From the flirty wrap dresses to the chic overcoats, the Duchess of Cambridge—who with husband Prince William welcomed His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge on July 22—showed the world that pregnancy style didn't have to be an endless series of yoga pants.
Now that baby's here, maternity clothing designer Liz Lange offers post-baby style tips for Kate as well as other new moms who don't have access to the royal bank account for their new beyond-maternity wardrobe.
"Post-baby fashion can be so tricky because new moms typically have less than five minutes to get ready every morning," says Lange, a former Vogue editor who has two kids of her own. "And their bodies are constantly changing as they recover, so it's important to have a smart wardrobe strategy."
And, so far, it looks as if Kate has nailed that part, too, according to Lange.
"Princess Diana wore a polka-dot dress when she first gave birth and debuted Prince William, so I love that Kate also debuted her royal baby in a polka-dot dress, channeling Princess Diana from 31 years ago," she says. "Kate's more form-fitting Jenny Packham dress is a great and more modern take on the dress Diana wore, and I love that it shows Kate's post-baby bump."
Here are Lange's post-maternity fashion tips:
Ditch the Baggy Clothes
"Although it might be tempting to slip into baggy clothes because they seem more comfy, new moms should look for clothing that is flowy with ruching or empire waists," Lange says. "Also, a lot of times women will have pieces from their maternity wardrobe that are still great for post-pregnancy. For example, a maternity empire waist maxi dress can still look good post-pregnancy by adding a cute belt cinched at the waist."
Avoid Bulky, Chunky and Heavy Fabrics
They will only make you look heavier than you actually are, Lange says. "For example, instead of wearing sweatpants, opt for a great pair of leggings."
You can do this with longer tunic tops, wrap dresses, which Lange says are "inherently adjustable," lightweight trench coat style toppers that cinch at the waist and comfortable leggings. "Stay away from baggy sweaters and sweatpants (during the winter)," she adds, "that will only make you look heavier."
First Trimester Works for Fourth Trimester
"Remember, the same items that got you through the first trimester when you were transitioning into your pregnancy are what you can go back to now that you are in what I like to term the 'fourth trimester,' transitioning back to your pre-baby body," Lange says.
"And don’t be too hard on yourself! I always say nine months on, nine months off, but for me it was probably more like two-plus years off," she adds.
Accessorize to Be Both Dressy and Comfortable
"The right accessories can make the most basic outfit pop," says Lange. "Jewelry can take any comfy dress or pants outfit from day to night. Think piles of bangles on your wrist, a strong statement necklace, a big cocktail ring, and fun dangly earrings. A lightweight scarf in a fun print or pattern can also take your outfit up a notch. Even a simple change of shoe from a flat to a wedge can do wonders."
Use Your Makeup to "up" the Glam Factor
"Playing with your makeup (dramatic smokey eyes or a stronger lipstick) can add dressed-up glamour in an instant," she says. "The best part of all of these 'dressy but comfortable' tips is that accessories and makeup are items that don't change size! All the accessories and makeup you already own will be your BFFs when you want to take a cute dress—or even a great denim or leggings look—from day to night."