How to Adapt Your Style When Your Body Changes

We’re huge advocates for embracing personal style— but what do you do when you start to feel a little less like "you”? One of the most common occasions for this is related to a changing body… especially during pregnancy. When your belly grows big, and your shape just isn’t the same anymore, it can be hard to feel like yourself no matter what clothes you’re wearing.

However, just because your body may be changing, doesn’t mean you have to lose all sense of self when it comes to dressing. Rather, it may just be matter of adapting your style in a way that suits your current shape and lifestyle, instead of a total transformation. To get some advice, we figured no one would know better than a new mum. Having recently been through pregnancy—and the style evolution it required—we spoke with Jade Cottee for her tips on how to still feel like yourself, even with a new baby bump to style. Keep scrolling for her advice on everything from transitioning your style with your body to which brand she turns to for a comfy postpartum wardrobe.

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What is the trick to keeping true to your personal style, while also being in comfortable/ fitting clothes during pregnancy?

Wear your regular clothes for as long as you possibly can. It may mean sizing up, or opting for a different cut or shape in the pieces you usually gravitate towards—no maternity labels required. And don’t underestimate the power of your favourite jackets and accessories—they can immediately make a look feel more you.

When your body started to change, did you feel like it was difficult to maintain your personal style?

In the beginning, I struggled with benching my high-waisted denim and slipping into slimline maternity jeans instead, but once I worked out how to dress for my new shape, it wasn’t too hard to find pieces that still felt like “me”. I lived in oversized linen shirts! I also found figure-hugging dresses were the most flattering, when previously I would have steered clear of anything tight. Fortunately, my pre-maternity wardrobe featured a lot of loose shapes and stretchy crepe knit pieces that I could continue to wear, I just had to tweak the styling.

Once you’d gotten used to your pregnancy style, was it hard to transition back to your usual wardrobe?

The first few months of dressing with a baby involved lots of activewear, and another transition altogether. You’re in this awkward stage of not wanting to wear what you wore to death during pregnancy, but not fitting into your old wardrobe either. And no one tells you that what you wear during late pregnancy is completely useless for breastfeeding!

I found that even when my old clothes did start to fit again, nothing was practical for motherhood. My personal style has evolved even further—I now reach for colour and prints (they hide sticky finger marks), alongside easy-to-wash tees tucked into Levi’s. I’m very fond of Watson x Watson shirts and Rixo London blouses, they’re perfect for breastfeeding. I’m also careful to buy things that will still work when I’m pregnant again, so I don’t mind spending on quality—I just buy less.

What was one thing you missed wearing most while pregnant?

High-waisted jeans. I live in them!

What is one thing you loved to wear while pregnant that you didn’t think was “your style” before?

“Love” is a strong word—I think I just made my peace with what was comfortable to wear with a giant belly and expanding hips/chest. I definitely dress better as a mum. I’m loving colour and prints, whereas before my wardrobe was a sea of black, white, navy and grey. I have more fun dressing now.

When your body first started changing, how did it affect your style? Did you just adapt and overcome?

Adapt and overcome. It’s a bit awkward at the start, when you don’t have a bump yet and are just a bit thicker through the waist, but once you get through that, it’s actually quite freeing not worrying about sucking in your tummy.

After having a baby, you usually prioritise comfort and ease over style. Any tips for how to do this fashionably?

Never underestimate the power of streetwear and sunglasses. I treated myself to new “gym” gear from P.E. Nation and on the days I can’t be bothered dressing properly, I still feel put together. And for the other days, a flattering cut of jeans, great sandals and a tee can still feel elevated if you get the proportions right.

I know it’s cliché, but a great handbag will change your life. It’s a tiny (yet useful) addition to a simple outfit that injects a bit of “the old you”. I recommend choosing something that fits a packet of baby wipes and a nappy.

Do you feel like style is related to your relationship with your body?

Absolutely! I definitely love my wardrobe more when I’ve been nourishing my body with healthy food and extra Pilates classes. It also works in reverse—if I’ve had a wakeful night with my son, a good outfit can make me feel human. Those are the days I’ll put a bit more effort in, and slip on a pretty dress and boots just to take my son to the park. When you look like you have your sh*t together, you feel like it too. And on the days I am bloated or haven’t been to Pilates in a while, that same floaty dress can let me relax—no sucking in required.

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