Some moms express a lot of anxiety about going back to work after taking time off to have their babies. It seems like many of you moms in the "Working-Mums" community go back when your children are between two and six months. I know from experience that one major cause of anxiety is the challenge of not fitting into your pre-baby professional wardrobe like you used to. But you don’t want to spend your workday obsessing about how you look—you need to feel confident and be able to concentrate on your job.
Post-Pregnancy Body Worries are Universal
After Ben was born, I was involved in a crazy story line on Days of Our Lives that required me to wear men’s army fatigues. The most redeeming aspect of that whole scenario was that I was able to wear those baggy clothes for almost a month when I returned to work, so I didn’t feel all self-conscious about my body. I used that time to tone up and get in shape as much as I could with my schedule, and I finally returned to wearing girl-clothes and started to feel my body was my own again. I think it took about three months the first time for me to wear size twenty-nine jeans. I hung the jeans tag up in my dressing room, feeling so proud. I wasn’t “done” by any means, but I was celebrating my progress.
After Megan was born, I was back on camera for both shows very quickly. And I didn’t have any outlandish story lines to hide my body behind. But luckily, on Days, Sami had been pregnant, too. That made me feel better because my body was “in character.”
5 Figure-Flattering Tips for Dressing Post-Pregnancy
Whether you’re on TV or not, you always want to look your best, right? At The Biggest Loser, I always try to dress professionally for the weigh-ins. Finding outfits that are flattering right after childbirth isn’t easy. Here are a few tips for this stage:
1. Jackets are your friends. My stylist, Liza Whitcraft, is a big fan of jackets, which she says look good even when you’re carrying some extra weight because they’re structured. So they look shapely even though they don’t hug your shape. She suggests choosing jackets that are lined and well constructed, and making sure they are long enough at least to reach your hips. (Short jackets that don’t cover the zipper of your pants are a no-no—the look is choppy and bulky.) They can be part of a suit, or you can pair them with dark jeans for a more casual-but-still-sophisticated style.
2. If you like your legs, wear skirts. For work, they should be about knee length (or just a smidge above.) Short skirts are too young looking and not professional enough for an office. Long skirts can look good if you’re careful to avoid those with too much fabric and lots of pleats and gathers—I have a lightweight, wispy long skirt that I wear with a T-shirt and flip-flops; it’s the perfect L.A. summer skirt—but usually they work best as part of a casual outfit. Knee-length skirts can look perfectly polished and show off your legs—and they tend to be more forgiving than pants around the belly, hips, and butt.
If your body is anything like mine, it’s best to avoid midcalf-length skirts. They just aren’t flattering to someone my height (or most anyone who’s not six feet tall). Be aware of things like that: Skirts and dresses can make or break your look, depending on where the hem hits you. If you love a dress, don’t be afraid to take it to a tailor and have it adjusted to the length that looks the most flattering. I was in a dress shop recently and the sales clerk offered me a 10 percent discount toward getting the dress altered at the tailor, because they want to encourage their customers to make sure the clothes fit really well. How cool is that?
3. Find a pair of great heels—about two-inch heels—that are comfy enough to wear all day. They’ll add height, of course, which means you’ll look slimmer and feel taller as you stride back into work.
4. For a while after my babies were born, I loved wearing tops on camera that gather in the center, right where your cleavage is, and hang down from there. It’s not too baby doll-ish— more like a smock or trapeze top—and it drapes nicely over your belly but still shows some definition where your waist is.
Working mom Alison Sweeney is an award-winning actress and host of NBC's The Biggest Loser. For more fitness tips from Alison, check out The Mommy Diet, a month-to-month plan for a healthy body and mind before, during, and after pregnancy.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.