Gear Up: Postpartum Fashion

The best bras, tanks, leggings and tops Read more

postpartum fashion

You know, for all of the attention given to maternity clothes and the relative ease with which a pregnant lady can look cute, it’s actually surprisingly hard to navigate the world of postpartum fashion. This is my current reality: With the exception of a few pairs of maternity jeans, most maternity clothes don’t look or fit quite right, and with the exception of a few button-downs and leggings, most regular clothes either don’t fit right yet or are incredibly difficult to nurse in. So in my experience, the items that new moms love, we REALLY love, and wear constantly. Here, some of the winners.

Nursing Bras
The Bravado Nursing Bra is a classic, and a super-popular choice… and that’s for a reason. Silky smooth, soft, easy to open and re-fasten with one hand, with removable liners for more coverage. (For what it’s worth, the Bravado underwire versions get good reviews on Amazon, too.) I also really like the Ingrid and Isabel for Gap seamless drop-cup nursing bra, which I find offers a smidge more support than most others I’ve tried. (Well, most without underwire, that is.) It’s not quite as easy to pull down and up with one hand — I find that the foam inserts occasionally get a big bunched up in the process, requiring a second hand to fix it — but it’s my favorite in terms of support and (let’s be honest) how I look in tighter shirts.  

One friend who doesn’t need the same amount of support (pre-pregnancy, she was fond of bandeau-style bras — lucky woman who can pull it off) adores the Pea in the Pod nursing wrap sleep bra as her regular, go-to day bra. “So soft, and easy to just move over and nurse.”

Nursing Tanks
I love nursing tanks in general because I don’t like to flash skin if I need to lift my shirt. Still, I find that the difference in comfort and aesthetics between my inexpensive simple cotton ones and the pricier compression models are like night and day — this is an area where I’ve decided a little extra cash is worth it, especially because I have worn these things several times a week for months and months and months. And while the reviews for the Belly Bandit Nursing tank on Amazon are spotty, I have really, really liked this compression tank. The body support is just right — not too tight, but firm enough to make you feel just a bit sucked in. And while the chest support could be better (one of the common complaints on Amazon), I find it to be good enough in most instances (and I am not someone who doesn’t need support — no tissue-paper-thin bralettes in this house). I love how the material is super sleek and un-bulky — it doesn’t catch on other fabrics, so it makes for a very smooth look under clothes. The cups pull right to the side, so you don’t have to mess with clips at all, which I consider another bonus.

Another nursing tank I love — so much so that I’ve written about it before — is the Yummie tank, which is a gentle compression tank with a nice long fit, and reasonable support. It stays put under your clothes better than any model I’ve ever had, and mine has held up for two kids now (and I wore if for at least a year after the first kid), so that takes a little sting out of the $70 price tag.

Leggings
It’s obviously no secret that these are the easiest pants to wear when you’re pre-pregnancy jeans still feel a tad snug (or when they’re no-shot-in-hell tight, whichever) and you don’t feel like putting on maternity clothes you’ve been wearing for an eon. And while any good stretchy pair will do just fine — Atheleta, Lululemon, Gap, Target, J Simp, Old Navy (which, by the by, has some really cute patterns right now) — I’ve grown super fond of this Blanqi high-waisted version, which offers a nice bit of compression (not quite shapewear level, but a nice tucked-in feeling) and modesty in nursing situations, since the pants literally go to your bra line. (And they don’t slide down, which is a basically a miracle.)

Tops and Dresses
Tops are a little silly to write too much about, because everybody knows what they like and feel comfortable in. (Buttondowns? Cross-front and tie-front cardigans? Deep Vs that pull to the side?) You actually can find all those types of tops pretty easily (and I like all of the above, so long as it doesn’t scream “nursing shirt”), but there a few standouts that seem worth noting: The nursing tunic from My Bella Mama (says a friend: “I wear them around the house constantly!”); the Old Navy side-slit t-shirts and sweaters (I just find them to be incredibly easy and cute with a nursing tank underneath); and a good versatile, tie-front cardigan, which I’ve also taken to just wearing over a nursing tank. (I like the ones that are long enough to cover a tushie in leggings — and you can find cardigans like this just about anywhere.) Finally, I wore this black dress when it was 90 degrees out, and an now wearing it with a little cardigan or denim jacket — that’s how flattering and easy it is.   

Photos, clockwise from left, courtesy of OldNavy.com, Blanqi.com, and Belly Bandit.