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!


thatdamngreendress said...

yay shirtdresses! And as for other Anthro options, well, the D'Armee dress is zip front...just sayin...! (though I suppose that could get uncomfortable too...)

What about wrap dresses? Could this allow for an increased DVF budget? Or are wrap dresses perhaps a little too easy access, which poses other difficulties!

I'm glad I'm not the only one that can talk myself into a special new things because it's my birthday- I swear my entire wishlist went on sale in March! :)

Michelle said...


I've been having good luck finding Anthro-ish shirtdresses at Macy's - Tommy Hilfiger brand. Not usually a store/brand I am attracted too but recently found a cute teacup print one on the clearance rack and they had a new floral one with a shape like the Reed shirtdress. Both were cotton and machine washable. Also Target has a pretty good selection of wrap dresses/jersey dresses that are online only. HTH!

Kristin said...

I recently bought the anthropologie "In the City" dress from ebay. It has a front zipper, which may be useful for breastfeeding.

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

Thanks for the advice, Michelle! I know you commented a few weeks ago now but I am finally hoping to get to Macys this weekend. I'll keep an eye out for the teacup print. I love a clever print!

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

Thank you for the tip, Kristin! I will check that style out. I'm not familiar with it off hand but zip fronts are good. If only my D'armee dress would zip over my current bustline!

Jesspgh of Consume or Consumed said...

Sarah, I WISH I could get the D'Armee dress to zip over my current bust. It is not happening. Otherwise it would be perfect! Wrap dresses are great for this but I worry that with the aforementioned more-ample-than-usual bosom, it will get a little more risqué than I am comfortable. The best DVF options are my bigger sized wraps for that reason. I can pull them tighter to cover more. Apologies for my delay in response. I have no excuse but did read what you wrote back when you originally said it and sifted through my wraps to see what worked on my current shape thanks to your advice.

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