We speak to the Nine In The Mirror alum on dressing a post-bump body and life with baby Honor
The lesser known of the trimesters (in this instance, a bit of a misnomer) the fourth trimester starts from the minute your baby is born and goes right through until they are three months old. This is a time (especially for new mothers) that can be as foreign an experience as the pregnancy itself. Not pregnant, but also not quite back to your regular self, your whole body is changing – working its way back to pre-pregnancy ‘normal’ – and with it, your sense of self and style.
At Nine In The Mirror we regularly speak to, and share the stories of, stylish and influential women on how they dress for pregnancy and one of our favourites, Louise Roe, has spoken with us again, this time on dressing the body post-bump and her new approach to style now that she’s mum to baby Honor.
As someone whose very livelihood depends on attention to ‘looks’ Louise, like most mothers, has found herself making wardrobe choices against her will. “Breastfeeding has given me boobs and I don’t know what to do with them! They change the line of an outfit and I can’t fit into lots of my dresses and tops. Most women I know love having bigger boobs but, in all honesty (although I’m super grateful for what they’re doing), I don’t like them!”.
In addition to thinking of changes to your body, you need to think practically as well when it comes to getting dressed every day. You’re no longer getting dressed just for you (or the 700k people who follow you) but for your little one as well. “I definitely now have to think about what I can unbutton to feed Honor, and I avoid anything that won’t be soft for her to lean on (like too many buttons and zips up top). For the moment I’m avoiding higher heels when I’m carrying her too.”
Maternity fashion is a work-in-progress for many women who feel they must compromise on style in order to accommodate their and their baby’s needs. When thinking of new additions (of both the wardrobe and baby variety) it can be useful to first think of pieces you usually wear and then eliminate what you won’t wear. Louise suggests key ‘third pieces’ when wanting to feel put together while also being able to wear them whilst expecting, during the fourth trimester, and beyond “Blazers and coats – those were my saving grace when I wanted to feel elegant at 8 months pregnant. I have a thin calf-length coat in camel and grey that I still wear religiously over jeans and flats”.
Louise, whilst a Londoner at heart, is settling into her LA lifestyle, telling us it’s still important to give yourself a break and not feel as though you need to commit to being polished all the time. “I’ve always loved changing into a tee and denim shorts as soon as I get home from a shoot or meetings, and that hasn’t changed! Home is where I forget about the latest trend and just relax in comfort. LA lends itself well to that too, as the style is very laid-back and the weather warm and sunny.”
The fourth trimester is not always about simply choosing what to wear but also about readjusting to life as a new mum and often a new working-mum. When we spoke about the nature of freelance life and being your own boss, topics ran along a theme familiar to a lot of women who are their own boss. This year seems to be the year for influencers to become mums and a lot of these women have publicly shared their views on the restrictions of life without maternity leave and Louise feels the same “I think having your own business and a baby gives new meaning to multi-tasking. I was just reading an article this morning about the new normal for women who run their own companies –you have to navigate each day at a time, whilst still attempting to plan and structure. That being said I wouldn’t swap it for a 9-5. [My husband] and I get to work together, and we usually have control over our schedule. I can finish a project – like hosting the Oscars red carpet for example – when Honor was just 6 weeks old – and then keep the following few days free to just be with her”.
Travel, especially for work, is another challenge. Expressing milk, separation anxiety, and trying to retain some semblance of your own identity as a working woman are all balls to juggle or considerations to keep in mind especially for Roe who regularly wanders the globe for public-facing events. On a recent trip to Verona for work she found it harder than she could have imagined “I started crying 24 hours before I left and saying goodbye was awful, it sounds dramatic – but I felt physically sick leaving her. My mum said that feeling will always be the same, even when she’s a teen! I was gone three nights for work, and the advice I’d give is: make sure the trip is necessary, and then go enjoy it. Guilt is a pointless emotion, and I kept reminding myself to feel proud that I’m building a future for her”.
And when it comes to bringing Honor along? “We haven’t traveled with her yet, but we do have flights booked to England during the Summer. I’ve done as much research as possible and found a travel mattress for the in-flight bassinet, from Amazon, and a breathable cover that acts like a roof over it, to block out lights and some sound”.
As an avid fan of Roe, I watched all her stories and followed her Instagram feed for her Italian event and her effortless breezy nature was still as abundant as ever. It’s not news that Instagram makes us put forward our best selves but the pressure of that when it’s your job and you just don’t feel like smiling is unique to a select few. Luckily for her, her audience make her life easier. “I definitely have moments of pressure. I’ve found my audience really supportive – I have way more mums following me than I realised, and there are times where their advice and encouragement has made a real difference. Because of that, I share the very real side of things on my Instagram stories, and my vlog on Youtube”.
While it might sound like an army of mums is on hand for her to seek advice from, she insists the dialogue is a two-way street and she wants to have just as positive an effect on mothers by sharing stories and advice because at the end of the day, mothers face the same hurdles time and again.
Words by Hannah Finnigan-Walsh
Photos by Mackenzie Hunkin