As a personal stylist, I speak to so many women who feel great in their skin when they’re pregnant but, as soon as the baby arrives, they suddenly feel overweight. Who among us doesn’t still have a few extra “baby” pounds or a body change from childbearing?
Although our makeover candidate Patricia Browning had a baby just five weeks prior to our photo shoot, and looked fantastic, she wanted to accelerate the weight loss process. I urged her to be patient with herself and her body; to focus on enjoying this time with her baby and to keep weight loss goals healthy and realistic. It does take nine months to put it on!
Ultimately, you need to be at a good weight to be healthy, but you also need to enjoy life. That means eating, sleeping (when you can), taking breaks and socializing enough to provide a healthy, positive atmosphere for your newborn.
It’s important to feel good about you – and having an adaptable, appealing wardrobe is a big part of that.
You don’t need a large number of items, and the key word is transitional, meaning quality pieces that adapt to your body changes and work in multiple ways within your wardrobe.
Patricia already has two children, 10 and two, so she definitely knows the motherhood drill. She also has a great support system in place with her husband, four sisters and some good girlfriends. This active mom spends time outdoors and for fun likes to garden and play baseball. But even before her last pregnancy, she says, she was stuck in a rut of jeans, tank top and a zip-up hoodie. She would like to get out of that rut and adopt a more girlish style.
I let Patricia know that we can find some transitional clothing that will boost her image and mindset right now, while still being wearable after some weight loss.
Though Patricia lives on a farm just outside of Airdrie, she is often in town and certainly wants to keep up with family and friends. Together we decide that Patricia really needs four categories of clothing: meeting a sister or a friend in town, with kids in tow; date night or a girls’ night out without the children; staying home with kids; and an outfit to attend an upcoming wedding.
Shopping at The Store Upstairs, which offers plenty of options both casual and dressy, we find great clothes that meet Patricia’s needs.
The first thing I grab is a classic blue-and-white-striped top. This kind of basic is a fashion staple and transitional as it can be styled in multiple ways. You can dress these stripes up under a blazer or wear them casually with ripped jeans. Stripes are also one of the easiest prints to use as a mix with other prints. If you like the look of mixed prints but lack the confidence to put them together, mix a striped top with any floral, paisley or other pattern that includes the colour of the stripe.
For Patricia, I decide on a casual approach and use the striped top under this terrific gray, asymmetrical front-zip jacket. Both stylish and comfortable – the perfect blend for a new mom on the go – it’s easy but looks more polished than a worn-out old hoodie. The jacket’s also flexible and figure forgiving, able to work with jeans and leggings, making it another great transitional piece in her wardrobe.
I also choose these sleek, black Svelte leggings. They fit snug but are so comfortable to wear. They make one more transitional piece for Patricia while she pursues her weight loss goals, and can be paired with everything from tunics to workout wear. I pair them with black booties, a graphic top and a trench coat for a great day look. A trench is a great figure-fixer because it glides easily over curves but the belt (even open) still defines the waist. You can purchase a coat that’s a little smaller and wear it open (as shown), then once you’ve lost the baby weight, also wear it done up.
I then pair the Svelte leggings with this fun, mesh jacket and pink racer-back training top for exercise or staying at home. By day, these pants are flexible enough to crawl after a little one on the carpet; by night, they can be dressed up with heels and a leather jacket, too. One item that works in several different ways in your wardrobe means stylish alternatives.
Finally, Patricia is going to a wedding and wants to amp up her feminine side. I find this gorgeous black-and-pink dress that outlines Patricia’s silhouette in black and emphasizes her yummy-mummy curves with delicate pink sequins. I pair the dress with some sleek patent pointed pumps that move her look up a notch on the glamour scale.
The experts at Mane Image Hair Design in Airdrie take care of Patricia’s hair and makeup. Tricia gives her a great new cut, then Vanessa uses an amazing colouring technique called balayage. (In French, the word ‘balayage’ means to sweep or paint.) The technique is to sweep or paint the hair, allowing a sun-kissed, natural-looking hair colour similar to what nature provides. This gives our makeover winner a very soft and pretty, updated style. On the day of our photo shoot, Vanessa applies makeup accentuating Patricia’s big, beautiful eyes, and Tricia and Deidra look after the styling.
With her new look, Patricia can keep working toward her goals and enjoy her day-to-day. She no longer has to worry about looking good when she dashes out of the house for appointments or to meet up with friends. As a bonus, most of her new clothes are transitional and will help get her through her body changes while keeping her style fresh.
Seline Badel-Wong is a personal stylist at thefashion-fix.com