My five-piece capsule wardrobe

While prepping for our What I Wore Wednesday event tomorrow, I realized just how predictable my outfits have become. For the last month or so, I’ve been wearing the same thing on repeat, always, all the time.

At three months postpartum, the Venn diagram of clothes that I own, clothes that fit my postpartum body, and clothes that work with breastfeeding has an overlap of … maybe 5%. My closet is full of clothes that almost fit. 

Add in clothes that are clean (Levi is a veritable volcano), and that figure drops even further.

To keep myself from feeling the closet rage every morning, I picked up a couple of low-investment items that work for this current body and its current needs, and as it turns out, the benefits of working with a greatly reduced closet are palpable. After years of over-thinking how I might create a highly edited capsule or uniform-based wardrobe, I stumbled my way into one. It’s made entirely of dresses and it’s rocking my world.

Dresses are my jam right now for a few reasons:

  • Breastfeeding. Wrap dresses or forgiving necklines feel much easier than pulling my shirt up, and I don’t own (or want to own) any double layer / fancy breastfeeding clothes. I just can’t be bothered to care or spend that much, especially right now when breastfeeding in public feels like an act of rebellion.
  • Babywearing. A dress is simply the easiest outfit for going to the bathroom while babywearing.
  • No decision fatigue. In the morning, I just make one decision, usually further limited by what’s clean. That means it’s often no decision. Is this how Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs felt every day? No wonder they are drunk on their own power.
  • Layering potential. I hear it may someday cool down. When that happens, I’m ready. I have cardigans, jackets, boots, tights, and scarves, all at the ready.

My five dress capsule wardrobe

1. prAna berry dress

Technically this is two dresses because I own two identical Berry dresses. I wish I had ten of them, so I could only wear this dress every day for the rest of my life. This is the most perfect dress I’ve ever owned.

Off the rack, the Berry dress works for breastfeeding in a pinch, but the neckline was starting to fray after so much yanking, so I took mine to a seamstress and had a hidden zip added into the neckline. As someone for whom the activation energy for actually getting something altered has proven insurmountable in the past, I am pleased to the point of smugness with this life hack.

Berry dresses are no longer in stock at prAna, but you can still find them on super sale at random retailers.

2. Tart maternity wrap dress

Since this is a maternity dress, the wrap overlap is really generous, meaning your toddler can yank and you can squat and you probably won’t flash anyone.

Look at all that extra fabric! 

The pattern is also custom engineered to hide spit up. It’s kind of amazing that way. I’m feeling pretty ready to retire this dress, but since it’s functionally perfect I’m keeping it around for the time being.  If I were ever to get pregnant again, the only maternity clothes I’d buy would be Tart dresses. Just don’t pay full price: there are plenty of used ones available for cheap on Poshmark, and they always go on sale; the one I have is currently 50% off at Nordstrom

3. This dress from Target

This dress is light, cheap, easy, and if cooler weather ever comes to Austin, the colors will work well for winter layering up, too.

There’s a hook and eye clasp at the neckline that makes it perfect for breastfeeding, and there are pockets. Done and done. 

4. Pact wrap dress.

This dress is the happy result of bleary-eyed late-night nursing and a well-timed Facebook ad. I like that it’s organic cotton, and the price point is appealing, especially with the discounts they always seem to be offering on social. The dress is easy and works well for nursing, and goes with all my sneakers. I find synthetic fabrics are much more my jam right now; cotton just doesn’t camouflage spit up or sweat, but this one is helping to offset my guilt about buying some fast fashion from Target. 

BONUS: my house dress

This This $20 dress is technically a nightgown but it’s more or less my at-home loungewear. (It’s on my list of postpartum faves, too.) I literally wear it all day every day when I’m at home. It’s easy access for nursing, has enough coverage to wear while walking the dog, and is super comfortable no matter what size you are. I wore it as my swimsuit cover up, nightgown, even as a dress, during my final weeks of pregnancy. I probably need a duplicate of this, too, for while I’m nursing.

That’s it! Five dresses, in regular rotation, plus my house dress. Thanks to the double trouble of rampant humidity and high volume spit up, I have to do laundry about every 2-3 days, but it’s worth it to not expend so much futile energy every morning bemoaning my still too-tight pants.

Any other dresses you love that I should add to my rotation? Please, please share!

No matter what you’re wearing, jump in on #WIWW (What I Wore Wednesday) on 10/10 for a chance to win an item of your choice from prAna. You don’t need to wear prAna to win. If you don’t want to share your outfit, you can even just share your wishlist from prAna! Tag: #WIWW @prAna #sweatpink

prAna is a long-time partner of Fit Approach, but that in no way alters my die-hard love affair with this dress. I received my first Berry dress for free, and I paid for the second one, along with the other three dresses, with my own cold hard cash.

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