March 27, 2013
Ode to (Anthropologie) shirtdresses and breastfeeding style
Button fronts are my current wardrobe saviors. And dresses have long been my favorites because of their ease. In familiarizing myself with baby clothing (and its related categories/genres), I've realized that dresses are basically adult one-pieces! Despite their simplicity, they manage to fool onlookers into believing that dress-wearers are pulled together. As an increasingly harried person with less time than ever before to focus on my own outfits, I will use any tricks available to pretend that I am "pulled together." I've become especially drawn to shirtdresses for reasons of practicality as well as style! My closet already houses many cute, fun shirtdresses in bright colors, patterns, and shapes.
Unfortunately (but also fortunately, since it is for good reason) my current bustline is more ample than usual. Under normal circumstances, the solution (to safety pin closed a dreaded boob-gap) would be fine. I've even done this with pieces that don't really gap, just to add additional coverage and security. A safety pinning strategy won't work for me at the moment because I have a newborn who needs consistent, safe, and often swift boob access. In public, when I'm wrangling my nursing cover over an increasingly mobile, squirmy worm, I have to move fast so as not to tip the scales from having a happy-but-hungry to a full-on "hangry" baby.
My birthday is on the horizon so I will admit to feeling self-indulgent. During Emilia's recent four-month-sleep-regression-related middle-of-the-night feedings I've been scouring ebay on my phone to find some button front dresses. Preferably ones that are machine washable! And preferably ones where I already know about sizing/fit due to previous experience and reviews, etc. I'm really glad I did so many Anthropologie fit reviews over the years as I can use this information to inform my searching.
Within a few days, I've collected a handful of my favorites! Mostly shirt dresses from Anthropologie (some of which I already own, pictured above) except up-sized. The good news is that these also give me work-friendly options with pumping access. I wish I had thought more carefully about postpartum times, in the process of putting together my maternity wardrobe. I wrote extensively about how frustrating it felt to spend money on temporary clothes. But I still wound up with a maternity wardrobe I really loved (despite the polyblends... at least most synthetics are machine-washable!). In retrospect, I should have paid more attention to maternity and maternity-friendly styles that were breastfeeding friendly too.
At times I've felt like stylish nursing-friendly clothing might be harder to come by than stylish maternity clothing. If retailers carry anything at all that they market as suitable for breastfeeding moms, they hide it under "maternity" labels or elsewhere entirely. Most of the time if it is nursing-friendly it isn't labeled as such so as to not deter customers for whom this isn't an issue. As I scour the websites of my favorite retailers, I yearn for advanced, detailed search settings. I dream of being able to check boxes that say "sleeves," "button panel," "button front," "machine-washable," "prints," "stretchy fabric," "deep v," "cowl," and more. Rather than searching futilely and ineffectively, I have gone with what I already know: seasons-past Anthropologie. The above is a start, at least.
But hey, if you see any good shirtdresses please let me know!