According to HuffPost Style, the Fall 2016 fashion trends were all about “Mom Style.” That’s right, for a fleeting moment, mom fashions, from high-waisted jeans to tank tops without bras, were totally in.
But you don’t have to embrace ironic mom style circa 2016 to be fashion-forward. Start by letting go of the nostalgia of those carefully-staged photos of your belly protruding from underneath a button-up shirt. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t translate to a postpartum body with your belly guiding the way.
Instead, embrace styles that actually flatter your figure and play up your best assets – whether curves, or a back-in-shape frame. Being a fashionable and confident mom is all about being comfortable and feeling great in what you’re wearing. From wrap dresses to multi-functional scarves, here are 8 styles that will flatter every mom’s figure, even if you’re fielding melt-downs and potty training at the same time.
1. Own Your Empire
We’ve all done it. Are you holding onto maternity clothes just a little too long to help you get over the post-bump and transition into “real clothes”? There’s nothing wrong with that – unless your youngest child is out of diapers and currently having a conversation about refusing to eat anything but marshmallows while you read this article.
Get out of the maternity clothes and slip into something a little more womanly and empowering. An empire waist dress creates the illusion that your waist is bragging about how slim and sophisticated it is. The magic isn’t actually magic at all; an empire waist transforms the area near your rib cage to resemble a mock waist. For a double-threat combo, choose an empire waist doubling as a wrap dress to draw attention to the leanest part of your body.
2. Get the Right Shape
There’s nothing wrong with a little shapewear to put your mom-style in forward motion. And if Oprah says it’s okay, then you know it’s law.
It’s time to break out the modern-day Mom Jeans and revolutionize your influence in the fashion world. Look for jeans that incorporate spandex or stretch-defying fabric right into the denim to hug your body, while leaving plenty of room to chase your little ones around the house.
Choose from the many offerings in shapewear jeans to give your body an extra boost. There are sizes for the moms who need some extra help with problem hips and thighs, and options for plus-sized moms looking to shimmy out of their old jeans for a sleek look. And for the moms who have no idea where their belly and arms are headed, pair your new jeans with a shapewear shirt for a seamless fit that keeps everything in place and you looking like a new person.
3. Wrap It Up
The universe collectively rejoiced when fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg released her wrap dress creation into the world – and for good reason. Von Furstenberg updated, modernized and popularized the 1930s and 40s wrap dress to perfection. Fill up your closets with your favorite wrap dresses for a day at the office, hanging with your toddler or a coveted date night.
Part of what makes a wrap dress so special is how inexplicably flattering they are on just about any body type. They celebrate a woman’s curves instead of apologetically trying to hide them under piles of fabric. They also radiate magic with their versatility from day to night without missing a beat. Dress up your new wrap with bangles, hoops and a draping necklace for a night out, or opt for a comfortable knit version for daytime fun in the family trenches.
4. Get a V for Victory
Flattering mom styles can come in many forms and colors, including simple T-shirts and pullover sweaters. Just make sure to choose a top with a low neckline or similar effect. While there’s no need for plunging necklines, a polite little V showing off some neck creates the appearance of a longer physique that flatters.
Pair your favorite V with brand-new slimming jeans, and a dainty necklace to get that “Oh this? I just dropped off the kids at school, did a workout, got errands done and am now launching my side hustle gig” look you crave. You’ll appear put together, yet comfortable and casual at the same time.
5. Love Your Layers
Layer your favorite T-shirts, camisoles and tanks with a colorful cardigan or form-fitting jean jacket. Layers can help tuck away problem areas while making you look light and airy as you walk the mom runway. Or in this case, the carpool line.
Year-round layers are both fun and functional, no matter the occasion. A light cardigan helps keep the sun off vulnerable skin in the summer, and a wooly zip-up warms you up in cooler months. But there’s another reason layers always rank high on the mom fashion lists: they easily hide spit-up gone awry and crumbling granola bars without any fuss. Meanwhile, the world around you thinks you’re just terrifyingly stylish and wishes they could emulate your fashion sense.
6. Look Hip
It’s easy to get a little too comfortable in well-worn fleece jackets and fraying workout gear as a busy mom on the go. But instead of reaching for your favorite hoodie, pull out a hip-length, tailored jacket that hits your waist. This look turns a blah dress or tired jeans into a hip ensemble. Add some flats or comfortable heels, and your friends will start asking if you’re headed to an appointment or jury duty. Tell them it’s just another average day of looking fabulous at home.
Solid-colored jackets with shirts paired underneath are a fine look, and can still look hip, but aren’t the end of this story. Make it even livelier by choosing bold, striped shirts or graphic tees to layer under your tailored jacket to jazz up your new look. And if patterns and bold shirts aren’t your thing, stick to traditional and reach for the accessories instead. Even a solid and subdued look can come roaring to life by adding a bright red, chunky necklace and will bring some color to your day. You know, besides the juice box explosion on your white chair waiting for a deep clean.
7. Get a Leg Up
Don’t throw out those leggings and workout favorites just yet. You can still embrace your leggings as a flattering mom staple in your wardrobe if you do it right.
Black leggings are like the Swiss Army knife of your closet, and can be worn with just about any combination of long sweaters, shirt dresses and tunics. Grab your favorite pair of form-fitting black leggings and throw a jersey dress over it for an early evening dinner out with the family. During the day, try a lightweight and casual shirt dress to keep things free-flowing and comfortable.
But here’s the real figure-flattering trick: slip into high-waisted leggings to pull in your tummy and keep that unwanted visitor at bay (no muffin tops allowed). You also want your leggings to fit snugly at your ankles. And most importantly, leggings are supposed to be fitted, yet comfortable enough to spend the day in. That means if you can’t feel your feet, you picked the wrong size.
8. Feel Free with Flowing Scarves
Tent dresses live up to their name by making you look like you got caught in a tent and are now fumbling through life with your head sticking out of it. That’s not a flattering look on any body type. But we give them credit for conveniently covering you up in a hurry and keeping your body under a shroud of mystery until sunset. So instead of going tented, try an updated look with a fashionable, oversized scarf.
Just think of the possibilities that await. Wrap yourself up in a colorful scarf to discreetly nurse, drape over your shoulder as a cozy accessory when heading out for lunch with friends, or toss across your lap while hanging out on the lawn with the kids. Save it for a day when you’re feeling a little less than aspirational in the tummy area to keep it out of sight and out of mind.
And remember, a scarf isn’t just a fashion accessory. It’s an emergency everything, from extra blanket in the car on an errand gone wrong, to a clean-up-in-Aisle-7 kind of disaster. You won’t want to leave home without it.
What about you? What is your favorite mom style that’s super flattering and fun to wear? And which one needs to be retired ASAP? Let us know by leaving a comment below: