate looking at myself in photos, and I HATE trying to buy clothes.”

“I look at my wardrobe and just want to stay in my pj’s. As my return to work gets closer, I have nothing that fits, and I don’t know how to dress anymore.”

“I haven’t tried to lose weight; however, my weight does seem to be settling a little. But right now, I want to wear clothes with confidence.”

Sarah Barlow’s Style Advice

The best dress to buy

“Firstly, can I say that you have literally just had a baby, so please go easy on yourself. But while you build up your confidence again, I’d get a few dresses that you feel incredible in. The number one item to pick up is a great wrap dress. They show off your waistline. They’re figure-flattering – so you still see a bit of shape. And they’re not frumpy like you mentioned. And they’re also not super tight.”

Treat yourself to some key pieces 

“Dependant on where and when you’re wearing it, you can team them with different boots, which means you can keep rocking them out if you’re going out in the day or night. You mentioned that your shape is changing already, and as time goes on (and it takes time, so please be kind to yourself), you’ll find that many pieces in your wardrobe will start to fit you. So, in the meantime, treat yourself to a few new items that make you feel special again.”

Tie jumpsuits are the one

“Jumpsuits are also great for this stage, especially thicker cargo styles that have a tie at the waist, they do the same thing as a wrap dress for your shape, and you can wear them with trainers and boots and also heels.”

“You might live in a few statement things for a while, but that’s ok. A lot of the time, only you will notice that, and no one else.”

“I hate my tummy and need some new tops”

Beth – Baby’s age: 1 year

“My tummy is so flabby, like jelly. I’ve got a big roll of skin that just hangs down, and I hate that I can see it in everything I wear. I feel so conscious of it. My son loves blowing raspberries on it, which is cute, but I just don’t feel confident in anything I wear, so I opt for baggy everything, which makes me feel huge. I’d love tips on how to dress my tummy roll and feel confident in clothes again.”

Sarah Barlow’s Style Advice

“I had this exact issue after I had my baby and I loved to wear a peplum-shaped top as they cinch in at the waist and then go out. They are great as they flatter your figure and pull you in but cover the area you’re worried about.”

Make the most of your waist

“Wrap styles that tie at the side are also good, and you can wear this cut in both tops and dresses. It’s not a baggy shape, and it’s brilliant at shaping curvier figures.”

Shapewear isn’t what it used to be

“I’m not saying that you need it at all, but if you want to wear something more tight fitting, then shapewear is worth looking into. It’s moved a long way away from those awful garments that used to stop us from breathing. These days, shapewear is more about flattering your figure and giving you confidence.”

But also, please remember that you don’t need to hide your tummy. I know it can feel impossible but try and appreciate your new curve.   

“I want to find nice tops that fit over my boobs that don’t make me look mumsy.”

IZZY – Baby’s age 1 year

“My main issue with clothes is that my shape completely changed after having a baby, so I didn’t really know what suited me anymore. A combination of two years of lockdown and a painful post-c-section belly meant I was always in leggings. Which is not a good look.”

“I had a stylist appointment about six months ago, and it was one of the best things I have ever done. I now know the sort of things to wear, and it gave me loads more confidence. However, I am constantly on the hunt for nice tops that fit over my boobs that don’t make me feel mumsy or my boobs look saggy!”

Sarah Barlow’s Style Advice

Get yourself fitted

“Firstly, the right bra is essential, so make sure you get fitted as your boobs change so much when you become a mum.”

An excellent outfit for the office 

“Tank tops are currently having a moment, and it may seem scary for girls with big boobs, but if the scoop of the tank top isn’t too low and you’re wearing the right fitting bra, it can look effortlessly chic. I’d pair it with a tailored blazer, some jeans, and a slingback heel, and this will look great in the office or on a night out.”

Shirts will look great on you

“I love a PJ-style shirt for women with bigger boobs; they are V-necked (which is your perfect shape) and have a long lapel, so they help elongate your torso. I like to keep one side tucked into trousers and the other out, so you show off your waistline and curve and the other side makes things a bit looser. This is great if you’re conscious of your tummy, as wearing it this way gives you a little bit of coverage and confidence but still looks seriously cool.”

“Team it with straight-legged jeans with a bit of stretch (so you can tuck in). Or for a bolder look, find the matching pyjama trouser (if it exists).” 

Meet the stylist

Dressing celebs, models and real women for over 10 years, Sarah knows a thing or two about shape and style. And she’s also a mum (so she gets it!).
She told us, “Your confidence can take a knock after you’ve had a baby. The wardrobe you once wore can seem untouchable, and everything you buy online goes back in the post. “However, there are many things you can do to change your outlook and your outfits.”

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however, we may make a commission on some products.

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