Ask Gemma: How do I dress my post-pregnancy curves?
I don’t usually do request posts (mostly because I don’t get any good requests!) but I’m always happy to help a friend in need. So when Katie called on me for help dressing her post-pregnancy bod, I got straight on the case. I’m sure she’s not the only woman who’s strugged to dress as her body has changed following pregnancy, and as I’m hitting the age now where lots of my friends are starting families, so I get the feeling this post might be useful to a fair few other people in times to come. Katie said “I used to be slim with modest boobs. Then I had a baby. Now I am slimmish, but with a flabbier stomach that pops out after I’ve even looked at some food, and a pair of magically enhanced breasts, a couple of sizes bigger. Nothing fits me any more and I don’t understand how or where to shop!” Now, I like to think I know a little bit about dressing for a body with ample boobs and a tum (baby or not) so, without further ado…
For work, I think the key to this is to look for softly tailored items that make the most of the soft curves you have, but still give you room to move (and give your body room to change). For play, stick with things that are comfy, made from nice, quality fabrics, and are adjustable so you can keep wearing them through any fluctuations.
Here are some fab frocks to start with…
Purple/Cream cowl 2-in-1 dress £42 Closet at Dorothy Perkins
- Long-term readers will know I really rate Closet for work dresses, as they get the smart/casual thing perfectly and the cut is really good for a curvier figure, though you may have to go up a size as the waist is usually quite small. Going for a darker bottom and lighter top draws the eye upwards and the cowl neck is really good for making the most of a great cleavage.
Fanfare Jersey tie dress £67 French Connection
- Jersey is a great fabric that’s easy to take care of, doesn’t crease and hangs brilliantly. French Connection have a great way of draping it to make universally flattering frocks, and this one, with its gathers at the waist, would look amazing on a petite, curvy figure without being too revealing at the neck.
Anya Cowl dress £85 Monsoon
- I love the colour of this and the shape reminds me of much pricier dresses from Whistles. Again there’s a cowl which gives it a bit of a glam feel without being too over the top, and the gathered skirt gives it a bit of a fashion-y edge to stop it looking too baggy and dull.
Knot front dress £120 Vero Moda Very at ASOS
- If you’re conscious of your tummy then dresses that are nipped really tightly at the waist might be a bit scary because you risk a ‘bump’ underneath. But anything too shapeless can be boring. I think this dress is the happy medium. It definitely skims the middle section, but the detail at the front stops it looking like a sack. Great colour for brunettes, too.
Dart fan detail dtress £65 Warehouse
- This dress really makes the most of any curves, but the gathers mean it doesn’t cling too much to any small lumps or bumps so it’s a bit more forgiving than something more Joan Holloway-esque and doesn’t require loads of shapewear underneath for a smooth line. Post-baby curves are gorgeous, so you may as well make the most of them and get your wiggle on!
And now, for play…
Multi striped Askern wrap dress £129 Hobbs
- You know I love a bold print, and there’s no reason why you should dump colour and print just because you’ve gained the odd pound. The idea that horizontal stripes add ‘bulk’ is a myth. This dress would look amazing on any figure.
Mid-wash skinny flare jeans £15 Dorothy Perkins
- A good classic shape that makes the most of a good bum and balances the figure brilliantly. I am the queen of gently flared jeans. Bootcut might be a bit old-fashioned and mumsy, but the skinny flare is great, and I love a dark wash which can sometimes be ok for work too (if work allows denim).
Two-tone orange and navy dress £35 Zara
- This is a great colour and the darker panels streamline it perfectly. The shape is inherently wearable and easy to throw on at the weekend when you don’t fancy jeans. I’d team it with navy wedges or a pair of little ballet flats for a really simple look.
Black stripey long-sleeved V bow top £91 Love Moschino at My-Wardrobe
Yeah, it’s expensive, but there are plenty of cheaper alternatives! This is a nice take on the classic breton striped top, with a bit of a girly touch. It’d look just as good with a pencil skirt for work as it would with jeans for the weekend, and the shape skims the hips and waist without digging in.
Twist trim grey blouse £35 Miss Selfridge
- This is another great multifunctional top that would go with all kinds of different outfits, and the detail will help to create the illusion of a perfect hourglass shape, skimming the tum and cinching the waist. Add a big long pendant to really draw people’s attention.
Black sheer floral print kimono jacket £42 Topshop
- A kimono jacket is the ultimate item for taking all those pre-pregnancy tops that are feeling a bit tight and making them wearable again. Chuck this on over the top of all those old vests, t-shirts and so on, and give them a new lease of life.
Frill detail pink blouse with belt £14.99 H&M
- Not all tops have to be v-necked, and this little frill detail one is a lovely alternative with a cute print that’s crying out to be teamed with denim. The little belt is a nice touch, though it can be removed for something more floaty and feminine.
Safari Top (centre) £29 Hobbs Outlet
- Looking for something that’ll really get people’s attention? This does the job – the top alternative to a wrap dress, in a real ‘look at me’ print. It’d be lovely with slinky trousers or an a-line skirt and heels for a night out, but would also work with something more casual too. Pop a vest underneath if it’s a bit low in the neck for daytime.
All these items come with a caveat, of course, and that is the right underwear. I’m sure I don’t need to stress the importance of being frequently re-fitted for a bra, and also making sure you’re not squeezing into too-tight old pairs of knickers that create horrible lines and VPL with every outfit. Your ladybits have just squeezed a baby out…don’t force them into cheap, Primark pants, treat them to a bit of luxury!
Oh, and obviously I’ve never had a baby so I’m only going on my tried-and-tested rules. If any other new mums have any suggestions of how to get used to all those new-found curves, do share!