Personal Style Crisis

It happens every time. Some time around when Baby starts walking, I have a personal style crisis.

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The problem is I have certain wardrobe demands: function (nursing-friendly and washable), flatter (highlights the right parts and downplays the other parts), and fit (not too short, too tight, too baggy, too restrictive… basically not “too” anything.) Boob access is still a requirement, as my 1-year-old still nurses on demand, so that rules out most dresses and many tops. I’ve lost the baby weight, so my postpartum wardrobe of roomy tunics and tummy-smoothing leggings are unappealing. However, I have a new body shape after having grown, carried, delivered, and nourished another human. It’s like being a teenager learning to dress all over again, but this time with a c-section scar and leaky breasts. I’m lost.

I hit up online stores — because shopping for clothes with my troublesome trio is more chaotic than constructive — and peruse Pinterest. I pin with abandon. Striped t-shirt dresses topped with jean jackets, skater dresses and motorcycle jackets, jeans and Ts with military jackets… cute and comfy but not exactly nursing-friendly (lest I stretch out every hem and neckline.)

Every morning, I reluctantly enter my closet. I feel utterly underwhelmed by my heaping mishmash of clothing sizes from 4 to 12. The clothes archive where I’ve been in size and life season — newlywed young adult, corporate cubicle-dweller, working mom, pregnant mom, newly postpartum mom, breastfeeding mom, exercising mom, socializing mom — but it doesn’t quite define me now.

Those dark wash flare jeans three sizes too big, those business-casual trousers, those tummy-flattening leggings… not me. The corporate blouses, the exercise tanks, the billowy cotton tunics… nope. The suede flats, the towering wedge knee-high boots, the platform heels… ha!

So, I consider hauling up my bin of old stand-bys. The plastic box labeled “Caitlin’s Non-Nursing Clothes” full of Gap v-neck Ts, Target tank tops, neutral sweaters, and striped boatneck tops. The style equivalent of a sigh.

“What in my closet makes me happy?” I ask myself. My vibrant Flying Tomato maxi skirts. Without a doubt, they are my favorites. Still, one can only wear them so often.

Part of me wants to overhaul my closet. Raze the mass of unflattering, unfitting, unsuitable fabric and start fresh. But what would I wear in place of it all? How would I possibly afford to replace it? Three printed skirts and a handful of nursing camis cannot a wardrobe make.

Back to Pinterest I go. Maybe I’ll find myself on another’s Pintrest board. Until then, I’ll feign an intense daily exercise regiment by donning active wear.


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