Dressing for Confidence at Any Stage of Motherhood

In this video/post, hosted by my favourite local fitness expert, Kim Holmes, we discuss how to dress your body through the different stages of motherhood. This post was originally shared on her blog over at MyFitCoach.ca. Kim’s fitness challenges, classes, and online training are all geared to help mom’s look and feel their best. Learn more.

Our Interview

Today I’m taking a break from the usual fitness/healthy mom thing to talk about something that ALL Mom’s can relate to…Your ever changing body and how to feel GREAT in it right now.

Let’s face it, your body changes a lot from the time you get pregnant to the time you’re done having kids. You own like 4 different wardrobes, not to mention bras. And while it can be a tad awkward and uncomfortable, I believe that its important to love, accept and basically ROCK the body you are in right now!

So I met up with the lovely Christina Proctor, a Certified Style Coach and owner of  “Wear Out There”. I had a lot of questions (of my own AND for you too) about how to dress your ever changing body as a Mom. I want YOU to take care of yourselves from the inside out and sometimes you just feel better about yourself when you take off your leggings (don’t worry there is still room for leggings!) and put on an outfit that makes you feel amazing.

You can check out my interview with Christina here and read on for some of her best style tips for busy mamas at 3 stages of motherhood:

Christina what style tips do you have for the Mom who has just had a baby but is sick of wearing stretchy pants? She’s ready to look and feel good but doesn’t know how to dress her new body.

When you just have a baby, of course your body has gone through some changes and that’s very exciting! While style is important, comfort is also key. Here are a few of the essentials I recommend:

  •  Wide neckline Tops (e.g. deep v’s) which still allow you access to breastfeed if you choose that, or simply move with ease, which is essential.

  • Flowy tops, which skim your silhouette over a camisole are good options as they will help disguise a tummy.

  • Wrap over shirts with some ruching over the tummy look great as well. Button up shirts are another great option. They are versatile, can be dressed up or down and are visually slimming.

  •  Draped cardigan, which is comfortable, of a decent quality and rather form fitting.

  •  Maternity jeans with an elastic side panel is also useful as they will likely fit your body so much better. 

  • Accessories also will be helpful in brightening up a basic outfit. Choose great stud earrings – nothing dangling for baby to pull, or a statement necklace with some weight to it. An oversized scarf is another great option. It can be used as a nursing cover, when needed, but really adds some style to any outfit.

So what about the Mom who’s trying to lose the baby weight? How can she dress her changing body without spending a fortune on clothing?

The most flattering way to dress after pregnancy is to make sure your clothes fit your body NOW. This will also help you love and accept your body just the way it is – which gives you confidence in any situation. It honestly can be so hard to focus on tasks, when you’re worried about your outfit.

Christina’s tips:

  • Straight leg or boot cut jeans are the best choice, worn with a belt so you can bend and move about with ease.

  • Outfits that are monochromatic on the outside can be super slimming. E.g. black pants, black jacket and a colourful top. All you see on the outside is the long slimming silhouette and then this pop of colour.

  • Invest in shape wear  for those form-fitting outfits can help you feel confident in anything.

  •  Find a really great tailor and have them help you adjust your current pieces. They can work wonders and keep your costs down as well.

  • Check out the consignment stores – there are so many in Waterloo Region and the quality of the garments are great. You could also consider taking your own clothes here that you no longer wear, and potentially get some money off of them. .

So what about Mom’s who are done having kids but feel like they’re body is totally different and they have no idea what’s in style after living in the Mom bubble?

Style is a form of self-expression and really is something that should be fun. I think sometimes it really is overcomplicated, but at it’s core, it’s about helping you feel good about your body. Creating a style that works for you is really about 4 things:

1) Knowing your body shape

I truly believe the best first step is to do a body shape analysis, with a professional, or take your own measurements at home. It is incredibly useful after you’ve gone through a change in your body, to determine which of the 5 body shapes you fall into. This helps give you guidance on which areas to play up on your figure and which to downplay. Each and every shape is unique and beautiful.

2) Knowing which colours work for you

It’s helpful to know what colours flatter your most and the ones that don’t. I offer a colour analysis service to help you find the best colours for you

3) Knowing your Style Personality

Get inspired. Pinterest is amazing for outfit inspiration. Start pinning looks you love and have fun re-creating them. You can look at street style photos, or look in magazines. Think of your style as a tool in your tool box to help support you in reaching your goals, and helping you feel great. Style is personal. Have fun with this new chapter.

4) Knowing your lifestyle and goals

When you’re going through your wardrobe really ask yourself, does this suit the person I am now? Life is constantly changing around us and we’re constantly changing as well. Regularly cleaning out your wardrobe is key to making sure you’re actually wearing everything you have in your closet.

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Express Yourself: Using Clothing to Showcase your Unique Characteristics.

Since the earliest centuries, clothing has been used by people to characterize themselves. Textiles have represented our development as a society, reflecting which materials were available and the technologies mastered in each decade. This is as true today as it was in the past. Clothing even has a social significance suggesting characteristics of an individual’s lifestyle before ever starting a conversation.  For example, some occupations can be identified by their uniforms, celebrations by a guest’s attire, or ambitions by an employee’s chosen garments.

Moral of the story?

Express yourself. Who do you want to be? What do you want to become?

We are all individuals with unique facial features, body shapes, and lifestyles. We must dress to suit our own personalities. As such, it is important to study the self. Determine what suits you and what does not; find the colors that flatter and emphasize your uniqueness; and, when shopping, pay particular attention to the fit of your garments.

According to Christian Dior, “simplicity, good taste, and grooming are the three fundamentals of good dressing and these do not cost money.” It is possible to be elegant without spending a fortune on clothes if you choose items that suit your personality. The rules of fashion? There are no rules, only guidelines that aim to flatter your singularity.

So take charge lovelies. Wear what complements you. And do not be afraid to mix your mall finds with those pieces that are completely individual.

You have a story to tell. Share it with the world.

According to Audrey Hepburn, How to Find Your Happiness

“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – that’s all that matters.” – Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn was a fashion icon, a beacon of style, and all around classy woman. She charmed us onscreen by becoming Holly Golightly, Sabrina Fair, and Princess Ann (just to name a few!). But the real Audrey Hepburn was just as charming offscreen – and can serve as an example as we look to find happiness in our own lives.

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A happy life has been pursued in every culture, in every country, in every generation. But the rules on how to get one are still elusive and unclear. By now we know money cannot by happiness (although I wouldn’t mind a few extra bucks now and then … that sure would make me happy :)). But what if happiness is not about what happens to us, what we own, or where we live, but how we look at it. Maybe looking at things through rose-coloured glasses isn’t such a bad thing!

So what would Audrey say about attaining a happy life?

Attitude is everything

Just like you and I, Audrey Hepburn was once a young, unknown individual who dreamed of becoming a ballet dancer. As she grew up, she had her fair share of hardships, failures, and struggles. However no matter what life threw her way, Audrey never failed to forget that life itself is a beautiful opportunity.

Try to take a positive attitude towards events in your life, and see beauty even in the small things – a great song on the radio, a smile from a stranger, a coffee with your best friend (did we not learn anything from the movie About Time with Rachel Mcadams… a must watch!). Do not let these moments pass you by. As Audrey would say:

“Pick the day. Enjoy it – to the hilt. The day as it comes. People as they come….The past, I think has helped me appreciate the present – and I don’t want to spoil any of it by fretting about the future.”

Keep it all in perspective

Audrey Hepburn was living in Arnhem Holland during the Second World War. Days after her 11th birthday, the Germans stormed into town, remaining there until liberation came on her 16th birthday. She lived through scarcity and treachery, losing friends, uncles, and almost both brothers during this time.

Even those who have experienced extreme hardships in their lives, can build on these negatives, and if given support/opportunity, change their situation. Even those who haven’t had to deal with such trauma can put things in perspective, try to see the bigger picture of things rather than always being stuck in the details.

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“Being without food, fearful for one’s life, the bombings – all made me appreciative of safety and of liberty.  In that sense, the bad experiences have become positives in my life.”

Expect less

By being constantly bombarded with images of what we don’t have (that Bugatti, a macbook, a puppy) we forget to rejoice for what we do have. What is truly important in life? Safety, food and family. These are what we should appreciate having every day.

By expecting less, you will learn to appreciate the little things others do for you – e.g. a neighbour helping to shovel your driveway through this Canadian Winter, see what you have as valuable, and perhaps even do more for others with the things you do have, such as volunteering your time.

“I’ve had so much more than I ever dreamed possible out of life – (no) great disappointments or hopes that didn’t work out. I’ve accomplished far more than I ever hoped to, and most of the time it happened without me seeking it.”

Things do and will continue to happen for you dear readers – you’re fabulous.

Be perfectly human

We are always looking at others, and comparing ourselves to them. We wonder how that women in our office always looks so perfect (and would look so even if she were in a wind tunnel – you know who I mean), or how that friend down the street always manages to have it all a family, great career, and loving relationship. You have to remember though, they are just human. It’s ok to make mistakes, it’s ok to be you (and hey, someone else is likely looking at you and thinking you have it all together!). No need to be perfect. Just bring your best to everyday of your life and laugh at your not so perfect moments.

“People seem to have this fixed image of me. In a way, I think it is very sweet, but also a little sad.  After all, I am a human being. When I get angry, I sometimes swear.”

Live without regrets

For years Audrey Hepburn tried to balance her need for family with the world’s need to watch her onscreen, until one day she finally left movie-making altogether. Her long separation from her son was just too much for her. She felt she had to make a change. No one knows your wants and desires better than yourself. We may only live once, so it’s important to take the opportunities that do come to you – if they are ones you want to pursue for a happy life. Reflect on what is truly important to you.

“It would be awful to die and look back miserably – seeing only the bad things, the opportunities missed or what could have been.”

1954 La Vigna, Italy with dog

So there you have it dear readers. A view on how to attain a happy life, according to Audrey Hepburn of course. What are the takeaways for a modern lady? Be true to yourself, appreciate what you have, try to keep an open mind, be open to different perspectives, and take opportunity when it knocks – but only if it will help you get to where you truly want to be in life.

All the best

Click for more Audrey Hepburn photos.