Ever since high school, I have been someone who loves clothing. It didn’t matter if I was going out for dinner or simply running errands at Trader Joe’s. I always did so dressed up in a maxi dress or long, flowing skirt. Far from being something I did for others, dressing up is something I always did for myself—I always felt most confident when I was wearing a dress I really loved. All of this important background information for when I tell you that I had a total and complete postpartum style crisis after having my daughter.
Let me start by saying that I actually really loved dressing myself throughout my pregnancy. Granted, this was my first pregnancy, so I had no other child to look after during this time. But my wardrobe of flowing dresses and maxi skirts lent itself well to my changing body. In fact, aside from a few maternity essentials I bought from HATCH and Old Navy, most of my pre-pregnancy dresses from brands like Free People and DÔEN worked nearly up to my due date.
But, there’s something very strange and not often talked about that happens between the end of pregnancy and the months following postpartum. When I was hugely pregnant, I had no issue showing off my body in whatever style I was wearing. The way I saw it, I was creating a whole human life. And I felt pretty darn proud of the work it was doing. But, after giving birth, that pride in my body switched off like a light switch. Instead, it was replaced by something akin to shame. And I felt the need to hide that same belly that had held my daughter for ten long months.
But, after giving birth, that pride in my body switched off like a light switch. Instead, it was replaced by something akin to shame, and I felt the need to hide that same belly that had held my daughter for ten long months.
My body felt like a stranger to me. And suddenly, my entire closet seemed to look like it belonged to someone else. This was the beginning of my postpartum style crisis, one that has gone on for ten long months and still persists to this day.
Accepting a New Style—Even if Temporary
Once I began to at least acknowledge the existence of my new body, the next stage of my postpartum style crisis set in: My daughter became mobile. It only took a few times attempting to crawl around on the floor in a maxi dress with my daughter to realize that my old style wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I needed a change. And, without meaning to, my style inspiration became none other than Ms. Rachel (yes, that Ms. Rachel).
I cannot emphasize enough that this was not a conscious decision. It’s not as if I was on my 30th go-round singing along to “Wheels on the Bus” and was suddenly struck with the thought, “Gee, maybe I should buy some overalls and a pink headband.” Instead, the first overall purchase happened without much thought, picking up a pair of Free People Shortalls with the intention to just “try them out.”
It only took a few times attempting to crawl around on the floor in a maxi dress with my daughter to realize that my old style wasn’t going to cut it anymore. I needed a change. And, without meaning to, my style inspiration became none other than Ms. Rachel (yes, that Ms. Rachel).
Dear reader, that first overall purchase was like a gateway drug. After previously not owning a pair of overalls since the age of seven, I now own three pairs. The only real way I can describe it is that my mind subconsciously said something along the lines of, “I have no idea how to dress for this phase of my life… who do myself and my baby look up to as an expert on this subject?” The answer, of course, is Ms. Rachel.
All jokes aside, my postpartum style crisis has taught me something really important: Just like everything with a baby, this is a phase, and it will pass. I have had so much trouble temporarily giving up my pre-baby wardrobe because it feels like I’m giving up a major part of myself. But instead, I’ve chosen to look at it as a temporary change done simply for practicality. Being a mom to an 11-month-old often means getting on the floor to crawl around or getting food flung at you. My previous style hasn’t gone away forever. It’s just expanded to include more practical items of clothing—including some killer overalls.
Essentials That Worked for Me Postpartum
For any of my fellow new moms going through a postpartum style crisis, here are a few of the key items I’ve found to be essential. They’re functional basics that can be mixed and matched with some of your favorite items. Meaning, they’re perfect for bringing a little bit of your personal style into your new mom life. And yes, they include overalls.
Overalls and a Peasant Top Blouse
A white T-shirt under overalls looks great. But when I’m looking to bring a little more of my personal style into the mix, I like to pair them with a top that has sleeves that look like they’re straight out of an episode of Bridgerton. My favorite pairing is my Free People Ziggy Shortalls, which have the perfect level of comfort and functionality, with my beloved DÔEN Tennessee Top. Any favorite blouse underneath your overalls of choice works perfectly.
Even pre-pregnancy, I would’ve told you it’s impossible to find a pair of shorts that fit me. I’m short and even when I was young enough to pull them off, I couldn’t stand the look of cut-off shorts. But, I need something that comes before hitting Bermuda territory. I’ve found two shorts that I’m willing to go out on a limb in calling the perfect pairs. There’s the splurgier AGOLDE Parker Long Shorts, which have an eyebrow-raising price, but are genuinely that good. They’re comfy and flattering in all the right ways. Then there’s the Abercrombie Curve Love High Rise Dad Short. Which I would happily own in every color if my budget would allow it.
Rompers and Jumpsuits
Rompers and jumpsuits have become a perfect compromise for a dress-lover like me. The Free People Crush & Blush Romper is flowy and makes me feel like I’m wearing a mini dress. While the Old Navy Smocked Romper is a little more structured and looks perfect paired with some white sneakers.
Bike Shorts and Oversized Sweatshirt
It’s the loungewear I simply couldn’t live without at this point—bike shorts and an oversized sweatshirt. It’s a pairing you just can’t go wrong with. And I love the budget-friendly Aerie Bike Shorts and Old Navy Oversized Sweatshirt for a cozy outfit that still looks really cute.