work after baby: building a wardrobe

This is the first installment of a series of posts focused on going back to work after having a baby. For me, it really was all about planning and preparation and, while it wasn't always easy, we had a relatively smooth transition going from maternity leave to office/daycare life. I am certainly not an expert but my hope in writing these posts is to help other new moms like me who are finishing up their maternity leave and may be a little nervous about getting back to the workplace and leaving their little one. Just remember, that everyone is different so not everything will work for you but use what you can and throw out what you can't!

For all of the new moms who are already able to get back into your old work clothes, good for you! That was certainly not the case for me. My hips are just different and I was actually surprised to find that I was still two sizes above my "normal" size. Most of the new pants I bought feel pretty loose everywhere except in the hip area so I had to go up a few sizes. (I think at least a few of you know what I mean.) 

Honestly, this was more of an annoyance to me than a disappointment. Sure, I thought I would would have to buy a few new things but I didn't think I would have to do an entire wardrobe overhaul! Here are the steps I took to minimize frustration and buy on a budget:

I went through my closet.

Yes, this probably sounds pretty intuitive. But when I say, "I went through my closet," what I mean is that I went through every single piece of clothing in my closet. First, I got rid of any article of clothing that I hadn't worn the year before I was pregnant. So yes, that argyle sweater that I was saving just in case I was invited to a college-style prep party? I got rid of it. I also bagged anything that I was going to "one day" fit into before I was pregnant because I faced that the fact that it just wasn't happening anytime soon. Those two steps got rid of about half of my closet. I am not even kidding. I bagged that all up and gave it to our sitter hoping her and her friends could get some good internship-wear out of it. 

After that, I tried on all of the rest of the clothing. I usually keep the majority of my closet organized by color so I didn't want to move items around based on fit. So, if an article of clothing fit, I tied a ribbon around the hanger so I don't have to remember what fits and what doesn't (mom brain.) I recommend using bright thicker ribbon for this as it shows up better in a darker closet. I plan to revisit items without the ribbons once a month as I lose weight.

I tried on my maternity clothes.  

I haven't been wearing maternity clothes since I got home from the hospital. I have pretty much been living in leggings. But I thought this was a good time to go through my clothing bin and see if anything could work for me right now. The clothing that didn't fit right got packed in the bottom and the clothing that I could wear got packed on the top with a towel in between as a divider.

I went shopping.

I tried to stay on a budget by going to places like Target, Marshalls, and the J. Crew outlet. I also tried to keep in mind that I would be pumping at work so I got a lot of flowy tops that could easily be pulled up with pants and ordered some nursing tanks online. If I bought a dress, it needed to be something that could easily be pulled down for "access." 

I also enlisted help so I didn't go shopping with Olivia. I didn't want to feel rushed. I shopped when I had friends in town or when my mother-in-law could come over for a few hours. Shopping with a baby and a new body is not ideal.

I was nice to my body. 

Yes, this was frustrating in the first store where items that would normally fit a certain way just weren't fitting at all. But I had to remind myself that I just had a baby and it didn't end up a huge hormonal crying fest that it could have been. 

I hope this was helpful to all you new working moms out there. Feel free to comment below with your tips below - I am definitely still learning too!