When you’re expecting, everyone loves to offer advice. Breastfeeding vs. formula, co-sleeping vs. cribs, epidural vs. YEEEOORRGGHHH!!!, and so on.
But nobody really gives you style advice, because you have enough to worry about and also because when you're a hygiene-challenged, bag-eyed milk machine, there's not a lot to work with. But eventually vanity comes creeping back, or more likely, maternity leave ends and you have to deal with yourself. Here are some friendly suggestions for reclaiming your personal style, designed to circumvent extensive bouts of self-loathing.
1) Start shopping at Cos
If you don’t wear anything cute until you’re back in fighting shape, you may wind up spending years in yoga pants and hoodies. Thankfully, there’s Cos, the best thing to happen to anyone over a size 0. Super-chic, highly forgiving and deceptively affordable. Everyone will think you came back from maternity leave as a Scandinavian product designer.
2) Decorate your room, not the baby’s
Your baby doesn’t care what his room looks like, and by the time he does, he’ll be five or six and he’ll hate it and want a big boy room. Instead, spend the money on yourself. You’re going to need lots of rest, and while you won't get it, you deserve nice things and pretty places to enjoy them in.
3) Learn to love print tunics
Prints hide things, and so does a boxy shape. Get a few washable ones and wear them all day, everyday. The best thing about tunics is that they double as nightgowns, eliminating the need to change into sleepwear every three hours, AKA what’s now considered a generous night’s sleep. This chic tunic is from Free People, home to loads of post-baby looks. Or try the fashion editors' boho standby: Doen.
4) Limit yourself to one fleece
If you are not careful, you will find yourself with a wardrobe full of spit-up covered hiking jackets. This happened to me, and I went around feeling "eh" for months. Yes, sporty fleeces are forgiving, easily cleaned, and hide everything. Unfortunately, that includes your mojo. Work in cute denim (here's a no-fail from the GAP), a trendy short trench or any of these chic spring jackets from our editors.
5) Milk Mother’s Day for all it’s worth (No pun intended)
Why do some moms say that Mother's Day is no big deal? Tell your family that and the next thing you know, you'll be weeding the garden while they’re at a baseball game. Why sacrifice a gift-giving occasion? Shout it from the rooftops! Cash in! Make a list. Hell, register. Don’t know what you want? We do. Here are some subscription boxes, gifts under $50, and gadgets that look sharp.
6) Get rad sneakers
You probably already have them, but cool kicks tell the world you know better, no matter what’s happening elsewhere in your outfit. Also, they’ll get you out walking, which is not a bad thing. Too many choices? Nobody in history has ever gone wrong with Adidas Superstars.
7) Budget aggressively for clothing and beauty
You may find yourself with a depressing thing called a “family budget” when you have kids, where you enumerate what you spend on dry cleaning and gas. Don’t back down on the things you require to feel human: highlights, mani-pedis, even microblading. Drive less. Cut the cable television. Draft friends and family to babysit more often. You will find yourself working harder than you ever imagined, so resist the impulse to put your needs behind everyone else's. You're still the hot, stylish chick you were before you had a baby—and now there's one more person who's going to think so.
Like they say: happy mom, happy mom!