Finding Your Style — After Baby


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Shirts stained with spit-up, too-snug pants, blouses with buttons bursting from their seams — any new mom can tell you about the challenges of dressing for the "fourth trimester." Not only has your body experienced massive changes, but this new little person in your life makes taking a shower seem as accomplishable as scaling Mount Everest.

It's important, however, for new moms to recapture their sense of style and, in turn, a sense of themselves. Postpartum can be a time of massive hormone swings, and the thought of trying to squeeze into skinny jeans can bring even the steeliest mother to tears. But before you make yoga pants your daily uniform, check out our experts' advice for revamping your wardrobe to look  — and feel — great. (Pictured above, The mom of 7-month-old twins Carter and Bryant, Sarah Hunt keeps fashion at the forefront by donning a jean jacket over her outfit — an easy way to add a little color. Armed with tips from Charlotte stylist Whitney Hamlin, Hunt also likes to trade flats for boots, incorporate fun jewelry, slip on a maxi dress, and add colorful accessories like beach bags, bangles and clutches. Photo courtesy of Donna Jernigan of Moments by Donna)

Expect body changes

Although you hear time and time again, "It takes nine months to put the weight on, you should expect nine months to take it off," it can still be difficult for new moms to accept that their body looks vastly different than it did before having a baby.

"Postpartum body changes can be hard to adjust to," says Dr. Melanie Schwartz, an OB-GYN in Winston-Salem. "Most women are not back into their pre-pregnancy clothes for six months."

Chest size can increase (especially if breastfeeding) or decrease (if not breastfeeding, or after completion), hair loss is common, and even foot size can change. Schwartz encourages women to give their new bodies a break.

"These are normal changes that most all women experience, and it is not realistic to expect to return to normal overnight," she says. "Respect your body and the amazing job it has just performed."

Professionals 'weigh in'

The perpetually pulled-together Michele Little, president and CEO of One Chic Mama in the Triangle, reminds moms to take comfort in the fact that every woman deals with feelings of insecurity.

"After my first shower at home I was scared to look at my body in the mirror, but when I did, I was flooded with gratitude for the beautiful baby my body had produced," she says.

Whitley Hamlin, a Charlotte stylist and writer of "The Queen City Style" blog, struggled with her post-baby body. Shortly after giving birth, she headed to Target to purchase some great loungewear, inexpensive workout clothes and running shoes. After Hamlin's doctor said she could exercise and felt well-enough rested, the pieces helped motivate her to resume a fitness routine.

Opt for stylish comfort

Because of the changes your body has experienced, you may be shopping for new pieces for your wardrobe. Comfort is important, but you can be comfortable without sacrificing style. Little suggests taking a soft approach to fashion.

"Some of my favorite go-to pieces are layers. I would layer a nylon tank under just about all my tops because it created a sleeker line and the fabric didn't highlight my extra weight," she says. "Wearing tops that have ruching on the sides or down the middle is key in disguising a tummy, and wearing pants and skirts that have some stretch, while still helping you to look chic, is essential as your body shifts."

Hamlin recommends items with stretch and woven materials. "A wrap dress is the most universally flattering, and it's comfortable," she says. Hamlin wore her maternity clothes for months after her son was born, and then relied on a Bella Band (an expander that covers your belly and can give your shirts extra length).

Focus on accessories and details

Hamlin and Little hail accessories as postpartum lifesavers. "Accessories are huge, and when you take the time to wear a little bling it makes you feel more put-together and adds a shot of style," Little says. She recommends starting with a diaper bag you love. "You're going to be carrying it a lot, so why not opt for one that's chic and stylish?"

Jewelry can bring light to your face, Little says, which is especially helpful when you're sporting unattractive-but-unavoidable dark under-eye circles. Highlighting a well-deserved pedicure with fun flats or sandals can do wonders.

"Accessories are such a fun way to really define your own personal style," Hamlin says. "I so try to subscribe to the whole 'less is more' thing, but what can I say, more is more!"

She recommends a killer scarf and stylish sunglasses — another great way to camouflage signs of late-night feedings. "It doesn't matter who you are, or how much or little you spend here, there is nothing more chic than a gorgeous silk scarf tied around your crown and an oversized pair of sunglasses."

Simplify work outfits

Many new mothers will head back to the workforce, and dealing with child care and logistics can be stressful. Little and Hamlin emphasize that you have a lot to deal with already — it's most important to take it easy on yourself.

Start by picking clothes that you feel comfortable wearing, even if they aren't necessarily the ones you fit into before pregnancy. Now might be the time to ditch the high heels (at least temporarily), since balancing a baby carrier while tottering into a child care facility may add another challenge in your morning routine.

Moms who are pumping at work may want to invest in a high-quality nursing bra. Also, Little suggests taking pictures of outfits that work together ahead of time, so you don't have to stress on harried mornings.

"Wear only what you love, because you need every little boost you can get," Little advises.

Amy Salvatore Reiss is a freelance writer and mother of two in Davidson. The best postpartum investment she made was a fabulous Coach diaper bag, which she used long after the toddler stage.

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The Engage Art Contest is a juried competition for original Visual Art, Music Video, Film and Performing Arts. The topic is the Spiritual Battle described in Ephesians 6:10-20 and related...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online
PO Box 78951
Charlotte, NC  28271
View map »


Sponsor: Engage Art Contest
Telephone: 980-999-1447
Contact Name: Ranika Chaney
Website »

More information

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923
Palo Alto, NC  94306
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Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle
Website »

More information

FREE Webinar on topics relevant to children and mental health: join us during your lunch breaks on Mondays and Fridays at 12:00n. This resource was developed by faculty in the Duke Department of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Zoom
Link to be provided the morning of the event via our Facebook page
, NC
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More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

It's time to play... TAKEOUT BINGO!!!  Take a screenshot or download the game board. Mark off the locations you visit. Share your progress on Facebook and Instagram using #CRTakeoutBingo. Send...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Crossroads Plaza
Crossroad Blvd
Suite 215
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Sponsor: Crossroads Plaza/ Kimco Realty
Telephone: 864-979-2291
Contact Name: Katie Earnhardt
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

Art Walk featuring local galleries and artist studios in historic downtown Hillsborough on the Last Friday of every month (no Art Walk in December).

Cost: FREE

Where:
Downtown Hillsborough (multiple locations)
102 N. Churton St.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Hillsborough Arts Council
Telephone: 919-643-2500
Contact Name: Torey Mishoe
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Creativity In Bloom provides a platform for encouraging community involvements, celebrating green ideas, and showcasing creative and practical green projects. Aiming to inspire efforts for a...

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: We Sense
Website »

More information

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The Engage Art Contest is a juried competition for original Visual Art, Music Video, Film and Performing Arts. The topic is the Spiritual Battle described in Ephesians 6:10-20 and related...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online
PO Box 78951
Charlotte, NC  28271
View map »


Sponsor: Engage Art Contest
Telephone: 980-999-1447
Contact Name: Ranika Chaney
Website »

More information

Forget tourist-filled museums, make your own memories with a photo scavenger hunt tour in Raleigh! On a Let’s Roam scavenger hunt, you and your team will work together to wander throughout...

Cost: $11

Where:
500 S Salisbury St
raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Website »

More information

Farmers markets are essential to the livelihood of farmers and food producers and are exempt from the Governor's Stay at Home Order (page 6). Farmers markets offer an efficient way for residents to...

Cost: free

Where:
Holly Springs Cultural Center
300 W. Ballentine St.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Farmers Market Coordinator
Telephone: 919-567-4010
Website »

More information

Amongst the ancient oak trees is the heart of Raleigh. We'll help you see the forest for the trees and all its magic splendor. Tourist, local, or new to town, this is a lively small group activity...

Cost: $11

Where:
Downtown
500 S Salisbury St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: Let's Roam
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: Kelly
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Parents, bring your child to class with you. Children 10 years...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

PARENTS JOIN OUR DHHS APPROVEDCPR/AED & First Aid Certification ClassesFoster parents are required to be CPR & First Aid certified. Must register in advance. Space is limited. Parents, bring your...

Cost: 50-80

Where:
Holly Springs, NC
1001 Silverstone Way
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Sponsor: Save A Life Now Training Center LLC
Telephone: 919-215-6942
Contact Name: Valentina Cordoba
Website »

More information

Kindermusik is a research-based early childhood curriculum that includes 45-minute classroom lessons with materials and resources that encourages parental involvement . Research has linked...

Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
Website »

More information

Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923
Palo Alto, NC  94306
View map »


Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle
Website »

More information

Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
Website »

More information

Join one of our talented Mid-South Fencers’ Club coaches for a one hour virtual lesson to the fast paced and exciting sport of Olympic Fencing! This will be a FREE ONLINE class. All you need is...

Cost: free

Where:
Mid-South Fencers' Club ONLINE
125 N. Gregson St.
DURHAM, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Mid-South Fencers' Club
Telephone: 919-286-3100
Contact Name: Jeff Kallio
Website »

More information

It's time to play... TAKEOUT BINGO!!!  Take a screenshot or download the game board. Mark off the locations you visit. Share your progress on Facebook and Instagram using #CRTakeoutBingo. Send...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Crossroads Plaza
Crossroad Blvd
Suite 215
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Sponsor: Crossroads Plaza/ Kimco Realty
Telephone: 864-979-2291
Contact Name: Katie Earnhardt
Website »

More information

We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
Website »

More information

The Beaver Queen Pageant is the Triangle’s own special mix of folly, pageantry, and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities and compete for the title of Beaver Queen with their fashion,...

Cost: free

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Telephone: 919-698-9729
Contact Name: Rachel Cohn
Website »

More information

River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

More information

Creativity In Bloom provides a platform for encouraging community involvements, celebrating green ideas, and showcasing creative and practical green projects. Aiming to inspire efforts for a...

Where:
, NC


Sponsor: We Sense
Website »

More information

Get your summer vibes going at the 1st Annual Hubb’s Beach Blast at Hubb’s Farm in Clinton, NC.  Hubb’s Beach Blast will feature two of beach music industry’s top groups, Jim Quick and...

Cost: 20-50

Where:
Hubb's Farm
10276 US HWY 421 N
Clinton, NC  28328
View map »


Sponsor: Hubb's Farm
Telephone: 910-564-6709
Contact Name: Tammy Peterson
Website »

More information

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