I’ve been intrigued by the idea of a capsule wardrobe for a while (if you don’t know what that is, go here to read more about the concept), but being pregnant and nursing and carrying postpartum weight (still), I haven’t felt ready to commit and also don’t want to buy any new clothing that I (hopefully) won’t be able to wear once I get back in better shape. But then I started thinking about how I tend to wear the same 5 things now already (beyond the standard t-shirt and yoga pants) and how, after three babies, I’ve pretty much figured out the perfect uniform for this phase of life: comfy but still stylish enough to make you feel put together, babywearing-friendly, nursing-friendly, extra weight-friendly, affordable, and transitions well from season to season. My wardrobe issues were/are:
- I look in my closet full of clothes and find nothing that I want to wear or that fits me well. There is nothing I really LOVE to put on.
- I find myself spending money on the cheap stuff to have “options” or because it was on sale, and then I never really wear it because it falls into the first issue and doesn’t really look good on me.
- When I do find something I love, I end up wearing it almost daily because it is what I feel the best in, and then I wear it out. (my favorite jumpsuit has faded and gotten pilly after one million wears, my favorite jeggings have holes in them near the pockets, etc.)
Do any of those issues sound familiar to you? Have a closet full of stuff but nothing to wear? Do most of your things make you go “meh” or just not fit at all? Maybe a capsule wardrobe is right for you too. I think a capsule wardrobe is an especially great idea for moms because our lives are complicated enough already. We get very little time for ourselves. Why not simplify our closet, having only a few options to choose from day to day (you can have a couple special pieces for date night or a special occasion or if you have an event, wedding, etc. also) that you always love to wear, feel great in, and that never go out of style?
So I thought I would share my mom uniform (can we call it a momiform?) pieces that I tend to wear over and over because they fit the above criteria. And I’m throwing in some accessories as well, because a good hat or sunnies are momiform essentials and you can wear them no matter what stage you’re in or what size you are 🙂 All of the items pictured above are linked to under their categories below and you can shop most of them directly at the bottom of the post as well!
This isn’t a real capsule wardrobe experiment yet (I would like to do that once I’m back to a size that I’d like to stay in permanently) but sort of a “dip your toe into the capsule wardrobe pool” kind of thing. Just to start. I do love the idea of investing in well-made basics that you can mix and match and wear over and over that you really love, versus buying lots of “stuff” to wear that you just feel meh about and after you add up all the money you spent on that, you could have invested in a piece you love.
STAPLE PIECES FOR YOUR MOM-FRIENDLY CAPSULE WARDROBE
1. A great button down shirt or tunic (or two or three or five).
A button down shirt is a daily staple in my momiform, and there’s not much that is more nursing-friendly. I like to layer a long button down over a nursing tank and leggings (leaving it open or buttoning a couple of buttons) for maximum comfort that still looks put together in my early nursing days. And then when I’m ready to ditch the nursing tanks and am able to wear jeans again I switch my other basics but stick to a good button down. I tend to gravitate towards the roomier boyfriend-style personally, and like them to be on the longer side.
For a capsule wardrobe, you would just pick a couple really versatile ones, so I recommend finding a good white one and a chambray one. Both can be dressed up or down and go with everything. If you’re afraid to do white because of kiddo messes, grey is another great option. Plaid is too limiting — it only goes with certain things and is more easily remembered so you’ll tend to steer clear of it because you’re afraid people will always think you wear the same plaid shirt. But we never worry when we’re wearing simple basics — at least, I don’t 🙂
A few of my favorite options are this chambray shirt and this tunic (both pictured below). Both are long, flattering, comfortable, nursing-friendly, and affordable. I also love this one for warmer weather (you could layer with a cardi when it is cool) since it has short sleeves.
2. A maxi dress.
I’m not a fan of wearing shorts — I’ve always found them to be uncomfortable and unflattering (on me) so I like wearing lightweight maxi dresses as an alternative. Bonus points for a v-neck or a partial button down, because those are nursing-friendly as well. Since I’ve nursed three babies, a strappy sundress-style is no longer an option for me (my bra-less days are gone 🙁 ) but I have that these are two styles that work really well for me:
- Short sleeved flowy v-neck maxi: I have this dress in every color and style it comes in. It is my go-to, as it is flattering, lightweight, not too long, the slits aren’t too high (if you baby wear keep in mind that everything gets shorter when you put your carrier on), and it has pockets!
Black dress above is this one from Shop Pink Blush. It is my favorite and I highly recommend it.
What mom doesn’t want to live in sweats or yoga pants most of the time? I do. And by most of the time, I mean all of the time. But being in frumpy sweats all the time doesn’t do anything for you mentally, as comfy as they might be. So putting on a clean, cute pair of joggers will help make you feel a bit more pulled together while still getting to be comfortable. Plus, most of them have pockets. Anything with pockets is the best in my book.
Are they jeans? Are they leggings? No one really knows. They look like jeans but feel like leggings, and that’s all I care about. I absolutely love these jeggings (I have three pairs actually, all in different washes) and pair them with a tee for a comfy and casual look but they go with anything that jeans would. Definitely a must-buy, especially for postpartum thanks to that waistband. And these button fly leggings are currently on sale for $12 and the dark wash totally dresses them up!
5. A Midi Skirt
I really love a good midi skirt. They are the perfect length for me, can be worn casually with a tee and sneakers or dressed up with sandals or heels and paired with a cuter top. They are flattering and you can find really cute ones at pretty affordable prices. I especially love the pleated ones (I wore a metallic one in our family photos above) and it is now one of my favorite pieces.
6. A Shirt Dress
I love shirt dresses because they are really cute, usually have a button down neck (another nursing-friendly piece for the win!), and flattering to many different body types. I prefer the midi-length personally, but there are also really cute maxi style ones as well as above the knee lengths.
I’m not really counting outerwear like winter coats or rain jackets here because, well, I live in Los Angeles and those aren’t necessities for me. I am talking about outerwear for style and everyday function, like a denim jacket or the perfect cardigan. These are the three outerwear basics I think every mom needs in her capsule wardrobe arsenal:
- The perfect cardigan: for me it is long, not too thick or heavy, and has pockets. I also want it to be grey or cream to be the most versatile.
- A denim jacket: I’ve had the same denim jacket from Gap since I was a freshman in college. I love it. I wear it with everything. Though it doesn’t fit comfortably right now with my nursing boobs, it will always be part of my wardrobe. I especially love wearing it over a dress or a tee and midi skirt.
- A leather jacket: Nothing looks cooler than a black leather jacket. Moto style is my personal favorite. You could also do a bomber, which is really on trend right now. But when it comes to staple pieces, I think classic is always better and timeless.
8. Underwear + Bras
You know what no one tells you before you have a baby? That your favorite undergarments from before will probably not be your favorite after. Especially for bras. I think many moms have to figure out what style of underwear and bras work best for them after they have had babies. I know that the underwear I wore before aren’t comfortable to me now and that my bra size and needs have definitely changed since I gave birth and nursed three babies. So two tips for restocking your underwear drawer:
- Let go of your past bra size and preferred style. Those might not work for you anymore. You have to try out new sizes and style options to see what works best for you. You could either go to a store to try on and be sized (but with baby in tow that’s not that appealing to me). I highly recommend ThirdLove. They have a fit finder to help you find your fit based on your breast shape and fit issues. Then they have a ‘try before you buy’ program where they send you a bra and you can actually try it on and wear it for 30 days. If you don’t love it, you send it back and only pay $2.99 for shipping. Any returned bras are washed and donated to charity. The best part though is that their bras are designed for a better fit, tailored to both size and shape and also come in 1/2 sizes. They use memory foam to form to your breast, making them really comfortable. And they are also really beautiful. I have two and am addicted. UPDATE: They now offer nursing bras that are just as comfy and pretty as the regular bras!
- Revisit your current underwear stock. Which styles do you currently find comfortable? Hipsters? Boy shorts? Briefs? High waisted briefs? Whatever it is, try to stick to that style when you buy yourself new underwear. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but it also doesn’t have to be total crap (pun intended). I preferred lace thongs pre-babies and now I hate them. This is my favorite pair of underwear for comfort, quality, and style. And ThirdLove also has underwear (I haven’t tried yet but I’ve heard great things.)
- Cute and comfy sneakers (obviously)
- Leather (or faux) slide style sandals (easy off and on for when you are carrying a baby or groceries plus are so cute) for warm months
- Clogs/mules: I love closed toe clogs for cool weather and open toe mules for warmer months. Nothing looks cuter with every type of outfit than a good clog. These are a really budget-friendly option as well.
Depending on your preferences, needs, and style, you might also want a good pair of heels, tall boots, rain boots, etc.
- A great cross body bag, for when you don’t need to lug a diaper bag around (or if you never need to).
- A versatile tote bag for when you get out for errands or work on your own and don’t want to carry your diaper bag but need more than a cross body (plus this one is so affordable that it really is a must-have for every woman!)
- Cute sunnies (a good pair of sunglasses covers up a multitude of messes and instantly makes you look put together even when you aren’t)
- The perfect scarf: I love these from Sskeo Designs so much! And bonus — my readers can get a 15% discount through the end of 2017 with code ohlovelyday15.
- A great hat is a mom’s best friend (hides dirty hair, protects from the sun, and just makes you look chic, even if wearing sweatpants!). I think you need these three:
Some Additional Favorite Staple Items for Nursing Moms
Nursing Tanks and Bras
When I’m layering a button down or cardigan over, I’ll often wear a nursing tank underneath with no additional bra. For me, a good nursing tank provides as much support and coverage as a nursing bra, and who needs the extra layer when you are nursing? I live in nursing bras for a while and honestly I thought there was no such thing as a pretty and comfy nursing bra, and then ThirdLove launched theirs. It is divine (for a bra…). I would never wear anything else now. I also love these nursing tanks.
V-Neck tees and tanks allow for easy access to the boobs without sacrificing style or forcing you to buy special pieces. I like to buy a size up to accommodate my postpartum body and for a looser fit for nursing access. Buy several v-necks in your favorite basic colors (a white and a grey are a must in my book) to pair with leggings or jeans for your favorite casual go-to look. These tees are great and affordable and these tanks are also great.
Hidden Access Pieces For Nursing Moms
Clothing that has hidden nursing access is a great investment because you can wear it for your nursing season, but also long after as well. My favorite discovery in nursing-friendly clothing is the Loyal Hana line. They make beautiful capsule pieces that have hidden zippers for easy nursing access. But the pieces are so stylish you’ll wear them long after you’re done nursing as well. My personal favorites are this top, this jumpsuit (I have it in both blue and black and it is pictured in the top photo), and this dress.
I’m also a fan of Bun Maternity, especially this hooded sweatshirt. They also make clothes with hidden nursing access that can fit you from pregnancy through nursing, and beyond. I wear this tee all the time as well. Shop Pink Blush is another great brand that makes clothes that go from pregnancy through postpartum well, although they aren’t specifically made to be nursing-friendly (no hidden access).
And in case you need help with more options or ideas, I’m sharing more that you can shop directly below. Have you done a capsule wardrobe? What would be your biggest staple pieces to include?
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