About a month before I had my first son, I realized that I had zero clothes to wear once I had him. I knew I would likely be back into my midsize maternity clothes, but I was also hopeful that some weight would fall off quickly.
Since I was unsure of where my body would be, I knew I didn't want to shell out tons of money for cute clothes that would likely only be worn around the house and be covered in spit up. My top two criteria were comfort and cost, but here are some other thoughts I had while shopping:
I don't want anything touching or rubbing my tummy (C-section momma here)
I'm efficient, so my clothes need to be too. If it doesn't allow me to greet guests and take a nap, it's not for me
I want to feel like my old self (carefree style, without looking frumpy) as soon as possible!
I won't touch 'dry clean only' with a ten foot pole
With all of that in mind, I consistently found myself filling up the digital cart at Aerie, Loft, and Old Navy.
Note: If you buy anything from these stores that isn't on sale, you're a sucker. There are always sales! Be patient! You will be able to snag something good under $20.
Below are some items that I love from each store, and why they are a great option for the postpartum momma.
Wait, you mean the satellite store from American Eagle? You bet I do! If you feel uncomfortable shopping in a store overflowing with judgmental preteens, maybe just shop online.
This store has the most comfortable loungewear! Soft and stretchy without sacrificing style is the name of the game. I especially love the bralets. Most can just be pulled aside when nursing, and you feel cute falling back to sleep in them. Plus, you won't sweat all over a cute sleep shirt when the night sweats kick in. (Ain't life grand?!)
Plus, they have oodles of underwear at a reasonable price. I found that getting back to my usual style of underwear after bleeding for weeks (again, that life is just grand!) was an instant mood booster. I immediately felt better about myself when I wasn't sliding into stained parachute sized bloomers.
Aerie is also one of the first brands to embrace body positivity. Their #AerieReal campaign is flawless and empowering. It would be a great place to look when your body still doesn't quite feel like yours yet.
With each child, I seemed to have an event (wedding or otherwise) after just a few short weeks. [ READ: Something to which I couldn't wear loungewear.] To my delight, Loft, a store that I frequented before two tiny humans forever changed my body, still worked for postpartum. Every season they have looks that incorporate a wrap style, which for the fashion novice is considered universally flattering. In addition, Loft isn't usually one for form fitting clothes, so shift dresses and flowy and feminine are easy to spot here!
Old Navy has been the end-all-be-all for me- the holy grail- if you will. First, the clothes are ridiculously affordable AND cute. But the thing that always brings me back is the Rockstar brand of jeans.
Let me tell you, I HATE JEANS SHOPPING WITH THE PASSION OF 1,000 FIRES. It is sweaty and soul crushing. But the Rockstar brand always works for me - jegging, straight leg- all of them. In addition, nearly every style offers mid and high rise, which after the development of my eternal mom pouch was essential for my ego.
I was also recently shocked to find the most comfortable sandal for the summer ( in Florida that is March-December) at Old Navy. My mom always critiques the amount of support that my shoes [don't] have, and these passed that test! There are still a few colors - buy them now!
Bonus about Old Navy - the baby clothes. They are precious + affordable. I'm talking $4 for onesies. My favorite is the footed, zipper pajamas. When you don't have to find 1,000 teeny buttons at 3am, you'll be thanking Old Navy.
I've ordered from all these stores online, and returns have been a piece of cake when something hasn't been right.
As you are approaching your postpartum bod, I hope these stores bring you back to your old self like they did for me!