Monday, May 23, 2011

What Not to Wear: Playground Edition

Even though the Oxford English dictionary officially added the term “muffin top” in March, that doesn’t make it acceptable for moms to sport a pair of too-tight jeans and an unflattering t-shirt.      Unfortunately, it’s too easy for moms, especially moms of young kids, to fall into the fashion rut—elastic-waist yoga pants, zip-up hoodies and old tennis shoes. It’s no wonder: why bother dressing up when your body is so different than it was pre-pregnancy? Breasts have swelled, shrunk, and/or fallen, hips are wider, and let’s not get started on the extra layer (or two) of fat in the mid-section. Nothing fits anymore. And the nature of parenting work—baby spit-up, soiled diapers, food everywhere—doesn’t help to inspire a mom to throw on something pretty. However, there is hope. 

Two months ago we put a call out to GGMG members, asking for volunteers to participate in a clothing makeover. We were overwhelmed by the number of emails. Among the 60 responses from women desperate to be saved from their disheveled looks, we found three women with disparate fashion needs. With the help of Maegan Boyle, a Bay area personal stylist, the mothers spent a rainy San Francisco afternoon losing their dowdy and embracing their inner chic.  

Jessica, a mom of a two-year-old daughter and a four-month-old son, needed clothes that could transition between her work at a biotech firm to her other, endless job as a mother. Since she was still newly postpartum, her body, like all mothers after birth, was thicker through the midsection.  Jessica arrived wearing an old pair of red, ill-fitting corduroy jeans and a plain black t-shirt. The outfit did nothing to draw attention to her beautiful face or show off her good curves.  
Jessica Before (photo courtesy of Natasha Maresca Photography)
Maegan helped Jessica find a look that complimented her post-baby body. On her bottom half Jessica wore a pair of boot-cut, dark wash jeans with no embellishments to create one long lean line from her hip to her ankle. The jeans were mid-to-high rise, which concealed and controlled her problem area. On top she tried an easy and lightweight modern sweater that floated away from her tummy and balanced her top and bottom. The volume in the neck and sleeves of the sweater created the illusion of a smaller waist, and the long cowl brought the focus up to her face. For footwear, Jessica chose a pair of metallic Børn ballet flats—comfortable and easy to slip on to head to the park or to the office.
Jessica After (photo courtesy of Natasha Maresca Photography)
Get Jessica's look at:

Katy is a fourth-grade teacher and mom of 10-month-old daughter Nia. Although she needs clothes for both work and home life, she didn’t want to look like the average teacher sporting holiday sweaters and white tennis shoes. Her personal look is more edgy and funky. Katy is tall and slim, but now has slightly larger hips and a tummy she would like conceal.  
Katy Before (photo courtesy of Natasha Maresca Photography)

Katy came to the store wearing a pair of cropped, baggy jeans that were a few sizes too large, a striped t-shirt and sneakers. Her look did not honor her long, slim body. Katy ended the afternoon in a pair of contemporary, sexy, black, straight leg jeans that hugged her curves in all the right places and emphasized her long legs. The jeans were high-rise to control the tummy, and the straight leg, versus a skinny leg, was a jean that better complimented her curvy hips. The look was paired with a black, slightly cowl neck t-shirt that had edgy ruffles around the neckline. Katy was one long, slim column of sexy black!  The outfit was completed by pops of color with a turquoise necklace, red patent leather shoes and a cream Michael Kors bag. 
Katy After (photo courtesy of Natasha Maresca Photography)

Get Katy's look at:

The last volunteer was Elizabeth, a single mother to her two-year-old son. Elizabeth works from home, where jeans count as fancy attire. Now that her son is no longer a baby, Elizabeth is hoping to find a more sexy, sophisticated look and think about dating again. Even though she is slimmer than she was before pregnancy, her body has changed, repositioning a bit of weight onto her midsection and chest. She is broader in the shoulder and narrow and straight through the hips and legs. Elizabeth arrived sporting shades of brown: a zip-up brown, hooded sweater over a plain white t-shirt, beige cords and brown shoes. Her drab look did not match the remarkable individual she is.
Elizabeth Before (photo courtesy of Natasha Maresca Photography)
With Maegan’s assistance, Elizabeth found an outfit that not only better matched her personality but also highlighted her best features. Maegan helped Elizabeth incorporate color into her wardrobe, colors that compliment her own natural coloring and make her look more approachable and fun. On her top, Elizabeth wore a lime-green, low-cut, floaty tank top with beautiful detailing around the neckline to help conceal her larger bust and draw attention to her face. She also traded her brown hoodie for a comfortable open cardigan in eggplant that floated beautifully over her curves. Perfect for San Francisco weather, it was also versatile enough to be worn to a play date or to dinner. Since Elizabeth was so straight through her hips, the boyfriend jeans gave volume to her bottom half and were the perfect pair for running around after her toddler. She can also mix the jeans with sexy wedge sandals and an evening tank top for a summer date outfit. Finally, Elizabeth chose the same Børn ballet flats as Jessica but in lime green.
Elizabeth After (photo courtesy of Natasha Maresca Photography)
Get Elizabeth's look at:

Style Tips for Every Mom
Whether you are heading to the gym, to the playground or to work, Maegan believes that all women should ask themselves this one question: “If someone snapped a picture of me right now and posted it on Facebook, would I be okay with that?” Each time we step into a public space, we make an impression with the way we dress. Here are some of her tips for making that impression becoming:
  • Fit! For moms, especially moms with young children, one of the biggest challenges is fit.  As Maegan says, “Ill fitting is never flattering.” Oftentimes moms are stuck in their old, pre-baby wardrobes, which don’t match their new shape, or they borrow from their husband’s closet. Baggy does not hide the problem areas; it just makes them look bigger.
  • Balance! If you are larger on the top than the bottom, wear darker shades up top and light on the bottom to create a leaner look. Similarly, if you are heavier on the bottom, wear dark pants and a light top with a flattering neckline and pretty details.
  • Emphasize your best feature! Wear clothes that draw the eye to your favorite body parts.  Tops and dresses should always accentuate the narrowest part of the waist. If lower stomach is a problem, empire waist may hit at just the right spot.
  • The right denim! A great pair of jeans should be a staple in every mom’s wardrobe. The key to jeans is finding the appropriate rise. Joe’s Jeans or Not Your Daughter’s Jeans are good options for postpartum women with a troubling tummy.  
  • Workout wear does not need to be dreary! If you need to leave the house in yoga pants and a t-shirt with a built-in bra, make sure these items compliment your body. Be sure to incorporate color and fit into your workout wear.
  • Nothing is ready-to-wear! Do not be afraid to make use of a good tailor. Women’s bodies are unique and most clothing is designed to fit rectangular body types. If you find a great dress, shirt or pair of pants, buy the size that fits your largest portion, and have it tailored to perfectly match the rest of your body.
  • Rework your old wardrobe! Similarly, if you have pieces from your pre-maternal life that you love, have these altered to work with your new body.
Contact Maegan Boyle for your personal styling needs at (415) 695-4659 or at You can also find fashion tips at her blog:


  1. i just bought those exact bjorn shoes two days ago worn by jessica. And i'm 36 years post-partum!!!

  2. It is a good article.welcome to my home page!Looking forward to your visiting.

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