“I’ve got nothing to wear” is the cry heard from bedrooms around the world as new mums try to get dressed. Suits from a corporate job just won’t do for Mother’s Group, silk blouses are too delicate to wear on those epic newborn-settling walks, and your old jeans don’t fit properly. In fact, nothing fits properly.
No matter how tempted you are, don’t reach for your tired maternity tunic and leggings combo (again). We’ve consulted with other mums, and analysed our own closets to create the ultimate post-baby wardrobe. And because we love our local talent, almost every designer on the list is Australian.
It starts with jeans, t-shirts and sneakers – but these are no ordinary casual pieces. They’re comfortable, modern and flattering, chosen so grown-up mamas can hold their own at the café with all the hipster uni students.
The Emerson Jean ($299) by Citizens of Humanity is said to be the best fitting boyfriend jean out there. These jeans are easy, comfortable and if your toddler’s favourite thing to play with is dirt, these jeans can take it.
If the Emersons are the most flattering boyfriend jeans, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans are the ultimate skinny jeans. Cleverly cut to make wearers look one size smaller, these jeans are made for grown-up ladies by grown-up ladies.
Making t-shirts look grown-up and not like pyjamas is tricky. The key is to stick to neutral colours like grey marle or white, and patterns like horizontal stripes. Tees from Assembly Label (from $39.95) are a wardrobe essential and go with everything from boyfriend jeans to skirts. Balance the oversized look by rolling up the sleeves or tucking the front into your jeans.
We could go through all the flat shoe options from brogues to loafers to sandals, but nothing will get more wear than a good pair of sneakers. Melbourne’s Department of Finery makes the best kicks. The Dixie sneakers (from $189.95) come in plain black or white, with contrasting trim, or in metallic blue, rose gold or silver. Thanks to Department of Finery, no-one can ever say sneakers are boring.
Soon it’s going to be too hot for jeans, which is where the Sister Apron Dress ($100) comes in. This dress isn’t something you see every day, and that’s exactly what we like about it. Some sisters have the confidence to wear it bare underneath (points for easy-access breastfeeding) but for the rest of us, this dress layers beautifully over a t-shirt or singlet. Made from 100 per cent linen, in an easy shape that’s defined by a waist tie, this dress is the ultimate, contemporary summer wardrobe staple.
Midi skirts are so easy to wear, and they’re just the right length to let you sit down on the grass to change a nappy without showing the world your undies. We love Dragstar’s Miranda Middie Skirt ($155) for its flattering drape and lovely classic colour. Bonus: if you visit Dragstar’s bricks and mortar store in Sydney, you can go to their little sister store, Shorties next door and shop for the kids.
Night out dress
Maybe you’re out for your first Mother’s Group dinner, or the grandparents are babysitting for your first date night. Gorman’s Mirka Embrace Tee Dress ($329) is a lovely piece for a special occasion. As with all Gorman’s clothes, the print is one-of-a-kind, this time designed in collaboration with Mirka Mora, a French-born Australian contemporary artist. This dress can be worn loose, or with the removable waist tie, but either way it’s super flattering.
Try to get along with a regular handbag and a baby, and you’ll quickly find it too small, too hard to carry, with too few pockets. Coco Bow by Motherknot ($339) is a dream bag where the designer has thought of everything. It’s a shoulder bag that converts into a tote that converts into a divine leather backpack, and it’s got all the bells, whistles and pockets of a practical nappy bag.
From now on, you’re always going to be late, and the more kids you have, the worse it’ll get. Our last ditch effort to be on time is to wear a really cool watch. These beautiful watches (from $99) by Australian designer The Horse probably won’t help, but at least you’ll be fashionably late. Literally.
You’ve got your list. Next time you’re trapped under a sleeping newborn – which, let’s face it, is every two hours – you can start shopping for the fabulous new mum that you are.