We’re big fans of the new mama “glow” — new baby as an accessory makes you impossibly glamorous. Which is great because in those first few weeks postpartum, you’re probably not thinking much about what you’re wearing. But we’ve got news for you, mama: if you had a hankering for fashion before, having a baby is not going to make it go away, for better or worse. But it might make it harder to find time to shop, harder to find stuff that fits, and harder to imagine possibly being chic while balancing baby and breastfeeding.
Morgan Hutchinson gives us hope. Her online shop, Bu Ru (meaning “breastfeed” in Mandarin), offers a collection of ready-to-wear for new and nursing mothers that’s so smartly curated, you’d hardly know it was for new and nursing mothers. “Becoming a mom is a wonderful gift – but the toll that it takes on a body and a wardrobe cannot be denied,” says the Kentucky mama to Olive, 14 months. “I remember feeling lost when I picked up a Vogue after Olive was born. Something that had always been a source of inspiration and excitement was now intimidating and overwhelming.”
To help make sense of the chaos, Hutchinson — a former lingerie designer and stylist — has hand-picked the best and brightest that the nursing fashion world has to offer, as well as breastfeeding and pump-friendly options from the some of our favorite contemporary labels. And just in case you’re not quite ready to pick up that issue of Vogue, Hutchinson provides fashion inspiration in gorgeous modeling spreads throughout the site (and here!). Yes, that’s her showing off her favorite looks and proving that yes, a breastfeeding mom can dress like a knockout and look insanely gorgeous.
Here, Hutchinson tells us more about Bu Ru, and gets us pining for fashion again, even with baby in tow. See below for an exclusive WRNY Bu Ru discount, plus check out this week’s giveaway: Hutchinson’s personal new mama favorites selected especially for WRNY!
Why is it such a challenge for new mamas to find good clothes, especially if they’re nursing?
As fashion trends increasingly cater to a younger crowd, while the age of new mothers is on the rise, it poses quite the challenge of what to wear as a new mom. Crop tops and teeny tiny shorts are clearly not appropriate for mommy & me classes. I also think it is difficult because a new mom feels that she has been out of the “game” for almost a year. It can shake your confidence a bit. Which new trend should I try? Which should I avoid? What will fit me? What will be a choking hazard to my baby? Then, add nursing to the mix, and you can eliminate the majority of dresses, sweaters, and even some t-shirts. Moms also give so much of themselves to making the lives of their little ones (and the people they love) as safe and happy as possible. And whether a mom is nursing or not, she has very little “me” time. I wanted to make the shopping experience easier and less time consuming and I wanted to help take the struggle out of getting dressed in the morning. Fashion should be fun, not stressful — empowering, not intimidating.
What elements must each garment have that make it ideal for this customer?
As a new, nursing mother, my day consisted of opening my top every three hours to feed my little Olive — followed by the very likely event of being covered in spit-up. I realized immediately that the mommy lifestyle has its own set of wardrobe requirements. For breastfeeding moms in particular, “easy-access” is most important. Stripping down to your skivvies is not a very realistic or convenient option. Being able to discreetly access your breasts is key to not feeling like a shut-in and becomes even more important when it is time to get back to the office after maternity leave. “Pump-friendly” clothes are often more challenging because you have to access both boobs at once!
I think any mom, nursing or not, appreciates a washable garment. Being a mom is messy! We try to find products with a “washable” care tag, but these days they are fewer and fewer. Using products from The Laundress and the hand-wash cycle of a front-loading washing machine, we actually wash many of our styles with a “dry-clean only” care label with great success.
Last but not least, a mom needs to be comfortable. The good news is that this no longer has to mean wearing 10-year old sweats and a t-shirt from college. Brands like Sam & Lavi and Tucker offer flowy but flattering silhouettes and chic elastic waist pants.
How do you curate this unique combination of breastfeeding/maternity brands vs. contemporary brands?
After having Olive, I had new mom product overload. It seemed like emails about a new line of organic this or eco-friendly that filled my inbox every day. So with our breastfeeding/maternity brands, I was very careful to choose items that I truly believe will help make life easier for a mom. Products like the S’well bottles are great for everyone, but finding a chic way to keep breast milk cold for 24 hours blew my mind! And, the Active Labor Gown (basically a DVF wrap dress to give birth in) is one of the most clever products I have seen in awhile. I guess I just didn’t see a reason to not sell the very practical items that moms need alongside the items that moms want like David Lerner leggings and Rachel Pally caftans.
What are some of the details in contemporary brands that make them ideal for a breastfeeding or new mom?
For breastfeeding moms, snap-fronts and zippers are a lifesaver. When you have a squirmy baby in one arm, it is nice to be able to easily open your blouse with one hand. I think all moms (nursing or not) should have a plethora of transitional pants…by this I mean pants that can be worn with heels or flats — no hemming required. The cropped length is a great option, but I am particularly fond of the cuffed look…especially if it has an elastic waist!
I think accessories can be tough for new moms. Before Olive, my go to accessory typically consisted of an arm (or arms) full of bangles. Now my “bangle bar” is more of an art piece as it gets very little wear time. Big jewelry sort of gets in the way with little ones. Now I often use color as my accessory, maybe in the form of a bag. I love the cobalt blue Knocked Up Baby Bag from Rebecca Minkoff — functional but fun too!
How would you describe your own style?
My style is a bit eclectic, a bit girly with an edge, and at times, a bit over-the-top. I tend to dress hi-low. Last week I paired a Chanel blazer with our $50 track pants from the B.P. Collection. I also find comfort (and an added confidence) with a strong red lip. It just makes me feel put together — even if my hair is in desperate need of washing! I wear heels more often than is convenient as a mom, but I just can’t seem to give them up. My feet get confused in flats.
Who’s your mom fashion inspiration?
I don’t know that I can pick just one mom fashion inspiration — a few stand out for different reasons. Kate Hudson for making it look effortless. She is always just the right amount of put together – never overdone. Rachel Roy for her modern take on classics. Carine Roitfeld and Julia Restoin Roitfeld, for quite possibly being the most fashionable and sexy mother/daughter duo. And finally (although she is not real, nor a great example of a mother) Betty Draper for her iconic 1960’s glam. I am a sucker for false eyelashes and a teasing comb.
What Bu Ru items are must-haves for a new mom?
1. A classic white button-up shirt. Bu Ru’s picks range from $50-$298.
2. Black leggings (Bu Ru styles range from $25-130) or a seasonless pair of black elastic waist pants ($50-298).
3. A sexy lace nursing bra. Ours from cake lingerie can be worn long after you stop nursing.
4. An easy, throw-on coat. BURU will always have season appropriate trench coats and classic jackets. They are the perfect cover up.
5. A wrap dress. It takes you from the office to drinks with the hubby to weekday errands with the little ones.
6. A statement piece. Buy something that makes you feel like a girl again! Metallic gold pants perhaps (elastic waist even) or a classic LBND (Little Black Nursing Dress).
Shop Bu Ru is letting WRNY readers in on an exclusive 15% discount on the whole site! As if you needed another reason to go shopping. (Discount code: WRNY15).