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Q: I still have 15 lbs left from the 35 I gained during pregnancy. Over the weekend, I cleared my closet of all the stuff I cannot wear any more (I kept what I still liked and hope to get back into once I resume my exercise regimen and threw away a whole bunch of things that didn't do it for me any more). So literally, I have about 10 hangers of things that fit me right now (and will most likely be doing some shopping.) Please let me know of your suggestions. I am 5'3" and 130 lbs right now, small waist, wider hips and thighs (arms look good!). I live in Hawaii in a beach town, so put together casual is the style I'm going for. - Sarah

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Sarah submitted the above style dilemma to both me and her friend Kiki at Psyched for Style. So we joined forces! Today we are each answering Sarah's question.  As soon as you're done here, click the Psyched logo at right to get Kiki's take on Sarah's post-pregnancy style.  Thanks, Kiki!

A: Dear Sarah - First, congratulations on your new baby! I have 3 little daughters of my own and I'm sure yours is just as sweet.  And considering how young she is in the adorable photo you sent - kudos to you for losing that chunk of baby weight so quickly!
I've spent the last 3 years either pregnant or cuddling a newborn so I know what you're going through and hope I can be of some assistance.  Post-pregnancy style can be super tough. You're exhausted and not quite yourself in more ways than just physically.  But I'm a firm believer that being a mom makes you a better version of your former self and no matter how many middle of the night feedings you endure, liking what you see in the mirror helps you project that inner happiness a little further. 
So let's get down to the nitty gritty.

Sarah sent pictures of everything she fits into right now.  I went and found versions I could use in Polyvore as similar to her clothes as possible. Click any of the polyvore's for larger pictures and details.  
A couple of things to keep in mind:
1. You don't need a lot of clothes to look and feel good.  It doesn't matter if you wear the same outfit over and over.  Who cares? As long as you look and feel good.  So while you're getting back to a weight you're comfortable with, make the clothes that fit you work overtime.
2.  Keep it sleek and simple!  With a new baby, the last thing you need is fussy style.  In the collages below I went for outfits, shoes and accessories that were easy to get around in, and work multiple ways. In fact, I lost count of how many different ways you could pair everything!
3.  Accessories make any wardrobe feel fresh.  They're inexpensive ways to get a completely new look. Slip on a bold necklace or cuff bracelet and earrings and you'll be simply stylish in a jiffy.
4.  Shoes make the look!  You're hauling a diaper bag with you, so rotating a bunch of purses into your outfits is impractical.  But shoes?  SHOES make all the difference.  They take a simple tank and shorts to a whole new level.  Your existing wardrobe is quite simple (mostly knit tees, tanks and dresses) so add some oomph with your footwear and jewelry instead of going out and getting a bunch of button down blouses.
I don't know what shoes and accessories you own so raid your closet before going shopping to create something similar to the micro-collection below. Everything pictured can be found currently, nothing is over $100, and most items are on sale.
  • I suggest the metallic wedge sandals first because they'll give you nice long legs and are neutral - they'll go with everything you have and might purchase in the future. The not-too-high/not-too-low wedge makes it easy to get around with a baby and the metallic adds polish to upgrade you to that put-together casual you're planning on. 
  • Another heeled sandal or two in a bright color will also elevate any of the outfits you put together.  I chose red, orange and yellow because they complement all the colors of clothes you already own.
  • Simple, oversize crystal earrings go with everything but also look snazzy.
  • The bold necklaces and bracelets pack a lot of punch without having to pile on the accessories. 
  • The pops of color or sparkle in the shoes and accessories pull the attention to where you want it - those nice arms, shoulders, small waist and legs! We'll take the focus off your hips. They've done good work and deserve a break.
Here are a few suggestions using just 4 accessories. 
You could also put the crystal necklace and earrings with the all-white outfit and pop it with some colorful shoes!  Or do the same with one of your black tanks, black capris and head out for the evening. Monochrome with pops of color looks very put-together, even if the clothes themselves are casual.
Here are some color combinations you might not have considered.
Gray and white together are surprisingly chic. With the silver/crystal accessories and a bold shoe - fantastic!  A contrasting shoe with any of your sundresses is something you'd look great in every time you step out the door.  And bright blue and orange are a very happy combo! The wooden bracelet echos the earthy tones of the olive cargo capris.
Like I said, I lost track of all the outfit options you have.  I could have created 5 more collages but I'd have had mutiny on my hands with my own daughters.  So here are a few more suggestions:
  • I'm assuming you have a pair of black heels.  Hopefully something above a flip-flop/below a stiletto that you can wear during the day. Pair any of your black and white items together for a simple and chic combo.  Make it dressier with the crystal/silver accessories, slightly more casual with the colored accessories.
  • Your maxi dresses and sundresses are great for showing off all the parts of yourself you're happy with.  And don't be afraid to bust out that black Grecian dress.  It doesn't have to be reserved for date night. Colorful accessories, not too-fancy shoes, a slightly un-done ponytail and you're good to go anywhere. (Never be afraid to look better than everyone else!)
  • Your pink tops are inherently feminine - pair them with your tougher cargo capri's and a yellow, black or metallic shoe. I love the juxtaposition of masculine and feminine. If you have a studded sandal or belt - throw that in the mix! 
  • Nautical color pairings are always a nice look - your blue shirts and white shorts work well, but pick any of the other shoes besides red or you'll cross over into Independence Day territory.
  • I don't know how cold it'll get in Hawaii this fall and winter, but a bright cardigan (maybe violet? yellow? or light blue?) would look great with your coloring and work with all the neutral items you already own. 
  • You mentioned you planned on doing some shopping after a few more pounds were lost, so I'd suggest looking for a structured skirt to throw into the mix.  A dark pencil skirt would add miles and miles to your wardrobe. (Not too tight and hemmed to your knees and it'll add miles to your legs as well!) With a t-shirt and sandals it's a cut above shorts and capris.  With your sparkly black tank and heels it's perfect for fancy date night! (Use those crystal/silver accessories!)
I hope this was helpful.  Thank you so much for asking a great question!  This was the first post-pregnancy style dilemma I've received.  I'm having fun working on the answer to your second question about traveling with a diaper bag.  Goodness, I haven't gone anywhere without mine since 2007! Look for that soon!
And the rest of you, don't forget to click over to Psyched for Style!
 


Comments

07/30/2010 11:29

Well! You know how to fight the frump for sure! THANK YOU SO MUCH for taking the time to work on my case. I feel so special :-) I am amazed at how close you got to recreating my wardrobe with the online photos.
I love that you answer focused on using what I already have. I will need to get some new shoes. I just got rid of a whole bunch of shoes that just don't fit me any more post pregnancy and I am left with mainly my sports shoes. I will also need to buy some black capris. I have a lot of jewelry that I never wear so I'll have to dig through to find what fits your suggestions.
I love that you also emphasized style concepts so that I can implement them in more ways on my own.
I've lost 3 more lbs since I sent the e-mail (cookies are now reserved for just Sundays!).
I will take some after photos using your suggestions within a few weeks and e-mail to you.
Once again THANK YOU! and ALOHA!
ps:winter temps in hawaii are around mid to high 60s evenings, low 70s during the day. ;-)

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07/30/2010 14:52

I am so glad I ran across your blog! I am a fellow style maven, too, and I have to say I agree with all your advice!!

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07/31/2010 05:25

There is obviously a lot to know about this, you have given very nice points regarding the image interpreters.


Thanks and keep it up.

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07/31/2010 14:55

Happy Saturday Jesslyn! Here from SITS! AWESOME blog you've crafted! Love it! Great post!
Being the fashionista that you are, I'm thinking you might enjoy my GIVEAWAY!!!
check it out!
Peace out! Genevieve =)
http://genevieve-celebratetoday.blogspot.com/2010/07/stella-and-dot-jewelery-giveaway.html

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07/31/2010 20:46

This was such a fun post! Loved your tips and picks for her.

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08/04/2010 20:46

Hi Jesslyn!
I love what you did for Sarah! It was so smart to use Polyvore to pull things together. I can't wait to see how she uses our tips! All the best to you!
xoxo
kiki

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08/26/2010 22:30

Great tips!

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