The Hot Mom Handbook” claims “a hot mom is a woman who is confident and empowered, and who embraces motherhood without giving up her sense of self.” That’s a nice thought, but it’s easier said than done. In truth, the demands of motherhood can easily take the glamour out of your life — if you let them. Though pencil skirts and stilettos may not be practical for a brand-new mother, it won’t be long until you can be wearing your favorite clothes again. Of course, motherhood may change your fashion direction, but there are simple alternatives that can make most of your wardrobe continue to work for you.
Accept Your New Figure
Even if you’ve managed to lose all the baby weight, you might find that your pants and skirts just don’t fit quite the same. Your hips and pelvis bones have shifted and your shape has changed.. Your breasts may have grown and the shirts and tops in your closet may stretch or crease.
But you can adapt.
Clothing should be “comfortable, age appropriate and make you look and feel confident,” says stylist and mom fashion blogger Bethany Winters. “Confidence is a ginormous part of style, and if something is ill-fitting or uncomfortable, it shows.”
As you emerge from your sleepless-nights haze, you’ll want to replace those tight belly shirts and slitted minis if you don’t feel completely at ease in them. But you don’t have to toss them. Put them aside for a few months while you find a compromise between your old style and the one you are adopting.
Old Clothes, New Styles
After giving birth, the first instinct for most moms is to put away the maternity wear. However, many maternity dresses and shirts can be repurposed for your slimming figure. A large, flowing shirt with a baby-doll cut can be cinched and belted to convert into a tunic.
“(Tunics are) oftentimes versatile enough to double as a dress,” Winters said. “(They) can be invaluable in carrying you through those schlubby-feeling post-baby months.”
Repurposing isn’t specific to maternity wear. Try layering your prepregnancy pieces with longer, looser pieces to keep your sense of self and style while keeping yourself comfortable.
Winters said mothers should keep the layers thin and use a belt to accentuate the waistline.
“One of my favorite outfits that employs layering is black leggings, knee-high boots and a slim tank worn under a loose-fitting, knit tank dress,” she said. “I throw my favorite long, black cardigan over the whole thing. It sounds like a lot, but the layers are thin.”
It’s All About the Shoes
High heels and strappy sandals are usually a fashion don’t for mothers, mainly for practical reasons. But there’s no reason footwear has to be dull.
“Shoes really are the best way to add an unexpected twist to any outfit,” said Shoedazzle publicist Jaclyn Greco. “Be it a fun color, a pop of animal print or an interesting texture, your shoe choice adds dimension and whimsy to your outfits.”
Greco said wedges can keep new moms looking trendy without overdoing it.
“Chunkier heels are great for busy moms,” she says. “These block heels look great paired with opaque tights and sweater dresses, which can easily go from day to night by changing your accessories.”
Zappos.com style expert Brooke Hyden agreed.
“From lower wedges with jeans for day, to wedge heels with dresses for evening, it’s easy to incorporate this trend into your life,” Hyden said.
For cooler weather, Greco recommends a sturdy yet stylish boot. She said knee-high boots in a neutral color with a midheel are perfect for moms.
Hyden said oxfords are all the rage this season. “The slip-on oxford trend will be your best friend,” she said. “They are very on-trend and incredibly comfortable.”
Long necklaces and dangling earrings are out for a new mom unless she loves to live dangerously. Babies love to pull on shiny things, and they will bend or break those expensive pieces or hurt Mom’s ears trying. Greco recommends wearing statement pieces that accent your outfits and have benefits for you and the baby.
“Dramatic cocktail rings and fun bangles are perfect for moms,” she said. “Not only do they add instant polish to any outfit, but babies love to play with them.”
Winters suggests a muted jewelry look during the day, but said not to give up on those dangling accents. She has two categories of jewelry herself.
“(One is) my everyday jewelry, which consists of small stud earrings, a watch, a short pendant necklace and my wedding rings,” she said. “For date nights or the rare times I’m without my kids, I have a stockpile of statement pieces. I love chunky necklaces, big cuff bracelets, hoop earrings and cocktail rings.”