As I've mentioned before, we're all constantly going through transitions with our wardrobe. There are new jobs, different workplaces, new sizes, new lifestyles, new levels of activity, new stages of life and different needs to go with each of them. Until last year, my wardrobe needs had been the same for quite some time: that of a 30-something married lady without kids working full time in a professional environment. In one year, I went to being a self-employed, casual-clothes-wearing, occasional-event-attending, first-pregnant-now-nursing mother.

After Matteo was born, I was so excited to pull out my pre-pregnancy clothes until I realized that shift dresses, fitted peplum tops, and silk blouses were no longer functional in my wardrobe. I was left feeling (once again) that I had nothing to wear. With the exception of the last four weeks or so, dressing for pregnancy was really pretty easy, especially when compared with my new challenge: dressing for easy breastfeeding access and yet another new size. For clothes to be easy to nurse in, there are a few requirements:

  • Must be able to wear a nursing tank or bra underneath - no skinny straps or trendy cutouts
  • Must be able to unbutton, unzip, lift up, pull to the side or pull down
  • Must be easily washable, because you will be constantly covered in milk, spit-up, pee, and/or poo (on special occasions, all at the same time!)
  • Must be affordable enough that you won't mind when it gets permanently stained or worn out from washing. Most of the examples below are from places like Forever 21 and Old Navy.

I've found the nursing tank to be the most valuable player in this new wardrobe. I'm at heart a pretty lazy person, and if I'm at home, I do not want to be fighting with extra layers of clothing. When I do go out, I'd like to only throw one layer on top and be done. The first week we were home from the hospital, I sent my husband out to buy five of these Target nursing tanks. The consensus on the interwebs was that they were the best, and I agree. For the time spent at home, this was my uniform:

When I got "dressed" for the day, I wore jeans instead of yoga pants. I know, fancy, right?

And yes, those are maternity jeans. Not only did I not fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans, (which should be a given, by the way) but I had underestimated how comfortable an elastic waistband could be!

When we had visitors, I'd throw a lightweight drapey cardigan or kimono over my nursing tank and, along with my jeans, had an actual outfit!

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After a few weeks, we were getting out in public a bit and I started to want to make a little more effort. Button downs and tops that can easily be pulled up were what worked best, along with a few pairs of new pants in a larger size. Although I do have a couple of nursing bras, I usually still keep that same base layer of nursing tank+jeans. Another benefit of wearing a tank is that when you pull up your top layer to nurse, you're not revealing your post-partum belly to the world.

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I love all the flowy, bohemian white tops that are in stores this summer, and they're great for nursing.

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Since I miss dresses so much, I had to figure out which ones were possibilities. Of course, shirtdresses work, as do styles with wraps or zippers. Here are a few:

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(Don't you love that Target shirtdress on the top left?!)

After finding a few new pieces that fit these requirements, I felt like I could re-enter the world without having lost my personal style. Anyone else have any tips to offer?