New motherhood - and all of the body-related (and spit-up-related) challenges that go with it - can be baffling for our wardrobes. We teamed up with Marianne Azhari of style consultancy Mums First to help three real UAE mums find fashion fixes for their new lifestyles...
"I'd usually avoid trousers as I can't find the right fit, but this combo was both stylish and practical!"
- Sara Chbib, Syrian, Mum to two-year-old Jad Saleh
"I used to work before I had my kid and my wardrobe was filled with formal clothes - all of which I've had to abandon because the 24-hour full-time mum job requires something more comfy and flexible to move about in!
"But on the other hand I always seek to make my outfit elegant and chic at the same time, and here comes my dilemma...
"Being a mum is the most beautiful thing you can ever experience in your life, but it also requires lots of sacrifices - often our body is one of them.
"I had never been a perfectly fit thin woman, but now after gaining lots of weight from pregnancy and birth, I am completely lost and ignorant of what I should/ should not wear.
"It is very important to me to be chic, elegant and cute in my outfits, but also to feel comfortable and able to choose what suits me quickly without spending hours staring at my closet. I find it very hard to find clothes that make me feel pretty and comfortable!"
"Sara has a typical inverted-triangle body shape, where she has broad shoulders and an upper body that is fuller than her lower body. I wanted to style Sara in a way that would create balance by giving the impression of a fuller lower part of the body, and by drawing attention away from the upper part. I dressed her in a well-fitted, light, wrap-around jacket in a solid colour, with silk loose pants that have big scattered flowers.
"If you have a similar body shape, the style recommendation is to always keep the outfits plain and simple for your upper body, while adding all the details to your lower body."
"I wouldn't usually wear an outfit like this as I would be worried about feeling comfortable in it, but this jacket top managed to hide all the parts of my body that I don't really like to be showing...I felt so comfortable and sylish at the same time, which was exactly what I was looking for!"
Steal her style
1. Bag, Scotch and Soda, Dh296 2. Wedges, Vince Camuto, Dh391 3. Kimono sleeve sweater, Next, Dh69 4. Earrings, Aldo, Dh50 5. Dress, BCBGMAXAZRIA, Dh1,177 6. Printed culottes, Mango, Dh199
7. Clutch, Nine West, Dh199
"I always worried that work dresses had to be form-fitting, but this was so comfortable"
- Irene George, Indian, mum of 11-month-old Ethan Sebastian
"Motherhood has been a roller coaster so far! Things I thought would be toughest turned out to be easy (like giving birth!), while I found the third and fourth months postpartum extremely challenging. I expected my body to be fine and pushed it too far and, combined with lot of anxiety, meltdowns became part of our daily routine. I have learnt that as a mother I need to be kind to myself and let my body take its time... But, I must admit, I have only a handful of items that fit me right now. I'm looking for marketing opportunities at the moment and I'm a bit worried about handling work outfits when the time comes!"
"Irene is now ready to start full-time work again and wanted to be styled in a comfortable yet professional way. I dressed her in an A line dress with a short blazer in neutral colours, plus classic mid-heel black pumps with minimum accessories. This look works well for a triangle or pear shaped body as it creates a longer slimmer figure."
"Marianne gave me so much more confidence; she made me understand there are many types of formalwear for me to experiment with that will compliment my new body type."
"The new look made me feel amazing - not like my old pre-baby self, but me as a first- time mum who can combine baby duties and style without compromising on either"
Steal her style
1. Shirt, Karl Lagerfeld, Dh393 2. Bag, Marc Jacobs, Dh1,165 3. Blazer, Zara, Dh199 4. Trousers, GAP, Dh299
5. Pumps, Chloe, Dh1,363 6. Skirt, Donna Karan New York, Dh340
"The new look made me feel amazing - not like my old pre-baby self, but me as a first-time mum who can combine baby duties and style without compromising on either"
- Majori Marcon, Brazilian, mum to Rossi (4 months) and influencer @modamaj
"Oh boy I am lost... I try to keep up with how I feel I should look - as much as filters and a big smile allows me - but my confidence as a woman and wife has been lost since my cute little one arrived. I need help genuinely; my wardrobe consists of jeans, t shirts or track pants... where is the fashionable, confident woman I used to be?"
"Majori has a classic tubular body shape where her body is well-balanced and proportionate. However, she is a very new mum, and feels a bit conscious of the few extra kilos she is carrying. I styled her in a green button-down shirt dress with vertical strips and a waist belt. This gives a longer, thinner look and still allows her to breastfeed easily, while the colour complements her natural hair colour. I accessorised with statement earrings and rose gold sandals to give her a trendy and glamourous look. I advise any mum with a tubular body shape to dress in clothes that draw the eye upwards to the face; so either vertical lines/patterns or big V necks. Plus, adding a belt will create a more hourglass figure."
"I loved this look. Not me as my old self before the baby, but me as a stylish first-time mum that can conquer mum/baby duties in style without compromising on either. I also learnt I can wear green, which I never wore before, and that there are stylish, nursing-friendly options out there!"
Steal her style
1. Boots, New Look, Dh210 2. Earrings, Zara, Dh89 3. Bag, Guess, Dh595 4. Necklace, Ipekyol Nisnass, Dh89
5. Belt, GAP, Dh199 6. Dress, Namshi, Dh139
Meet the stylist
Marianne Azhari is an image and professional style consultant who runs mums first, a platform dedicated to helping mums enhance their self-image and self-esteem through a reflective exploration of who they are and where they want to be. She offers a series of services, from wardrobe analysis, personal shopping and event dressing to full makeovers, colour analysis and even online image and style consulting. She's also super approachable and friendly and our mums loved working with her! Mumsfirst.com @MumsFirst