Clothes shopping after baby is just…different. No matter if you still have baby weight or you already lost it all, your body is just different. I didn’t notice it as much after my first as I am aware of it after my third, and I realize part of that is age and time. But some of it is strictly baby-related.
For example, my feet are slightly bigger, by about a half-size. They are slightly wider at the forefoot. Not enough to change my shoe size, but enough to make some of my flats not nearly as comfortable or roomy as they once were. My shoulders are slightly broader, although my hips (?!?) don’t seem to have changed.
All these small changes have definitely changed how I shop for clothes. Not because I’m ashamed of my body, but simply because it’s different than what it used to be. Here’s how I have adapted.
- Get a good bra. Seriously. If your bra sucks, nothing is going to look good on you. I am loving Coobie bras right now. They’re $20, washable, one-size, and don’t have underwire. If you need to start from square-one on bras, go to a professional fitting. Nothing is the same after baby, and that goes quadruple for The Girls.
- Try everything on. I used to be able to eyeball items in my size and determine if it would suit me. Not anymore. Try everything on, unless you can afford to just never wear it.
- Alter your clothes when possible. I just don’t fit into one ready-to-wear size neatly right now. My bust is over in this size column, while my waist is waaaay over there, and then my hips are over here. I already knew how to sew, so I began to alter my clothes myself for a more tailored fit. It makes me feel better about how I look in the clothes I already have. If you don’t have access to a sewing machine, ask a friend who sews or ask your local dry cleaner. Alterations generally don’t cost much, and they are certainly cheaper than buying all-new clothing.
- When you find something you like, buy a few. I used to like way more variety in my closet, but these days I find putting together a new outfit everyday kind of taxing. After dressing three little girls each morning, it’s no wonder why! So now, when I find something I like, I buy a few in different colors. It saves time (and usually money) and then I have things in my closet I know fit well and look good, instead of the one shirt I want to wear over and over because it’s the only thing I feel confident in.
Fashion-wise, I understand I am kind of in a rut. But I also understand that this a season. There will be a time when my three girls are only TOO HAPPY to pick out and shop for their own clothes and will not want my help at all, and then I’ll have that tiny bit of mental energy it takes to have fun shopping for and dressing myself once again. But until then, I’m making do just fine.
Erin Burt is a freelance writer and mother of three. She lives and writes in West Oregon.