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Why You Need a Postpartum Capsule Wardrobe
February 26, 2024

Why You Need a Postpartum Capsule Wardrobe

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Why You Need a Postpartum Capsule Wardrobe.
Why You Need a Postpartum Capsule Wardrobe

Your body doesn’t feel like your own. You’re figuring out how to take care of a new baby. And now you’re supposed to get dressed?

The postpartum period is filled with ups and downs, but figuring out what to wear doesn’t have to be one of them. Meet the postpartum capsule wardrobe: your answer for taking the stress out of getting dressed post-baby.

What Is a Postpartum Capsule Wardrobe?

You’ve probably heard the term “capsule wardrobe” before. A capsule wardrobe centers on the idea of owning a minimal amount of clothing to create the maximum amount of outfits. Capsule wardrobe pieces err on the side of classic rather than trendy, and they mix and match easily. You can create one for any stage or area of your life, including during pregnancy. They can save you time and, in the long run, money. And they make getting dressed every day a lot easier.

Why Build a Postpartum Capsule Wardrobe?

The postpartum body is nothing if not unpredictable. While the experience isn’t the same for everyone, most people deal with some degree of swelling, soreness, engorgement and lots of other less-than-fun body changes during the months after giving birth. There’s also an accessibility issue, so to speak, to wrangle with if you’re a nursing parent. You need clothing that’s breastfeeding-friendly but also makes you feel comfortable and confident when you’re nursing in public.

Figuring out what to wear during this time can feel challenging. For many, their postpartum bodies land somewhere in the middle between their pregnant and pre-pregnancy selves: too small for maternity clothes but too large for their pre-pregnancy wardrobe. And since your body seems to be constantly in flux, you don’t want to spend too much money on clothing that likely won’t fit you for all that long.

Enter the postpartum capsule wardrobe. By focusing on a tight collection of thoughtfully chosen, comfortable and functional pieces, you can create a wardrobe that works with your changing body and takes you through the postpartum period with the least amount of stress.

Postpartum Capsule Wardrobe Checklist

A postpartum capsule wardrobe is all about easy, mix-and-match options. It’s also about finding clothes that make you feel good, both physically and mentally. These are the pieces to focus on first if you’re interested in creating a postpartum capsule:

  • Leggings (one to two pairs)
  • Joggers (one to two pairs)
  • Denim (one pair)
  • Jumpsuit (one to two)
  • Loungewear (unlimited 😀)
  • Boxy tees (one to two)
  • Dress (one to two)
  • Nursing tanks, if breastfeeding (three to four)
  • Bras and undies (two to three bras, four to five pairs of underwear)
  • Easy-on, easy-off footwear

Leggings, leggings, all the leggings

At the heart of every good postpartum wardrobe lies one magical item: leggings. Endlessly forgiving and always comfortable, a good pair of leggings will take you from the postpartum period all the way through to when your kid leaves for college. (We kid. Sort of.) How supportive they should be is a matter of personal preference; some folks favor postpartum support leggings, while for others an everyday legging is just fine. Something almost everyone can agree on, though? Pockets are a must-have for stashing your phone while also trying to juggle your baby + 50 other things.

There’s something magical about Lulu Aligns. They somehow achieve the perfect fit before, during and after pregnancy. They never lose their shape, and if you care for them properly (machine wash cold, no fabric softener, hang to dry) they’ll look just as good three years down the road as they did on the day you bought them.

Comfy joggers

Move over leggings, here come your fancier counterpart. Joggers are one step closer to real pants (we like the term “fancy sweatpants”) but still ridiculously comfortable, and everyone should own a pair as part of their postpartum capsule wardrobe. Opt for the softest material you can find (see a theme developing here?) and be mindful of the waistband, especially if you’ve had a C-section.

If there was an award for Softest Pants Ever, these would take first prize. That comfort level makes them ideal for postpartum, but we also love that they look great on all types of bodies and give off a “casual but still put together” vibe. And the colors are 😍.

More Joggers

Denim

Finding a good pair of postpartum jeans can be a challenge to say the least. Keep a few things in mind. First—maternity jeans are still your friend even after you’ve given birth. We favor the ones with stretchy panels built into the sides of the waistband rather than those with an over-the-belly panel; the former will last you longer post-baby. You’ll also want denim that stretches. Look for jeans made from a combination of cotton, polyester and spandex so they’ll be more comfortable as your body changes post-birth.

One-size-fits-four jeans? Sign us up. These innovative jeans feature four-way stretch and are designed to fit a range of four sizes, making them the ideal choice for postpartum.

A versatile jumpsuit

Building a postpartum capsule wardrobe is all about versatility, and we can’t think of a more versatile clothing item than a jumpsuit. You can style it to look dressy, casual and everything in between. And it’s easy to toss on with a jacket or blazer, too. It shrinks and grows with your postpartum body and makes getting dressed something you can do in about two minutes flat. And if you’re a breastfeeding parent, it offers super easy nursing access

We’re huge Hatch fans for maternity capsule wardrobes (their clothing runs pricey, but it’s timeless and doesn’t scream “I’m pregnant!”), but their clothes work just as well for postpartum capsules, too. This jumpsuit is one of our absolute favorites. It’s comfortable enough to wear around the house but stylish enough to wear out to dinner or while running errands. The buttons make nursing easy if you’re a breastfeeding parent.

All the loungewear

We can’t emphasize this one enough: loungewear is your postpartum BFF! If there was ever a time to treat yourself to whatever you want in the “soft clothes” department, this is it. You can wear loungewear to bed, around the house and even when friends and family come to visit. Snag whatever makes you feel comfortable and confident—and even add some to your registry if you’d like. Just remember that most postpartum folks tend to run hot, so keep that in mind when you’re shopping for anything you’ll also be sleeping in.

A cotton modal blend, sustainable materials and the ability to customize your own perfect set in tons of dreamy colors. What’s not to love?

More Loungewear

Lake Pajamas 
Pima Nightgown

Buy Now

Stars Above 
Soft Pajama Set

Buy Now

A boxy T-shirt

Boxy tees are not only trending—they’re also perfect for postpartum. They’re comfortable, loose and work with leggings, joggers or jeans. They’re also easy to nurse in.

Minus a nursing tank, most postpartum parents favor loose-fitting, comfortable tops during the postpartum period. This one from Aerie is an overall favorite. The boxy fit works with your changing body and the tee is long enough to wear with leggings. And the henley design makes this tee a go-to for nursing parents.

A flowy, forgiving dress

If your fourth trimester falls in the spring or summer or you live in a year-round warm climate, a light, flowy dress is one of the best investments you can make for your postpartum wardrobe. Dresses are an effortless way to get you looking pulled together in about two minutes flat. You can style them with sneakers for everyday or with dressier shoes if you’re heading somewhere special. Look for one with flexible smocking around the chest area to accommodate your breasts’ fluctuating size and a loose waist for your bump area.

A dress with this type of cut will take you from pregnancy all the way through postpartum and beyond. This one is made from soft muslin, helping you stay cool even when the temperatures rise. You can dress it up or down and also adjust the height of the sleeves.

A good nursing tank

If you’re a nursing parent, odds are leggings + a good nursing tank will be your postpartum uniform for…more time than you may care to admit. But we’re here for it because it’s a perfect combo. (And a convenient one if you’re breastfeeding.) Comfort and fit are the features to look for when you’re shopping nursing tanks. Steer clear of itchy labels, anything too tight or strap clips that are tough to open and close. And if you don’t want a clip-down style, consider a layering tank with a flexible scoop neck that you can pull up and down for feedings.

“I wore these for all kids forever while nursing. Way better than bras,” Kim, a mom of three, said. The tanks are made from a soft cotton jersey and feature a lightly supportive built-in shelf bra and a clip-down top for nursing. And you can’t beat the price.

Bras and underwear

If you’re a nursing parent, you’ll definitely need to revamp your bra wardrobe post-birth. But even if you’re not, many folks find that their body has changed and what has worked before doesn’t work anymore. For a postpartum-friendly nursing bra, look for a mix of comfort and support—with an emphasis on the comfort part for at least the first month or so. Also consider a nursing bra that doubles as a pumping bra if you’re feeding your baby expressed milk.

Undies-wise, it’s all about what works for you. Lots of parents opt for “granny panties” with a high waist and good support. Whatever you choose, make sure they’re breathable, fit properly and don’t irritate your scar if you had a C-section.

The Everything Bra by Bodily is one of the most comfortable bras we’ve ever worn, making it perfect for the postpartum period. It’s made from an ultra-soft, ultra-stretchy material designed specifically to optimize breast health. The straps adjust from the front (so smart!) and the back has extended closures to accommodate your changing body. Just note that there isn’t much support.

Made from a blend of (mostly) cotton and a little bit of spandex for stretch, these are the granny undies of choice for lots of postpartum parents. They won’t roll or bunch and they’re budget-friendly.

More Bras and Undies

Easy, comfy footwear

Postpartum isn’t the time to explore daring footwear. (Unless wearing slip-on shoes makes you feel daring, in which case, go for it.) Opt for something comfortable that’s easy to slip on and off—because tying shoelaces is the last thing you need to worry about when you’re juggling your baby, a diaper bag and the (many) other things you need to step out the door. We love slides and all things Birks for postpartum.

“I got these for my poor swollen feet during pregnancy and kept wearing them,” said Michelle, a mom of one. With thick, cushy soles and a design specifically targeted to ease and prevent foot pain, these slides are just as great postpartum as they are when you’re pregnant.

A rental clothing subscription

“My number one recommendation for postpartum dressing is a rental subscription. It took so much pressure off of that period for me to be able to change my clothing size every month as my body adjusted. I was so grateful for it over the last 18 months as I lost and gained back the same 20 pounds,” said Maddie, a mom of two. And we could not agree more. Clothing rental subscriptions are ideal for getting you through the postpartum period of your changing body. There are options across all budgets and you’ll be able to choose clothing from all different brands.

Clothing Rental Subscriptions


Jen LaBracio

Senior Gear Editor

Jen LaBracio is Babylist’s Senior Gear Editor, a role that perfectly combines her love of all things baby gear with her love of (obsessive) research. When she’s not testing out a new high chair or pushing the latest stroller model around her neighborhood, she likes to run, spin, listen to podcasts, read and spend time at the beach. In her past life, she worked for over a decade in children’s publishing. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband and their two boys, Will and Ben.

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