What wear how?

Re-learning how to dress my confusing post-babied body

There’s just something about birthing a 9+ pound baby out your baby maker that changes you. Not just the way you think (though that definitely gets scrambled, too), but your literal you. Your body. It just is not what, or even where, it used to be.

When you go put your hand in your back pocket, your ass arrives a beat sooner than it used to. Your waist is somehow 4 inches higher than it was before. Your knockers knock to a whole different rhythm.

And all of a sudden, your great Great Lakes dress (the one where people used to look at your chest and ask, “Are those the Great Lakes?” And you’d get to say, “Yes…why thank you!”) is now snug in a bad way. Favorite shirts are tight across the arms and back, which makes you feel like you’re getting straightened by a straightjacket. And your always treacherous balance has degenerated to the point where you can’t be trusted to remain upright in anything but the flattest flats.

Your lifestyle has changed, too. Now you’re all about pushing swings, giving piggybacks and squatting down to talk at kid level, which means your jukebox is perpetually in the wind. And when you’re not busy hiking up your jeans, you’re getting grubbed with greasy fingers and flying toothpaste spit.

Meanwhile free time is scarce on the ground, which means all your shopping is done online, vs. carefully tried on and evaluated in stores. And the half hour you used to spend pulling together the right outfit each morning has been reduced to like 5 minutes…4 if you also want to brush your teeth.

So there you are. Your clothes are kid-stained, nubby, and irritatingly ill-fitting. And whatever time you might have spent trying to fix things no longer exists. It’s over. You don’t feel cute anymore.

Which! Is why I reached out to, grasped really, my lovely stylist friend (and co-Pinterester) Larkin Brown (of Lark in Style glory), who came over to my house and, over a bottle of champagne, helped me sort through my closet and re-find my cute again.

Larkin calls it “shopping in your own closet,” and it involves finding new ways to wear your own stuff—whether it’s different combos of separates and accessories, or even just tucking or belting the things you used to wear untucked or unbelted.

I tried on every single thing I owned that day. It took 4 whole hours. By the end of it, my body was actually sore…just from robing and disrobing, and twisting my head into that over-the-shoulder profile mirror self-checkout pose.

We also cleared out bags and bags of once-great shirt and dress and pant friends, all if which sadly were no longer doing me any favors…old friends that got hauled off to the Goodwill to bring happiness to new owners, or got sold at my favorite consignment shop (Maribel in Oakland, owned by my amazing friend-from-way-back Anne).

And now I have 10+ outfits that work on my new momly body, go-to uniforms that I can put on without having to think about it. I also have a set of rules to guide me whenever I go shopping: Buy things with more structure. Everything should be fitted to hit at my new sky-high waist. Belts!

The first week after my closet audit with Larkin, I got a lovely peppering of compliments from friends and coworkers, plus one street proposal from a mentally unstable gentleman waiting for the bus out in front of the courthouse. Pow.

All of which got me standing a little taller, and stepping a little springlier. Because nothing makes you feel cuter like feeling cute.

Best of all, I used the $200 I got from selling my old clothes to buy my me a custom-fitted, structured, high-waisted leather jacket from this amazing custom-leather guy on Etsy.

In summary: Larkin GOOD! (A+++, highly recommended, strong hire.)