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During my pregnancy, I became obsessed with this idea of what my life would look like as a new mom. This single-mindedness caused me to do all sorts of irrational things: shave my head, buy a puppy, quit my job. While these all turned out to be the right moves after all, I wouldn’t blame anyone who thought I’d gone full 2007-Britney.
I did lots of bold things, but the hormones didn’t make me crazy. No, I think they simply removed all of my f*cks. Do you ever feel that way? It’s like the day before you get your period, or the perfect buzz after one and a half drinks. What would you do if you didn’t care what other people thought? Well, I felt like pregnancy was the perfect excuse. I’m growing a freakin’ human, leave me alone.
One thing I’m really glad I did was prepare myself a neat little capsule wardrobe for after the baby came, as I knew I’d not want to think about what to wear at all. The one thing I really wish I didn’t do was throw every other piece of clothing away. Pro tip: read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up before the nesting instinct kicks in.
Basically, a capsule wardrobe is a mini collection of versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create endless combinations. It’s a great thing to set up no matter what stage in life you’re in (like when I got a promotion and had to start dressing like a boss overnight.) This nifty little section of my dresser turned out to be one of the most helpful presents pre-baby me gave to post-baby me. It was almost as life-saving as freezer meals.
Why? Because in the after-glow of new mamahood, I didn’t have to think about what to wear. I already had comfortable, flattering clothes that all matched with each other, perfectly within reach. I’m all about cutting out the inessential so that I can focus fully on what matters. What about you?
Now four months postpartum, I can share with you my tips and lessons so that you can do a much better job! Learn from my mistakes! Here are 5 satisfying steps to setting up your new baby style:
step 1: consider your needs
Universally, a new mom is going to want three things out of her clothes: comfort, convenience, and function. I wanted all that, plus versatility and style. So think about it: what’s important to you? Also, where will you be after you give birth? Are you taking leave? For how long? Are you currently nursing or plan to? Do you have a planned C-section coming up? What time of year are you due? Is it important to you that you feel put-together?
With that in mind, think about what specific articles of clothing you’ll need. For example: house pants, out pants, shirts, skirts, bras, flat shoes, jacket/sweater, pajamas, a dress for outings…
Get out some paper. Divide it into four sections.
- In the first quadrant, list the types of clothes, leaving room for you to put a number next to each one later. Keep it simple.
- In another quadrant, list the top five adjectives you’ll be looking for. (Nursing-friendly, soft material, High-waisted, office-appropriate, supportive, stretchy, cat-hair repellent, holds up to frequent washings, etc.)
- In the next section, list up to five solid colors you’d be happy to wear exclusively for a few months. They should be colors that all go together. For example, my color scheme was: black, white, nude, and heather gray. (Jeans were a freebie.) If brighter colors make you happier, go for it, but try to keep the palate cohesive.
- Finally, write down any materials that you tend to have a preference for. Personally, I loved having nylon&spandex items because they held up in the wash and didn’t hold on to pet hair. I also loved having some fleece so I could feel all cuddly with my baby fam.
step 2: shop your closet
Save your cheat sheet—you’re going to be taking it shopping with you. But first, we’re going to shop what you already have! This might sound extreme (unless you’re already familiar with Marie Kondo’s work) but I want you to take alllll of your clothes out of your closet and pile it all on your bed. That’s right, empty your drawers. Do all that laundry that was piling up. Grab those shirts by the hangers.
You think you know what you have, but I guarantee you’re going to find at least one item that you’d completely forgotten about. Plus, we’re looking at everything with fresh eyes.
Alright, now go through each item and if it matches any of the categories on your cheat sheet, throw it in a separate pile. Now put the rest away. (Optional: you can go through the whole KonMari method of going through and only keeping things that “spark joy” but I don’t recommend it while pregnant. Just trust me.)
Assess your pile. Do you have a pretty good foundation already? What items could you add to what you have that would complete your capsule wardrobe? Go back to the first quadrant on your paper and add numbers.
step 4. ask your friends and family
Oh, you thought we were going to go shopping. It’s coming, I promise. I just want you to consider one thing: the immediate post-partum period is such a short one in the grand scheme of things. Just like baby clothes, people buy maternity items that they never even end up wearing because we’re changing so fast.
For example, I have a gorgeous pair of maternity pants for the office that I only wore once. So, ask around and see if anyone has stuff for you to borrow or have. If your cousin says she’s done having kids, congratulate her and then ask if she has any black nursing tops to give you.
step 5. treat yo’self!
The time has come. If you’re a first-time mom, I recommend going shopping when you are at the beginning of your second trimester, as it’s closer to the size you’ll likely be right after delivery. Your waistline is getting a little bigger, your boobs are swelling… it’s a good time.
Personally, I enjoyed doing most of my shopping on Amazon. I didn’t have to people or walk or make hasty decisions. They also tend to have the best prices and you can read reviews to comparison shop. (These are also reasons why I did my registry on Amazon and why I became an affiliate.) F
or example, I found this pack of nursing tanks I absolutely love and they go with everything. I’m wearing one right now! I was also able to find a great belly wrap that was more economical than the popular brand.
Yes, mama. Now you can relax. Put these clothes away in an easily accessible spot so that you don’t have to think about it until the time comes. Rest assured that you’ll be lookin’ good for all those candid newborn pics!
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