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Mommy Fashion

To Spanx or Not to Spanx: Wearing Dresses Without Shapewear

Just like last week, this blog was inspired by a question RLS received. However, in this case the questioner was not a blog reader, but an attendee of a Maternity Planner event at which I was on a panel, Motherhood But Make it Fashion, last March. The question went like this: As a new mom, I have a softer tummy than I used to, yet I feel no inclination to wear shapewear as I did in the past. How do I reconcile societal norms of what looks good versus what feels good?

I can relate, and from what we’ve been hearing from clients lately, so can a lot of women. After you have a baby or reach a certain age or success level, you just don’t care as much anymore about adhering to strict societal norms of high heels and a flat stomach. And pretty much nothing can make you care again once you have other priorities. If you had told me when I was 29 that one day I wouldn’t care if anyone ever found me sexy again…well I definitely wouldn’t have believed you!

Or maybe it is just that our definition of sexy changes? Our power no longer derives from our ability to look good in tight dresses and high heels. Instead our power comes from an ability to handle whatever curve balls life throws at us. For instance, last Friday I was up early with a sick kid after a late work night, but still managed to put on a comfortable but cute outfit, straighten my hair, see two happy clients, and finish Halloween costumes. That’s the kind of day that makes me feel powerful, not living up to some supposed ideal beauty standard.

So what’s the answer? To Spanx or not to Spanx in order to keep up with societal norms? Our answer to our clients is somewhere in the middle. One, let go of the idea of looking body perfect the year after you have a baby. Maybe even two years. Two, don’t try to squeeze into your old clothes now that you are a new person. It is like trying to wear someone else’s wardrobe. Motherhood and other personal growth change you; you deserve a new wardrobe that matches the new and improved you.

Below are three different styles of dresses that should work on most body types, no Spanx required. You’re welcome.

Swing Styles

Tuckernuck Washed Blue Charlie Stand Collar Dress, $148

Merlette Soliman Tiered Minidress, $320

La DoubleJ Swing Print Silk Dress, $620

Pomander Place Black Blythe Dress, $138

Voluminous Fit & Flare Styles

Tahari Floral Mikado Midi Dress, $188

Gal Meet Glam Collection Addison Tie Waist Fit & Flare Wrap Dress, $188

City Chic Botanical Print Dress, $109

Rachel Roy Sleeveless Fit & Flare Dress, $149

Shift Styles

Club Monaco Pintuck Shift Dress, $248

Lafayette 148 Thurman Finesse Crepe Dress, $548

Boden Christobel Long Sleeve Print Shift Dress, $150

Rag & Bone Sadie Merino Wool & Silk Long Sleeve Shift Dress, $395

Real Life Style is a style consulting firm that teaches busy women to wear their power so they can live their lives fully and confidently. Lani Inlander and Kyle Dunphy are based in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area and serve clients nationwide. We offer personal styling services, an on-demand e-course, corporate services, and training to become a personal stylist.

Once in a while, you can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. Mostly, they are happily busy serving their fabulous clients, not hanging out online!

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