Drop Your #MomBod Style Rules, 7 Body Positive Style Tips to Try Instead


#mombod styling advice

If you search #mombod on Instagram, you’ll come up with 845 thousand posts. Among these, you’ll see the typical before and after shots of women who have obviously under-eaten and over-exercised to attain washboard abs. I want to immediately unfollow the accounts that share these kinds of posts for their diet culture obsessed “advice” for new moms. I want to virtually light these types of posts on fire for all of the damage they are doing to new moms who are comparing themselves to unrealistic and unhealthy ideals.

Taking back the #mombod

However, there is a glimmer of hope. Every once in a while, you will see moms, uncomfortable and brave, posting pictures of themselves in bathing suits—moms with stretch marks and scars, cellulite, bigger breasts, less perky breasts, squishier thighs, and bigger stomachs. For example, @lindsboere posted a pic of herself in a bathing suit with this caption: “well, my face pretty much says it all-discomfort level 100. Never in my life did I think I would be posting a bathing suit selfie…but I’m kinda on a mission to help normalize bodies that don’t look like your typical “Instagram’ body.” She continues to say that during a recent pool outing with her kids, she chose to ditch the cover-up and get right in there with her kids.  


These women urge their followers to embrace their bodies and all they have done for them and their children. Many of them exercise, eat normally, work, play with their kids, and generally have full and busy lives. For example, @bonniewyrick posts a pic of herself in a crop top and jeans, with the caption “Even though my body may be softer and curvier than it once was, never have I felt so comfortable in my own skin. This body created, protected, and fed my babe and I think that’s reason enough to love it.”


Make the most of your #mombod

So, what is a “mombod”? As a personal stylist who works with moms in San Francisco, I can tell you that moms have some common body worries. They almost always have an aversion to highlighting their stomach area and their breasts. Many moms I work with have rigid rules in place for how they think they can dress (no deep v-necks, no tucking of shirts, no clingy fabrics, etc.). As a body positive stylist, I urge moms to drop their “rules” and wear things they love. I try to help them celebrate these parts of their body and dress them beautifully and with intention rather than hide those perceived flaws. To share this message, I’ve come up with seven tips to highlight (read: not hide!) your #mombod.

Fabric matters

When wearing an unstructured top (like a sweater or pullover), choose fabric with a fluid drape. Drape is the way in which a garment hangs. To highlight your curves without clinging to them, choose medium weight cotton blends.

Wear v-necks

Even if you don’t like showing off your bust, choose a small v in the neck. This draws the eyes up.

Choose tops with structure

Button downs are a great choice because the line of buttons creates a long line on your torso. Dressing well is just all about shapes!

Add a layer

This is perfect for us San Franciscans because you literally always need a jacket. For the most figure-flattering bang for your buck, choose a jacket or vest with darting starting under the bust and running to the side of your waist. Again, this creates a “frame” for the body and a line down the middle of your torso. Bonus points for a trench coat with a tie around the waist.

High waists and stretch are your friends

Wear high waisted jeans and leggings with just a bit of stretch. Denim is generally a thick and powerful fabric. When you wear high waisted jeans with approximately 1–2% stretch (spandex, lycra), your jeans are comfortably cinching your waist like a modern day corset.

(Half) Tuck it in, girl

That’s right. I know you do not want to highlight your waist. But if you are wearing a flowy shirt without structure it will make you look bigger than you are if you don’t tuck it in. For a lovely casual look, pair your high waisted jeans with a pullover in a bright color. To half tuck, quickly take a section of your shirt and tuck it in your jeans. It doesn’t need to be too perfect. Just a tiny tuck says to the world, “Hey, I have a waist under here!”

Accessories are everything

If you want to draw attention up from your stomach, wear a great pair of statement earrings. Wear a long necklace or layer a bunch of necklaces to create that line down the middle of your torso.

Personal style is not about rules

While these tips are great for creating an hourglass shape on someone who is self-conscious about her belly, they are just that—tips. Personal style is not about rules. It is about making you look good for you, which can, in turn, make you feel good.

And if you are a mom struggling with her body, I urge you to look in the mirror and smile. Remember this: no amount of dieting or exercise is going to take away the craziness of motherhood. You are not really searching for the ideal body, you are searching for a feeling of control and peace. So please repeat after me, “My body is freaking amazing and I don’t need to change a thing.” Now go put on something that makes you feel pretty!


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Laura is the founder of Merry Styling, a mom of two, and a former teacher who lives in San Francisco. She grew up in Columbus, Ohio and relished the changing of seasons because it meant revamping her wardrobe! After completing graduate school at The Ohio State University, Laura relocated to San Francisco, where she taught elementary school for nine years before having her two children Noelle (6) and Lucas (2). When her youngest was six months old, Laura started working as a stylist with jewelry and accessories company Stella and Dot. Since then, she has earned a Fashion Merchandising degree from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising, styled with nonprofit Dress for Success, and done various merchandising projects for different retail organizations. Laura knows that style is more than clothing and accessories. She has found it to be an amazing confidence booster. Finding the perfect outfit on a bad day can turn it into a great one. She is especially passionate about working with moms Laura started Merry Styling because she wants to help other moms and anyone else who feels "left behind by fashion" to feel confident, empowered, and beautiful through personal styling, closet detox, and personal shopping sessions. Follow her at @merrystylingsf on Facebook, @merrystyling on Instagram and check out www.merrystyling.com for more!


  1. I love the intention of this post, especially for new moms! And I am all about spandex in my pants so I can move and be more comfortable. But I’m not sure cinching in the waist and promoting a “modern day corset” is being body positive. Women shouldn’t have to mold their body into a certain shape to meet societal standards. Maybe the focus on the spandex tip could be more on the freedom that spandex in pants allows so a mom can move in all the ways her new kiddo requires her to, and also for the comfort spandex provides – so that a mom can focus less on her uncomfortable clothes or concern about her weight/body and direct her focus/attention on people/things that truly matter.

    I’m a mom working hard on loving my body – and learning as I go – so I just wanted to share my perspective. 🙂

  2. Hi Amy! Thanks so much for sharing your perspective and reaching out! I’m glad you understand the intention of the article is to be body positive. I completely agree that moms shouldn’t have to focus on forming their bodies to an unrealistic societal ideal! I wish our culture was less weight and body-centric which is why I am trying to share my body positive message with moms. The waist-cinching ideas are a result of the time I have spent styling real women who are genuinely looking for such tips to create an hourglass shape because it improves their confidence. But I recognize that giving such style tips while promoting a body positive message can be a fine line, and I will be mindful of the language I am using when sharing these ideas. Thanks again for sharing, and making this a conversation. And also, yay for spandex and for loving your body as it is today!


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