How to Get Your Style Back Post-Baby with Erena Te Paa
It's easy to find yourself in a style rut, especially if you're a stay-at-home mum. That's why we've enlisted stylist Erena Te Paa to help us out of the track pant trap and into clothes that make us feel fabulous.
If you find yourself pulling on yet another pair of leggings or those oh-so-comfy maternity jeans well past your pregnancy, it’s time to inject femininity and flair back into your wardrobe.
Hamilton-based stylist and lifestyle blogger, Erena Te Paa, welcomed her son, Costa, into the world 18 months ago and understands the fashion challenges mums face. “For me it was wearing my maternity pants and tops post-baby that didn't help my self esteem.”
Thankfully, she has some simple and practical advice we can all use to freshen up our fashion for spring.
EDIT YOUR WARDROBE
The first style step Erena recommends is to edit your wardrobe and box up anything you wore while pregnant (out of sight, out of mind). “This includes your old faithfuls like track-pants and leggings – especially if you have 10 pairs, in which case try to reduce the number to just one or two. Once you've limited your usual choices you’re forced to think differently or shop!”
Simplifying your wardrobe with a "quality over quantity" approach also makes it much easier to pull together a feel-good outfit each morning. “With children to chase and tidy up after the last thing you want to do is stand in front of your wardrobe completely confused by all the things.”
MAKE SMART STYLE CHOICES
Once you’re ready to welcome a few new pieces into your wardrobe, it’s important to make smart purchasing decisions by choosing clothes that are both practical and stylish.
“I always recommend a pair of jeans. Good quality denim will go the distance and you can live in them while you’re vacuuming, off to the supermarket or even on a night out. A good pair will always look good and can be dressed up for all occasions.” Erena suggests black or mid blue jeans in a style that’s fitted but not restrictive, such as a stretch denim.
Harem or cotton jogger-style pants are also nice alternatives. “These feel just as comfortable as a pair of track pants, but they’re a little more fitted and tailored and they look great with sneakers or heels.”
When it comes to tops, Erena suggests adding three to four options starting with a stylish tee that’s both practical and versatile, perhaps with a logo or print for added interest. Next is a tailored cardi. “By tailored I mean one that feels plush and has structural details like a defined collar or lapel. It might even remind you of a coat/jacket but with more of a casual vibe.”
A v-neck lightweight knit sweater that you can wear over a top or on its own, and a floaty blouse or shirt round out your new wardrobe. “The blouse would obviously feel dressier than a tee but could still be dressed down if you needed to. This would be the top you’d wear out to a coffee date or movie paired with jeans. The key is to look after these pieces and replace them when they get too worn.”
SHOPPING FOR A POST-BABY BODY
A common dilemma for new mums who may not be quite back to their ideal post-baby body is whether they should hold off buying anything new or embrace the size they’re at. “Don’t hold off, just start small,” Erena says. “New babies are all-consuming and they can be a great (and worthy) excuse to just wait until we're ready, rather than place too much pressure on ourselves to 'get back to the way we were'.”
Starting small could mean wearing a beautiful scent, a little tinted moisturiser, mascara, or dressing up an outfit with accessories. “Earrings, necklaces, lipstick and a nice pair of heels are just some of the ways I’ll take a plain outfit and make it more stylish without getting myself into a panic. Look at your accessories and make sure you have at least two or three different 'showy' pieces that you can throw on. You'll be surprised by how much nicer a tee looks with a pair of statement earrings or a sweep of red lippy.”
DEALING WITH PROBLEM AREAS
The secret to concealing areas you’re not so confident about is a good fit. If you're wearing pants or a skirt, make sure it’s the right size and try to avoid waist details that are overly embellished as these draw attention. "If your tummy is a problem area, conceal it with a top/dress that is tailored to fall gently over your stomach area without clinging. Try not to go for oversized pieces or you'll hide the parts of yourself that you don't actually mind.”
Erena recommends drawing attention to the parts of your look/shape that you do like. For instance, bring the eye to your neckline with an open collar, stunning necklace or vibrant lip colour. "While black may be considered a concealer for all body issues, it doesn't always look great on everyone. Instead, try looking for patterns or prints on pieces that are well tailored to fit the parts you don't mind and fall gently over the parts you do.”
MISTAKES TO AVOID
The most common style mistake mums make is getting comfortable wearing clothing that’s too loose, too old or too worn, Erena says. “We tend to put our children's needs before our own and sacrifice our own style for speed and practicality. But you can have both of these things in a stylish way.
“Style is a choice and we have to choose to up our game – it won't just happen! Start by adding small updates like accessories or a little makeup and then build on that. It's not hard but it does require a little effort.”
SPRING TRENDS TO WATCH
Spring has sprung and that means a fresh range of seasonal stock in our favourite stores.
Earthy tones are still going strong with khaki, biscuity browns and pastel shades, Erena says. “If neither of these are your cup of tea, leafy botanical prints, tribal prints and bold primary colours are also coming through like sunshine yellow, red and blue as well as jeweled tones like crimson, emerald green and sapphire blue.”
Off-the-shoulder tops, raw hemlines and billowy blouse sleeves are also going to feature strongly.
Like this post? If so, please show the wonderful Erena Te Paa some love by sharing it with your tribe! You can connect with Erena at www.erenetepaa.com or over on Facebook or Instagram.
Emma Lawrence is the founder of Thank Goodness, an award-winning journalist, and dōTERRA Wellness Advocate. She lives on New Zealand’s beautiful Coromandel Peninsula and believes wholeheartedly in a daily self-care practice, lifelong personal development, and growing a thriving business anchored in generosity and gratitude.