Wear & Tear (Part 2 of 2): Dressing the postpartum body

Breast pumps, teething, day care – it’s all so new to a first-time mom. On top of the Baby 101 crash course, many of us are trying to navigate our bodies and closets. Our parts are bigger, wider, lower or just different than they used to be. As one friend pointed out, despite returning to pre-pregnancy weight, her body has morphed into an unfamiliar shape. Dare we attempt to wear something fancier than track pants and a nursing tank, we can find ourselves in foreign and dangerous territory. See “Wear & Tear, Part 1” for my first hand account.

My ‘no-more-tears’ transformation started with the all-important jean purchase. More than a month later, I am still loving my Yoga Jeans. Yay! But that local buy was all the shopping I had the time and energy for. I took the rest of my clothing calamity to a professional – style savvy mama, Onika Blackman-Lloyd.

As the mother of a baby boy, Onika understands the challenges I face. Throughout our meeting, she nodded knowingly to all of my concerns:

  • Comfort is a priority for long summer walks
  • Breastfeeding must be easily accommodated
  • The bank cannot be broken with high-priced items
  • Figure-flattering and maintaining my “earthy, sexy, cool” style are a must

Closet Clear-out

It was so reality TV.  Onika stood by as I diligently sorted my wardrobe into “wear”, “save” and “toss”. Only the items that I still love AND can comfortably wear right now made the first string i.e. front of the closet. The rest got benched or trashed. And a few adopted by Onika.

As a result, I have a lot less in my closet. But boy, was she right. Opening the closet and staring at only great options does make getting dressed a lot more pleasant! Fitted tees, I’ll see you next year.

The plan

Shopping List

I answered a few questions about lifestyle, budget, likes and dislikes. From that Onika composed a shopping list complete with our destination shops. The plan was to hit one store for budget basics, another store for fun pieces and affordable accessories, and Value Village for some unique thrift finds. We budgeted $200-300 for tanks, tees, tops, capris, skirts and accessories – a complete transitional summer wardrobe. Also on the agenda was an injection of  feel-good colours.


Despite being busty and muscular, by body is fairly straight. Think less hour glass and more grandfather clock, LOL. My naturally thick now pudgy torso is a definite sore spot after baby. And I never did get those child-bearing hips that perhaps would create the illusion of a narrower waist. Onika suggested looking for tops that taper in at the abdomen (above the waist) then flow away from my waistline. Vee-neck shirts, pencil skirts and regular-rise pants would also work in my favour.

Beaded tank and bangle

White capris & bronze flip flops


Tank tops, graphic tees, capris and sandals are all great basics for a summer wardrobe. Dressed up or down, these essential pieces would allow me to step out in style without too much effort. And yes, I realize the white is a little daring. No peas or carrots will be served those days!

My new Ione's Dream purchase. Reserved for adult functions!


Jewellery, scarves and bags are an easy way to add flair to a basic wardrobe. The only trick here is finding baby-friendly pieces. I opted for some new bracelets. Sadly, I’ll have to save most of my earrings and necklaces for adult functions.


I gotta say I LOVED this process! As shopping-savvy as I am, it was a luxury to have somebody else do all the digging and sorting. This was by far the most focused and efficient shopping I’ve ever done – with or without baby. I even felt a bit like a pampered celebrity. Tell me every new mom couldn’t use a dose of that!

Tribal print shirt, Yoga jeans, Gladiator sandals and coloured bangles

Our first of two shopping days netted me two pairs of capris, one pair of sandals, two tanks, one graphic tee, three tops and a slew of bracelets. Any of these ten components can be mixed and matched into a number of ensembles. Yep, just like you see in the magazines. I can’t tell you the joy this has brought to my life. Not only do I love dressing my little one in the mornings, I love dressing me too. Is it a mind-trick or do I find myself feeling slimmer and fitter now too? What a far cry from where I was in March. There are officially no more tears!

What are/were your most form-flattering,  go-to items after baby?

BTW – You can read about this experience from Onika’s point-of-view at http://makemestylish-onika.blogspot.com/2010/05/stylish-new-mommy-give-yourself-early.html?spref=fb



Filed under Real Life, Series

9 responses to “Wear & Tear (Part 2 of 2): Dressing the postpartum body

  1. kellycangus

    You look fantastic!! How can I hook up with this shopping guru?

  2. Pauline

    So so so cool!! Debbie, you are truly inspiring!

  3. So much love! Thanks for the links.

    Michelle (ione’s mum)

  4. happy mommy’s day! you’ve got a great sense of style. just found your blog.

  5. Great points! I will be checking back here often!

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