Back-To-Work Wardrobe: 7 Style Hacks for Moms Returning to Work After Maternity Leave
Posted On Mar 26, 2018
By: Melissa R. Birge, Founder, and CEO of Mia Tango
I have a confession to make: I was excited to go back to work after maternity leave. I had my twins in the winter, and being at home with them all day was starting to make me all “Here’s Johnny!” The only thing I wasn’t psyched about was the extra fifteen pounds I hadn’t yet shed.
Getting dressed after pregnancy in that troublesome “fourth trimester” was way more stressful to me than getting dressed during pregnancy. I wasn’t glowing. My bump was now a lump. I couldn’t wear my old clothes yet, but my bodycon maternity clothes were no longer cute. And while I knew how long pregnancy would last, I had no idea how long it would take to get my body back. A few weeks? Months? Years? For me it was months, and in that time I learned a lot about how to dress my postpartum body.
First, remember the rules you’ve heard over and over: dark colors are more slimming, baggy clothes make you look heavier, heels elongate the leg, and a statement earring or red lip will draw the eye upward. Now then, in addition to all that, here are my tricks for looking incredible when you head back to work:
- Jumpsuits and Overalls
Jumpsuits and overalls are hot, and why not? They combine the ease of one-piece dressing with the comfort of pants. I love them extra for postpartum because there’s no hard waistline and they neatly hide a little extra weight. Pair a jumpsuit with a blazer, heels and structured bag for a power lunch-worthy look. For a more casual work environment, give overalls a try. I’m not talking about the pair you use to clean out the cow stalls. I’m talking about sleek overalls with a tapered leg. They look smart worn over a classic striped shirt with the legs cuffed to show off pointy-toed flats or heels.
- Wrap Dresses
Wrap dresses are beloved because they are adjustable. As your miraculous body transforms itself, they take the journey with you. They provide easy access for pumping, and the swingy skirt is flattering for most figures. I actually like wrap dresses made for maternity better than non-maternity versions, because the belt is typically situated higher up, which helps hide a chunky middle.
- Master the Half-Tuck
I think J.Crew invented the half-tuck after somebody on the team came back from maternity leave. Regardless of its origin, it’s a genius way to camouflage a muffin top. Take an oversize button-down (another great choice for pumping) and simply tuck the front part loosely into your pants. Voila.
- UTB Maternity Pants
You may not like the idea of still wearing maternity pants, but when you see the great under-the-belly options that are out there today, you will get over it. I like a simple black pair with a flat elastic waistband and tapered legs. Wear them with heels to visually lose five pounds.
- Shop the Nursing Section, Even If You’re Not Nursing
Many women have gone before you, and some were so frustrated with their wardrobe options that they designed their own and guess what? They’re awesome. The functionality is obviously top notch for breastfeeding, but it’s the chic and thoughtful styling that makes my heart go pitter-patter. The tops are typically cut a little longer to give you free range of movement without risking indecent exposure. Classic shirt dresses, chic tunics, sweaters…mama can now dress exactly as she likes.
I lived in my poncho the first few weeks after I brought Bobby home, and I’ve never gotten so many “Wow! You bounced right back,” comments in my life. I hadn’t, but the poncho paired with skinnies made it seem like I had.
- A Good Hair Day
You know it’s true: when your hair looks great, you feel great. It’s tough as a mom to carve out time for yourself. Personally, I gave up manicures about twenty seconds after I had my twins, and I’m more likely to sport a mom-bun than a fresh blow dry. But on those days that I can steal away for a blowout, I’m Duchess Catherine. When you feel like nothing is working, head to the blow dry bar to get your mojo back. You deserve it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Melissa R. Birge is the founder and CEO of Mia Tango, an online maternity boutique that features a curated set of maternity clothing that customers can buy new or used, and then trade back in for credits to buy new styles. She also serves as the audit committee chair on the board of directors of Paris-based SRP Group, which operates the fashion website showroomprive.com.
Prior to starting Mia Tango, Melissa served as the Chief Financial Officer of KAYAK Software Corporation, where she worked from October 2009 to February 2016, overseeing the company’s IPO and sale to The Priceline Group. From 2006 to 2009, she held various positions, most recently as the Vice President of Finance, at Potbelly Sandwich Works, LLC, a restaurant chain. From 2002 to 2006, she held various positions, most recently as Controller, at Orbitz, Inc., and prior to that, from 1991 to 2002, she held various positions, most recently senior manager, in the audit practice of Arthur Andersen LLP. Melissa received a B.S in business administration from Miami University, Ohio.