Babies may be the ultimate style camouflage: They’re so cute that they draw attention away from the dark circles under your eyes, the neglected hair, and a wardrobe that revolves around sweatpants.
Still, every woman knows there’s a connection between feeling good and looking good. After having a baby, the trick is to look your best with as little fuss as possible. Here are a few tips to help you feel put-together and pretty in a snap.
The best outfits for new moms
The good news is that you don’t have to spend days or big bucks shopping for great postpartum clothes. All you need are a few staples that make you feel good and some fun accessories — such as a pin, scarf, or funky jewelry — when you want to spruce things up. With the right items, you can look sharp while taking care of new-mom practicalities: You’ll want clothes that help you breastfeed easily, feel comfortable with your evolving shape, and avoid the dry cleaner’s.
For the first month or so after giving birth, you’ll probably be most comfortable in the maternity clothes you wore when you were four to five months pregnant. Or you may find that regular pants, shorts, and skirts with drawstring or elastic waistbands, roomy tees and tops, or loose-fitting dresses best accommodate your post-baby body.
When you’re shopping for postpartum items, steer clear of hard-to-care for fabrics, such as silk or rayon, and pass over any “hand wash only” items. With a newborn in your life, you’ll want everything to be durable, somewhat stretchy, non-wrinkly, comfortable, and most of all, washable. If you find a piece you really like, buy two in different colors.
Luckily, casual clothes can incorporate a lot of style. You can get the comfort of something like sweatpants — with a forgiving cut and elastic waist — but in a polished fabric like cotton cashmere. Or try a pair of capris, gauchos, or yoga pants with a cute T-shirt. Pick up a few bright shirts with interesting necklines for a quick and simple update. Studies show that color can have a positive influence on your mood, and it’s a great way to brighten up any outfit. Don’t be afraid of bold colors — try a yellow or bright-red top.
If you’re heading out for a night on the town, pair one of your basic T-shirts with black (a slimming color) dress pants and some fun jewelry. Or try a classic black dress — a wrap-style model tends to flatter all types of figures. You can also pair a wrap-around blouse with gauchos or an A-line skirt (which draws attention away from your midsection) and heels for a feminine and put-together look.
If you’re trying to find clothing that lets you breastfeed your baby discreetly, you’re in luck. Tops and camisoles designed for nursing mothers come in styles and colors that fit every budget. Look for shirts that zip up, button down, or have easy-to-remove straps. Wrap-style dresses, mentioned above, give you easy access for nursing. Be sure to invest in one or two good nursing bras to allow for easy feeding sessions.
Quick makeup that still looks great
If you used to devote 20 minutes to putting on your face, you’ve probably noticed you’re now scrambling to find two. If you wouldn’t dream of leaving the house barefaced, save time by choosing foolproof products that do double duty. For coverage, moisture, and sun protection in one step, pick a tinted moisturizer with an SPF of 15 or higher instead of a heavier foundation. You can put it on in a flash, and it’s more forgiving if you miss a spot or don’t blend it in well. (If you need extra help hiding your dark circles, dab concealer under your eyes.)
Dust on some color. A subtle peach shade works for most skin tones and can be lightly brushed on cheeks and eyelids for a hint of color. For a warmer look, you can do this using a pressed-powder bronzer, but use a light touch to avoid dark splotches and streaks. A color stick that can be used on your lips, cheeks, and eyelids can be a handy tool.
Pick up a long-lasting lipstick or tinted gloss. It’ll give you color and moisture but won’t require meticulous application. Just slick it on and you’re set — and it won’t come off when you kiss your little one. Note: Makeup pros say that if you only have time to do one thing, do your lips — it can instantly brighten up your entire face.
Great hair in minutes
Wear your hair as-is — whether that’s curly, wavy, or straight — and you’ll save time by not fighting its natural texture. The trick to getting your natural hair to look great is to invest in a good haircut.
If you don’t have the time or money for a good haircut, hair accessories, such as clips and headbands, are an inexpensive way to jazz up any do. And, of course, pulling hair back into a ponytail is an instant and timeless style. If you want, use a styling cream to control flyaways.
No time to shampoo? Degrease your locks by dusting in and brushing out a bit of dry shampoo (or a tablespoon of cornstarch). But be sure to go easy on the cornstarch, especially if you have dark hair, or you’ll have trouble brushing it all out. Spray a reviving mist or conditioner into your locks for instant shine.