Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina

This Is The Only Little Black Dress You Need To Buy Postpartum

Ad failed to load

Let’s be very, very honest about this — pregnancy and childbirth change your body. Regardless of what tabloid headlines about celebrities’ post-baby bodies and Instagram #fitspo posts might tell you, the reality is that your body’s going to look and feel a little different after having kids — which means your clothes will probably look and feel different, too. Luckily, you don’t have to wear your maternity jeans and your partner’s ratty old college sweatshirts forever (unless you want to!). Mom Jeans is Romper’s guide to helping you figure out your postpartum wardrobe during the first few months postpartum and beyond.

Many of my non-parent friends enjoy asking me what the most difficult aspect of new motherhood actually is. I can't blame them. I'd be curious, too. There's a list that does come to mind: the incessant diaper changes, the constant threat of diaper leakage, the late nights, early mornings, and lack of sleep. But what many don't expect to hear is that the first seven months of parenthood are difficult for another reason: fashion, or the lack thereof. Thanks to decreased energy and time, not to mention the impracticality of navigating breastfeeding in anything other than a button-down, I've lost my sense of style post-baby. That said, a certain little black dress has saved my life postpartum.

While such a sentiment might seem like hyperbole, I can assure you that it's not. For months after Luna was born, I'd stare at my clothing rack (jam-packed with sequins, vintage-inspired swing dresses, mod turtlenecks, and bodycons) with the utmost despair. Clothing has long been a means of self-expression for me. As a plus size woman, it's also been a way to protest all of the so-called "rules" for my body. When I wear loud colors, bold prints, tight-fitting skirts, or short shorts, I'm saying that I deserve to take up space and live my life freely.

Ad failed to load

Since having a kid, however, I can rarely muster up the energy needed to create a bona fide look. Because I'm still breastfeeding, I typically can't be bothered with any outfits that don't provide easy access to my boobies, anyway. That's why the aforementioned little black dress has been my saving grace.

Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina

ASOS Curve Bodycon Maxi Dress With Popper Details, $35, ASOS

Ad failed to load

When I started thinking about workarounds to my new-mom fashion problems, it occurred to me that what I really needed was an outfit or two that felt true to my style and fat positive politics, but was also incredibly easy to get on and off. That's when I stumbled upon a black maxi dress from ASOS Curve. It was made out of ribbed jersey material that I knew would be soft, stretchy, comfortable, and form-fitting. It'd likely hug onto my belly and thighs and remind me that no part of my post-pregnancy body was shameful. The popper details down the center would keep things minimal, but just a little bit more eye-catching. The split detail at the bottom would allow me to feel a slight breeze on my legs while adding a little sexy to the mix. There were no zippers or buttons, either. In other words, cue the hallelujahs.

Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina

The dress also seemed like the kind of thing I could easily style for any kind of occasion. I could wear it as is for a whole number of activities, be it errand-running, visits with friends or family, or day-to-day sh*t around the house. On the off chance that I'd be attending a cocktail party, fancy dinner, or professional meeting, I'd just need to add the appropriate shrug, scarf, jacket, or jewelry. Maybe something sparkly for a night out, or something tailored for work. Maybe a '90s choker necklace if popping into a grungy bar in the city. I could even turn the dress into a maxi skirt by adding one of my many button-down blouses in my post-baby arsenal on top of it. The top-and-skirt combos would be endless.

Ad failed to load
I missed so many of my pre-baby clothes. Hell, I still miss them sometimes; but with this dress, I can at least play around with my personal style a little

Although I'm hardly anti-outfit repeating, the possibility of experimenting with this dress sold it. I knew that it could be the foundation for countless ensembles. I missed so many of my pre-baby clothes. Hell, I still miss them sometimes; but with this dress, I can at least play around with my personal style a little. I can remind myself that playing around with clothes is something I love — and keeping hold of things that I love is of utmost importance to me these days.

Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina
Ad failed to load

The ease of breastfeeding in this little black dress is perhaps the biggest perk of all. Plenty of retailers specialize in "nursing-friendly" garments, but the reality of these clothes is that they are often heinously boring and typically unavailable in extended sizes anyway.

Thanks to the adjustable straps of this particular dress and its generally stretchy nature, however, I can pull whichever boob I need out in seconds.

I've primarily been sticking to button-downs because they seem like the most practical, easy option. After all, they don't involve getting half-naked (if not almost entirely naked) in public, come rain or shine, like an over-the-head dress or high-necked tee would. There'd be no shame in doing this, obviously, I just happen to live somewhere cold and wet, and I don't like getting even more cold and wet.

Ad failed to load

Thanks to the adjustable straps of this particular dress and its generally stretchy nature, however, I can pull whichever boob I need out in seconds. I can slip it back in just as easily. The bulk of my body remains clothed and warm, while my daughter can suckle to her heart and belly's content.

Courtesy Marie Southard Ospina

New parents are often expected to be totally chill with the idea of giving things up. We're supposed to eschew nights out at the cinema in favor of nights in with Shrek re-runs. We're supposed to stop drinking cocktails and start drinking juice boxes. We shouldn't be preoccupied with trivial things like maintaining our identities outside of motherhood.

Ad failed to load

I've known from pretty early on that I'd never be chill with any of that. The truth is, fashion is important to me in the way that maintaining my friendships is important to me. It's part of my self-care routine, which also includes reading and drinking the occasional cocktail and treating myself to some upper lip waxing. When navigating tiredness and a screaming infant and compote-making, it hasn't always felt easy to make room for pretty clothes. This dress has made the room, though. In doing so, it's helping me reacquaint myself with, well, me, along the way.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

The Reason Why Babies Smile At You Will Seriously Make You Smile

Whether you're currently the recipient of your own baby's sweet smiles or you just seem to be a magnet for baby grins in general, you might find yourself wondering why babies are always smiling at you. Sure, you could be a 'smile whisperer' but scien…
By Kate Miller

8 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say That, Yes, You Are Their Favorite

For a baby to show a preference for a specific person is not only normal, but an essential part of their development. Babies need to form strong attachments to their caregivers for their emotional, social, and physical wellbeing. Usually, but not alw…
By Kimmie Fink

10 Reasons Why I Won't Apologize For Giving My Toddler A Pacifier

My first child had no interest in a pacifier. I tried a couple times to get him to take one, but he always spat them out and gave me an incredulous, judgmental look. But my second? It was love at first suckle. And after a while, the incredulous, judg…
By Jamie Kenney

Being A Dog Parent Prepared Me For Having A Baby, Really

I’ve always wanted kids; I was never as sure about raising a puppy. Then I spent six months living with someone who brought home an eight-week-old golden retriever puppy, and I see no way to make it out of that experience claiming not to love dogs. I…
By Heather Caplan

20 Of The Most Popular Unisex Names Of All Time, That You'll Be Hearing More Of For Sure

You might think of unisex names as a fairly recent trend, but the truth is these versatile monikers have been commonly used throughout history (well, some more commonly than others). That's why the team over at recently compiled a list of t…
By Jacqueline Burt Cote

How To Have A Date Night With No Babysitter, Because It's Easier Than You Think

After having children, many couples feel that their love lives immediately go out the window, but it's so important to make your romantic life a priority so both you and your partner can be the best versions of yourselves you can be. As we all know, …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

9 Ways Baby No. 3 Made My Family Feel Complete

My husband and I decided to have another baby right after we got married and, well, we had no idea what we were getting into. I got pregnant right away, endured a high-risk pregnancy, and, before I knew it, my third baby had arrived. Together, we emb…
By Steph Montgomery

8 Stereotypes About New Dads That Are *Totally* True

Much like new mothers, new fathers have a lot on their plate. Parenting can be scary and complex, especially at first and regardless of your gender. People want to do right by their kids, after all. And since all new parents are a hot mess, dads are …
By Priscilla Blossom

8 Differences Between Being Pregnant In Your 20s Vs 30s, According To Science

Whether you're planning a pregnancy, or just thinking about your future family, it's typical to think about things like child-spacing, how many kids you want, and when to start trying to conceive. When making your pro/con list, you might also conside…
By Steph Montgomery

16 Moms Share Remedies For Their Most Intense Chocolate Cravings During Pregnancy

For better or worse, pregnancy is usually synonymous with odd cravings. Sure, there are the stereotypical combos like pickles and ice cream that plague gestating women the world over, but there are other mind-boggling combinations, too, including but…
By Candace Ganger

Putting Sunscreen On Your Kid Doesn't Have To Be A Fight — Here's How To Do It

I am almost translucent, so me and sunscreen are basically besties at this point. Even though my children are beautifully deep brown thanks to my husband's genetics, I still slather them like biscuits being buttered because I refuse to take risks wit…
By Cat Bowen

7 Things A Mom Really Means When She Says She Doesn't Want Anything On Mother's Day

Every year my family asks me what I want for Mother's Day, and every single year I tell them the same thing: Nothing. So, by now, they know that when I say "nothing" I absolutely do not mean "nothing." In fact, there are more than a few things a mom …
By Candace Ganger

19 Moms Share The Way They Cured Their Pregnancy Comfort Food Cravings

I was obnoxiously sick during the first trimester with, "lucky" for me, both of my pregnancies. For the first three months I lived on saltines, lemonade, and fresh bread. Once I was able to eat, however, all I wanted was savory and sweet comfort food…
By Dina Leygerman

8 Fascinating Facts About Babies Born In May, The Luckiest Month Of All

The height of all things fresh and springy, May is an excellent month to have a baby. It's a time of growth, graduations, and outdoor celebrations. And these fascinating facts about May babies will give you more reasons than ever to appreciate childr…
By Lindsay E. Mack

I Used To Judge Formula-Feeding Moms — Until I Became One

The other patrons in the hip Brooklyn restaurant probably couldn’t care less what I was feeding my baby, but I’ll always remember the shame I felt as I quickly mixed up his bottle of formula in front of them. I admitted to my childless friend that I …
By Katherine Martinelli

7 White Lies It’s Necessary To Tell To Keep Your Relationship Healthy

Telling lots of lies typically isn't associated with a healthy, strong, lasting relationship, and that's still certainly true, but not all lies are exactly the same. Though you've probably heard from someone at least once or twice that the lie they t…
By Lauren Schumacker

The Skinny Jeans That Saved Me Postpartum

Accepting my post-pregnancy body is hands-down one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It’s something that I still work on every single day. During my first pregnancy, I was 20 years old, so I managed to bounce back quickly. In fact, I dropp…
By Allison Cooper

7 Ways Your Baby Is Trying To Say They Feel Safe

In those first weeks of new motherhood, it can feel like you need an interpreter for your newborn. With their limited means of communication, figuring out what message your baby is trying to get across to you can be a challenge. With time, however, y…
By Kimmie Fink

Here's Why Dogs Are Obsessed With Babies' Poop, According To Science

Most family dogs seem to understand babies, and they're more than happy to make friends with the newest member of the pack. It's adorable... for the most part and until you go to change your little one's diaper. Suddenly, you're wondering why dogs ar…
By Lindsay E. Mack

6 Signs You're Meant To Have A Big Age Gap Between Kids

There's a five year age difference between my two children, to the day. Their age gap wasn't planned but, for a variety of reasons, works well for our family. And since I was so focused on having a second baby, I totally overlooked the signs that wou…
By Candace Ganger

My Dog Knew I Was Pregnant Before My Family Did

Growing up, I was 100 percent sure I'd be a mom one day. To a dog, that is. My baby plans came later. And once my husband and I were sure we wanted both a dog and a baby, we'd add to our joint dog-and-baby name list over Sunday brunch or on date nigh…
By Melissa Mills