It’s spring cleaning time for me back home in Chicago, and I realize that most of the stuff in my closet I can’t use, mostly because of my breastfeeding status. I need comfortable and travel friendly clothes that I can easily nurse and be pregnant in.
I still wear and breastfeed my toddler, which means that any dress or shirt that I can’t pull down easily to feed my baby while she’s wrapped to me is something I can’t use. I also need stuff that is comfortable to travel in, I can wear anywhere in the world, and I can layer depending on weather.
I’ve decided to simplify my wardrobe, get rid of stuff with high unbending necks, buttons that pop open with my bulging breastfeeding boobs, and anything with unforgiving waist bands for my first trimester and postpartum belly. I plan on having a few more of these little creatures, so I figure I might as well just fill my closet with things that flatter my ever-changing body and accommodate breastfeeding for the next 3-6 years, right?
Here are my criteria for clothes that I am looking to purchase:
1) Must be machine washable. No dry-cleaning or hand washing to make it travel friendly and mom friendly. I’m a busy mom and am trying to simplify. I leak breast milk onto shirts and get food and dirt ground into my clothes. Having to find a dry cleaner while traveling sucks.
2) Waists must be forgiving. During the first trimester before maternity clothes become necessary but when the belly starts to bulge, unforgiving waistbands are uncomfortable. After giving birth this is also uncomfortable for the first month or so (or longer). Dresses are best because this problem is avoided altogether and are travel friendly. Empire waists are the most forgiving. Stretchy is good. Fold-over waistbands in pants are skirts are comfy.
3) Shirts must be able to comfortably pull down for breastfeeding. V-neck, cowl-neck, or scoop neck with a stretchy material are best. Button-down shirts are awful because of changing breast size during pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc. Strapless shirts can be great as long as you don’t need the support and can manage with a strapless bra.
4) Must easily layer. I want clothes I can wear in the winter in Chicago, spring in South Africa, and summer in India. They must be travel friendly in that I can wear them anywhere. I want to have as few clothes in my suitcase as possible. I’m looking for short-sleeve tops and knee-length dresses I can layer with sweaters and pants for colder climates. I’m looking for loose and flowy.
5) Must come in dark colors. White is a ridiculous colors for mothers and travelers to wear for obvious reasons. Black, grays, and browns are more travel friendly because they hide stains better. I’m looking for classic cuts and colors that won’t go out of style quickly and that I can literally get a lot of mileage out of.
Here’s what I’ve come up with as items I’m considering purchasing as of end of April 2012 that fit all (or most) of these criteria (also lots of 30-40% sales this weekend at Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Ann Taylor Loft):
Dolman Sleeve Surplice Dress (Ann Taylor Loft): surplice neckline, empire waistband, hits above knees, machine washable
Charmeuse Tab-sleeved Dress (Old Navy): V-neck with hidden buttons, empire waist, 3/4 sleeves, hits above knees, machine washable
Wrap-Front Dress (Old Navy): wrap front that ties at waist, 3/4 sleeves, hits above knees, machine washable
Tops for Layering
Sleeveless Cowl Neck Top (Old Navy): cowl neck, sleeveless for layering, machine washable
Twisted Bandeau Tube Top (Old Navy): strapless (good for easy access and layering, bad if you need a lot of support), elasticized back, forgiving waisteline
Drape-neck Top (Gap): cowl neck, sleeveless for layering, machine washable
Pleated Goddess Cami (Ann Taylor Loft): scoop neck, a little spandex for stretch, machine washable
Shirts and Sweaters
Roll-sleeve Henley Tunic (Gap): long sleeves, tunic style, button down henley placket, machine washable
Ruched Backhem Flyaway Cardigan (Ann Taylor Loft): drape neck, long sleeves, machine washable
Shirred Shoulder Open Cardigan (Ann Taylor Loft): lightweight, long sleeves, machine washable
Chambray Tie Neck Tunic: scoop neck, cotton, machine washable
Skirts and Pants
Foldover Maxi Skirt (Gap): stretchy jersey, ankle-length, fold-over elasticized waist, machine washable
Foldover Jersey Skirts (Old Navy): stretchy jersey, knee length, fold-over elasticized waist, machine washable
Pintuck Detail Drawstring Skirt (Ann Taylor Loft): drawstring ruched waistband, knee-length, machine washable
Stretch Knit Leggings (Gap): leggings- stretchy- yea
Stretch Leggings (Old Navy): leggings again- stretchy- yea
Pure Body Drawstring Pants (Gap): fold-over elastic waist, machine washable
Lounge Gauchos (Old Navy): soft stretchy jersey material, fold-over elasticized waist, machine washable
Lounge Pants (Old Navy): soft stretchy jersey material, fold-over elasticized waist, machine washable
Lace Trim Jersey Camis (Old Navy): soft stretchy jersey material, empire waist, V-neck, machine washable
Ruched V-neck T’s (Old Navy): hits below hip, scoop/ v-neck, machine washable
Vintage Style V-necks (Old Navy): v-neck, machine washable
Hooded Long Sleeve T’s (Old Navy): scoop neck, lightweight jersey, machine washabable
Lace-Trim Jersey Chamise (Old Navy): soft stretchy jersey material, empire waist, V-neck, machine washable
Shadow Stripe Caftan (Ann Taylor Loft): soft, stretchy, elastic waist band, machine washable
Last weekend of April online coupon codes:
Ann Taylor Loft: Enter SHOP40 at checkout to receive a 40% discount through 4/29/2012
GAP, Old Navy, Banana Republic: Enter ONSTUFF30 at checkout to receive a 30% discount when using one of those store cards for purchase through 4/29/2012
GAP: Enter GAPFRESH to receive a 20% off entire purchase at checkout through 4/28/2012 online only
Old Navy: Enter ONSAVE20 at checkout to receive a 20% discount on entire purchase through 4/29/2012
Email me or reply if you have ideas for more travel friendly clothes for pregnant and nursing mommas!