post-partum professional dressing

Going back to work problem #2: what to wear? I am in a professional office and there are two levels of dress: dress for court / meeting clients / important meetings, negotiations etc. and dress for just working in the office.

For working in the office, the office isn't hugely formal - the women seem to wear things like knee-length summer dresses with a cardigan or jacket, bare legs and pretty peep-toe shoes, or dress pants and a nice top and possibly a jacket. For court/clients, it has to be a suit - either pants or skirt. I also need to be able to pump in whatever I wear.

My problem is that nothing fits my post-partum body. I'm not losing weight as quickly as I'd like - I'm hoping it picks up with walking to and from work 45 mins each way and taking healthier lunches. My belly area is a disaster and my breasts are huge from nursing. None of my pre-pregnancy jackets fit over my breasts and even if I wear them open, which I'm not comfortable with, they are obviously small. A couple of my pants and skirts actually started fitting recently, but most don't. None of my blouses fit. And never mind fitting, I want to look decent - I know I won't be happy with how I look until a lot of weight is off, but in the meantime, I want to feel as good as possible.

I am guessing I'll have to go out this week and try to buy a few cheap outfits that I can wear until more of my current clothes fit, but I don't even know what shapes and styles to look for. Can I even find suit jackets to fit massive breasts? I don't want to wear maternity jackets as they are obviously that and I am worried that someone's going to ask me when I'm due based on my belly and breasts, given that they won't see me in the context of having my baby with me. Mine have obviously maternity features like elastic in the back or an open front with a tie to show off the belly.

This is actually my biggest anxiety about going to work this soon and if I can only feel confident in my clothes I think I'll feel so much better. I think I'm also worried I won't lose weight if I have comfortable clothes, plus the stress and lack of time I'll be facing. Please help!
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Go buy (nice) 2 pair of pants and 1 skirt and jacket combo that fit your body now. Make sure jacket you can wear with the skirt and one pair of pants for court. Then go somewhere and buy some inexpensive tops that are either made for breastfeeding or button down etc. There are a lot of cute wrap tops these days...or v-neck tops...easy to slide over the top and pump. Also buy some cute sweater cardigans..to go over tops you buy. I find cardigans are more forgiving than a jacket...just don't button them...as you lose the weight...you can button them.

As you lose the weight and take your pants and skirt in for alterations so that they still fit nicely.

I don't envy you this task. I work from home so my after baby clothes were basically my maternity clothes till I could go buy some other clothes.

I think your money should be spent on the pants, skirt and jacket....they are the hardest to fit and be comfortable. Tops and cardigans are easy to find on sale or at places like Target, Ross, TJ Maxx etc.

Good Luck. Hang in there. I found it a little harder to lose the weight with the 2nd one. You'll be fine though.
Have you seen The Shirt? It's a bit on the pricey side, but may be worth the investment.
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that was excellent advice from inheritedcurls.

please wear properly fitted clothing for your present size. you just had a baby, which means you don't know when/if your body will return to its pre-pregnancy weight. and even if you return to your previous weight, that doesn't mean that your physique will be the same and allow you to wear all of your old clothing comfortably. you won't want to walk around looking like:



too many women think that merely managing to squeeze into and fasten a garment means that the clothing fits. not when your relaxed body reveals flesh that shouldn't be seen, shows the outline of buldges, stretches fabric so that you can see the tension on buttons and zippers, causes you to have to pull and adjust clothing every time you change positions or stand, or forces you to suck in or walk funny just to keep the clothing from shifting or digging into your skin.
"Dogs stink too, but I like dog stink." ~ rileyb
I didn't work post-partum but I always had some nice black trousers and pretty blouses in my wardrobe. You might to best with nice maternity trousers with the adjustable waist since I'm sure your waist will be shrinking every week (even though it doesn't seem like it now). Like IC said, I'm sure you'll be able to find some affordable summery tops worn over a nursing tank.

You will probably feel your clothes fit better with some lycra nursing tanks and smoothing undergarments.


I don't understand why you would need "nursing access" clothing for pumping? One would assume you would have complete privacy for 15-30 minutes for pumping sessions. I used to wear my regular-type of clothing and just get topless when I pumped at work, to avoid spilling anything on my clothes. I had a locking private office though and co-workers who wouldn't dare disturb me unless the building was on fire (I had told them that knocking or trying to get me to hurry up messed with my letdown and would give me performance anxiety and take me even longer).

I'd get some simple clothing, in basic colors, for this transition time. I wouldn't necessarily go cheap though. A few good pieces will either be alterable, or you could save them for your next pregnancy (during early pregnancy and also for post-partum).

During the years of my 4 pregnancies, I kept several sizes in my closet. I usually got to use them again.
I wore a lot of dresses when I returned to work after #2. I found them more flattering while I was waiting to fit back into all of my old clothes. I did have the advantage of everyone knowing that I was postpartum and being very understanding.

Are you sure you have to wear a suit for court? I very rarely wear suits to court. A nice dress is sufficient or slacks and a cardi. However, I understand that NM is more casual than most places.

When pumping, I either took off my top completely like RCW or stretched it over my pump parts if stretchy. So I wore whatever I wanted.

RCW, you mentioned not disturbing you unless the building was on fire. We actually did have a fire in our building while I was pumping. My friend said she was hovering outside my door trying to figure out how to help me without violating my privacy.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel
I wore a lot of dresses when I returned to work after #2. I found them more flattering while I was waiting to fit back into all of my old clothes. I did have the advantage of everyone knowing that I was postpartum and being very understanding.

Are you sure you have to wear a suit for court? I very rarely wear suits to court. A nice dress is sufficient or slacks and a cardi. However, I understand that NM is more casual than most places.

When pumping, I either took off my top completely like RCW or stretched it over my pump parts if stretchy. So I wore whatever I wanted.

RCW, you mentioned not disturbing you unless the building was on fire. We actually did have a fire in our building while I was pumping. My friend said she was hovering outside my door trying to figure out how to help me without violating my privacy.
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
DA, my office is like that too - they know the situation and are understanding. But yeah, we do have to wear a suit to court - or at least a jacket - we could wear a jacket over a dress for appearances that are not an actual trial. Judges will reprimand you for not having a jacket - it is definitely required, even of first year law students and self-represented litigants.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











that was excellent advice from inheritedcurls.

please wear properly fitted clothing for your present size. you just had a baby, which means you don't know when/if your body will return to its pre-pregnancy weight. and even if you return to your previous weight, that doesn't mean that your physique will be the same and allow you to wear all of your old clothing comfortably. you won't want to walk around looking like:



too many women think that merely managing to squeeze into and fasten a garment means that the clothing fits. not when your relaxed body reveals flesh that shouldn't be seen, shows the outline of buldges, stretches fabric so that you can see the tension on buttons and zippers, causes you to have to pull and adjust clothing every time you change positions or stand, or forces you to suck in or walk funny just to keep the clothing from shifting or digging into your skin.
Originally Posted by rainshower
LOL, rainshower. I definitely wouldn't wear ill-fitting clothes - that would make me feel worse, not better!
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











You might to best with nice maternity trousers with the adjustable waist since I'm sure your waist will be shrinking every week (even though it doesn't seem like it now).
Originally Posted by mad scientist

I didn't think about maternity trousers...the one's with the tabs that don't really look maternity and suppose to grow with you...should shrink with you as well.

For nice maternity slacks I always bought Ann Taylor Maternity or Pea in the Pod. Ann Taylor usually makes maternity clothes out of their regular clothes..you might be able to find maternity slacks and then a regular jacket and skirt?

I just suggested nursing tops in case she didn't have privacy. I had a bathroom to pump in. I was never comfortable stripping my top at work and pumping when I had too. These tops can be used if casual enough for outings on the weekend as well....she can nurse easily.
You might to best with nice maternity trousers with the adjustable waist since I'm sure your waist will be shrinking every week (even though it doesn't seem like it now).
Originally Posted by mad scientist

I didn't think about maternity trousers...the one's with the tabs that don't really look maternity and suppose to grow with you...should shrink with you as well.

For nice maternity slacks I always bought Ann Taylor Maternity or Pea in the Pod. Ann Taylor usually makes maternity clothes out of their regular clothes..you might be able to find maternity slacks and then a regular jacket and skirt?

I just suggested nursing tops in case she didn't have privacy. I had a bathroom to pump in. I was never comfortable stripping my top at work and pumping when I had too. These tops can be used if casual enough for outings on the weekend as well....she can nurse easily.
Originally Posted by inheritedcurls
I do have my own office and so technically yes, I could wear what I want BUT the office is very friendly/open office culture (I have been in a few times and also talked to my friend who also works there) and people are in and out of each other's offices. I certainly can put up a sign and let people know what's up, but given that of the other 3 lawyers there, 2 have worked and pumped themselves, I don't really mind them coming in if I am mostly dressed as nursing clothes allow me to be, but not if I'm half naked. Also, it just seems easier to me to wear nursing clothes while I'm new to pumping - as I get better at it I may become more open to wearing different things.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











I used my nursing cover sometimes when pumping so people could come in a chat with me. I kept an extra in my pump bag. All of my legal assistants were moms so they were comfortable with it.

I did always put a note on my door. It did not always deter idiots from using their own keys from busting in but they deserve whatever they see for breaking in. I had no shame.


"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -- Theodor Seuss Geisel

I did always put a note on my door. It did not always deter idiots from using their own keys from busting in but they deserve whatever they see for breaking in. I had no shame.
Originally Posted by DarkAngel
Wow, those are some idiots...between a sign and not knocking or hearing you answer...they did deserve major embarassment. LOL
I'm feeling better about this. My court appearance for next week was knocked back to late August today, and that's the first time so far I KNOW I NEED a suit, so unless something comes up before then, I'm going to wait and see where I'm at.

I'm also excited because today although I don't weigh any less than I did a couple of weeks ago, on a whim I tried on a couple of dresses that wouldn't even zipper up then and they now fit (and comfortably, rainshower!) So I must be losing inches. I wasn't tracking that but I will be now. So I tried on a few more things that I assumed wouldn't fit and they did! So I may not need to buy that much after all. Pants and a couple of jackets and I should be OK.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Amneris, I gave away most of my pp clothes, but I do have a black nursing dress I'd be happy to send you. It's a small or medium (I'll check if you're interested). It's sleeveless with a v-neckline. You could throw a jacket or sweater over it for work. I wore it 3 weeks after DD was born and it was very forgiving.
Loose botticelli curls and waves
No silicones/no sulfates since March 2008
Amneris, I gave away most of my pp clothes, but I do have a black nursing dress I'd be happy to send you. It's a small or medium (I'll check if you're interested). It's sleeveless with a v-neckline. You could throw a jacket or sweater over it for work. I wore it 3 weeks after DD was born and it was very forgiving.
Originally Posted by LoloDSM
Wow, really?
That would be amazing.... I'd really appreciate that. I guess I'll PM you....
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











A I saw these tops/dresses tonight and thought of you. On sale for a day, professional looking, and definitely not typical nursing shirts. Milkstars makes them.

BabySteals.com® ~ Deal of the day on brand name baby clothes, maternity products, baby shower gift ideas and baby presents for new moms.
High Priestess JessMess, follower of the Goddess of the Coiling Way and Confiscator of Concoctions in the Order of the Curly Crusaders

I found a bunch of wrap dresses at the back of one of my closets that hadn't seen the light of day since J was a few months old - I remember now that I wore wrap dresses so much then, I got really tired of them and haven't worn them since so that was probably 3.5 years ago. They're perfect for work. One of them happens to be a cheapo similar version to that blue Issa dress Kate Middleton wore for her engagement announcement last year - I love the colour but am wondering if people will think I'm trying to copy her? But the rest of them will work fine and most of them fit decently. There are even some with short sleeves for the hot humid weather we're having right now.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali












Last edited by Amneris; 07-12-2011 at 03:17 AM.
Amneris, I am so embarrassed, but I can't find the nursing dress.

I loaned some maternity clothes to friends, and neither of them has the dress. It isn't in my closet either. I don't remember giving it to Goodwill and am at a loss where it could be. I should have looked for it before I offered it to you. I'll let you know if I find it.
Loose botticelli curls and waves
No silicones/no sulfates since March 2008
I'm not sure if you're still looking to buy a few pieces, but when I went back to work after having BK, I was so anxious about clothes.

I ended up buying a few cheap pairs of pants in basic colors from NY&Co - they have great sales. The pants I got were cut like trousers, but a little more stretchy, so they were pretty forgiving at that time.

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