Mums, you’ve nailed it. All Hail your Almighty powers. You’ve grown, nurtured and delivered beautiful wee babbies from your very own bodies (I mean Holy Wow – the sheer wondrous alchemy of it all still blows my mind.) and you’ve got a brand new mum bod to show for it.
You’ve proceeded to dedicate your entire lives to being awesome mums, forever putting yourselves second, third, often tenth. So, can we all just take a minute to be kind to ourselves and applaud our marvellous bodies please?
The number one gripe that mums – both new and seasoned – share with me is a fundamental dislike of some part of their post-partum bodies. Tummies, hips, bigger boobs, smaller boobs, wider rib cages, flat bums, wobbly bums, cankles, a new mum bod, a general shift in their physique. As a woman and a mother I completely get it. Our bodies do change after pregnancy and unless you have a Kardashian-level obsession with nailing an impossible figure (and a squadron of nutritionists, personal trainers and surgeons) they will most likely remain slightly altered.
To every mother who feels a foreboding lack of body confidence, I implore, beg, BESEECH YOU to accept, embrace and celebrate your New Body (fancy holding a mum tum party anyone?). Instead of feeling like crap when you look in the mirror (we’ve all been there), fixating on your hate area or comparing yourselves to the local perfect mum (we all have one), learn instead to wear clothes that flatter and enhance your figure and make you feel awesome, be you a size 8 or 18.
Dressing for your unique body shape is the number one trick to looking your best. I’ve had clients declare they feel like they’ve lost a stone in the space of a shopping trip and wail with joy when they finally find a pair of jeans that don’t give them extreme muffin top. Look at Adele’s Glastonbury outfit. She’s a curvy mum who dressed her shape to perfection, looked nothing short of stunning and projected incredible body confidence. Her outfit is the textbook example of how to dress your body beautiful: the dark maxi dress in floaty fabric gave her a lovely silhouette and the central embellished panel drew in the eye in and was extremely slimming.
Rule number one: There’s every chance that what looks great on one person will look terrible on the next. My advice is to ignore the trends (everything looks deceptively great on skinny models) and don’t ever assume that what looks good on your mate (real or social media girl crush) will suit you. Secondly, establish what body shape you are and always shop armed with an understanding of the cuts, styles and fabrics that make you look and feel fantastic. Not only will you head home with a selection of clothes you love and can wear, you’ll also simplify the whole shopping experience and avoid the dreaded too-much-choice-can’t-cope-nothing-suits-me panic.
My New Mum Bod
There are six body shapes in total and here’s a quick guide to figuring out which one you are.
Your bust width is narrower than your hip width and your bottom half generally feels bigger than your top half. You’ve got good arms, a slim upper body, a nice waist and when you put on weight it’s generally around your bum and/or legs. Think of hot mums like Kimberley Walsh and Beyonce.
You’re conscious of having broad shoulders and your bust and upper body are wider than your slim hips and legs. You either have a muscular physique or the weight naturally shows on your top half. Think of fit and fabulous mums like Rebecca Adlington or Jennifer Garner.
You’re slim top and bottom with no defining waist. You’ve got great arms and legs and you sometimes complain about not having much of a bum. You’re a size 10/12 max. Think of model mums like Gwenyth Paltrow or Sienna Miller.
You’ve got a bust and hips that are exactly the same width, a waist that’s cinched in and shapely legs. If you put on weight it tends to be evenly distributed and your waist stays defined. There’s an hourglass scale that ranges from the enviable mum bods of Sarah Jessica Parker to Sofia Vergara.
AKA The Circle of Life / classic mum tum (me). You’re fuller around the middle with no defining waist but you’ve got slim legs and arms. Drew Barrymore and Elizabeth Hurley are two stunning and surprising Circle Mamas.
You carry your weight evenly from your chest to your thighs and you generally wear a size 16 plus. Think of well-dressed mum beauties like Adele and Melissa McCarthy.
The number one learning here is that all bodies are beautiful, no matter which shape you are. Our lumps and bumps are made all the more sacred and unique by the fact that we’ve created life. Over the coming weeks I’ll dedicate a post to each of the six body shapes and spotlight the top trends and items on the high street for each. Learn how to dress your new mum bod and love the curves that your little ones have left you with!
About Anna Shaw
I am a personal stylist and colour analyst who specialises in working with individuals in need of a confidence boost, particularly following periods of life change, ill health and a change to body shape. Looking good can help us to feel better…