Motherhood is a life changing experience, but also a physical changing experience.
During pregnancy our belly grows, our bust and hips enlarge, we put on weight and often our body doesn’t return back to its original shape. For many months we have to give up on decent, clean, fashionable clothes; we have to give up on our style, whether it’s because we don’t have time to take care of anyone other than the new baby; or our clothes simply don’t fit any more, and we haven’t the time to spend shopping for new favourites to suit our new body shape. Whilst caring for a new baby, we need to wear practical clothes and feel comfortable more than everything and this is totally normal and natural, but still can bring to a lack of self-confidence and depression.
Now, if we don’t like ourselves, how can the others do it?
We must always be our number one fan!
So, if when you look at the mirror you don’t recognise or feel like yourself and if you don’t know what to wear anymore, what can you do to change the cycle?
The first thing is, absolutely, to get to know your new you and embrace it, understand it and learn how to enhance it, and I wanted to share with you some tips to do it that I have found truly helpful after giving birth to my new baby.
I am sure that when you look in the mirror, the first thing you do is to focus on that area of your body that you dislike. I ask you now, instead, to start thinking about the area of your body that you most like and, from now on, try to do this exercise: look at yourself in the mirror and focus only on that area. This is about changing the perception of yourself and learning to love yourself a bit more. If you learn how to highlight your points of strength, they will be the first thing people will notice and will remember about you, and more importantly, it will be what you notice about yourself, and your perception will start to shift.
People aren’t thinking about you in the same way you do, and confidence will come over time. When you find an area (or areas!) that you love, highlight them in your styling, and trust me, as your confidence grows, your attitude towards yourself and your body will shift and your days will get easier. Also, trust me, hiding your body just isn’t the answer!
Now, once you’ll have determined what your point of strength is (or points of strengths are, if more than one), how can you enhance them?
There are several tools, in my opinion, that you can utilise to highlight your favourite features in the best way possible:
Let’s start with colours:
Rule number one: light and bright colours tend to highlight; dark and soft colours tend to attenuate.
So if, for example, your critical point is your tummy, while your point of strength are your legs, you should wear dark/soft colours on the top while light/bright colours on your legs.
Or you can wear light colours on top, underneath a dark jacket/jumper that is creating the illusion of a slimmer tummy.
Some people, like me, are so called “triangles”, with a top slimmer than the bottom (despite the pregnancy, I still am 2 sizes smaller on top, and strangely enough my bottom is the part of my body that hasn’t changed!) So, I always wear dark trousers and try to wear lighter tops to boost my confidence.
Then, of course, if you want to know what your best colours are and how to make the most of them, I invite you to have a colour analysis. This will help you to find the best colours to boost your skintone, and boost your confidence not only whilst wearing your clothes, but also when going out shopping.
Now let’s talk fabrics:
Different fabrics create different volumes. And rule number two is: don’t add volume to volume, and stay soft on curves.
For example, velvet or corduroy are quite thick fabrics and tend to create stiff pieces of clothes. While silk is soft and slips on the body. If we have a point that is more voluptuous and we don’t want to highlight it, then steer clear of a stiff fabric on that area. On the contrary, something soft and light can work perfectly! Or again, a tweed woollen jacket is quite thick and stiff and I wouldn’t suggest people with a big bust or tummy to wear anything like that, but maybe a deconstructed leather jacket or a cardigan can work well!
Patterns: there are a few rules to know about patterns:
1. Big bold patterns enlarge.
2. Horizontal stripes enlarge
3. Vertical stripes elongate.
So, think about your point of strength and see if you can highlight it with the use of pattern. While, on the contrary, you might want to avoid patterns on your critical point.
I, for example, always try to wear patterns on top, and stay plain on bottom. This way, I can make people focus the attention on my top part, which is an area I love the most on my body.
Details attract attention.
If you want people to focus on a particular area, you can play with details as much as you like (pockets, buttons, zip, stitches, embroideries, etc…). On the contrary, try to avoid too many details on those parts that you don’t want to highlight. On me, I can wear shirt with pockets on the chest, or double breast blazers, while I try to wear trousers without pockets and with no details as stitches/studs/stones.
Accessories: another very smart tool to play with!
Belts can, for instance, help us focus the attention on our waist, or hips, if that is what we want to highlight.
Scarves can help us brighten up our eyes and bring people’s focus up towards the face. Shoes - there are so many shapes and kinds...we could talk about shoes for hours, but you can simply know that once again you can play with colours - dark boots on dark trousers elongate the legs, whereas dark boots on light trousers, or the other way round, create a strong contrast and make the legs look shorter.
Jewellery also can help us attract the eye on our top and face, if that’s what we want to highlight, as well as adding a little touch of personality to your outfit without the need to feel overwhelmed by shopping for clothes in, potentially, different sizes than before your pregnancy. Long earrings can elongate the neck, whereas a choker can round the face.
Obviously, there are so many things you can do, and surely during a one to one session I could help you in more detail. But I truly hope that sharing these personal experiences and tools will help you create your new style and begin to make you feel more confident with this amazing body you have. Try to have fun with your wardrobe now, go home, have a look at it and try to understand if what you have is working for you, not just for you as a Mum, but for you as your own self – you still deserve to have outfits that you can wear to special occasions with your friends, on date nights with your partner, and, if you are planning to go back to work after maternity leave, then you truly deserve to have outfits which make you feel professional and ready to work. Try to create new combinations with the knowledge you have now, and try to look at yourself in your new outfits and start loving your new you again!
Everybody will notice the difference…everybody will start noticing you in a good way, everybody will like you because you will like yourself.
If you are interested in a personal styling session with me, I’d be glad to help!