Those who know me, know I’m no ‘practical’ dresser, and I’d really hate to think that motherhood should change that. I actually really dislike terms like ‘Mum uniform’, ‘Mum dressing’, ‘school run style’ which tend to imply that being a Mum should have a direct effect on the way we dress. As if from the moment we add the title of ‘parent’ to our resume, we are only entitled to reach for the classic dark jeans, mid heel ankle boots and black blazers of this world (if those are the pieces you want to reach for anyway then by all means rock them, but I dispute the idea that all ‘Mums’ want to wear the same thing).
It seems ridiculous to me that becoming a parent should have any bearing over my sense of style. Becoming a Mum to Evie has changed my life in many ways, and enriched it in many more. But I’m still me (albeit a slightly diluted version of me at the moment!), I still like the same things (if I ever get time to indulge them) and there’s been no great personality transplant in the space of the last 13 weeks. So why would my love for shiny shoes and pink skirts have suddenly wavered either? Bloggers such as Dress Like a Mum are doing a great job of breaking down the stereotype of what Mum’s should be wearing, and showing that, Mum or not, you can be you, dress for you and wear whatever the hell you like (something I definitely champion).
Having said all that, at this early stage of motherhood there are certain (unavoidable) practicalities that my current wardrobe is having to endure, which are making sticking to my usual style more of a challenge. The main one of course being that my current clothes have to be conducive to whipping a boob out easily when my screaming baby decides it’s dinner time. Others include flat shoes being preferred due to the amount of walking I now do in order to get my baby to sleep, tops needing to be able to survive a dose of baby sick and everything needing to flatter that middle area until such a time when I get rid of my baby belly.
Breastfeeding has certainly thrown me a challenge in terms of dressing (well it’s thrown me a lot of challenges but that’s another story for another day). I’ve had to learn to accept that my boobs look shit in pretty much EVERYTHING because nursing bras are so damn unsexy, that unless it has buttons down the front any sort of all-in-one is out (goodbye cute summer dresses, playsuits and jumpsuits) and that bottoms mainly need to be high waisted if I want to avoid showing off my entire torso to passers by. Add to that the fact that certain fabrics and colours are out because the risk of leakages make it just not worth the hassle, and suddenly the choices become limited.
Basically shirts and shirt dresses are my best friends right now, which actually isn’t quite as boring as it sounds as the humble shirt has been having a bit of a moment of late and there are plenty of interesting options out there that don’t make you feel too out of the loop with this seasons trends.
3 Practical Shirts you can Breastfeed In
So for anyone else who is tackling breastfeeding friendly clothing, or for those of you who just love a good shirt and jean combo, here’s three styles, for three different occasions that I’ve been living in lately. All of which allow for Mum duties, without compromising on style.
The ‘smart’ flared waist shirt
Shirt – Zara | Jeans – New Look | Shoes – River Island |Sunglasses – Ray Ban | Rucksack – Primark
I don’t have much of a need for smart clothing at the moment while still being on my self proclaimed ‘baby break’ from work, but there’s been the odd occasion – meeting work colleagues for coffee, going to press days, catching up with brands – that I need something a little more put together than a baggy T-shirt over leggings, and this shirt is perfect. I love the little details; the tie waist can be adjusted to nip you in or stay looser depending on how you’re feeling, the flared shape which has a slight dip hem skims over the area you least want to draw attention to after having a baby and the little ties at the wrists add a little interest to a simple white shirt. The fabric holds its shape, doesn’t crease too easily and is crisp enough that if you do happen to leak slightly, you won’t end up with one of those embarrassing circle stains around your nipples (oh the joys). I’ve been wearing it over a pair of skinny jeans, with loafers or pumps and with a leather biker thrown over the top.
The ‘everyday’ wrap shirt
Shirt – Zara | Jeans – Warehouse (old) | Trench – Dahlia (old) | Trainers – Adidas | Bag – Kate Spade | Sunglasses – Primark
This shirt is definitely a favourite right now, as it’s one of the few items of clothing I own that makes me feel like I still have something resembling a shape. It’s cropped, which usually does strike fear into me these days as my belly is still so soft and flabby, but provided I wear it with high waisted jeans it actually helps to nip me in a little and remind me of those times pre baby when I actually had a waist. It’s not quite as easy to gain access for feeding as the button front styles, but a little loosen of the bow at the back and you’re ready to go.
The ‘dressy’ button front shirt
Shirt – H&M | Jeans – Topshop | Boots – Topshop (available at Selfridges) | Bag – Biba at House of Fraser | Belt – Primark | Sunglasses – Primark
As soon as I spotted this shirt on the H&M website I knew I had to have it, regardless of whether it was practical or not. If there’s anything that could get me back to feeling like my old self, it’s a bright pink shirt with ruffles. And of course I had to team it with my ‘push present’ to myself – the Topshop metallic silver boots. This is definitely a dressier look and not something I find myself wearing everyday (although the shirt could be dressed down too with trainers) but perfect for one of those rare occasions where you get an evening out (Stu and I had a date night when my parents were visiting and this is what I wore).
So while breastfeeding friendly clothing isn’t the easiest thing to master, there are a few stylish options out there. I’ve linked to some of my favourite shirts and tops below, which would all double up as easy feeding styles.
Shop Stylish Breastfeeding Friendly Tops…