Defining Style For Fall 2010

October 21st, 2010 - filed under: The Fashion » Clothing and Accessories

Breastfeeding while touring a farm, ’cause that’s just how I roll. What’s that got to do with fashion? Well . . . a lot!

Truth: I adore fashion. And though I don’t really shop a whole lot, I do replenish my cool-weather clothes each fall, and my warm-weather clothes in the spring. In between excursions I’ll pore over blogs and editorials. I’ll amass great collections of inspiration, selecting the styles that speak to me aesthetically. Then I’ll hit the thrift with these in mind, hunting for treasures to take my fashion forward into the next season. And then . . .

And then, these wonderful pieces will slowly wilt in the deep dark depths of my dresser. Invariably, I’ll have chosen a look that doesn’t flatter my body type, or that isn’t physically comfortable, or that, most importantly, just doesn’t lend itself to my lifestyle. I’ll have a closet full of great clothes, yet I’ll hide in the comfort of hoodies all winter.

No more, I say! This year I’m determined. This year I have a plan. A thoughtful, practical approach: “What clothes will work for me?” Highly complex scientific analysis involving algorithms and lots of calculus revealed three intrinsic factors that affect my fashion choices this fall:

  1. My post-baby body! Woah, time to re-examine everything I knew about dressing myself. Goodbye, ribcage-to-thigh-with-nary-a-curve slim hips! Hello, nipped waist and a proud badonk! w00t! Also, um, 32E. Seriously.
  2. My post-baby schedule! I’m over-worked, under-slept, and usually sporting spit-up. I need clothes that stand strong on their own, ’cause I just don’t have the time to coordinate.
  3. Breastfeeding! More than anything else, my outfits are founded on access access access. Especially once it get’s really cold! No lifting up or pulling down; I need to get in there with as little skin exposure as possible.

Shooting Outfit Photos With Munchkin – 1) Yeah, gettin’ my pose on. Feelin’ fly . . . 2) Oh shit! Don’t touch that! 3) Here, come hang out with Mommy. [trouser jeans are secondhand & asymmetrical reconstructed top by a local designer]

The above three criteria work in conjunction to make dressing myself damn near impossible. Ha! I’m kidding of course, but I’m willing to bet that each of you has some similar issue – an idiosyncrasy that makes it difficult to just. get. dressed. Maybe it’s an atypical body type. Or perhaps you can’t stand the feel of most fabrics. Maybe your job requires you to wear unrestrictive clothing. Whatever it is, if you can identify it like I’ve done here, then you can work out how to work around it. For me that means:

  1. Finding the styles that suit my new body – which are pretty much the opposite of those that worked with my old body!
  2. Finding pieces that are: a) awesome all on their own (not basics!), b) comfy enough that I’ll actually want to wear them while toting around a toddler, and c) easily cleaned.
  3. Breastfeeding friendly means a zip front or a button front or super stretchy. No solid fronts or high necklines means I can’t wear most of my old winter wardrobe. Oh darn. Guess I’ll need to do some more shopping . . .

Two Transitional Looks – At left, I love love love this funky cut aqua creation. Living in it already! (and look at it, it’s just *made* for breastfeeding!). At right, I never liked navy + black until very recently. I think the red makes all the difference! [everything secondhand]

And For When It Really Cools Down – At left, this ‘motorcycle’ jacket is hoodie material. No leather here! And the skirt has pockets, yes! At right, I’m such a child of the grunge 90s, I will forever love flannel. So, what’s the consensus on leggings-as-pants? [everything secondhand except scarf, which is Damian's]

I’ve had so much fun plotting and planning my Super-Styley Mommy Ensembles. Now it just needs to get cold enough so I can wear them . . . naw, I can wait!

What about you, my dears? What are your wardrobe hang-ups? How will you combat them this season?

  • jen

    I LOVE that aqua jacket! So cute!

  • Rea

    Holy hell, Say, those are all fantastic!! Haha, I can sympathize you on the badonk and the giant tatas, I naturally developed an hourglass figure that has been half curse, half blessing! It all looks great on you. I’ve been looking for fall wardrobe inspiration, too.

  • Kat

    My problem is wearing too much of the same color. I really like greys and blacks and dark greens…and most of my snuggly winter sweaters/long sleeved comfy tees are black, grey or dark green. I start to look like I’m wearing the same outfit every day!! I really am trying…*looks down at grey shirt*…most of the time. But I did wear red yesterday. I love secondhand shopping because I can’t just try on a blue shirt that I like and then buy it in black – forced variety!

  • Squiggle

    I too am sympathising with the curves; I have 30G boobs, 36″ hips and a 28″ waist so flattering clothes are like gold dust, even without throwing charity shopping into the bag!

    Consequently my sewing machine is my new best friend…

    B x

  • Shango

    You are my hero. It doesn’t getting any more real than that.

  • Rea

    @Squiggle OMG, don’t you know it? I hate hate hate how it’s so hard to find cute clothes that (a) fit me and (b) don’t make me look cheap! Clothes just aren’t designed for gals with figures like ours anymore. ;)

  • Courtney

    First, I have to agree with just about everyone here: You look amazing! But I’m with you on the totally redoing the wardrobe. I’ve spent the last year trying to figure out my style on such a limited budget. Luckily I’ve also really gotten into knitting, so I’ll probably end up making some of what I need. :)

  • Adrienne Audrey

    I’m happy to see more fashion on the blog!
    My problem is I have a closet full of dresses and amazing shoes but all I ever wear is old jeans and a hoodie. I work in a shipping warehouse so I can’t dress up for work if I wanted to! At least when I find some nice clothes at the secondhand store I don’t feel so bad about them getting ruined at work since they are so cheap!

  • Janine

    I love so many of these looks! I’m obsessed with 90′s styles and I love your “aqua creation”. I agree that the red ties the navy and black together – super nautical.

    I don’t think my body is very different post-child. I was pretty hippy to begin with. But finding clothes I can easily breastfeed in is my big challenge as well! Everything I have so far is majorly slubby and old – it’s the one thing I neglected to research/purchase during my pregnancy.

    Love this kind of post! And hoping you do some sort of (even informal) guide to the best places to take babies in Portland.

  • Sara B

    Love these outfits! I say yes on wearing leggings as pants, especially as you are a reasonably toned/fit lady, as long as they are think enough that your underpants are visible in the back.
    As for you 32Es, I’ve been at this size for the last decade (not from babies, just my natural size). I’d highly recommend Olga bras, not a sexy name, but really well made bras in the big cup sizes, my mom and sister are both into them as well. If you’ll need swimwear for next spring I’d recommend this fab top. It was pricey, but now it’s on sale. V. comfortable and supportive and not a halter, so no neck ache!
    Please keep up the fashion posts, I love your look, esp the skirt and motorcycle jacket. :)

  • Sarah

    Is this a bra size thread? Cause I’m a 42 G+ right now, no joke. I didn’t even know a 30G was possible! I’m pretty tall (hence the 42), but G??
    My hips and waist aren’t small by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m only 1 month postpartum! (That G definitely swells 2-3 cup sizes at least when my milk’s heavy… and I think it’s *totally* unfair that I need to wear nursing pads-like I need padding, wtf.) I’m definitely busty and curvy! Pair that with long legs and you can’t buy pants *anywhere*. They’re either falling off my ass or hiking up to my knees.

    Also, @Sayward: I found out that you develop more glandular tissue with *each pregnancy*. So watch out :P I wasn’t a G cup before or after my first… but I am now! It should shrink down some, right? My sweet husband kept taking photos of them just in case. Gah.

    For my busty/ass-y body, my favorite types of shirts are tunic-length, but with shape. This close postpartum, I’m definitely going with the empire waist :) Later on, though, I like it to fit at my waist!
    I’ve also found that nice wide waistbands on anything are very flattering. Not the ‘mommy jeans’ kind that are at the natural waist (yikes).

    Other than that, you can’t go wrong with good posture, good hygiene and confidence! :P

  • MathTutor

    Lordy Sayward I’m the complete opposite! 5’2″ (barely), and “petite” curves. I shy away from leggings because it accentuates how tiny I am, but it looks great on you!

    My number 1 hangup is that I had a lot of my favorite clothes stolen :( However, that gives me a great excuse to head to Plato’s Closet! My favorite haunt :)

    I go to Texas A&M and here we have a lot of school spirit, and I find so many A&M things at the thrift stores! And I have really been feeling the slouchy shirt/legwarmers. It makes me want to consider leggings :0 I’m thinking of making a few slouchy sweaters with some A&M paraphenalia :)))

    P.S. motherhood looks good on you!

  • Sarah

    @Sara B: Oh, thanks for the tip on Olga bras! I’ve been wanting to try and deconstruct a well-fitting bra so I can nurse easily in it because even the largest nursing bras just don’t cut it for me!

  • Kate

    TOTALLY love the photos of you going from relaxed to ‘ooooooh baby come here’. Adorable.

    I LOVE your stylish mama clothes! HOW do you do it girlie!? Keep on rockin’!

  • Heather

    Looking gorg-eous!! :) Looks like the fashionista in you is in full-effect ;)
    My fashion hang ups….
    #1-moving from Wisconsin to Seattle (tomorrow!!) I’m gonna have to learn to dress more appropriately-Especially for winter. I’m used to wearing about 3 layers of heavy clothes, hardcore winter boots, thick “man” socks and gloves. constantly. gloves even indoors!
    so yeah…winter fashion is usually lacking because the only thing anyone sees is the 3 inches of your pants between the top of your boots and the bottom of your jacket. and those pants are usually corduroys.

  • Kerri

    Love, love, love your style. You are looking gorgeous!

  • Pat

    Am SOOO feeling the same, just last week I was looking at my autumn and winter clothes from last year (ante partum…) and with those HUGE breasts now (12 weeks into nursing), they are all just to short at the front, and my poor (and not any more that toned) belly is out in the cold…brrrrr. and yes lifting ur shirt in those temperatures …. my poor boy will get ice cream instead of milk…. I was lucky to find 2 nursing tops second hand, honestly not very pretty, but for the daily routine with the dog and all, perfect. in 3 weeks time I am going to a friends wedding, a strictly black and white dressed one….I have absolutely NO idea what to wear, as there will be a lot of old guys. I hate feeding puplic in such company, so am looking for something that “hides” well enough while nursing?!?
    @ KAT: same problem, same choice of colours….

  • windycityvegan

    Love all of it! Especially that top from a local designer. I’m a total 80′s & 90′s child, and definitely love leggings and skinny jeans. I’m also a runner, so I wonder if living in running tights six months of the year has anything to do with it…?

    I’ve been very narrow hipped/36E on top since high school (and only 5’3″ – so very short torso), needless to say I’ve had a LOT of time for terribly wrong trial-and-error and learning what works best for my body. Having my kiddo did not give me any additional curves, so thankfully all of my original clothes still fit. HOWEVER, I breast fed for 15 months, which meant seriously rethinking my favorite color – black. Zomg do breast milk stains stand out!

    I grew up poor (government cheese poor), but both grandmothers were amazing seamstresses, and making my own clothes became a great creative outlet. Also, I fell in love with thrifting at an early age.

    As an adult with a job where I get to play corporate dress up (funky-corporate allowed, yay!), I have also fallen in love with consignment shops.

  • Charlotte

    I’m trying to build up a new wardrobe on a limited budget. I live in an area with a poor selection of thrift shops so I have to get creative sometimes.

    My whole wardrobe has revolved around nursing for the last six years. I maybe get a few months of wearing non nursing friendly stuff then I’m up the duff again. Whatever I wear I usually have some sort of scarf with me as an additional cover up if I have to pull a top down or to the side.

    I love this UK site for vintage stuff and inspiration:

  • melissa

    Love those clothes!! I’m so impressed that you got them all second hand..awesome job!
    You look amazing in them so great choices!
    Thank you for sharing

  • Sayward

    Thank you thank you all for the wonderful comments! I really really love writing about fashion but I’m always unsure of what you guys want to read. If anyone has ideas or suggestions, I’m totally open! I want to do more fashion blogging!

    @ jen – Thanks! I was so stoked when I found it used.

    @ Rea – It *is* a curse and a blessing! It’s such a lovely body type, but it’s really hard to find clothes that fit!

    @ Kat – That was my exact problem a few years ago! In college pretty much all I wore was black, grey, and red. I forced myself to break out of it more recently (thrifting really does help) but it’s still my inclination to throw on basic black every day. Working on it!

    @ Squiggle – Damn girl! That sounds like a body that’s made to wear vintage. =)

    @ Shango – Haha, yeah privacy what? ;-D

    @ Courtney – Yay. DIY is the best. Then you can buy all your basics secondhand and just accessorize with all your fab creations!

    @ Adrienne Audrey – You should make it your goal to wear one of your dresses at *least* one day each weekend. Once you get used to it I bet it will come much more easily and you’ll do it much more often. And life is *so* much sweeter when you feel like you look fly! =D

    @ Janine – Yeah I’ve found breastfeeding fashion is all about a tank under an open-front (zip or button) top. With that formula you can actually find some *really* cute stuff. Especially in P-town. =)

    @ Sara B. – Thanks for the Olga rec. I’ve had such a hard time finding bras!

    @ Sarah – “They’re either falling off my ass or hiking up to my knees.” Haha, story of my life!

    @ MathTutor – Aw sorry you got your stuff stolen, that’s rough! But at least you get to replenish guilt-free. =) Love the slouchy top + legwarmers idea!

    @ Kate – Haha, now that he’s mobile taking self portraits is a whole new ball game! He was all about trying to climb up my makeshift tripod (which was a stool stacked with books – not the most stable!)

    @ Heather – Wow congrats on the moe and welcome to the PNW! You’ll LOVE it here! And wow, yeah you’ll have a much better winter. I can’t even imagine that, yeesh!

    @ Kerri – Aw thanks sweetie!

    @ Pat – Ice cream! Ha! =D

    I did a wedding at 8 weeks postpartum (pictures here) and just did a lot of car-nursing so i didn’t have to worry about modesty. ;-)

    @ windycityvegan – Heeeey government cheese, w00t! I was raised on the giant orange brick. Maybe that’s why we’re vegan now! =D

    @ Charlotte – I hear ya on the nursing/budget constraints. I’m lucky that I have a great thrift scene here though. At least you are creative!

    @ melissa – Thanks lady! It’s my pleasure!

  • Jen

    Ah yes, refashioning for fall. My favorite time of year!

  • Tara

    Sayward, I love love love that aqua jacket. How cute! I’m in a similar position as you, except well…the opposite. I just found out I am pregnant (yay!) and so all my fall/winter clothes are soon to become obsolete. This is our first child and I have no clue how my body will react and change with a growing wee one inside. What to wear? Ah! Haha. I am in love with oversized knits and leggings so I’m guessing this will probably become a staple of my “with-child” wardrobe. I am very into clothing and exclusively shop second hand so I desperately hope I can transition in way that still feels satisfying and looks adorable. Any great ideas for mamas-to-be in the winter?

  • Pat

    @ Tara: I found out in November last year, and from my experience, long long tops with lots of layers…our winter was one of the coldest in decades…and even though while pregnant, my feet and hands weren’t as cold as they would have been unpregnant, the rest of me was constantly cold, could have had to do with the discomfort of the constant nausea though…
    @ Sayward: yeah the car nursing was what I had in mind too, or the loo (if they are clean and have seat covers). Waits Wedding-Tux-Onesie just looks amazing! Did u make that urself?

  • Sarah

    @nursing mamas:
    I definitely worry more about my postpartum belly than my boobs even when it’s hot out! (My postpartum boobs are amazing, thankyou.) I was nervous nursing in public with my first, but this time around, I have no problem now that I have practice. I recommend a camisole under your shirt if you have to lift it up and feel uncomfortable. All that’s showing is your breast temporarily until you have baby coverage. Small breasted women have no problem really, but I’ve got huge boobs so if it works for me, it can work for you (probably)!
    The camisoles I use can just be pulled below my breasts, and they fit tightly enough so that they don’t make any extra bulk or wrinkles. I know some mamas buy tank tops/camisoles for the same purpose and cut out boob holes. Lawl.

    The other thing I’ve been doing that’s new for me is wrapping a long jersey scarf around my belly. I guess it’s like a belly band. It peaks out of my clothes cutely too. It has the bonus of making my jiggly 4th trimester belly feel secure and helps correct my diastasis. I read about it being a sign of motherhood in some cultures to wrap the belly <3 You can do it over or under clothes, but the under shirts works pretty well for making you feel better about public nursing :)

    Please nurse in public when you can! I've only ever seen 3 mamas nursing in public that weren't at a nursing event or at a LLL meeting :( I've had a wonderful experience nursing everywhere with my 2 year old! Nobody's ever said anything negative (or much anyway) and I've gotten so many smiles, compliments, and cute questions from kids :)

    Of course… if you're going to go and wear a high neck dress or something you can't get into without stripping… you're kinda out of luck :P

  • Sarah


    Oh! I wanted to mention too that I went to a wedding while nursing my first early on. I didn’t know the families of the couple either! A crossover-top style dress works really well. I went with, um, strapless which meant hiking my boob out over the top of the sort of stretchy material. Heh. I had a pretty silk scarf that made it work fine, though. I just draped it over me while I was extracting the boob and then kept it over the skin of my chest to make it less naked feeling. Did I mention I have huge boobs? Nobody even seemed to notice, and the ones that did complimented me :)

    It wasn’t cold in July, though!

  • Nicole

    Just fair warning to all of you nursing ladies that those boobies shrink and sag come weaning time. I’m down to two feedings a day (daughter is 12 months) and my breast are back at the size they started at, but about 3 inches lower. I used to be able to go sans bra… ummm… that doesn’t work anymore. So, all of my old little shelf tanks that were perfect for under low sweaters etc. don’t work. Also, most of my clothes were bought before I was even planning to get pregnant (bought nothing when I knew I’d be preggo the next season), so I’m now in 3-6 year old clothes that fit my pre-baby bod… everything is either out of style or doesn’t fit or both. I need to replace the entire lot (well, in order to get out of yoga pants, that is). Problem is, I’m planning number two… so, do I put the work/time/$$ into clothes for one season only to have the same problem again in two years? Oh, we women, we have it tough I tell ya…

  • Sarah

    Sagging has more to do with pregnancy, breast size and genetics than breastfeeding. ( I definitely sag… but my mom didn’t till menopause because she never lost the breastfeeding size (heh).

    I also have the same problem with basically needing an entirely new wardrobe, but when the hell to buy it? When you lose some weight or should wait until you change shape?? Gah. I prefer minimal stuff, so I tend just to keep 7ish outfits plus stuff to layer. It’s been easier to manage that way with all the body changing, but still. I’m the new normal I became after my first will be the same this time around so I’ll be able to wear some of that again!

    Also, I’m in yoga pants now. Heh.

  • Pat

    @ sarah: good idea with the crossover top, actually have something like that in cupboard, never thought of it. tnx for bringing it back in my mind :-) and def thanks for the article, cause i was just looking at “them” this morning thinking…they surely are starting to give in to gravity, but now I can live in hope.. ;-)

  • Kelly H.

    You look gorgeous and oh-so-thin and chic! I envy your creativity!

  • Sayward

    @ Tara – You nailed it with oversized knits and leggings for pregnant-in-winter. I did lots of secondhand clothes but very few were actually maternity. I was all about the super stretchy fabrics. And lots of layers!

    @ Pat – I actually found the tux onesie secondhand – a total score. But it would be super easy to make (which was my original plan)

    @ Sarah – I agree 100% with all your nursing mama tips, and I’m all about nursing in public!

    @ Nicole – Sounds like you need to hit the thrift and only go for *stretchy* stuff – so you can grow in it! =D

    @ Kelly H. – Aw, thank you sweetie. I’m just trying to have fun with it!

  • saundra

    giant boobs+nursing not always an easy combo.. plus when you get the belly fat hanging out it wasnt to good looking (to me) i did what the others posted with my sec. one (too uncomfortable to n.i.p. with first) is the tank under the shirt to cover the belly and a button up shirt or a loose shirt over.. my main prob was when letdown occured and stuff went spraying EVERYWHERE lol for that i always had a towel or burprag to catch the “extra”

  • saundra

    p.s. love love love the clothes i wish i could look all cute like that…

  • Sarah

    Yay NIP :) You’d think people would care less about nursing down here in da Souf where people are often half dressed in the humidity anyway, but… I know this isn’t a bf-ing blog too! Sorry to get carried away with it :) It’s like my activism outlet while I’m not working or something.

    lol @ Saundra with spraying… I totally let my letdown spray into a puddle on the floor the other day so I didn’t choke my little one >.>

  • Kate in SB

    Cute outfits!

    My take on leggings: totally okay to wear as pants as long as 90% of your ass is covered.

    I have the same motorcycle hoodie jacket, in gray. It’s from Urban and I love it! Looks good with everything!

  • Annie Minnaar

    WOAH! I LOVE how confident you are with your new baby body. I know a lot of folk who would be “out pops the baby and get me back in my size zeros”… You look gorgeous, might I say, and your new wardrobe is as flattering as ever!

    hugs and smiles sent to you three! x